COVID-19: Guidance for Businesses and Employees

With the Coronavirus pandemic continuing to sweep across the globe, the Chancellor has set out a package of temporary, timely and targeted measures to support public services, people and businesses through this period of disruption.

The newest additions include:

  • A Statutory Sick Pay update.
  • A Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
  • Deferring VAT and Income Tax payments.
  • A 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses in England.
  • Grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000.

A new lending facility from the Bank of England to help support liquidity among larger firms, helping them bridge coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through loans.

Support For Businesses

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those that would have otherwise have been laid off during the crisis.

How To Access The Scheme?

You will need to:

  • Designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers’ (workforce who remain on payroll but are temporarily not working during the coronavirus outbreak) and notify your employees of this change.
  • Submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings through a new online portal (HMRC will set out further details on the information required).

HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month.

Learn more: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses#support-for-businesses-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

Deferring VAT and Income Tax Payments

The Government will support businesses by deferring Valued Added Tax (VAT) payments for 3 months. If you’re self-employed, Income Tax payments due in July 2020 under the Self-Assessment system will be deferred to January 2021.

VAT

For VAT, the deferral will apply from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020.

How To Access The Scheme?

This is an automatic offer with no applications required. Businesses will not need to make a VAT payment during this period. Taxpayers will be given until the end of the 2020 to 2021 tax year to pay any liabilities that have accumulated during the deferral period. VAT refunds and reclaims will be paid by the government as normal.

Income Tax

For Income Tax Self-Assessment, payments due on the 31 July 2020 will be deferred until the 31 January 2021.

How To Access The Scheme?

This is an automatic offer with no applications required.

No penalties or interest for late payment will be charged in the deferral period.

Support for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Businesses

The Government will introduce a business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.

Businesses that received the retail discount in the 2019 to 2020 tax year will be rebilled by their local authority as soon as possible.

Eligibility 

You are eligible for the business rates holiday if:

  • Your business is based in England
  • Your business is in the retail, hospitality and/or leisure sector

Properties that will benefit from the relief will be occupied hereditaments that are wholly or mainly being used:

  • As shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues
  • For assembly and leisure
  • As hotels, guest & boarding premises and self-catering accommodation 

How To Access The Scheme?

There is no action for you. This will apply to your next council tax bill in April 2020.

Further Guidance: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/business-rates-retail-discount-guidance

Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Business Grants

The Retail and Hospitality Grant Scheme provides businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a cash grant of up to £25,000 per property.

For businesses in these sectors with a rateable value of under £15,000, they will receive a grant of £10,000.

For businesses in these sectors with a rateable value of between £15,001 and £51,000, they will receive a grant of £25,000.

If you are eligible for this, your local authority will write to you. Any enquiries on eligibility for, or provision of, the reliefs and grants should be directed to the relevant local authority. 

Find your local authority: https://www.gov.uk/find-local-council

Support for Nursery Businesses 

The Government will introduce a business rates holiday for Nurseries in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.

Eligibility 

You are eligible for the business rates holiday if:

  • Your business is based in England

Properties that will benefit from the relief will be hereditaments:

  • Occupied by providers on Ofsted’s Early Years Register
  • Wholly or mainly used for the provision of the Early Years Foundation Stage 

How To Access The Scheme?

There is no action for you. This will apply to your next council tax bill in April 2020. 

Further guidance: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/business-rates-nursery-childcare-discount-2020-to-2021-coronavirus-response-local-authority-guidance

Corporate Financing Facility 

Under the new Covid-19 Corporate Financing Facility, the Bank of England will buy short term debt from larger companies.

This will support your company if it has been affected by a short-term funding squeeze, and allow you to finance your short-term liabilities.

It will also support corporate finance markets overall and ease the supply of credit to all firms.

How To Access The Scheme?

The scheme will be available from week commencing 23 March 2020. 

The Bank of England will provide more information over the coming days. To keep up to date, please follow the link: https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/markets/market-notices/2020/ccff-market-notice-march-2020

Support for Employees

Statutory Sick Pay

A new legislation has been passed to allow small and medium-sized businesses and employers to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for sickness absence due to COVID-19 from day 1, rather than day 4 from 14th March 2020.

Employees can get £94.25 per week Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if they are too ill to work for up to 28 weeks.

To be eligible you must have fewer than 250 employees as of 28th February 2020.

Proof Of Sickness

If your employees have COVID-19 or are advised to stay at home, they can get an ‘isolation note’ by visiting NHS 111 online, rather than visiting a doctor. For COVID-19 cases, this replaces the usual need to provide a ‘fit note’ (sometimes called a ‘sick note’) after 7 days of sickness absence.

NHS 111 Online: https://111.nhs.uk/isolation-note/

Self-Employed Workers

If you are not eligible for SSP – for example if you are self-employed or earning below the Lower Earnings Limit of £118 per week – and you have COVID-19 or are advised to stay at home, you can now more easily make a claim for Universal Credit or new style Employment and Support Allowance.

If you are eligible for new style Employment and Support Allowance, it will now be payable from day 1 of sickness, rather than day 8, if you have COVID-19 or are advised to stay at home.

To find out more, click on the links below.

Universal Credit: https://www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/coronavirus/

New Style Employment and Support Allowance: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/new-style-employment-and-support-allowance

How We Can Help

Dunkley’s remain open and have measures in place to ensure that our service to you is as unaffected as possible. If you are past your year end and have not got your records in to us yet, please do so.

In this time of uncertainty, you will need to consider the best options for your businesses. This will include some hard decisions, however through this all, Dunkley’s are here to help.

Get in touch if you need any help or advice regarding:

  • Seeking Finance
  • Cashflow Planning and Forecasting
  • Insolvency

Call 01454 619900 or email your Client Partner.

Get in touch

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