COVID-19 and what we can do to help
At The Showbiz Accountant, we appreciate that these are very worrying times, however, we are here to help. You will no doubt be aware that the government has put a package of measures together to support those adversely affected. However, it is sometimes difficult to navigate the guidance and find out exactly what you can apply for and when. Let us take that additional worry away from you by helping you with grant or loan applications. We can also assist you with any Job retention and business interruption loan scheme applications and crucially, a more scaled up ‘Time to Pay’ offer is now in place. We can take care of your tax arrangements, including speaking with HMRC on your behalf, preparing cash flows and assessing future tax liabilities.
The following advice is from the Governments website Gov.uk as of 23 March.
Job retention scheme
All UK businesses are eligible for this. You will need to designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers’ and then notify them of this change as changing the status of their employment remains subject to employment law. HMRC are to set out further details regarding the new online portal to be used when submitting information about your employees.
HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month and are urgently working to set up a system for reimbursement. Existing systems are not yet set up to facilitate payments to employers.
We can assist you with the necessary applications and submissions necessary to HMRC under this scheme, together with the processing of your payrolls in line with the government guidance. We can also assist with the necessary work associated with the HMRC rebate to cover this.
Deferring VAT and Income Tax payments
The government has pledged to support businesses by deferring Valued Added Tax (VAT) payments for 3 months from 20 March to 30 June 2020 and if you’re self-employed, Income Tax payments due in July 2020 under the Self-Assessment system will be deferred to January 2021.
All UK businesses are eligible and this in an automatic offer with no applications required.
Business Interruption Loan Scheme
If you need short term cash flow support, the temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme will support SMEs with access to loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance of up to £5 million, for up to 6 years.
The government will also make a Business Interruption Payment to cover the first 12 months of interest payments and any lender-levied fees, so smaller businesses will benefit from no upfront costs and lower initial repayments.
The government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan (subject to a pre-lender cap on claims) to give lenders further confidence in continuing to provide finance to SMEs. The scheme will be delivered through commercial lenders, backed by the government-owned British Business Bank.
All UK based businesses that have no more than £45 million turnover per year are eligible to apply providing you can provide a borrowing proposal. There are 40 accredited lenders able to offer the scheme, including all the major banks.
We can support you by completing any necessary applications, and on the completion of an authority, we can speak directly with your lenders to negotiate on your behalf.
If you pay business rates
A business rates retail holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year is soon to be announced by the Government. This will mean that any business that receives the retail discount in the 2019 to 2020 tax year will be rebilled by their local authority as soon as possible. A £25,000 grant will also be provided to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from smaller premises, with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000. This could apply to any occupations in Showbiz and Media if they meet the requirements. Local authorities have been asked to publish any guidance on the business rates holiday.
You pay little or no business rates
The government has also provided additional funding for local authorities to support small businesses that already pay little or no business rates because of small business rate relief (SBBR). A one-off grant of £10,000 to businesses currently eligible for SBRR or rural rate relief will also be paid but you do not need to apply for this. If eligible, you will be contacted by your local authority. The funding will be in place in early April but guidance for local authorities will be provided shortly.
It’s clear that for many self-employed people, working from home is just not an option so what does that mean for you?
If you’re not eligible to receive sick pay or you earn less than an average of £118 per week, you are able to claim Universal Credit and / or contributory Employment and Support Allowance. If you’re already in receipt of Universal Credit, it will automatically adjust depending on your earnings or other income.
For SME’s with less than 250 employees, you will be eligible to reclaim up to 2 weeks Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for every eligible employee who has been off work due to COVID-19. The government will work with employers over the coming months to set up a method of repayment as soon as possible. In the meantime, you should ensure that you maintain all records of staff absence and SSP paid. We can assist you in processing your payroll for you, and calculations of SSP; also making the necessary submissions and reclaims to HMRC. Your employees will not be required to provide you with a fit note for absences related to COVID-19 but if you do require evidence, your employees can access an isolation note online from either NHS 111 online if they have symptoms, or the NHS website if it’s someone they live with.
The current advice is that businesses that have cover for both pandemics and government-ordered closure should be covered, as the government and insurance industry confirmed on 17 March 2020 that advice to avoid pubs, theatres etc is sufficient to make a claim.
However, as you will be aware, insurance policies differ significantly, so please check the terms and conditions of your specific policy and if necessary, contact your provider. Unfortunately, most businesses are unlikely to be covered, as standard business interruption insurance policies are dependent on damage to property and will exclude pandemics.
Forms & finance, not your thing? We can help!
With such a myriad of help now available why not let The Showbiz Accountant help you apply by completing any necessary applications, and, on the completion of an authority, we can speak directly with your lenders to negotiate on your behalf.
On top of everything else, it can seem daunting trying to keep track of information especially as it seems to be evolving on a daily (sometimes hourly) basis. We’re here to ease the burden and to ensure you aren’t missing out on any financial support available.