FAQ – COVID BUSINESS SUPPORT

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme/Furloughed Workers Scheme

Q. What is it?

Ans. All UK employers with a PAYE scheme that was created and started on or before 28 February 2020, will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis.

Q. To whom it applies?

Ans. This applies to employees who have been asked to stop working, but who are being kept on the pay roll, otherwise described as ‘furloughed workers’.

Q. How much HMRC will reimburse?

Ans. HMRC will pay employers a grant worth 80% of an employee’s usual wage costs, up to £2,500 a month, plus the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions on that subsidised wage.

Q. Period of applicability of the scheme?

Ans. The Scheme will cover the cost of wages backdated to March 1st if applicable and is initially open for 3 months, but will be extended if necessary.

Q. Am I eligible?

Ans. All UK-wide employers with a PAYE scheme that was created and started on or before 28 February 2020 will be eligible including:

Q. How do I access it?

Ans. You will need to Designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers,’ and notify your employees of this change.  Employer have also need to keep proof that they have told their employees, that they have been Furloughed” Once the new online portal is live, submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings.

 Q. When can I access it?

Ans. HMRC are working urgently to set up a system to pay these grants. We expect the first grants to be paid within weeks, and we’re aiming to get it done before the end of April. If your business needs short term cash flow support, you may be eligible for a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan.

Further guidance

For more information on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme please read the https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

Self-employment Income Support Scheme

Q. What is it?

Ans. The Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will support self-employed individuals (including members of partnerships) whose income has been negatively impacted by COVID-19. 

Q. Who will get benefits?

Ans. The scheme will provide a grant to self-employed individuals or partnerships, worth 80% of their profits up to a cap of £2,500 per month.

Q. How will this be calculated?

Ans. HMRC themselves will use the average profits from tax returns in 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 to calculate the size of the grant. The scheme will be open to those where the majority (more than 50%) of their income comes from self-employment and who have profits of less than £50,000. 

Q. Period of applicability of the scheme?

Ans. The scheme will be open for an initial three months with people able to make their first claim by the beginning of June.

Q. Am I eligible?

  • Be self-employed or a member of partnership;
  • Have lost trading/partnership trading profits due to COVID-19;
  • File a tax return for 2018-19 as self-employed or a member of a trading partnership. Those who have not yet filed for 2018-19 will have an additional 4 weeks from this announcement to do so;
  • Have traded in 2019-20; be currently trading at the point of application (or would be except for COVID 19) and intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020 to 2021
  • Have trading profits of less than £50,000 and more than half of your total income come from self-employment. This can be with reference to at least one of the following conditions:
    • Your trading profits and total income in 2018/19
    • Your average trading profits and total income across up to the three years between 2016-17, 2017-18, and 2018-19.

Q. How do I access it?

Ans. Individuals should not contact HMRC now. HMRC will use existing information to check potential eligibility and invite applications once the scheme is operational. HMRC will then pay the grant directly to eligible claimants’ bank account. HMRC is urgently working to deliver the scheme; grants are expected to start to be paid out by beginning of June 2020. For eligible individuals who have not submitted their returns for 2018-19, they will have 4 weeks’ notice from the date of the announcement to file their returns and therefore become eligible for this scheme.

Further information on how to access these schemes can be found here https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme

Business Rates Holiday for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure

Q. What is it?

Ans. Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors in England will not have to pay business rates for the 2020-21 tax year.

Q. Am I eligible?

Ans. You will be eligible if:

  1. Your business is based in England AND
  2. Your business is in the retail, hospitality and/or leisure sector. Properties that will benefit from the relief will be those that are wholly or mainly being used:
  3. as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues,
  4. for assembly and leisure; or
  5. and hospitality such as hotels, guest and boarding premises and self-catering accommodation.

You can also further update yourself on details of eligibility that are set out as per below link

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

Q. How do I access it?

Ans. 1. There is no action for you.  Local authorities will apply the business rates holiday to your bills. 

  1. You can estimate the business rate charge using the

https://www.gov.uk/calculate-your-business-rates

Q. When can I access it?

Ans. This will apply to your business rates bills for the 2020/2021 tax year. However, local authorities may have to reissue your bill. They will do this as soon as possible.

Cash Grant for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure

Q. What is it?

Ans. If your business is in the retail, hospitality or leisure sector, you will receive a cash grant of up to £25,000 per property.

  • Businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of £15,000 and under may be eligible for a grant of £10,000.
  • Businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of over £15,000 and less than £51,000 may be eligible for a grant of £25,000.
  • Businesses with a rateable value of £51,000 or over are not eligible for this scheme.

Q. Am I eligible?

Ans. You will be eligible if:

  1. Your business is based in England
  2. Your business is in the retail, hospitality and/or leisure sector
  3. Properties that will benefit from the relief will be occupied properties 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 and boarding premises and self-catering accommodation

Q. How do I access it?

Ans. You do not need to do anything. Your Local Authority will write to you if you are eligible for this grant.

Q. When can I access it?

Ans. Local Authorities will write to all eligible businesses with information on how to claim this grant. Any enquiries on eligibility for, or provision of, the reliefs and grants should be directed to the relevant Local Authority. 

Small Business Grant Funding

Q. What is it?

Ans. The Government is providing additional funding for Local Authorities to support small businesses that already pay little or no business rates because of small business rate relief (SBRR), rural rate relief (RRR) and tapered relief. This will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to eligible businesses to help meet their ongoing business costs.

  1. Am I eligible?

You will be eligible if:

  • Your business is based in England
  • In receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief as of 11 March AND
  • You are a business that occupies property

Q. How do I access it?

Ans. You do not need to do anything. Your Local Authority will write to you if you are eligible for this grant.

Q. When can I access it?

Ans. Local Authorities will write to all eligible businesses with information on how to claim this grant. Any enquiries on eligibility for, or provision of, the reliefs and grants should be directed to the relevant Local Authority.

Statutory Sick Pay Rebate

Q. What is it?

Ans The Government will bring forward legislation to allow small and medium-sized businesses to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for staff sickness absence due to coronavirus. This refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of coronavirus.

Q. Am I eligible?

Ans. You will be eligible if:

  • Your business is a small or medium sized and employs fewer than 250 employees as of 28 February 2020.
  • This refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19 @ 94.25 Per Week
  • Employers should maintain records of staff absences and payments of SSP
  • Those with symptoms of coronavirus can get an isolation note from NHS 111 online and those who live with someone that has symptoms can get a note from the NHS website
  • If employee cannot work while he/she is self-isolating because of coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • Employee will get SSP for every day he/she is in isolation for at least 4 days to be eligible.
  • Below is the link to check the eligibility for Covid-19 SSP  https://www.gov.uk/statutory-sick-pay/eligibility

 Q. When can I access it?

Ans. The Government will work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible. Existing systems are not designed to facilitate employer refunds for SSP.

Support for Businesses Paying Tax

Q. What is it?

Ans. All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service. 

Q. Am I eligible?

Ans. You will be eligible if

  • Your business has outstanding tax liabilities
  • These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities.

Q. How do I access it?

Ans. Please contact HMRC at their helpline number for advice on 0800 024 1222.

For more information on late payments, check with https://www.gov.uk/difficulties-paying-hmrc

Please NOTE :- If you’re worried about a future payment, please call HMRC nearer the time.

VAT Deferral

Q. What is it?

Ans. HMRC will support businesses by deferring Valued Added Tax (VAT) payments due between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020.

Q. Am I eligible?

Ans All VAT-registered UK businesses are eligible.

 Q. How do I access it?

Ans. You will be given until the end of the 2020-21 tax year to pay any liabilities that have accumulated during the deferral period (i.e. between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020.)

VAT refunds and reclaims will be paid by the government as normal.

Q. What about my Direct Debit with Bank?

Ans. If you are normally paying by direct debit, you should cancel your direct debit with bank if you are unable to pay.  Please do so in sufficient time so that HMRC do not attempt to automatically collect on receipt of your VAT return.

Deferral of Self-Assessment payment

Q. What is it?

Ans. The Self- Assessment payment on account that is ordinarily due to be paid to HMRC by 31 July 2020 may now be deferred until January 2021.

Q. Am I eligible?

Ans. If you are due to make a self- assessment payment on account on 31 July 2020 then you are eligible for the deferment. The deferment is intended to assist self-assessment taxpayers, including those who are self-employed, who are suffering hardship as a result of the coronavirus.

Q. How do I access it?

Ans. This is an automatic offer with no applications required. No penalties or interest for late payment will be charged if you defer payment of your July 2020 payment on account until January 2021.

Q. When can I access it?

Ans. On 31 July 2020 when your self-assessment payment on account, ordinarily due to be paid on that date, may be deferred until 31 January 2021.