We are here to help support you through this difficult time
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone in the UK, many of those hit the hardest are small business owners. This guide has been written by Whitesides Chartered Accountants to help business owners understand what help and support might be available for their businesses. We have also provided some useful links to externals resources.
This hub will continue to be updated as further support measures and information is made available.
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- Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) service which has recently been extended until October.
- Deferring VAT payments due between 20th March and 30th June 2020 until the end of the tax year
- Business Rates Relief and Grant Funding for Smaller Businesses
- Three-month extension on filing Company Accounts
- Business Interruption Loans
- Self Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS)
- Deferral of income tax payments on account
- Further changes have been made to the eligibility criteria for Universal Credit, as well as support for renters and mortgage holidays.
- Reduced price FSB membership for small businesses in West Yorkshire. Leeds LEP are offering £130 discount on FSB membership for further information visit https://www.fsb.org.uk/west-yorkshire.html
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We have developed a tool to help guide you on what government support your business might be eligible for.
Click here to access Whitesides guide – What support is my business eligible for?
If you need help understanding what support may be available to your business, please call 0113 258 2437 and speak to one of our team who will be able to advise you.
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FAQS – Your COVID-19 Questions Answered
I’ve been told to self-isolate by NHS Track and Trace, is there any support for me?
If you have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Track and Trace, you may be eligible for a grant of £500.
To be eligible, you must:
- have started your self-isolation on or after 28/09/2020
- be employed or self-employed
- have lost income as a result of having to stay at home
- receive at least one of the qualifying benefits
Further details on how the scheme can be found on the Leeds Council website at Leeds Council Website
Can I Defer my Corporation Tax Payment?
There has been no specific announcement on the deferral of corporation tax, however you may be able to apply for a “Time to Pay Plan” with HMRC. If you are struggling to pay your corporation tax, we would recommend getting in touch with HMRC as soon as you become aware that you may not be able to make the payment.
Further details on how to apply for a Time to Pay arrangement can be found on HMRC’s website
How does the Self Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) Work and am I Eligible?
HMRC will contact all eligible individuals during the week commencing 4 May 2020, if they have an email or mobile number they will email or text you, they will only write to you if they have no other contact details.
If you aren’t contacted by HMRC you can check whether you are eligible online using the HMRC checker https://www.tax.service.gov.uk/self-employment-support/enter-unique-taxpayer-reference you will need your UTR and National Insurance Number.
If you are eligible for the grant, you will need to apply through your personal tax account. HMRC will let you know the date you are eligible to claim.
How do I apply for a Bounce Back Loan?
Bounce Back Loans are available to small and medium-sized businesses. Businesses can borrow between £2,000 and up to 25% of their turnover, the maximum loan available is £50,000.
The government provides a guarantee to the lender of 100% of the loan, as a business you will not be charge any fees or interest for the first 12 months. After 12 months the interest rate will be 2.5% a year.
You should apply for the loan with your current bank, if your bank does not offer the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (some don’t currently offer it) then currently the only banks offering the loans to non-customers are RBS and HSBC.
What VAT Payments can I defer?
All VAT payments due between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020 can be deferred until 31 March 2021. This includes:
- Payment for quarterly returns ending 29 February due 7 April
- Payment for quarterly returns ending 29 March due 7 May
- Payment for quarterly returns ending 29 April due 7 June
- Payment for monthly returns due in this period
- Payments on account due in this period
- Annual Accounting advance payments.
You cannot defer VAT due under the MOSS scheme or import/export duty. To defer the VAT you need to cancel any direct debit you have in place.
If you are struggling to pay any other VAT liabilities you will need to contact HMRC to arrange a “Time to Pay Plan”.
How do I furlough my employee?
If you wish to furlough your employee there is a strict process you need to follow. This article from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development sets it out very clearly.
How do I claim a Small Business Rates Grant?
If your business is eligible for the Small Business Rates Grant you need to apply to your local council, below are the links to local Councils in Leeds and the surrounding areas:
Leeds – Leeds City Council website
Bradford – Bradford Council website
Harrogate – Harrogate Borough Council website
York – City of York Council website
Wakefield – Wakefield Council website
I am a Director, can I Furlough Myself?
As a director you can furlough yourself, you will need to follow the process that you would go through with other employees.
You should be aware that as a furloughed employee you CANNOT work for the company during the furlough period. You can comply with your director’s statutory duties but you should not undertake any work for the company.
This article from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development sets it out very clearly the process you should follow to furlough employees.
CIPD website – Furlough Guide
I am a Director and Pay Myself via a Low Salary and Dividends, how Much Can I Claim?
If you furlough yourself as a director you can claim 80% of your employment income.
How do I Defer my Income Tax Payment on Account?
You don’t need to complete any forms or apply for deferral for your July 2020 payment on account. The deferral is automatic, you don’t need to pay your July 2020 payment on account, in July you pay it in January 2021 with the balancing payment instead.
No interest or penalties will be applied to this late payment.
I only Became Self-Employed Recently, What can I claim?
Unfortunately if you didn’t complete a 2018/19 tax return, you will not be eligible for the SEISS, instead you will need to claim Universal Credit. The rules for Universal Credit have been relaxed to help support recent self-employed individuals.
Can I Claim the Costs of Working at Home?
As an employee you can claim £6 per week flat rate from your employer for working at home, this is tax deductible for the employer and will not result in a benefit in kind for the employee.
As a sole-trader you can either claim a proportion of your household bills or a flat rate using HMRC’s simplified expenses scheme UK government website – Self Employed Expenses Advice
Can I Claim Back SSP?
If you have fewer than 250 employees you can reclaim any SSP paid to staff due to COVID-19. This is done via your government gateway account, if you have an agent your agent will be able to claim on your behalf.
Is there any Support for Paying Redundancy to Staff?
If an employer cannot afford to pay their employees redundancy pay, then you can apply to the Redundancy Payments Service (RPS) for financial assistance. The RPS can provide you with an interest free loan to help you pay redundancy costs.
If your application is approved, the RPS will make statutory redundancy payments directly to the redundant employees on the employer’s behalf.
Further details are available on the Insolvency Service’s website.
What is a “Time to Pay Arrangement”?
A time to pay arrangement is where you agree with HMRC to pay a tax liability over a period of time. If you are unable to pay a tax liability, then you should contact HMRC straight away. How to arrange a TTPP with HMRC and which department to contact is available here HMRC website – If you can not pay your tax bill on time
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