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Business Crisis Support Latest: - Easter Weekend

Updated: 15 hours ago



Here's the T+G summary of latest news for our small business clients and other local businesses in need of guidance.


Before you read on:- Can you help our local NHS heroes fighting Covid 19 on the front line at Royal Lancaster Infirmary, with spare office supplies that can be re-purposed for PPE?

Find out how you can help here.


We are here to help you through this, just email our dedicated support team at covid19@tagac.co.uk


We are aware of an increase in scam emails, calls and texts.

If someone gets in touch claiming to be from HMRC, saying that financial help can be claimed or that a tax refund is owed, and asks you to click on a link or to give information such as your name, credit card or bank details, please do not respond.


H.M.R.C. will never contact you out of the blue to ask for these details.



BUSINESS INTERRUPTION LOAN SCHEME

NEW UPDATES

After the initial reticence of many banks to offer these loans, overdrafts and asset finance without seeking a personal guarantee, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced the following interventions.

Under the scheme, lenders will not take personal guarantees of any form for facilities below £250,000.

The idea of the BILS is that, if you are struggling with immediate cashflow to pay wages and bills, then this loan will be your fund to pay the wages that will then be reimbursed to you under the Job Retention Scheme, or your fixed business costs through the duration of the Coronavirus pandemic. The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) is available for SMEs through more than 40 accredited lenders across the UK.


Please read our CBILS FAQ for businesses

WHO IS ELIGIBLE

Your business must:

  • Be UK-based in its business activity

  • Have an annual turnover of no more than £45 million

  • Have a borrowing proposal which the lender would consider viable, were it not for the current pandemic

  • Self-certify that it has been adversely impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19).

View our Quick Eligibility Checklist

HOW TO APPLY

1. FIND A LENDER

View and select a CBILS accredited lender

2. APPROACH A LENDER

You should approach a lender yourself, ideally via the lender’s website.

Notes: There is high demand for CBILS facilities. Phone lines are likely to be busy and branches may not be able to handle enquiries in person.

WHAT LENDERS WILL NEED FROM YOU

When you apply for a business loan, most lenders will ask you for the following:

Note: For many customers approaching their existing lenders for a smaller facility, the process may be automated and therefore may not require the same level of documentation

DETAILS OF THE LOAN

  • The amount you would like to borrow

  • What the money is for — the lender will check that it’s a suitable business purpose and the right type of finance for your needs

  • The period over which you will make the repayments — the lender will assess whether the loan is affordable for you

SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS

You will need to provide certain evidence to show that you can afford to repay the loan. This is likely to include:

  • Management accounts

  • Cash flow forecast

  • Business plan

  • Historic accounts

  • Details of assets

The above requirements will vary from lender to lender.

If you do not have everything listed here, a CBILS loan could still be an option to provide finance to support your business.




GRANT SUPPORT FROM YOUR LOCAL AUTHORITY - IF YOU PAY LITTLE OR NO BUSINESS RATES - NOW LIVE


First check if you’re on the local authorities register and therefore eligible here by

entering your postcode.


We have written a separate blog on local authority grants. If you are struggling with your application, we have now allocated staff to assisting clients with the process.



Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF)

All businesses in England, who are already in receipt of Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR) or Rural Rates Relief (RRR) in the business rates system will be eligible for a payment of £10,000 under the Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF) .


Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF)

Under the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant (RHLG) businesses in England in receipt of the Expanded Retail Discount (which covers retail, hospitality and leisure) with a rateable value of less than £51,000 will be eligible for the following cash grants per property.

Eligible businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of up to £15,000 will receive a grant of £10,000.


Eligible businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of over £15,000 and less than £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000.


Businesses with a rateable value of £51,000 or over are not eligible for this scheme.


Businesses which are not ratepayers in the business rates system are not included in either of these schemes (as at 11 March 2020). Hereditaments occupied for personal uses are also not eligible.

The guidance for these schemes is available here and you should take time to read the relevant detail on the two schemes before applying :


Online Applications links below


Wyre Borough Council


Fylde Council


Lancaster


Preston City Council


South Lakes


South Ribble

You will need your unique reference number to apply to South Ribble. Letters containing the reference number have been sent to eligible businesses. If you need further help or information on grants please contact us by email businessgrants@southribble.gov.uk




RETAIL, HOSPITALITY AND LEISURE INDUSTRY BUSINESS RATES 20/21

Clients in the retail, hospitality and leisure industries that pay business rates will not have to pay these rates in the 2020/21 tax year. Estate agents, lettings agencies and bingo halls have now been added to this category.



CHANGES FOR PUBS AND RESTAURANTS


Pubs and restaurants will be granted fast-track planning permission to serve takeaway hot food and drinks. This measure is intended to help these businesses survive at a time when customers have been advised to stay at home.






THE JOB RETENTION SCHEME AND FURLOUGH


The H.M.R.C platform to claim furlough goes live on Monday, 20th April.


Moving forward from then, your weekly or monthly claims can be submitted 14 days ahead of payroll date.


The monies will be paid, four to six working days post-payroll, after H.M.R.C validation is carried out.


If Towers + Gornall manage your payroll, we are happy to fully manage your online J.R.S. furlough claims. If however, you are not an existing payroll client, but are concerned about the complexities of the process and would like us to manage the J.R.S. payroll for you then please call 01995 600 600.


More guidance from H. M.R.C. is expected following the Easter break on the final documentation required, and the payroll department will be in touch with each client individually.


If you are unsure who is your dedicated contact and you need to prepare any furlough adjustments to your payroll wages ahead of time, simply email Joan Dennett, who heads up the Payroll Team using this email joand@tagac.co.uk



The Corona Virus Job Retention Scheme announced on Friday 20th March, 2020 is available to all employers. It means that the government will reimburse up to 80% of salaries up to £2500 per month, for any employee on a P.A.Y.E. system who would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis. Furlough leave is for a minimum of 3 weeks. To be reviewed every 3 weeks.



  1. Who can claim

  2. Employees you can claim for

  3. Agreeing to furlough employees

  4. How much you can claim

  5. What you’ll need to make a claim

  6. Claim

  7. After you’ve claimed

  8. When your employees are on furlough


The scheme, open to any employer in the country, will cover the cost of wages backdated to 1 March 2020 and will be open before the end of April. It will continue for at least three months, and can include workers who were in employment on 28 February.



If you cannot maintain your current workforce because your operations have been severely affected by Coronavirus (COVID-19), you can furlough employees and apply for a grant that covers 80% of their usual monthly wage costs, up to £2,500 a month, plus the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions on that wage.


This is a temporary scheme in place for 3 months starting from 1 March 2020, but it may be extended if necessary and employers can use this scheme anytime during this period. It is designed to help employers whose operations have been severely affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) to retain their employees and protect the UK economy.


However, all employers are eligible to claim under the scheme and the government recognises different businesses will face different impacts from coronavirus.


Business that need short-term cash flow support, may benefit from the VAT deferral announced below and may also be eligible to apply for a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan available from the 23rd March. ( see below)


Employers can reduce working days/hours if they are struggling Staff can be laid off without pay but employers might have to pay guaranteed pay. This is £29 per day payable for 5 days over a 3-month period. Employee can ask for redundancy pay if the layoff continues for more than 4 weeks. Redundancy – eligible after 2 years employment based on age and weeks’ pay

Useful links:




SELF-EMPLOYED INCOME SUPPORT SCHEME

The scheme is open to the self-employed and members of partnerships with trading profits up to 50k, who make more than 50% of their income from self-employment.

Use this scheme if you're self-employed or a member of a partnership and have lost income due to coronavirus.

The scheme will pay up to a maximum of £2,500 monthly, or a total of £7,500 over three months.

Before grant payments are made, the self-employed will still be able to access other available government support for those affected by Coronavirus, including more generous universal credit and business continuity loans where they have a business bank account.

S.E.I.S.S. details

HMRC will contact you directly by the beginning of June, ask you some questions online and pay the grant as one lump sum direct into your bank

· The monthly grant is calculated by averaging the last 36 monthly profits x 80%

· If data is not available for 36 months it will be based on the tax returns that have been returned through that period.

· A tax return for 2019 required to prove self-employment

· People who are now late in filing their January 2020 tax return have until the deadline of April 23rd to file their return and be eligible

Questions and Answers

Do I have to prove that I have lost trading profits due to Covid-19?


· Additional eligibility criteria include the requirement that the individual must have lost trading profits due to Covid-19.

· In addition, you must have traded in 2019/2020, intend to trade in 2020/2021 and are trading at the point of application or would have been except for Covid-19.

How do I account for tax credits in my application for the grant?


· Individuals that claim Tax Credits would need to include the grant as part of their income.

Official guidance on how to claim a grant through the S.E.I.S.S.

The self-employed are also now eligible for assistance from Universal Credit

Check if you’re eligible and make a claim

You may also be eligible for Employment Support Allowance alongside Universal Credit

We have provided a link here to the IPSE website, with the latest information in relation to the Coronavirus pandemic for the self-employed and freelancers





HELP WITH YOUR MORTGAGE


Mortgage providers are ready to support customers who are experiencing issues with their finances as a result of COVID-19, including giving the option of a payment holiday.


If you are concerned about making your mortgage payments during this time, you should contact your provider at the earliest possible opportunity to discuss the options available.


Your mortgage provider can offer you a payment holiday of up to three months without the need to assess your circumstances. With a payment holiday you will not have to make your normal monthly mortgage payments.


Your lender can also offer you more tailored support according to your individual situation if you wish to go through a full assessment of your circumstances.


KEY POINTS

  • A payment holiday will be available to all customers who are up to date on their mortgage payments.

  • A payment holiday will also be available to all buy-to-let landlords whose tenants have lost income because of the impact of Covid-19. Landlords are expected to pass on this relief to their tenants to ensure that they are supported during this time.

  • Customers will still owe the money where a payment holiday has been granted and interest will still accrue, so if you are able to make part of your normal mortgage payment to reduce the money you owe or your interest charges then you should consider doing so.

  • Firms will make every effort to ensure that the payment holiday does not negatively impact on your credit file.

  • If you are already in arrears, you should contact your lender as soon as possible. Lenders will review any change to your circumstances to ensure that payments remain sustainable.

  • If you are already experiencing financial difficulty, lenders have also agreed a three-month moratorium on residential and buy-to-let possession action (from 19 March 2020), meaning that no homes will be repossessed at this difficult time.


How do I apply?

If you are concerned about making your mortgage payments during this time you should contact your mortgage provider as soon as possible. You don’t need to provide any documentation; you will just need to self-certify that your income has been either directly or indirectly impacted by Covid-19.


If you are a buy-to-let landlord, you will need to self-certify that your tenant’s income has been impacted by Covid-19. Landlords are expected to pass on this relief to their tenants to ensure that they are supported during this time.


At the end of the payment holiday your provider will contact you to assess your circumstances and agree a manageable way for you repay the interest charges incurred and make up the deferred payments. Each lender will have a range of options available to help you do this.




COMMERCIAL TENANCIES


Extra protection for businesses with ban on evictions for commercial tenants who miss rent payments


Commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of coronavirus will be protected from eviction.


These measures, included in the emergency Coronavirus Bill currently going through Parliament, will mean no business will be forced out of their premises if they miss a payment in the next 3 months.


As commercial tenants will still be liable for the rent after this period, the government is also actively monitoring the impact on commercial landlords’ cash flow and continues to be in dialogue with them.




PAYROLL

SSP guidelines

· Self- isolation – 14 days for all members of the household if any one of them shows any symptoms

· 7 days if you have the symptoms and live alone but also if you are the one in the household with the symptoms

· Employers will need to be informed and record the first day of isolation – no sick note is needed

· SSP will be payable at a rate of £94.25 per week (regardless of salary) from first day of sickness but must earn £118.00 per week over an 8-week period

· Employer may also pay contractual SSP and should review individuals’ contract.

· Employers with less than 250 staff will be able to reclaim this Corona Virus SSP at some stage in the future – mechanism not yet in place.





PAYING TAX: TIME TO PAY SERVICE :


V.A.T.


HMRC will support businesses by deferring Valued Added Tax (VAT) payments for 3 months.

For VAT, the deferral will apply from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020.

All UK businesses are eligible.


What does this mean for you?

If you have a VAT payment due to HMRC between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020, you have the option to defer that payment until a later date, any deferred payment must be made before 31 March 2021.


HMRC will not charge interest on any amount deferred and there is no requirement to inform HMRC if you are deferring a payment during this time.


VAT returns should continue to be submitted, however if you wish to defer payment and you usually pay by direct debit the direct debit should be cancelled to ensure that the payment is not taken automatically.


VAT Refunds and reclaims due from H.M.RC. will not be affected by this and should be repaid as usual by H.M.R.C.


Who does this apply to?

All UK businesses are eligible for the deferral of VAT payments.


How is the deferral applied for?

This is an automatic offer and there is no requirement to apply for or notify H.M.R.C. that you are taking advantage of the deferral.


How to access the scheme

This is an automatic offer with no applications required. Businesses will not need to make a VAT payment during this period. Taxpayers will be given until the end of the 2020 to 2021 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.


INCOME TAX


If you’re self-employed, Income Tax payments due in July 2020 under the Self-Assessment system will be deferred to 31 January 2021.


Eligibility

If you are self-employed you are eligible.


How to access the scheme

This is an automatic offer with no applications required.

No penalties or interest for late payment will be charged in the deferral period.


HMRC have also scaled up their Time to Pay offer to all firms and individuals who are in temporary financial distress as a result of Covid-19 and have outstanding tax liabilities


P.A.Y.E. - NATIONAL INSURANCE - CORPORATION TAX


All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service.These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities.


Eligibility

You are eligible if your business: pays tax to the UK government or has outstanding tax liabilities


How to access the scheme

If you have missed a tax payment or you might miss your next payment due to COVID-19, please call H.M.R.C.’s dedicated helpline: 0800 024 1222 (Mon- Fri 8:00a.m- 4:00p.m.)

If you’re worried about a future payment, please call us nearer the time.




TAX CREDITS,CHILD BENEFIT & GUARDIAN'S ALLOWANCE


The Government is uprating Child Benefit, other tax credits rates and thresholds, and Guardian’s Allowance by 1.7% with effect from 6 April 2020. Child Benefit rises to £21.05 per week (from £20.70 per week) for the eldest/only child, and to £13.95 (from £13.70) for other children.


The government has announced that Working Tax Credits (WTC) payments will be increased from 6 April 2020, WTC payments will be increased by £1,045 to £3,040 per year from 6 April 2020 until 5 April 2021.


New Rates and Calculators


The amount a claimant or household will benefit from will depend on their circumstances, including their level of household income. But the increase could mean up to an extra £20 each week.


Due to COVID-19, there are new temporary guidelines in place if your circumstances change as a direct result of COVID-19.


· If your working hours have been temporarily impacted due to these exceptional circumstances and are expected to last 8 weeks or more, you do not have to contact the Tax Credit Office and your payments will continue as normal.


· Further guidance will be provided by the Tax Credit Office after 8 weeks.


· However, it is important to know that if you have any change in circumstances that have not been a direct impact of COVID-19 then you must as normal contact the Tax Credit Office and notify them within the 30 days of the change.


Help Line 0345 300 3900


The normal guidance when receiving W.T.C. is that you must notify the Tax Credit Office within 30 days if you have a change in circumstance such as:


Losing a job

Having a child

Start working less than 16 hours a week


CORONAVIRUS AND CLAIMING BENEFITS- AN OVERVIEW




INSURANCE


Insurance claims

Businesses that have cover for both pandemics and government-ordered closure should be covered.

The government and insurance industry confirmed on 17 March 2020 that advice to avoid pubs, theatres, etc., is sufficient to make a claim as long as all other terms and conditions are met.

Insurance policies differ significantly, so businesses should check the terms and conditions of their specific policy and contact their providers.




IR35 REFORMS IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR DELAYED

The government has announced that its planned reforms to IR35 legislation will be delayed for a year. The reforms, which will affect contractors who work in the private sector, were due to be implemented on 6th April this year but will now come into effect in April 2021.




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