We are prioritising assistance with COVID-19 for all clients. With our team working remotely 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 by prior arrangement only. Due to social distancing requirements we can only allow 1 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.
*Our office will be CLOSED to all visitors as per Government guidelines until further notice*
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
Instead of ending on 31/10/2020 to be replaced by the Job Support Scheme, Furlough is now continuing until 30th April 2021 and will work like it did in August, the key points are:
- Employee Receives 80% of normal pay for hours not worked, this is repaid to the employer by HMRC.
As before the Cap on the 80% is £2,500
- Employer Pays Employers NI and Pension contributions
- Employee must have received a payslip on or before 30/10/2020, so new staff previously ineligible for furlough can be added to the scheme.
- The Employer does not have to have used the Job retention scheme before, so for the first time since June this opens JRS to new employers.
- The Employee must agree to the terms of Furlough (template letters on the ACAS website)
We are processing claims whole calendar months. We are unable to submit your claim until 14 days before the end of the month i.e. for January, claims cannot be submitted until 18th January. Claims will be paid into your bank account by HMRC 5 working days after the submission date. You will receive an email from us to confirm your claim has been submitted.
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. 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 last 3 tax returns came from self-employment then you will receive a grant.
This will be calculated automatically by HMRC and will be based on 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.
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.
Business Rates & Grants
Businesses required to close in England due to local or national restrictions will be eligible for a grant based on rateable value. These are for businesses that are registered for business rates and have had to close due to COVID-19 restrictions.
There is a one-off grant available for businesses in the hospitality and leisure industries. If you have already applied for an open or closed council grant then you should automatically be paid the grant based on your rateable value. If you haven't already applied then you will need to apply to receive the grant.
To claim please see the links for your local council below:
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. The deadline for applying for both of these schemes is 31/03/2021. For some businesses this will be of great benefit as it will help provide guarantees to support loan applications that would otherwise fail.
Support with re-opening
Any business that is reopening should have an up to date risk assessment in place. The Health and Safety Executive have a few support tools which can be found by clicking here.
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.
Any self employed individual who has a self assessment payment on account due 31st January 2021can apply directly to HMRC for a payment plan of up to 12 months (up to 31st January 2022). To do this please call HMRC on either 0800 0159 559 or 0300 200 3310. Please note that we are unable to make this phone call on your behalf.
The government has announced various measures to help with personal finances, these include Mortgage Holidays and temporary credit card limit increases. If you have not had a payment holiday then you can apply for one. If you have previously had one then a further extension may be granted on a case by case basis. We also recommend that everyone reads Martin Lewis’s Money Saving Expert weekly email, for this weeks 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.
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.