Isn’t the Queen fantastic? I hope I look as good at 94 years old?! I am actually 30 years minus 1 day younger than Her Majesty?. My mother unfortunately failed to produce me on her exact birthday but rather that of Adolf Hitler - the day before. This was quite a trial during my school years as you may imagine?!
Some progress on Business Grants
Our first clients are getting their Small Business Grants through. The Government and Local Authorities (LAs) have done a super job in delivering this support quickly. Check directly with your LA as to whether you need to fill in a form to apply, or whether you’ll be automatically contacted. Northumberland County Council’s can be found here: https://form.northumberland.gov.uk/form/auto/covid19_emergency_grant
Have you deferred your VAT by cancelling your Direct Debit? Please be aware that you will need to think ahead to next quarter and whether you can pay the full amount of VAT due then for the 6 months. If this is not affordable, then you’ll need to apply to HMRC for a ‘time to pay’ agreement. The number to ring when the time comes is 0800 0159 559, which gets you through to HMRC’s Coronavirus Helpline.
Business Interruption Loans
Does anyone have any news on their Business interruption Loan applications? My bank is saying the paperwork now needs to be security checked and will take up to 2 weeks for a decision!
SSP support for small businesses became available on 13th March – remember it can only be claimed for a minimum of 4 days and for no more than 2 weeks per staff member. It applies from the date an employee is off sick with Covid-19, or has to self-isolate due to a family member they live with having Covid-19. SSP does not cover those self-isolating due to vulnerability.
Directors and furlough – if you are furloughed, any work you do must be ON the business and not IN the business. You can fulfil your statutory obligations, such as keeping your PAYE scheme up to date, but must not take a call from a client to arrange paid work.
Banks appear to be cancelling personal overdraft interest for April, and credit cards seem to be cancelling late payment and cash advance fees for 2 months. The contactless limit has increased to £45 to help keep us safe by not having to use cash or touch a payment machine.
Finally today – some useful links:
Business Support Site: https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk
Statutory Sick Pay (SSP): employers guide: https://www.gov.uk/employers-sick-pay
Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice for employers and employees: https://www.acas.org.uk/coronavirus
Covid-19 Employer guidance UPDATE: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme
Covid-19 Employee guidance UPDATE: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-you-could-be-covered-by-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme
Coronavirus (COVID-19): what you need to do: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
Thanks and keep well,
I’m sure I echo everyone today in sending all good wishes to Boris Johnson for a speedy recovery.
Small and Medium Businesses
Retail, Hospitality & Leisure Businesses
** The self-employed grant is excellent news and will enable the self-employed to continue working during this crisis if they are able to. It appears that HMRC are saying they will contact people to establish the tax payer’s average earnings. It is not clear as to how they will determine who deserves the grant and who does not. Watch this space for clearer information once available.
Wonderful to hear that the small business grant funding is already coming through, as are some Business Interruption loans apparently, although most businesses are still waiting. If you are concerned that you may not have enough funds whilst you wait, consider contacting suppliers for a payment holiday – many suppliers are sympathetic at this unprecedented time, although it is important to still recognise that they are trying to keep their businesses going too.
Please keep well,
Update on furlough
Some employment lawyers are suggesting that an employee can be furloughed if shielding and unable to work from home and/or is looking after someone in the home and so can’t work from home
The jury is still out on holidays. ACAS have indeed stated that the holiday situation, including bank holidays, is ‘appallingly unclear’. Current thinking is that any holiday claim during a furlough period could jeopardise the furlough claim. Options could be to claim lieu time rather than holiday, or agree to take bank holiday entitlements later in the year
Employees who get a variable monthly income including wages, past overtime, and compulsory commission payments will find being furloughed a challenge given that they cannot earn anything extra. Guidance appears to suggest that furloughed employees on a variable income use either the monthly average of the year 19/20 or the same as the same month the previous year.
The Corporate Finance Network group of accountants fear that 800,000 to 1,000,000 Companies will go bankrupt as a result of Covid-19. Despite the Government’s aid package, it seems that banks are not going to be able to deliver funding quick enough.
Deferring your July 2020 tax payment on account? This is not only for the self-employed – anyone who would normally make an income tax payment in July is eligible to defer.
Companies are able to request a 3 month extension on filing with Companies House. They may also wish to extend their year ends to combine with this but it would be sensible to check the rules here.
Useful guidance from HMRC on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme can be found here:
There is some good news in that those on furlough are able to do voluntary work or even take a paid second job. Furloughed staff may also begin or continue to study provided the study material relates to the persons’ main employment.
Bye for now, and keep well,