We are prioritising assistance with COVID-19 for all clients. Our team are all continuing to work from home, because of this we are asking clients to email us or click here to contact us. This ensures your enquiry is passed to the relevant team member and they will contact you directly. Our office number remains open however this will usually go to voicemail, we have a system in place that means all staff will be emailed your voice message and we will try and reply as soon as possible, thank you for your patience.
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.
Job Retention Scheme
All employers are to receive 80% funding for salaries of eligible "furloughed workers" up to £2,500 per month. A furloughed worker is a worker who is on lay-off pay and therefore is not doing any work for the business. This scheme applies to any staff employed at 19/02/2020, this includes Directors and Zero Hour Staff. We have sent clients template letters to inform employees. THE HMRC portal is live to submit claims and we are submitting claims on behalf of our clients that qualify. The Government has now confirmed that the Job Retention Scheme is extended in full to 31st July 2020. The details for how the Scheme will work for August, September and October will be released in due course.
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.
The portal for submitting claims goes live on 13th May. 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.
The government is advising that to get you through the next few weeks before you receive your payment 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.
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 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 have also suspended VAT payments for 20th March 2020 to 30th June 2020, this is automatic and means that businesses will not need to make a payment for VAT to HMRC during this time. Businesses will then have until 5th April 2021 to catch up the missed payment.
HMRC are also 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.
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.
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.
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.