1. Time to Pay Arrangements
HMRC have launched a new helpline for businesses and individuals who have concerns about paying their tax due to the impact of coronavirus. Details are contained in this link. The helpline covers Self Assessment, PAYE, VAT and Corporation Tax. The phone number is: 0800 0159 559.
- HMRC will discuss your specific circumstances to explore:
- Agreeing an instalment plan
- Suspending debt collection proceedings
- Cancelling penalties and interest where you have administrative difficulties contacting or paying HMRC immediately
- In our experience you can expect long delays before your call is answered" not least due to HMRC staffing levels being impacted by the current environment. Please call one of us if you have any concerns in this area as we should normally be able to call HMRC on behalf of our clients.
2. Statutory Sick Pay
Details of extra measures being taken in respect Statutory Sick Pay can be found in the following link.
- People who cannot work due to coronavirus and are eligible for SSP will get it from day one, rather than from the fourth day of their illness " the intention is to legislate so this measure applies retrospectively from 13 March 2020.
- SSP will be payable to people staying at home on government advice, not just those who are infected, from 13 March 2020 " employers are urged to use their discretion about what evidence, if any, they ask for.
- If employees need to provide evidence to their employer that they need to stay at home due to coronavirus, they will be able to get it from the NHS 111 Online" this is currently under development and will be made available soon.
- Employers with fewer than 250 employees will be able to reclaim SSP for employees unable to work because of coronavirus. This refund will be for up to 2 weeks per employee.
- We understand that the development of a mechanism to enable businesses to recover coronavirus SSP is still some months away. It will therefore be vital that appropriate records are maintained to support any claims.
3. Business Interruption Loan Scheme
- A new temporary loan scheme, targeted at SMEs, will be launched in the coming days to support access to bank lending and overdrafts. Under the scheme the government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan (subject to per lender cap limits). There will be no charge made on businesses for the provision of the guarantee and the scheme will support loans of up to £5 million. The government will also cover the first 6 months of interest payments.
** More details to follow in due course.
4. Business Rates Holiday and Grant
- There will be a business rates holiday for qualifying businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England for the 2020-21 tax year.
- A £25,000 grant will be available to qualifying retails, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from premises with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000. Eligibility enquiries should be directed to the relevant local authority who will receive further guidance by 20 March.
5. Support for Businesses Paying Little or No Business Rates
- Additional funding will be provided to local authorities to support eligible small businesses that pay little or no business rates because of small business rate relief or rural rate relief. This will take the form of a one off grant of £10,000 to help meet ongoing business costs.
- If your business qualifies you should be contacted directly by your local authority" there is no need to apply.
- The government and insurance industry have confirmed that the advice given to pubs, theatres etc is sufficient to make a claim provided they have appropriate cover in place. If affected, the advice is to look at the policy detail carefully to check the terms and conditions and contact the insurance provider as soon as possible.
- It’s also worth mentioning the availability of mortgage repayment relief, under which home-owners affected by the coronavirus may be eligible for a 3 month mortgage relief payment window. We understand that a number of lenders are introducing specific helplines to address any enquiries in this area.