Coronavirus (Covid 19) Information

Submitted by FG Admin on Mon, 23/03/2020 - 09:03

Our office

Unfortunately, for the first time in over 120 years, we have had to close our offices. Please be assured that our infrastructure is equipped for all staff to work remotely from home with access to all our working systems. We are contactable via email and can call you back if necessary. We will continue to update our website as we receive updated guidance from the government. We are working hard to ensure there is no disruption to our services.

We will be sending out regular emails updating clients regarding ongoing developments. We will also be enrolling all clients onto our practice management system Accountancy Manager. Clients will receive an email in due course asking to register on to this. This system will enable us to communicate with you more efficiently and issue deadline reminders. It also has the function of a secure document exchange portal; we will be using to issue accounts and tax returns in the future asking clients to approve via an e-signature. Once set up you can upload documents to us securely.

Employers

We understand the government will reimburse small businesses (businesses with under 250 employees) for 14 days of sick pay relating to Coronavirus (Covid 19) per each affected employee. The government will release details of how to claim back this sick pay in due course.We encourage employer’s to keep accurate records of any instances for staff absence due to Coronavirus (Covid 19). Further guidance can be found here and here.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis. Employers will have to designate employees as Furloughed (they cannot continue to work), inform employees that you have done this and register the employee details and Furlough pay details on a HMRC portal. The portal will be live from 20th April. HMRC will then reimburse employers for up to 80% of their normal salary. It is up the employer if they pay the employee their full salary or 80% of their full salary. HMRC will release details on how to access this support. If you would like any further guidance on this, please let us know. We recommend all employers read the government guidance carefully regarding the Job retention scheme. (please see the link at the bottom of this page).

The government are regularly reviewing the guidance on employees taking or being paid holiday pay while on Furlough, please check the guidance in the links at the bottom of this page for the most up to date information.

Please note that employees designated as Furloughed must NOT be working not even working from home.

Please see blow a summary of what we know of the scheme so far.

  • You will need to get agreement from the employee to designate them as furloughed, by letter if possible (we can provide a letter template), decide if you will reduce employee’s salary to 80%, capped at £2,500 per month
  • You can only designate employees as a furloughed if they under your PAYE scheme and were employed on 28th February
  • Employees can be furloughed after being off on sick leave or self-isolation
  • Anyone that was made redundant from 28th February can agree to be brought back and placed on furlough
  • Your PAYE scheme must have been created and active before 28th February 2020 and any furloughed employee must have been on the payroll on 28th February
  • Furlough must be for a minimum of 3 weeks, but employees can be placed on furlough more than once
  • Furlough pay will be based on the wage paid in February or for those working irregular hours or working regular overtime the Furlough pay will be based on the average earnings.
  • Wages must be paid to the employees first and then reclaimed though an online portal

HMRC have released a step by step guide on how to claim here

Businesses

The government has announced a range of grants and loans available to small business. We understand grants will be delivered by Local Authorities to business’ eligible for the small business rate relief only. Business interruption loans are available from most banks, we recommend contacting your own bank if you require such a loan. Our understanding is that up to date accounts will be required, please contact us if you require any assistance.

Access to the business interruption loan scheme is now available, you should speak to your bank for further details.

We understand that the government has released a new type of loan for smaller businesses – Business Bounce Back Loans. This loan will be guaranteed by the government. You can borrow up to 25% of your turnover up to a maximum of £50,000 and the government will pay the interest for the first 12 months. This scheme will open on 4 May.

For our clients in the Hartlepool area please see the guidance in the link below detailing the support available direct from the Local Authority, we can only assume the support will be the same from all Local Authority’s.

https://www.hartlepool.gov.uk/news/article/1852/ccoronovirus_support_for_businesses_announced?fbclid=IwAR3rnCCd2DCpS8q3uYvf3jXubwl3Vt6Q79pdxjhal0ojqcPAHNapeMzhhC0

 

VAT

If you are a UK VAT registered business and have a VAT ending period ending February March or April, you have the option to either defer the payment until 31 March 2021 or pay the amount due as normal. Any liabilities due for VAT return with periods ending after this will need to paid as normal.

HMRC will not charge interest or penalties on any amount deferred as a result of the Chancellor’s announcement.

You do not have to inform HMRC you are deferring the payment, but it must be paid before 31 March 2021.

Self Employed

Please contact the Local Authority or DWP to what benefits you might be entitled to. HMRC has set up a dedicated helpline if you need guidance on what help is available or if you are having difficulties paying taxes due to Coronavirus (Covid 19) related issues please contact the dedicated HMRC helpline 0800 0159 559.

All July self-assessment tax payments have been automatically deferred until 31 January 2021.

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

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. 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. To qualify for the scheme, you must have been self employed in the tax year to 5 April 2019 and have submitted a tax return for that year. Any income from this scheme will be taxable the same as trading income.

HMRC 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 of their income comes from self-employment and who have profits of less than £50,000. The scheme will be open for an initial three months.

HMRC will contact you if you are eligible for the scheme and invite you to apply online. Once HMRC has received your claim and confirmed you are eligible for the grant, they will contact you to tell you how much you will get and the payment details. If you claim tax credits you’ll need to include the grant in your claim as income. The eligibility period for the claim we think is 1 March to 31 May, and HMRC will pay the grant in one lump sum sometime in June.

This scheme does not seem to be available for people for whom their main income is form rental income or from dividend income.

The scheme will be accessible from 13th May, there is no need to contact HMRC yourself, HMRC will contact you directly if you are eligible to apply. You must apply for this support scheme yourself; we are not allowed to apply on your behalf. You need to apply for the scheme though your government gateway, if you do not have one then you will need to set one up.

The current guidance states you can apply if you’re a self-employed individual or a member of a partnership and you:

  • have submitted your Income Tax Self Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018-19
  • traded in the tax year 2019-20
  • are trading when you apply, or would be except for COVID-19
  • intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020-21
  • have lost trading/partnership trading profits due to COVID-19

Although not stated in the governments guidance we anticipate that you may need to supply HMRC with up to date accounts/management accounts to prove you have lost profits due to COVID-19. So if you are looking to make a claim it might be a good idea to bring your accounts up to date.

 If you’re a director of your own company and paid through PAYE you may be able to get support using the Job Retention Scheme.

If you require any further financial assistance HMRC advise to apply for Universal Credit or a Business Interruption Loan.

Limited Company

Companies House has granted Limited Company’s a 3-month extension to file accounts. However, you will need to apply for this directly with Companies House.

HMRC Guidance

Further details of all the support measures mentioned above can be found here

We will update this page as quickly as we can however, please note HMRC are constantly updating their guidance and support measures, please keep checking the above link regularly

Other

SAGE have developed a tool to help inform you what support you may be eligible to follow this link.

Whilst it may not be able to deal with all scenarios, it should at least give you an idea of what you can apply for.

Please be aware though that the Government guidelines are constantly changing so it is worth checking every few days to see if any further initiatives have been added, or criteria has been amended.

We will always endeavour to help our clients any way possible, however, the information we have currently is limited to what has been made publicly available. Please be assured that we are actively monitoring government and local authority guidance daily and we will issue updates accordingly.

If you require any assistance or further advice, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Please follow the government advice and stay safe.

Other Useful links

Guidance for employers and businesses on coronavirus:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/guidance-for-employers-and-businesses-on-coronavirus-covid-19

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses#support-for-businesses-through-the-coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme

COVID-19 Support for Businesses:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses

Advice for everyone:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

Advice for people at higher risk:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/advice-for-people-at-high-risk/

Symptoms and what to do

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/symptoms-and-what-to-do/

Self-isolation if you or someone you live with has symptoms

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/self-isolation-advice/

Disclaimer

Please note that while we update this website as often as we can, due to ever changing government support measures it may not always show the most up to date information. Please always check the advice on the official government website at the links above.

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