Self-Employed Income Support Scheme
The long-awaited statement from the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak regarding COVID-19 support for the self-employed has been announced. The Chancellor said that the scheme will benefit some 95% of people whose main income source is derived from self-employment.
A list of the scheme features as announced, and published, are as follows:
Those that qualify will receive a cash grant from HMRC based on 80% of profits, up to £2,500 per month,
The initial grant will be for the three months, from 1 ... read more
Coronavirus: government launches online “isolation notes” service
Employees who are unable to work for more than seven days because of coronavirus (COVID-19) can now obtain an “isolation note” through a new online service. The new isolation note, which can be used by employees as evidence of their coronavirus-related absence from work (either because they have symptoms or they live with someone who has symptoms) and so cannot work, is a temporary alternative to the fit note for use during the coronavirus pandemic. Employees can continue to ... read more
Acas publishes updated coronavirus resources
Acas has published updated guidance for employers and employees on the coronavirus (COVID-19). The guidance now covers:
social distancing and vulnerable people
self-isolation and sick pay
what to do if the employer needs to close the workplace
what to do if an employee needs time off work to look after someone
what to do if someone has coronavirus symptoms at work
good practice steps for employers
links to further advice on coronavirus.
The guidance is being updated on a daily basis. ... read more
Television licence fees for over-75s
In a joint statement from the BBC and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport it has been announced that the changes introducing television licence charges for the over-75s has been delayed. These changes had been due to come into effect from 1 June 2020 but have now been delayed until at least 1 August 2020 due to COVID-19.
Sir David Clementi, Chairman of the BBC, said:
'The BBC board has decided to delay changes to over 75s licence fees. We are in exceptional ... read more
Companies House deadlines and Coronavirus
There are automatic late filing penalties which are designed to encourage companies to file their accounts and reports on time. All companies, private and public, large or small, trading or non-trading must send their accounts to Companies House.
Companies House is advising businesses to take appropriate measures to file on time. If, immediately before the filing deadline, it becomes apparent that accounts will not be filed on time due to your company being affected by Coronavirus (COVID-19), ... read more
Sick pay if you are unable to work
The government has announced a number of funding and support measures to help those affected by the COVID-19 virus outbreak. A significant number of the measures are designed to help provide financial support at this most difficult time.
One of the main measures announced relates to the provision of sick pay. You are entitled to receive £94.25 per week Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if you’re too ill to work. It’s paid by your employer for up to 28 weeks. The payment of SSP will be ... read more
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
If you have been 'furloughed' then the new Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme may be able to help. If you are furloughed it essentially means that your employer has given you a temporary leave of absence or a type of sabbatical to help cope with the economic turmoil resulting from COVID-19. If you are on furlough, then you should be at home and not working. However, you remain technically employed.
The new scheme will see the government cover up to 80% of wage costs, up to a cap of ... read more
COVID-19 and claiming benefits
The government has announced that certain benefits will be increased as part of the package of measures to help households affected by COVID-19. This will see the standard rate of Universal Credit and Tax Credits increased by £20 a week (£1,040 per year) for one year from 6 April 2020.
It has earlier been announced as part of the Budget measures that the self-employed are to be provided with easier access to Universal Credits and the Contributory Employment and Support Allowance. ... read more
Business rates and grants - regional variations
We have written about the changes to business rates for businesses in England due to COVID-19. There is also a Retail and Hospitality Grant Scheme that provides businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a cash grant of up to £25,000 per property as well as a one-off Small Business Grant of up to £10,000 to support small businesses that already pay little or no business rates because of small business rate relief (SBBR), rural rate relief (RRR) and tapered ... read more
The importance of credit control
Most business owners are rightly focussed on sales. If sales dry up business costs will quickly result in losses; and losses will eventually burn through your assets until insolvency rears its ugly head.
In the current “lock-down” environment there is a temptation to ease back on collecting cash from customers if you offer credit in order to maintain sales.
And, of course, your customers may not be in a position to pay you according to agreed terms if their finances are being ... read more
Please read our emails and news updates
The current “lock-down” to slow down the Coronavirus epidemic is a sensible medical response, but a potential disaster for small businesses desperately trying to keep their businesses open and operational.
Since the 10 March, we have had a formal budget and at least two major “mini-budget” announcements bringing forward schemes to assist individuals and firms to cope with this unprecedented COVID-19 disruption.
We are working round the clock, and when necessary from our ... read more
Further details on Hardship Fund published
The launch of a new £500 million Hardship Fund in England was announced at Spring Budget 2020 by the Chancellor. On 24 March 2020, the Local Government Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP confirmed the Hardship Fund will provide council tax relief to vulnerable people and households to help those affected most by Coronavirus.
This means that the money will go to local authorities in England to enable them to reduce the 2020-21 council tax bills of working age people receiving Local Council ... read more
Paper tax returns
HMRC has announced that taxpayers still using paper returns will no longer routinely do so. This is part of the efforts to encourage the use of online services and reduce the unnecessary use of paper.
Last year, HMRC automatically sent out more than 500,000 blank paper tax returns, while more than 10.4 million taxpayers filed their returns online. This means that approximately 6% of taxpayers submitted a paper return and that figure continues to reduce each year as the take-up of online ... read more
Tax-Free Childcare scheme
The Tax-Free Childcare Scheme (TFCS) is open to all eligible families with children under 12. It was announced as part of the Budget measures that a service improvement will be made to ensure the TFCS is compatible with school payment agents. This will allow parents of up to 500,000 school-aged children across the UK to access the TFCS and use it towards the cost of their wraparound childcare (such as breakfast and after-school clubs).
The TFCS helps support working families with their ... read more
COVID-19 - new ministerial structures
The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson has set up four new ministerial structures to coordinate, prioritise and respond to the Coronavirus pandemic.
The new implementation committees will focus on health, public sector preparedness, economy and international response. This new structure is in addition to the regular UK COBR meetings to take strategic decisions and review overall progress in the campaign to contain, delay and mitigate Coronavirus. The new committees will feed into daily C-19 meetings ... read more
Tax relief for pension contributions
The decision of the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak to increase the tapered annual allowance thresholds in the Budget earlier this month will have been welcomed by many high earners. From 6 April 2020, the tapered annual allowance will increase from £150,000 to £240,000. The annual allowance for tax relief on pensions will remain at £40,000 for 2020-21.
This means that anyone with income below £240,000 will no longer be affected by the tapered annual allowance rules. From April, ... read more
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
The Chancellor announced at Spring Budget 2020 that a new Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) would be launched to help support smaller businesses, with turnover of up to £45m, across the UK.
Since that announcement, the Chancellor has added features and benefits to the scheme including increased loan support and interest free periods. It has also been confirmed by government that although an initial £1.2bn of government-backed lending would be available, the ... read more
COVID-19 Business Support Update - 20 March 2020
On Friday, the Chancellor went significantly further than in the history of this great county, with a series of unprecedented announcements in the Government’s support of businesses, employees and individuals.
The range of measures for UK businesses is significant and now includes the following:
a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
deferring VAT and Income Tax payments
a Statutory Sick Pay relief package for SMEs
a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality and ... read more