The UK Chancellor and Scottish Government Ministers have announced a package of temporary measures to support businesses through this period of disruption.
There are still some details to follow on how businesses and individuals can access some of the various schemes and support measures. We are expecting further announcements from HMRC shortly and we will publish an update on these pages when we hear more.
In the meantime, we would encourage you to review the support package highlights below and to keep a tab on the following two websites which have been set up by the UK and Scottish Government's:
UK Government: Guidance for employers and businesses >read more
Scottish Enterprise: Coronavirus advice for businesses in Scotland >findbusinesssupport.gov.scot
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme >more
Deferring VAT payments and Income Tax payments for the self-employed >more
HMRC have scaled up their Time to Pay offer >more
Statutory Sick Pay relief package for SMEs >more
Short term cashflow support is available through the British Business Bank. The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme is offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs >more
12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England. Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop has confirmed that Scottish businesses will get £2.2 billion of support >more
An initial set of measures were announced by the UK Chancellor in his Budget 2020 speech >read more
We are committed to supporting our clients throughout the crisis and doing whatever we can to help them to resume normal operations as soon as possible.
We hope this update has provided you with some useful pointers and precis of the sources of help announced by HMRC and the UK and Scottish Governments. It’s a moving picture at the moment and we will publish further updates as and when they are announced.
We would encourage you to consider which of the measures could help you and your business to get through this period and get in touch with us to discuss - get in touch with the Martin Aitken contact below, or your usual contact at Martin Aitken or Stranville John >Get in touch
Martin Aitken Covid-19 business operations update >read more
All UK employers will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis. To access the scheme you will need to:
- designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers,’ and notify your employees of this change – you will need to check your employment contract.
- send your furloughed employee information and their salary details to HMRC through a new online portal – details to be announced by HMRC shortly.
- HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. Details of how these payments will be made will be announced by HMRC shortly.
Valued Added Tax (VAT) payments due for the period 20 March 2020 to 30 June 2020 can be deferred by three months. If you are self-employed, Income Tax payments due in July 2020 under the Self-Assessment system will be deferred to January 2021.
Defer your VAT payment: no applications are required. You do not need to make a VAT payment during this period. You will be given until the end of 2020-21 tax year to pay any liabilities that have built up during the deferral period to HMRC.
Defer your Income Tax payment: no applications are required. Payments due in July will be deferred until 31 January next year.
The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme is offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs.
The UK Government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan up to £5m. UK based businesses with a turnover up to £45m are able to access the scheme. All the major banks will offer the scheme when it is launched on 23 March 2020. >British Business Bank (CBILS)
You should talk to us if you are considering applying for the loan and we’ll help you to prepare your business plan, financial projections and associated application.
Legislation will be introduced to allow SMEs and employers to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19. The refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19 Employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible - the size of an employer will be determined by the number of people they employed as of 28 February 2020.
12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses in England.
The Scottish Government has confirmed that Scottish businesses will get £2.2 billion of support. To break this down, support in Scotland includes:
- small firms receiving the small business bonus or rural relief will be eligible for a £10,000 grant
- 12 months relief for businesses in hospitality, leisure and retail. Grants will also available for companies in this sector
- a £25,000 grant for buildings in those sectors with a rateable value between £18,000 and £51,000 - effectively freezing the poundage rate next year
- All properties across Scotland will receive a 1.6% rates relief, thereby reversing the planned inflationary increase in the poundage from April 2020.
HMRC has 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. Arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities.
HMRC and Scottish Enterprise Support Helplines
A new telephone support line has been set up by Scottish Enterprise for businesses seeking guidance on the virus and coping with the impacts. The number is 0300 303 0660 (currently open 8.30am-5.30pm Monday to Friday).
If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to COVID-19, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 015 9559. Lines are open from Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm and on Saturday, 8am to 4pm.