Covid 19 Practice update 2
In these difficult times we appreciate the trust our clients place in us to ensure services continue as normal.
We are committed to an evidence-led and common-sense approach to containing the corona-virus outbreak and mitigating its impact on employees, customers and our wider business operations.
Please be assured we are preparing for our services to continue as normal. We have business continuity plans in place to minimize the risk of infection and make sure we can continue deliver business-as-usual service to our customers should an infection occur at an office. These include implementing clear guidelines for employees, providing support and advice for anyone who needs to self-quarantine, and issuing guidance on following safe hygiene practices across the organisation.
In order to protect our employees, clients and our communities and to help slow the spread of the Corona Virus we have already implemented social distancing measures as follows;
- Meetings in person have been suspended until further notice. However meetings will continue to be held via video conferencing and telephone.
- The office has been closed to the general public until further notice.
- We have implemented working from home procedures so that we can continue to provide our clients with the help and advice they need.
- Currently the office is manned on an ad hoc basis to ensure vital parts of the business continue running whilst observing social distancing procedures. Unfortunately at this time the office phones cannot be answered but we will pick up answer phone messages and endeavour to respond as soon as possible. To ensure we can assist you as quickly as possible, we recommend sending your questions via email as opposed to using the phone.
- Arrangements for the collection and return of books and records can be made by emailing the office at , dedicated time slots together with procedures will be then provided.
Over the course of the last week the Chancellor has set out a package of measures to support businesses through the disruption caused by COVID-19.
Deferring VAT and Income Tax payments
The government announced a 3-month deferment in Valued Added Tax (VAT) payments for all UK businesses. Consequently, there is no requirement to make a VAT payment from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020. Taxpayers will be given until the end of the 2020/21 tax year to pay any liabilities that have accumulated during the deferral period. VAT refunds and reclaims will be paid by the government as normal.
The chancellor also announced that the self-employed who have Income Tax Self-Assessment, payments due on the 31 July 2020 will have until the 31 January 2021 to make their payments.
Support with Business Rates
In addition to the above the chancellor also introduced business rates holidays for businesses in certain sectors that could be most adversely affected. These include:
- Business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses
- Cash grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses
- Business rates holiday for nurseries in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year
- Businesses that pay little or no business rates because of small business rate relief (SBBR) or rural rate relief (RRR) are eligible for a one-off grant of £10,000 to help meet their ongoing business costs
SME’s could be eligible to access a new Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme allowing them to with access to working capital up to £5 million. The government will pay to cover the first 12 months of interest payments. To give lenders further confidence in continuing to provide finance to SMEs the government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan (subject to a per-lender cap on claims).
For larger companies there is a new Covid-19 Corporate Financing Facility, whereby the Bank of England will buy short term debt from larger companies.
This initiative supports companies that have been affected by a short-term funding squeeze, allowing them to finance short-term liabilities.
In addition, the chancellor announced specific measures to support employees who are designated as a “furloughed” workers, due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Measures announced by the government affecting employee’s pay.
On 20 March 2020, the Chancellor announced that the Government is going to cover up to 80% of the current wage level of employees that would otherwise have been laid off during the Coronavirus pandemic, provided they are kept on the employer’s payroll.
An employee that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis will be designated as a “furloughed” worker
There will be a ceiling of £2,500 a month on salaries to which this applies.
Employers can still top up salaries above this level if they choose to.
The new Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will apply to all employers and will be backdated for those who have been unable to work since 1st March 2020.
For business or the self-employed who have concerns about paying taxes due to coronavirus, HMRC have a helpline for help and advice: 0800 024 1222.
You can find further information on Covid-19 below to keep you updated:
Guidance for employees, employers and businesses
Support for business – Scotland
Government advice to the public
Number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and risk in the UK
Advice from the NHS