Government Assistance in relation to Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis 23 March 2020

Government Assistance in relation to Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis 23 March 2020
23rd March 2020 Debbie
In Accounting and Tax blog

Support for Businesses

 Job retention, to avoid redundancies

All UK employers regardless of size, are eligible for assistance where an employee has been designated a “furloughed worker”.

A furloughed worker is one that is kept on the company payroll, rather than being laid off – but does not undertake any work for the business.  The employer can claim up to 80% of the salary cost up to £2,500 per month.  The employer can choose to make up the difference between this payment and the full salary.

The intention is for the scheme to run from 1-3-20 for 3 months – but will be extended if necessary.

HMRC are setting up a new online portal to assist with this.

Deferral of VAT payments

VAT payments for any UK business can be deferred for 3 months between 20-3-20 and 30-6-20. There is not need to apply for the scheme and businesses will have until the end of 2020-21 to settle these liabilities.

Extension of time to pay tax liabilities

All UK tax paying businesses can apply to HMRC to arrange for a bespoke time to pay.  There is a dedicated help line 0800 0159 559 to facilitate this.

Statutory Sick Pay

Employers with 250 employees or less (at 28-2-2020) will be able to reclaim up to 2 weeks of SSP per employee re Coronavirus.  HMRC will set up a new portal to facilitate this.

IR35 – off-payroll working re private sector

The changes to include the private sector have been delayed to April 2021.

Business rates

There will be no rates to pay for UK retail, hospitality and leisure sectors for 2020-21.

Cash Grants: for retail, hospitality and leisure sectors in England

England retail, hospitality and leisure sectors can apply for grants of:

  • Rateable value < £15,000 a £10,000 grant
  • Rateable value £15,001 to £51,000 a £25,000 grant
  • Smaller business with Small Rate Relief or Rural Rate relief a £10,000 grant

Local authorities will write to eligible businesses.

Cash Grants: for businesses receiving small business rate relief, regardless of sector

Cash grants of £10,000 will be paid to businesses receiving Small Business Rate Relief.

The grant will be paid by local authorities.

Eligible businesses will be contacted and applications are required on line.

The grant is paid as follows, based on a rateable value of:

  • England  £0 – £15k
  • Wales  £0 – £12k
  • Northern Ireland  £0 – £14,999
  • Scotland  £0 – £18,000

Note a business can only claim one of the above cash grants

Business interruption loan scheme

The British Business Bank will support businesses with an annual turnover <£45m from w/c 23-3-20 by launching a scheme for a loan up to £5m for up to 6 years, no interest being charged for the first 12 months and 80% guaranteed by the government.

The scheme is now open and you need to talk directly with the bank – there are 40 accredited finance providers including the main high street banks.

Companies House

If accounts are likely to be filed late, due to the Coronavirus, an application can be made to extend the deadline – but this must be done before the original deadline, or a late filing penalty will be incurred.

Support for Individuals

Income tax

The second payment of account for 2020-21 due by 31-7-20, is being deferred until 31-1-21.  No penalties or interest will apply in this period.

Statutory Sick Pay

For a Corona related absence, employees will be entitled to SSP from the first day of absence and obtain and isolation note on  They will be entitled to the normal maximum 28 weeks in any 3-year period – just no need to wait for 3 days.

The self employed will be eligible for Universal Credit or Employment and Support Allowance.

Mortgage and rent holiday

Tenants and mortgage borrowers, can apply for a 3-month payment holiday.  Interest will continue to be charged on any amount owed, and will need to be paid in due course.  The intention is that no one can be evited from their home over the next 3 months.