March 28, 2020
Topics  
by  Pradeepan Velayuthan

COVID-19

CORONAVIRUS - INTRODUCTION

This pandemic has left most of us uncertain and unsure about our businesses and economy. Hopefully, this will give you a brief overview.

Please keep in mind that these topics are constantly changing according to the current affairs so it is important to consistently stay up to date using reliable resources such as GOV.UK. If you are still unsure, feel free to drop us an email and we will try our best to guide you.

Take care of yourself and one another.

STATUTORY SICK PAY (SSP) - EMPLOYEE

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) can be claimed if you are either diagnosed with coronavirus or self-isolating as guided by the government.

There is a temporary change to SSP where it can now be claimed from the first day rather than the fourth.

The current rate is £94.25 and this increases to £95.85 from the 6th April 2020.

How do I know I am Eligible?

  • If you earn an average of £118 per week
  • If you are a contractor employed under an umbrella company

How do I Claim SSP?

  • You need to inform your employer immediately
  • Get an isolation note from NHS 111 if your employer requires evidence (Employers cannot ask for a fit note)

What do I do if I am Self-Employed or earning below the lower earnings limit of £118 per week?

  • You can claim Universal Credit or Contributory Employment and Support Allowance

STATUTORY SICK PAY (SSP) - EMPLOYER

If you are a small or medium sized UK based business or employer (less than 250 employees) as of 28th February 2020.

The government intend to reimburse COVID-19 related SSPs paid to employees for these businesses for up to two weeks.

How do I claim this?

  • Employers are asked to record absences and payments of SSPs
  • You do not need to obtain a GP or Doctors fit note
  • The government will set up this repayment as soon as possible.

THE CORONAVIRUS JOB RETENTION SCHEME: FURLOUGHED WORKERS

A furloughed worker is an individual who is currently still employed but is unable to work due to circumstances out of their control such as Covid-19.

This scheme has been implemented to support employers who cannot afford to pay wages and avoid redundancies.

All UK Employers, big or small are entitled to this scheme. 80% of salaries, up to £2,500 per month will be covered by the government.

This scheme will be applied from 1st March 2020 with a preliminary period of three months however, depending on future circumstances, they may change.

How do I claim this?

  • Affected workers will have to identified as furloughed and notified before presenting this information to HMRC

SMALL BUSINESS GRANTS

Grants (non-repayable) have been set to help support smaller businesses including retail, hospitality and leisure businesses. This is a one-off cash grant up to £25,000 for businesses who use properties being used as cafes, restaurants, shops and leisure. A full list can be found on the gov.uk website.

This grant provides businesses:

  • A grant of £10,000 for businesses properties with a rateable value under £15,000.
  • A grant of £25,000 if there is a rateable value between £15,001 and £51,000.

Am I eligible?

If you are eligible for this grant, you do not have to do anything, your local authority will contact you and guide you from there.

Please contact your local authorities for any queries.

CORONAVIRUS BUSINESS INTERRUPTION LOAN SCHEME

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) aims to aid businesses such as SMEs affected by COVID-19 manage their funds. This consists of a loan up to £5 million with a loan term between 1 to 6 years with no interest for the first 12 months (the government will cover the first year of interest)

Am I Eligible?

  • You must be a UK based business with a turnover of no more than £45 million per annum.
  • Your business meets the criteria with British Business Bank

How can I apply?

  • The CBILS Scheme is now open and most major banks are offering this scheme.
  • Contact your bank or one of the 40 accredited finance providers to discuss your business plans.

There is more information on:

https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loanscheme-cbils-2/for-businesses-and-advisors/

BUSINESS RATES HOLIDAY

There will be a 100% business rates holiday over the next 12 months to cover all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England.

This 12-month period will run from April 2020 until March 2021

For further guidance, businesses can contact their local authority regarding this from 20 March 2020.

VAT DEFERRALS

The government will support UK businesses registered for Value Added Tax (VAT) by deferring payments for three months from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020.

Am I Eligible?

  • All UK businesses are eligible and automatically enrolled. During these three months, you will not have to make a VAT payment.

INCOME TAX DEFERRAL

Self-Assessment payments due on the 31 July 2020 may be deferred until 31 January2021.

Am I Eligible?

Yes, If you have a second self-assessment payment due on the 31 July 2020. The deferral is optional, if you are able to pay your payment, you should.

What do I have to do to get my SA deferred?

This automatically applied and there will be no penalties or interest for the payment if you decide to defer it until January 2021.

What if I have outstanding business Tax Liabilities?

This also applies to businesses and firms that are currently facing a finance struggle as a result of COVID-19 and have tax liabilities, HMRC have extended their Time to Pay Offer.

SELF EMPLOYMENT

Self Employed individuals will be able to apply for a grant that will cover 80% of their monthly averaged profits over the last three years. This grant will value up to £2,500 per month to help self employed individuals through financial distress. However, this will not take place till early June.

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