COVID-19 (Updated August 2020)

We are prioritising assistance with COVID-19 for all clients. We currently have fewer staff working in the Office so we are asking clients to telephone, email or click here to contact us. This ensures your enquiry is passed to the relevant team member and they will contact you directly.

 

We are happy to be able to accept contactless deposit/collection of documents at the Office. Due to social distancing requirements we can only allow visitor at any one time. Please note that it is now a legal requirement for face coverings to be worn by visitors to our premises (unless exempt). Please also be assured that we have appropriate risk assessments and safety measures in place for the safety of our staff and clients.

Keeping within Employment Law

As things are constantly changing we recommend that all employers read the ACAS Coronavirus Advice that explains what you can and can’t do, to do this please click here.

 

Statutory Sick Pay 

All small employers are able to recover up to 2 weeks Statutory Sick Pay for each eligible employee that is on sickness-leave due to COVID-19. A small employer is judged as at 29/02/2020 and has fewer than 250 employees. For all clients that we process payroll for we will deal with recovering SSP against PAYE, all you have to do is let us know about any staff who are off due to COVID-19.

 

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

This scheme continues to be available for employees on furlough or flexible furlough. The Government has now confirmed that the Job Retention Scheme will close on 31st October 2020

 

If you would like a copy of the template letters or more details on how to Furlough your staff please email us or click here.

 

If you are intending to for your business to restart trading and you need to "un-furlough" your staff you MUST inform us of this as soon as possible so that we can cancel your future furlough claims. You should notify your employee(s) in writing of the date that their furlough period will end and then send a copy of this letter to us. The Job Retention Scheme (Furlough Scheme) is ONLY for employees that are unable to work due to COVID-19 restrictions. Therefore any claims that are made once the employee has returned to work to must be repaid to HMRC. 

 

Support for the Self-Employed

The Government has launched the Self-employment Income Support Scheme. If more than 50% of your income on your 2018/19 tax return came from self-employment then you will receive a grant.

 

This will be calculated automatically by HMRC and will be based on 80% of your average profits for the last 3 years, if you haven't traded for all of the last 3 years it will be based on the average since you started. You need to be still trading to qualify. If you were not self employed in 2018/19 you will not qualify.

 

To check if you are eligible to claim please click here This form will ask several questions, if you need help with answering these then please click here to contact us, we will try to reply as soon as possible.

 

If you are eligible then HMRC will notify you of this and the date that you can apply from. HMRC have decided that all accountants and tax agents, including ourselves, are unable to make a claim on behalf of their clients, it has to be the taxpayer that submits the claim. If your claim is successful you will be paid within 6 working days from you claim date. To make a claim you need; your UTR number, National Insurance number, a Government Gateway ID and Password (this can be created when you complete the online eligibility check) and your bank account number and sort code.

 

If you are not eligible the government is advising that you need to apply for Universal Credit, to do this click here (please note we are not permitted to submit claims on your behalf). Alternatively, you need to apply for a loan, the business interruption or bounce back loan schemes should help you qualify for a loan. Please either contact your bank or email us for more information.

 

Cashflow

COVID-19 has the potential to damage cashflow for many businesses, if your business is struggling to make payments please contact us and we will try and provide you with some support. This could include assistance with a cashflow forecast or a funding application. The Government has launched the temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan and Bounce Back Loan Schemes. For some businesses this will be of great benefit as it will help provide guarantees to support loan applications that would otherwise fail.

 

HMRC Payments

HMRC have launched a dedicated helpline for dealing with individuals and businesses that are having cashflow issues due to COVID-19, if you are not going to be able to make a payment to HMRC for Corporation Tax, PAYE, Self-Assessment or VAT please call 0800 0159 559, we recommend that you do this in advance of the due date.

 

HMRC are allowing any self employed individual who has a self assessment payment on account due 31st July 2020 to defer payment to 31st January 2021. This is automatic and so means that if you don't make the payment due on 31st July 2020 you will not incur penalties or interest. 

 

Personal Finance

The government has announced various measures to help with personal finances, these include Mortgage Holidays and temporary credit card limit increases. We recommend that everyone reads Martin Lewis’s Money Saving Expert weekly email, for this weeks please click here.  

 

Insurance

We are recommending that all clients check their business insurance and life/critical illness policies to see if they are covered for lost income due to COVID-19.

 

Business Rates & Grants

The government has started the process of delivering cash grants for £10,000 and £25,000 for some businesses. If you receive 100% small business rates relief you should have already received a letter explaining how to claim. If you are in Hospitality, Leisure or Retail and have a rateable value between £15,001 and £50,000 then you should be receiving a letter from the local council explaining how to claim. To find your local council contact details please click here.

 

Self Employed & Individuals that do not qualify for SSP

HMRC have relaxed the requirements for claiming Employment and Support Allowance, this means that anyone unable to work that does not qualify for Statutory Sick Pay can claim £73.10 if over the age of 25 and £57.90 if aged under 25. To make a claim click here.

 

IR35

This is now delayed for 1 year, so anyone who was going to be caught by the rule change in April 2020 about deemed employment will not be affected until April 2021. For more advice about this please contact us.