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Covid 19

UPDATED 6/11/20

During these very worrying times, we are trying to get information out to everyone as quick as we can to try and help businesses survive and save as many jobs as possible. The easiest way for us to get this to as many people at once is via our Facebook so if you havenít already, please follow us and you will then get the up to date information on the financial implications of the virus as soon as I get them and post them. https://www.facebook.com/MSAccountancy

As a valued client of MS Accountancy, you also have access to our HR helpline with Peninsula on 0844 892 2807

An update on the main points we know so far:

 

  1. All businesses who operate from premises and currently qualify for Small Business Rates Relief will automatically qualify for a grant of £10,000. The scheme is now live and if you have not already been contacted, you should look on the website for your local council as most have an online claim form (Erewash do for certain). You will also not have to pay business rates for the next year. If you are in the retail, hospitality and leisure industry, you will qualify for a different grant (if your rateable value is under £15,000, you will receive £10,000 and if your rateable value is £15,000 - £51,000, you will receive £25,000. UPDATE For November 2020 lockdown, businesses in these rating bands will receive £667 / £1,000 / £1,500 per 2 weeks whilst forced to close.
  2. If you do not qualify for the above grant but have fixed property costs e.g. you are a market trader or rent space in a shared office, you may qualify for the Doscretionary Grant Scheme. You can find details on your local council's website on this.
  3. Further grants of £3,000 per month for businesses in Tier 3 Restrictions and up to £2,100 per month for businesses in seriously affected areas e.g. hospitality, leisure and accommodation were announced 22/10/20.
  4. VAT payments due between 19/3/20 and 30/6/20 could be deferred. This originally needed to be repaid before 31/3/21. For returns ending on or after 31/5/20, payments deadlines are back to their original position so 31/5/20 return = 7/7/20 payment. If you cancelled your direct debit to defer a payment, you will need to reinstate it for future payments. UPDATE It will be possible to split any VAT unpaid at March 2021 over 11 months (you will need to apply to join this scheme online in early 2021). 
  5. Government backed "Bounce-back" loans are available from Monday 4/5/20. The idea here is that you will be able to approach your bank for an emergency loan to keep your business going and the government will guarantee 100% of the loan so if the worst happens and your business fails before repaying the loan, the Government will pay the outstanding balance. During the first 12 months, there are no repayments or interest and charges.. You should speak to your business bank about this.
  6. If you have a Self-Assessment payment due by the end of July 2020, this has now been deferred until January 2021. As it stands, this will help short term but you will have to pay that bill and the amount due in January together. NB you may pay earlier if you prefer to avoid a large bill in January 2021. UPDATE January 2021 payments can now be deferred until January 2022.
  7. If you are struggling to pay any tax bill because of the virus, HMRC have setup a dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559 and they should hopefully be more generous than normal in giving time to pay
  8. Staff who have to self-isolate should be paid Covid Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) from day 1 as opposed to the normal day 4. Under normal circumstances, SSP is the responsibility of the employer but 2 weeks of SSP paid to employees for Coronavirus can be recovered from HMRC. The system for reclaiming the SSP has been launched but is separate to the normal PAYE one. Do not make any adjustment to your PAYE payments for COVID SSP, these must be claimed back separately.
  9. If your business has closed / lost work and you are considering laying off staff, the government will pay 80% of "furloughed" staff salaries to ensure that their jobs are retained. This is done via an online portal found within the PAYE section of your business Government Gateway. You must get an agreement signed by your employees accepting furlough otherwise you will not qualify for the scheme. You must keep your furlough records for 5 years as HMRC will check at some point in the future and will demand any money back if the proper records are not kept. This includes directors but only covers the basic salary that goes through PAYE and does not include dividends. You will need to provide your employee's name, NI number, the dates of furlough and the amounts claimed. From 1/7/20, the furlough scheme is changing to allow for flexible furlough, this means that anyone who has been on furlough for at least 3 weeks (any 3 week period, does not have to be the 3 weeks up to 1/7/20), can return to work flexibly e.g. work 2 days and be furloughed for the rest of the week. If you have employees on National Minimum Wage, you will need to be very careful with your calculations as they will be paid at the current NMW for hours worked and holidays but at the old rate for furloughed hours. From 1/8/20, employers will no longer be able to claim back the Employer's NI or Employers' pension contribution. From 1/9/20, you will only be able to recover 70% of furloughed wages and from 1/10/20, you will only be able to claim 60% (during September and October, you must top up the furloughed wages to ensure they receive 80% of their original wages). The scheme will close on 31/10/20. Update, the scheme has now been extended to 31/3/21 under the flexible furlough basis with employers able to claim 80% of the wages of furloughed employees. The employer will pay the NI and pension contributions.
  10. Job Retention Bonus. All employers will be able to claim £1,000 for any employee who was furloughed and still employed by the employer on 31 January 2021. The claim system will open in February 2021. To be eligible, employees must not be working their notice period on 31st January and have been paid at least £520 per month on average between November and January. Update, this has now been deferred until further notice.
  11. Self-employed people may be entitled to claim a taxable grant of 80% of the average of the profits declared on their last 3 tax returns (up to a maximum of £2,500 per month) in June 2020 and a further 70% from 17 August 2020. You will be allowed to claim and carry on trading (you just need to be able to prove that your business has been adversely affected by the virus). There are quite a few restrictions on this scheme though. You will not qualify if your profits were higher than £50,000 in 2018/19 and your average profit for the last 3 years was higher than £50,000. You will not qualify if you started self-employment on or after 6/4/19. You will only qualify if the majority of your income comes from self-employment e.g. if you had a profit of £5,000 in 2018/19 and other income of £5,001, you will not qualify. If you did not file your 2019 tax return by the deadline you will not qualify. Here is a link to a tool that checks whether you are eligible https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme.. If you are eligible, you can follow the link to submit your claim.. The second claim will be available towards the end of July / early August. The main issue here is that you have to be able to prove that your business has been adversely affected by the virus so it is possible that you qualify fro the first grant but not the second if you have returned to your normal level of business. HMRC have made it plainly clear that at some point in the near future, they will be carrying out checks on the true eligibility of claimants and demand back any that shouldn't have been claimed. UPDATE. The scheme has been extended by 6 months to cover 1/11/20 - 30/4/21. A grant of 20% of average monthly profits will be paid to anyone eligible to cover November to January and a further grant (amount to be decided) will be issued for February to April (Update 22/10/20 this has been increased to 40%). Update 31/10/20, the November grant has been increased to 80%
  12. At the minute, there is no other help for people who trade through a Limited Company, taking a minimum salary topped up by dividends. You will only qualify for 80% of your basic salary (nothing towards dividends).
  13. If you fall through the cracks and do not receive any of the above help, you may be able to claim Housing Benefit and / or Universal Credit. You can check your entitlement and claim online here https://www.entitledto.co.uk/help/Coronavirus_help

 

Our office is only partially open and we currently need anyone that needs to come in for any reason e.g. to drop off their accounts etc to call and make an appointment please. Please note that it is also now the law that anyone entering our building needs to wear a face covering. All of the accounts and payroll staff have direct mobile numbers now if you need to speak to them but in the meantime, please help us by sending queries by email to the relevant staff member:

 

Gemma Broddell [email protected]          }

Jack Wainwright [email protected]                 }               Accounts production

Gemma Chaplin [email protected]   }


Natalie Payne [email protected]                 }               VAT / bookkeeping

Dawn Whawell [email protected]                  }

 

Tracey Ashwood [email protected]                      Payroll

 

               If you are not sure who to contact, email [email protected] and Iíll pass your query on to the relevant person.

                Hereís hoping you and yours are OK and we all come through this together and please follow our Facebook page to stay up to date with the information. https://www.facebook.com/MSAccountancy