Covid-19: What support is available for my business?

In the midst of the Covid-19 (or coronavirus) lockdown, it’s safe to say that ‘business as usual’ simply hasn’t been possible for many companies up and down the country. With only stores providing essential supplies able to remain open and others only permitted to operate online, businesses of all sizes and niches are struggling to cope.

The government has unveiled a number of schemes to provide support during this difficult period, a financial package worth approximately £350 billion upon announcement. Here at Hurren Accountants, we are dedicated to providing the support and advice businesses need now more than ever. In this blog post, we reveal the support currently available for UK based businesses that could help you stay afloat during this challenging time.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was introduced to ensure all UK employers with PAYE schemes could continue to pay their workers even if they are not operational. This was designed to prevent workers from being laid off or made redundant during the crisis. Under the scheme, businesses can claim up to 80% of their ‘furloughed’ workers’ wages. Up to £2,500 per month will be reimbursed by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), and payments can be backdated to 1st March 2020.  The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is currently open for a period of 3 months but this may be extended.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) will also be refunded if any eligible employee is absent from work due to Covid-19. Your business must however have less than 250 employees and whilst a GP fit note is not required as evidence, employers must keep accurate absence and SSP payment records.

VAT and Income Tax payment deferral

As part of the government’s business bailout, VAT and Income Tax payments are to be deferred. VAT payments due between 20 March and 30 June 2020 can be paid at a later date for all UK VAT-registered businesses.

The same deferral scheme can be accessed by those paying Income Tax through Self Assessment, with payments due on 31st July 2020 not due until 31st January 2021. Both the VAT and Income Tax deferrals are automatic offers and you do not need to notify HMRC if you plan to defer. Returns however should be submitted as normal.

Business rates holidays and grants

Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors could be eligible for a business rates holiday for the 2020/21 tax year. Eligible businesses do not need to apply for the holiday, your Local Authority will reissue your bill automatically to deliver support. Nurseries are also eligible for a business rates holiday under the scheme.

Businesses paying little or no business rates can apply for a one-off grant of £10,000 under the additional Small Business Grant Scheme funding available due to Covid-19. Your business must be based in England, occupy a property and already be receiving Small Business Rate Relief to be eligible. Again there’s no need to apply, your Local Authority will contact you directly.

Other support available

In addition to the schemes detailed above, support for businesses is being offered through the temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, new Covid-19 Corporate Financing Facility, Time to Pay service, Extension of Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) arrangements, and eviction protection for commercial tenants.

If you would like to speak to us regarding any of the government support mentioned in this blog, please call 0191 251 7599.