Martin Aitken & Co Ltd News & Developments

Martin Aitken & Co: news and comment
56 minutes reading time (11127 words)

Covid-19 Support for businesses, charities and individuals

Email banner 1 COV

We have summarised the various announcements that have been made by the UK and Scottish Governments to support businesses, employers, employees and the self-employed during this period of disruption.

We will continue to keep this page up to date as further announcements are made.

Click on the links below to read more or download a pdf version (includes links to futher support and guidance) which can be easier to read on screen.

Please note the pdf publication was produced at the beginning of April 2020 and there have been subsequent announcements of support and funding for Scottish businesses and charities - the updates and further guidance notes from HMRC have been noted below on this webpage.

We are on hand to discuss any of the support measures announced >get in touch with your Martin Aitken or Stranville John adviser

Covid 19 maco4

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme19796 MACO FINANCIAL ACUITY NEWSLETTER WEB FILES 15

 

Support for the self-employed

 

Deferring VAT and Income Tax payments

 

Support for businesses paying sick pay to employees

 

Coronavirus Business Interruption loan schemeMACO TPL financial structure

 

Support for larger businesses through the Covid-19 corporate financing facility

 

Support for businesses paying tax: time to pay service

 

Companies to receive 3-month extension period to file accounts during Covid-19

 

Scottish Government Covid-19 Support for businessesMACO TPL ENG Scot flags

 

Third Sector Resilience Fund

 

We have also provided some additional pointers and guidance on the many issues our clients are facing right now: dealing with staff, dealing with HMRC, managing cash and payments and what you will need to do if you are considering applying for support or an emergency loans. Click on the links below to read more or download a pdf version.

UK GOVERNMENT LAUNCHES NEW CORONAVIRUS BUSINESS SUPPORT FINDER TOOL

The Government has launched a new ‘support finder’ tool will help businesses and self-employed people across the UK to quickly and easily determine what financial support is available to them during the coronavirus pandemic. The Support finder contains a new online platform helps businesses easily access the financial support they are eligible for during the coronavirus pandemic and a simple questionnaire takes business owners a few minutes to complete and will signpost them to relevant government financial support.

Support available from the UK Government >find out more

Support available from the Scottish Government >find out more 

 

 

Covid 19 maco4

Dealing with staff

The Government has announced an array of measures to help support employees during the COVID-19 crisis >read more

Dealing with your landlord

The British Property Federation (BPF) has published a statement, on behalf of the commercial property industry, to urge any business in financial distress ahead of the first rent Summary of business support May 2020quarter day of 2020 to speak to their landlord as soon as possible >read more

Dealing with HMRC

It is a crucial time for businesses, especially those in customer-facing sectors >read more

Managing cash and payments

As the effects of COVID-19 are witnessed throughout the UK, businesses are facing increased challenges. Management of cash is fundamental to successfully running a business at the best of times but now, it is even more important >read more

Your responsibilities as a Director

Directors will be familiar with their duties during this period of disruption. The UK's wrongful trading laws were suspended on 30 March 2020 to enable businesses to "weather the storm" of Covid-19 >read more

Loans are available to help support businesses through this period

If you are considering applying your should read our our application tips and pointers >read more

Covid-19:MAFS Update for investors

You’ll be aware that in response to the outbreak that stock markets around the world are in an anxious mood are re-positioning to the downside. We have seen some dramatic falls as the markets are trying to come to terms with the shock and those shocks that are still to come >read more

Martin Aitken business operations during Covid-19

Click on the links below to read more or download a pdf version (includes links to futher support and guidance) which can be easier to read on screen.

 

back to top 

Covid 19 maco5

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), 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. All UK businesses are eligible. CJRS scheme extended to October 2020 >read more

Update 12-5-20: New features on CJRS online claim portal and guiance on making new applications >read more

Businesses will need to:19796 MACO FINANCIAL ACUITY NEWSLETTER WEB FILES 14

1) designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers,’ and notify your employees of this change - changing the status of employees remains subject to existing employment law and, depending on the employment contract, may be subject to negotiation

2) submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings through a new online portal (HMRC will set out further details on the information required)

HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. HMRC are working urgently to set up a system for reimbursement. The new online application portal opened on 20 April 2020. 

Key points for employers

Ensure that you document your thought processes and discussions when deciding which employees are to be designated at ‘furloughed’ - treat it as if it is a redundancy situation and think about how you would need to evidence your decision. See >Dealing with staff

Consider if putting employees on furlough leave is absolutely necessary and reasonable to do in the circumstances. Again, make sure you record your reasons (in writing).

Ensure that you notify employees being designated as ‘furloughed’ in writing, giving 19942 MACO Tax Planning 26your reasons, making clear any terms that will apply during this period, and offering reassurance that financial support via the CJRS will be available.

The CJRS is intended to be a reimbursement scheme so it is envisaged that the employer will have to make the payments to employees first and then seek reimbursement from HMRC. The scheme will be in place for 4 months starting from 1 March 2020, but it may be extended if necessary - the scheme was extended on 12-5-20 to October 2020, however there will be changes from 1 August 2020 >read more

You can only claim for furloughed employees that were on your PAYE payroll on or before 19 March 2020 and which were notified to HMRC on an RTI submission on or before 19 March 2020. 

Where employers receive public funding for staff costs, and that funding is continuing, it is expected that employers will use that money to continue to pay staff in the usual fashion and correspondingly not furlough them. This also applies to non-public sector employers who receive public funding for staff costs.

HMRC issues guidance on 12-5-20: Avoiding common mistakes when making an application >read more

HMRC issues guidance on 14-5-20: Check which employees you can put on furlough to use the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme >find out more

You can only claim for furloughed employees that were employed on 19 March 2020 and who were on your PAYE payroll on or before 19 March 2020. This means a Real Time Information (RTI) submission notifying payment in respect of that employee to HMRC must have been made on or before 19 March 2020.

If you had employees that were employed on 28 February 2020 but not on 19 March 2020, please see the section below on employees who were made redundant or stopped working for you after 28 February 2020. Click on the links below to go to gov.uk:

back to top

Help for the self-employed

The scheme is called the Coronavirus Self-employment Income Support Scheme (CSEISS).Outlook icon

If you have suffered a loss in income, a taxable grant will be paid to the self-employed or partnerships, worth 80% of profits up to a cap of £2,500 per month. 

Initially, this will be available for three months in one lump-sum payment and will start to be paid from the beginning of June. You cannot apply for this scheme yet. HMRC will contact you if you are eligible for the scheme and invite you to apply online.

If you do not qualify for the CSEISS e.g. if you have recently become self-employed then you may qualify for the Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund.

This fund is being administered by Scottish Local Authorities >find out more and apply now

UPDATE 6-5-20: Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) 

Scheme Opens Earlier Than Expected!

This week HMRC started contacting self-employed people who are likely to be eligible, through a combination of emails, SMS texts and letters, to tell them what they need to do to get ready to claim. 

Applications will open in tranches from 13-18 May 2020 based on the unique taxpayer number (UTR) given to all self-employed taxpayers.

Ahead of the application date, you will be able to use a new online eligibility checker to find out if you qualify >SEISS eligibility checker

If the checker confirms that you are eligible you will be given a date when you can use the online service to make your claim. You will be given a date when you can make your claim.

Payments are expected to be made into claimants bank accounts in 6 working days after the application is received.

It is hoped that HMRC may rethink the method of claim, but at this moment, the latest guidance clearly states: “Your tax agent cannot make the claim for you”, meaning we cannot apply on your behalf.

What you need to do now

STEP 1: Check if you are eligible - Self Employed Income Support Scheme Eligibility checker: https://www.tax.service.gov.uk/self-employment-support/enter-unique-taxpayer-reference

We trialed the eligibility checker and it was very straight-forward to use. All you need is your UTR and your NI number.

(2) If you are eligible you will require the following information in order to make an application:

1. Your Self-assessment Unique Taxpayer Reference Number
2. Your National Insurance Number
3. Your Government Gateway ID and Password*
4. Bank account number and sort code for payment

(3) *If you have a Government Gateway ID and Password you do not need to take any further action at this time.

If you do not know or don’t have a Government Gateway ID and password you should create one now to avoid any delay in receiving payment.

The eligibility checker tool will point you in the right direction to create a Government ID if you do not have one. You will also need a couple of forms of ID to set up an gateway account e.g. driving licence, passport.

Who can claim?19942 MACO Tax Planning 44

You can claim if you’re a self-employed individual or a member of a partnership and:

• you traded in the tax year 2018 to 2019 and submitted your Self Assessment tax return on or before 23 April 2020 for that year
• you traded in the tax year 2019 to 2020
• you intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020 to 2021
• you carry on a trade which has been adversely affected by coronavirus.

Your business could be adversely affected by coronavirus if, for example:

• you’re unable to work because you: are shielding; are self-isolating; are on sick leave because of coronavirus; have caring responsibilities because of coronavirus
• you’ve had to scale down or temporarily stop trading because: your supply chain has been interrupted; you have fewer or no customers or clients; your staff are unable to come in to work.

To work out your eligibility HMRC will first look at your 2018 to 2019 Self Assessment tax return. Your trading profits must be no more than £50,000 and at least equal to your non-trading income.

If you’re not eligible based on the 2018 to 2019 Self Assessment tax return, HMRC will then look at the tax years 2016 to 2017, 2017 to 2018, and 2018 to 2019.

Grants under the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme are not counted as ‘access to public funds’, and you can claim the grant on all categories of work visa.

Reminder: your tax agent or adviser (e.g. us or whoever submitted your last Self Assessment tax return) cannot make the claim for you. You must make the claim yourself.
You may be able to submit a paper claim – full details on this have not yet been published – but this method is likely to lead to delays in payment.

Further information:

Criteria and application process: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme


Eligibility checker: Self Employed Income Support Scheme Eligibility checker see: https://www.tax.service.gov.uk/self-employment-support/enter-unique-taxpayer-reference

If you do not qualify for the SEISS e.g. if you have recently become self-employed then you may be qualify for the Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund. This fund is being administered by Scottish Local Authorities >find out more and apply now

Additional support for the newly self-employed and viable micro and SME businesses in distress due to the pandemic was announced on 15th April >See Scottish Government support measures below.

In his closing remarks the Chancellor noted that “…in devising this scheme … it is now much harder to justify the inconsistent contributions between people of different employment statuses”. This was a subtle way of suggesting that National Insurance contributions will have to rise for the self-employed once the crisis is over.

Off-payroll working in the private sector (IR35). On 17 March, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Steve Barker, said in a statement to the House of Commons that the start office worker icondate for the new IR35 tax rules would be deferred to 6 April 2021.

UPDATE: 5-5-20: Help for off-payroll workers

HMRC has confirmed that public sector contractors within the scope of the off-payroll working (IR35) rules are eligible for the 80% furlough scheme. 

Off-payroll workers

Many public sector contractors will probably still be working from home, but if unable to continue to provide their services due to Covid-19 they are eligible for the furlough scheme. It doesn’t matter whether the contractor is working via a personal service company, a PAYE agency or an umbrella company. There are, however, some potential pitfalls:

• The furlough scheme is only available up to the point where an assignment is due to expire (regardless of Covid-19), and there is no obligation for the public sector body to extend the assignment.
• The decision on whether to operate the furlough scheme lies with the end user/supplier, not with the contractor.
• Umbrella companies might only furlough based on 80% of the minimum wage.

The postponement of the extension of the public sector off-payroll working rules to the private sector was a welcome reprieve, but it looks like the government is determined to go ahead with the change from 6 April 2021. A report from the House of Lords calling on wholesale reform of the proposals does not appear to have gained any traction, with the Lords going as far as to say that the off-payroll rules have never worked satisfactorily throughout the whole of their 20-year history.

back to top

Deferring VAT and Income Tax payments

The Government will support businesses by deferring Valued Added Tax (VAT) payments and Income Tax payments due in July 2020 under the Self-Assessment 19796 MACO FINANCIAL ACUITY NEWSLETTER WEB FILES 03system.

VAT

The deferral will apply for VAT payments due from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020. All UK businesses are eligible. 

This is an automatic offer with no application 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. Remember to cancel your DD if you cannot pay the VAT. 

Deferring Self-Assessment payments on account

If you’re due to pay a self-assessment payment on account by 31 July 2020 but you have been impacted by Covid-19 you may defer payment until January 2021. 

You do not need to be self-employed to be eligible for the deferment. When the deferral was first announced it was just for self-employed individuals, this was subsequently amended to apply to all individuals who pay their income tax through Self-Assessment.

This is an automatic offer with no application required. No penalties or interest for late payment will be charged if you defer payment until 31 January 2021.
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.

back to top

Support for businesses paying sick pay to employees

The Government will make legislation to allow small-and medium-sized businesses and employers to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19796 MACO FINANCIAL ACUITY NEWSLETTER WEB FILES 1019. 

The eligibility criteria for the scheme will be as follows:

• this 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
• employers will be able to reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP (according to the new eligibility criteria) as a result of COVID-19
• employers should maintain records of staff absences and payments of SSP, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note. If evidence is required by an employer, those with symptoms of coronavirus can get an isolation note from NHS 111 online and those who live with someone that has symptoms can get a note from the NHS website
• eligible period for the scheme will commence the day after the regulations on the extension of SSP to those staying at home comes into force
• the government will work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible.
You are eligible for the scheme if your business is UK based and your business is small or medium-sized and employs fewer than 250 employees as of 28 February 2020.

Update 19-5-20: The online service to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) will be available from 26 May 2020. You can check your eligibility and find out about the information you will need to make a claim on gov.uk >check your eligibility to make a claim 

Employers can claim for periods of their employees sickness starting on or after:

  • 13 March 2020 - if your employee had coronavirus or the symptoms or is self-isolating because someone they live with has symptoms.
  • 16 April 2020 - if your employee was shielding because of coronavirus

The weekly rate of SSP before 6 April 2020 was £94.25 and after this the weekly rate it is £95.85. If you’re an employer who pays more than the weekly rate of SSP you can only claim up to the weekly rate paid.

Find out more on gov.uk >read more

back to top

Coronavirus Business Interruption loan scheme

A new temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), delivered by the British Business Bank, will support primarily small and medium-sized businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts.

The government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan (subject to a per-lender cap on claims) to give lenders further confidence in continuing to provide finance to SMEs. The government will not charge businesses or banks for this guarantee, and the Scheme will support loans of up to £5 million in value. >read our loan application tips and pointers

Businesses can access the first 12 months of that finance interest free, as government will cover the first 12 months of interest payments.

You are eligible for the scheme if:
• your business is UK based, with turnover of no more than £45 million per year
• your business meets the other British Business Bank eligibility criteria

How to access the scheme

The full rules of the Scheme and the list of accredited lenders is available on the British Business Bank website >read more

All the major banks will offer the Scheme once it has launched. There are 40 accredited providers in all.

You should talk to your bank or finance provider (not the British Business Bank) as soon as possible and discuss your business plan with them. This will help your finance provider to act quickly once the Scheme has launched. If you have an existing loan with monthly repayments you may want to ask for a repayment holiday to help with cash flow.
The scheme opened for applications on 23 March 2020.

The Chancellor announced on 16th April that CBILS will be extended to support large businesses, with an annual turnover of between £45 million and £500 million. Larger businesses will be able to gain to access loans of up to £50 million from the end of April (the maximum loan amount was extended by the Government on 19 May from £50m to £200m. The larger loans will be available from 26 May) >how to apply for CBILS (large businesses)

back to toprocket icon

Bounce back loans for small businesses 

This new 100% government backed loan scheme for small business will launch on 4 May.

Small businesses will be able to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 (subject to a ceiling of 25% of turnover) to help protect them from the impact of the pandemic and the lockdown measures.

The UK Government will provide the accredited lenders with a 100% guarantee for the loan and the Government will also pay any fees and interest for the first 12 months. There will be no repayments due during the first 12 months.

The scheme will open for applications on Monday 4 May. Businesses will be able to access these loans through a network of accredited lenders.

The scheme has been designed to ensure that small firms who need vital cash injections to keep operating can get finance in a matter of days.

The loans will be easy to apply for through a short, standardised online application. The loan should reach businesses within days thereby providing immediate support to those that need it as easily as possible. The standard application form will be two pages long. Guidance on how to apply >find out more here

UPDATE: 5 May 2020: The scheme opened for business at 9.00 am on 4 May. Since last week’s initial announcement further details have emerged:

Terms
• The loan can be between £2,000 and £50,000, subject to a maximum of 25% of turnover.
• The government provides a 100% guarantee to the lender: the borrower always remains fully liable for the debt.
• No security is required.
• The first year’s interest will be covered by a government Business Interruption Payment. During that period, the borrower does not have to make any repayments.
• The interest rate thereafter is set at 2.5%.
• There are no fees for the borrower.
• The maximum term of the loan is six years, but repayment is allowed at any time. No early repayment fees will apply.

Criteria
• The application form contains only seven questions which require basic information, e.g. turnover, company number etc.
• While the British Business Bank will run the scheme, it recommends businesses should directly approach lenders. At present only ten banks are participating (nine of which are High Street names). Only one, HSBC, is offering loans to non customers, subject to know-your-customer and other checks.
• The borrower must be based in the UK, have been negatively affected by coronavirus and be able to confirm that on 31 December 2019 it was not a “business in difficulty”.
• If the business cannot pass that end-2019 financial test, then it must certify that the loan does not breach de minimis State Aid restrictions and will not be used to support export-related activities.
• Applicants cannot have received a loan under the existing Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS). However, a CBILS loan of up to £50,000 can be transferred to the BBLS up until 4 November 2020.

The first day of the BBLS saw over 110,000 businesses apply for loans totalling an estimated £3.3bn (an average loan of about £30,000).19796 MACO FINANCIAL ACUITY NEWSLETTER WEB FILES 05

back to top

Support package for innovative firms

On 20th April the Chancellor announced a two-part support package for ‘innovative firms’, which means mainly start-ups and other venture capital backed business that would be unable to raise CBLIS or CLBILS finance.

The Future Fund will launch on 20 May and be delivered with the British Business Bank. The fund will provide loans between £125,000 and £5 million, with private investors at least matching the government commitment. These loans will automatically convert into equity on the company’s next qualifying funding round, or at the end of the loan if they are not repaid.

To be eligible, a business must be an unlisted, UK registered and UK based company that has previously raised at least £250,000 in equity investment from third party investors in the last five years.To begin with the government is committing £250 million to the scheme.

It will initially be open until the end of September, with its scale kept under review. >read more: British Business Bank

Targeted Support for Research and Development (R&D)

£750 million of targeted support for the most R&D intensive small and medium size firms will be made available through a grants and loan scheme operated by Innovate UK, the national innovation agency.Innovate UK will accelerate up to £200 million of grant and loan payments for its 2,500 existing customers on an opt-in basis.

An extra £550 million will also be made available to increase support for existing customers and £175,000 of support will be offered to around 1,200 firms not currently in receipt of Innovate UK funding. The first payments will be made by mid-May. >read more

Support for larger businesses through the Covid-19 corporate financing facility

Under the new COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility, the Bank of England will buy short term debt from larger companies.19796 MACO FINANCIAL ACUITY NEWSLETTER WEB FILES 07

This will support your company if it has been affected by a short-term funding squeeze and allow you to finance your short-term liabilities. It will also support corporate finance markets overall and ease the supply of credit to all firms. All UK businesses are eligible. 

The scheme was made available w/c 23rd March 2020.

More information is available from the Bank of England >read more 

Support for businesses paying tax: time to pay service

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. You are eligible if your business pays tax to the UK government and has outstanding tax liabilities.

If you have missed a tax payment or you might miss your next payment due to COVID-19, please call HMRC’s dedicated helpline: 0800 0159 559/0800 0241 222. If you’re worried about a future payment, please call them nearer the time.

back to top

Business insurance – check your cover

Businesses that have cover for both pandemics and government-ordered closure should be covered, as the government and insurance industry confirmed on 17th 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 are encouraged to check the terms and conditions of their specific policy and contact their providers. Most businesses are unlikely to be covered, as standard business interruption insurance policies are dependent on damage to property and will exclude pandemics.

back to top

Scottish Government Covid-19 Support for businesses

The package of measures announced is worth £2.2 billion from 1st April and includes:19796 MACO FINANCIAL ACUITY NEWSLETTER WEB FILES 15

• a full year’s 100% non-domestic rates relief for retail, hospitality and tourism
• £10,000 grants for small businesses in receipt of the Small Business Bonus Scheme or Rural Relief
• £25,000 grants for hospitality, leisure and retail properties with a rateable value between £18,000 and £51,000
• 1.6% relief for all properties, effectively freezing the poundage rate next year
• First Minister to convene an emergency meeting of the Financial Services Advisory Board
• urging local authorities to relax planning rules to allow pubs and restaurants to operate temporarily as takeaways
• extending the go live date for the deposit return scheme to July 2022
• halting the introduction of the Visitor Levy Bill.

The closing date for Coronavirus Business Support Grants available via Local Authorities in Scotland is 10 July 2020.

You can find out more here: Sources of funding and grants for Scottish businesses and charities

 

Update 09-6-20: The Scottish Government announced on 9th June that small businesses which share properties but do not pay business rates are now eligible to apply for grants to help as a result of the impact of COVID-19:

  • Extension to the ‘Small Business Grant Fund’ will apply to business incubators, shared industrial units, firms occupying shared office space and those who lease space from a registered, rate-paying landlord.
  • Extension to companies occupying multiple premises with a collective value of more than £51,000.
  • Eligible businesses will now be able to apply to their local authority for grants up to £10,000.
  • The ‘Small Business Grants’ and ‘Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant’ schemes will close for new applicants on 10th July.

 

Update 15-4-20: The Scottish Government announced on 15th April that it will make a further £220 million of grants available for businesses impacted by the pandemic. The package of support includes:

(1) £120m to extend the Small Business Grant scheme – small business ratepayers can apply for a grant now and from the 5 May they will be eligible for a 100% grant on their first property and a 75% grant on all their subsequent properties. Applications are via your Local Authority - link below.

(2) An additional £100m fund is also being made available to help to protect newly self-employed people and viable mirco and small businesses in distress due to the pandemic. Applications will open at the end of April again via your Local Authority.

Update 22-4-20: Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop has confirmed that grant funding for the newly self-employed suffering hardship and SMEs in distress will be available shortly.

The £120 million fund (increased by £45 million on 8-5-20, then by another £30m on 20-5-20) to support the self-employed and SMEs will be broken into three separate funds:

  • £34 million Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund, managed by Local Authorities, will be allocated to the newly self-employed facing hardship through £2,000 grants
  • £20 million Creative, Tourism & Hospitality Enterprises Hardship Fund (increased on 20-5-20 to £30m), managed by the Enterprise Agencies in partnership with Creative Scotland and VisitScotland for creative, tourism and hospitality companies not in receipt of business rates relief.
  • £45 million Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund (increased to £90m on 8-5-20., then to £120m on 20-5-20) The turnaround target for receipt of grants is 10 days from application), managed by the Enterprise Agencies for vulnerable SME firms who are vital to the local or national economic foundations of Scotland. The Scottish Government is also providing £1 million to top up Creative Scotland’s Bridging Bursaries in the not-for-profit sector.

 

UPDATE: 11-5-20: Emergency Loan Fund for SME HousebuildersMACO TPL construction digger

Housebuilders are now able to apply for short-term loans of up to £1 million from the Scottish Government to support them through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with liquidity issues due to the temporary closure of the housebuilding sector will be able to apply to a £100 million Scottish Government emergency loan fund.

The aims of this funds are to:

  • safeguard jobs and protect suppliers
  • support post-coronavirus economic recovery and the continued supply of homes
  • retain diversity of the housebuilding sector.

SME housebuilders will be able to apply for loan support from 2pm on 18 May on the Scottish Government website. Full details on the criteria for the Fund will be available shortly. You can find out more here >liquidity support for SME housebuilders

Applicants should be a SME housebuilder with a turnover of £45 million or less per year, building five or more homes per annum. They should only apply for funding that is necessary for the short term. They will be asked to explain why existing support mechanisms are not sufficient for their business.

The loans will be capped at £1 million and most of the loans will be expected to be repaid within two years with interest rates set at 2%. The minimum loan amount is £50,000.

Update 12-5-20: Small premises occupied by charities are now eligible for £10,000 grants

Properties occupied by charities can now apply for the £10,000 Small Business Grant Scheme to help with pressures caused by the current pandemic and lockdown restrictions.19796 MACO FINANCIAL ACUITY NEWSLETTER WEB FILES 07
The Small Business Grant Scheme, previously only open to small businesses, will now allow charities to apply for grants of £10,000 on the first eligible property and £7,500 on any additional eligible properties.

The extension of the scheme is expected to result in an additional £31 million being made available to more than 3,000 small properties occupied by charities – including day centres, workshops and halls. 

It will apply to properties which are in receipt of any Charitable Rates Relief or Sports Relief, but are otherwise eligible for the Small Business Bonus Scheme.

Non-domestic rates relief is available through the Small Business Bonus Scheme if:

  • the combined rateable value of all your business premises is £35,000 or less; and
    the rateable value of individual premises is £18,000 or less.

The Small Business Grant Scheme is administered by Local Authorities and charities can apply for the scheme through their own local authority.

More information on how to apply for the grants from your Local Authority can be found here: https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/

You can read the full announcement here: https://www.gov.scot/news/extra-support-for-charities/

back to top

UK Government business and financial support

This website features a comprehensive overview of the the support, advice and information to help with the impact of coronavirus (Covid-19) on your business available through the UK Government: https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/

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.

back to top

Third Sector Resilience Fund

The Third Sector Resilience Fund (TSRF) is a £20m emergency fund for charities, community groups, social enterprises and voluntary organisations working in Scotland. The fund will support organisations that already deliver services and products but find themselves in financial difficulties directly as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The primary intention of the fund is to help third sector organisations to stabilise and manage cash flows over this difficult period.

The Fund will be delivered by Firstport, Social Investment Scotland and the Corra Foundation and will provide grants between £5,000 - £100,000. In addition, there will be up to a further £5m available in fully flexible, 0% interest loans starting at £50,000. The fund will be complemented by specialist business advice from Just Enterprise to help grant recipients maximise the impact of the financial support.

To find out if your organisation could be successful in gaining support from this fund please use the eligibility checker. This will filter you through to the correct route for your organisation to apply.

To be eligible, interested organisations must be:

• a charity, social enterprise or voluntary organisation based in Scotland and/or primarily delivering services/activities in Scottish communities.
• already delivering those products or services prior to March 2020.
• and needing funding to stabilise cashflows directly as a result of the impact of COVID-19, as opposed to pre-existing financial difficulties

Interested applicants are encouraged to read the fund’s guidance notes and FAQs prior to starting an application. In order to apply, organisations must complete a short eligibility checker to assess their suitability for the fund.

Based on the answers provided, interested applicants will be directed to the correct application form depending on their needs or signposted to other sources of relevant 19796 MACO FINANCIAL ACUITY NEWSLETTER WEB FILES 23funding/support. >Third Sector Resilience Fund - SCVO read more

The Scottish Government’s Wellbeing Fund will support organisations across the third sector that are providing important services for people as a result of coronavirus. The £50 million Wellbeing Fund is part of a £350 million package announced by the Scottish Government to support those most affected by the pandemic.

£10m has already been allocated for immediate priorities and £7 million has been committed to provide around 2,000 charities with small grants through Corra, Inspiring Scotland, STV Appeal, SCVO and Scotland’s Third Sector Interfaces. 

The Wellbeing Fund is now open for expressions of interest from all third sector organisations >register your interest and find out more

back to top

Companies to receive 3-month extension period to file accounts during Covid-19

From 25 March 2020, businesses will be able to apply for a 3-month extension for filing their accounts. This joint initiative between the government and Companies House will mean businesses can prioritise managing the impact of Coronavirus.

As part of the agreed measures, while companies will still have to apply for the 3-month extension to be granted, those citing issues around COVID-19 will be automatically and immediately granted an extension.

Applications can be made through a fast-tracked online system which will take just 15 minutes to complete.

Futher guidance is available on gov.uk >read more

To apply for an extension via Companies House >apply now

back to top

Covid 19 maco1

Dealing with staff

The Government has announced an array of measures to help support employees during the COVID-19 crisis. 

UK workers of any employer who is placed on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme can keep their job, with the Government paying up to 80% of a worker’s wages, up to a total of £2,500 each month.

Payments will be backdated to 1 March and initially be open for four months, to be extended if necessary. All UK businesses are eligible. The scheme was extended on 12-5-20 to October 2020 >read more

To apply business will need to:

• designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers,’ and notify your employees of this change - changing the status of employees remains subject to existing employment law and, depending on the employment contract, may be subject to negotiation

• submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings through a new online portal (HMRC are in the process of setting up the Portal and further details on the information required are expected to be published soon). 

HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. HMRC are working urgently to set up a system for reimbursement. The new online application portal is due to open on 20 April 2020.

There are still further announcements expected from HMRC. We will update you when we hear more through our e-briefings.19796 MACO FINANCIAL ACUITY NEWSLETTER WEB FILES 01

CJRS – Q&A

What does the £2500 grant cover?

It will cover the lower of £2,500 per month per employee, or 80% of the employees gross salary plus employer NICs on the grant amount and the employer AE pension contribution (3%) where applicable.

Directors of owner-managed businesses who pay themselves by a combination of salary and dividends can only claim the salary element that has gone through PAYE.

What earnings period should I use to calculate the claim?

For employees who have been employed for 12 months prior to the claim, you can claim for the higher of the same month’s earnings from the previous year, or the average monthly earnings from the 2019-20 tax year.

For those employees with variable pay, you should use their average earnings, or the period of employment during 2019-20 that can be used.

If the employee has stared within the last year, you can claim for the average of the employee’s earnings since they started.

How will payments be made?

Employers should continue to pay the contractually agreed amounts to their employees as required by the employment contract i.e. paying the employee’s salary and the relevant taxes and NICs and pension contributions, where appropriate.

The grant will then be paid directly to the employer. 

What about existing employee benefits?19796 MACO FINANCIAL ACUITY NEWSLETTER WEB FILES 04

The rules for the grant will not displace the employee’s employment contract. So an employee’s entitlement to holiday and sick pay will be as their existing contract.

Are all employees eligible?

All employees on the payroll on 28 February 2020 are eligible.

Can workers can be moved in and out of being furloughed if work becomes available to and then ceases again? 

This has yet to be clarified. The scheme is being designed to allow for flexibility so that furloughed staff can be brought back to work to replace those still working who later become sick. 

The rules are likely to make provision for instance for sickness cover where a continuing employee is off sick or self-isolating and a furloughed worker can provide cover.

Which employees can be furloughed?

The matter of which employees an employer decides to furlough will be a matter for negotiation with staff and employment law. An employee does not have to accept furlough if offered, but the employer could then make the employee redundant instead using the usual employment law procedure.

It is a condition of the scheme that the employee must do no work at all during the furlough period. The intention of the scheme is to allow employers to pay staff who are without work. 

There is further guidance available on gov.uk

 

back to top 19796 MACO FINANCIAL ACUITY NEWSLETTER WEB FILES 08

Dealing with your landlord

Update 23-4-20: The UK Government announced that landlords would not be able to make statutory demands between 1 March and 30 June or present winding up petitions between 27 April and 30 June “where a company cannot pay its bills due to coronavirus”. The government also promised secondary legislation to prevent landlords using Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery (CRAR) unless they are owed 90 days of unpaid rent.The next quarter day for rental payment is Midsummer Day, 24 June 2020.

This was on the back of the British Property Federation (BPF) publishing a statement, on behalf of the commercial property industry, to urge any business in financial distress ahead of the first rent quarter day of 2020 to speak to their landlord as soon as possible. 

The first rent quarter day is on 25 March and the commercial property industry is committed to supporting its customers who are concerned, through no fault of their own but due to COVID-19, about rent liabilities. 

Businesses will have immediate relief measures available to them – flexibility around rents and other lease terms could include moving from quarterly to monthly rent payments and providing rent deferrals or payment holidays, depending on individual businesses’ financial circumstances. 

Property owners however, are similarly facing the impacts of COVID-19 on their own businesses and will need further intervention from the Government – including measures such as rent subsidies to tenants – if they are going to help as many businesses as possible come through the next few weeks. 

The retail, leisure and hospitality businesses at the heart of our high streets are at the sharp end of the unfolding global health pandemic and property owners are already working with these customers who are in temporary distress.

As the disruption continues, the challenges facing these businesses will spread to other types of property occupiers and to all parts of the economy. Property owners will stand ready to support those that need it, to create workable solutions that protect their future as well as the 45 million savers and pensioners around the country whose money is invested in commercial property.

back to top

Dealing with HMRC

It is a crucial time for businesses, especially those in customer-facing sectors. pressures on landlord icon

This week has been one full of uncertainty and diluted messages as we all try to fight our way through this global pandemic, quickly adjusting business models to safeguard as best we can. 

As far as HMRC goes, on Friday 20 March, the Chancellor announced that the next quarter of VAT payments will be deferred, meaning no business will pay any VAT from now until the end of June. This is set to free up £30 billion worth of cash to employers, equivalent to 1.5 percent of GDP. 

This announcement follows the HMRC plans set out by the Chancellor in Budget 2020, to create a dedicated helpline to provide information and advice in response to the crisis. Agreements to date have included instalment payments, suspending debt collection or stopping penalties and interest if they demonstrate difficulties paying immediately. 

The idea of setting up a deferred tax system for all businesses is to provide the much-needed flexibility when it comes to cash flow in the short term, presenting them with the opportunity to restructure their business accordingly. 

Management will need this cash to meet critical short-term payments to enable ongoing trading and meet the costs associated with restructuring or mothballing businesses to adapt to the current circumstances. 

What’s more, HMRC has outlined its immediate plans to withhold any further actions against any businesses where they have outstanding liabilities to HMRC. It is not yet clear how long this will stand for, but we can only presume it will last for the next few months at least. 

The message from HMRC to date has been one of leniency and unprecedented support, giving businesses the ability to free up immediate capital funding to reduce impact.

However, it is important to remember that any money falling due in tax, in this time, will have to be repaid in the future – the Chancellor has given businesses until the end of the financial year to repay the bills.

There is no doubt that there is further guidance from HMRC to come imminently, but I would advise businesses that are feeling the impact of COVID-19 to seek advice as well as support on how best to use the extra cash to secure the future of their business.

back to top

Managing cash and payments

As the effects of COVID-19 are witnessed throughout the UK, businesses are facing increased challenges. Management of cash is fundamental to successfully running a business19796 MACO FINANCIAL ACUITY NEWSLETTER WEB FILES 17 at the best of times but now, it is even more important. 

Here are some tips to help you manage your cash flow successfully:

1. If you have never prepared management accounts and produced a cash flow forecast, now is the time to do it.

This will help you look at your business bank account history and see what funds have historically left the account. Are they automatic monthly items such as wages or are they variable payments such as suppliers? Work out when you need to make payments and put them in your cash flow.

2. Work out payments that are critical to your ongoing business in the short term and those payments that, if you didn’t make them, would mean that your business couldn’t survive.

For example, if you have employees who you need to pay to keep the business running, they must be paid on time. If you have payments which can be delayed, then identify those payments.

3. HMRC has provided support to businesses by delaying payment of the next tax quarter and recognising that businesses will need time to pay where income has dropped. Use this opportunity to delay tax payments and preserve cash for those critical payments that keep your business going over the next few months.

Remember though that HMRC are only deferring tax payments and it still needs to be paid at some point. 

4. Preserve cash even if you have reserves.

Don’t think that because you have the money now, you can afford to make payments which do not fall as critical. The landscape may change so plan for the worst-case scenario.

back to top

Covid 19 maco3

Your responsibilities as a Director

Directors will be familiar with their duties to:19796 MACO FINANCIAL ACUITY NEWSLETTER WEB FILES 05

• Act within their powers under the company’s constitution
• Promote the success of the company for the benefit of its shareholders
• Exercise independent judgement
• Exercise reasonable care, skill and diligence
• Avoid or manage conflicts of interest which may affect their objectivity

However, if a company is insolvent then the directors’ duty becomes to the creditors, not themselves nor their shareholders. If a company is insolvent or in danger of becoming insolvent, it is essential that directors are aware of the duties they owe to creditors, and of the things they should and should not do.

The precise details of what factors they should take into account to discharge those duties varies from one case to another, and they should seek professional advice if in any doubt.

In certain circumstances, personal liability can be imposed on directors of companies which go into insolvent liquidation, and so it is crucial that directors act correctly to minimise such risks.

Key issues for consideration 

1) Directors need to ask themselves on a regular basis whether their company remains solvent.

There are two tests:
• The ’cash flow test’, a company is insolvent if it cannot pay its debts as they fall due.

• The ’balance sheet’ test, a company is deemed insolvent if it’s satisfied, on the balance of probabilities, that a company has insufficient assets to meet all its liabilities (including contingent and prospective liabilities) as and when they eventually fall due.

If directors think their company may be insolvent on either test, duties are owed primarily to creditors as a whole.

2) Directors need to consider whether the company should continue to trade if it is insolvent.

Personal liability can attach to the directors for wrongful or fraudulent trading, such that the directors can be ordered to contribute to the assets of the company.19796 MACO FINANCIAL ACUITY NEWSLETTER WEB FILES 09

Directors can be liable for wrongful trading where they continued trading at a time when they knew (or should have concluded) that there was no reasonable prospect of the company avoiding an insolvent liquidation and they failed to take every step a reasonably diligent person could be expected to take to minimise loss to creditors.

3) Transactions completed in the run-up to insolvency can be challenged by the courts and, in some cases, the courts can overturn them.

Directors should be very careful if they plan to transfer assets out of a company if there is any doubt as to whether it is solvent. If the company enters into a transaction below market value (for example it sells an asset at a knock down price), there is a risk that a subsequently appointed liquidator or administrator of the company may seek to set aside the transaction as a transaction at undervalue. 

In addition, care should be taken to avoid doing anything which may put a creditor in a better position than it would be in on an insolvent liquidation. 

4) Directors should take particular care if a group of companies is involved

Directors of multiple companies in a group should bear in mind that transactions within the group can be vulnerable too. A director of multiple companies owes duties to each individual company and therefore conflicts may develop. 

If a Director is faced with such challenges, the following practical steps should be taken:

• Board meetings should be held regularly
• Full board minutes should be taken (and circulated to all directors after the meeting)
• Maintain and review up-to-date management accounts and prepare regular cash flow forecasts
• Take prompt professional advice

The UK Business secretary, Alok Sharma suspended the UK’s wrongful trading laws on 30 March 2020 to enable businesses to “weather the storm” of Covid-19.
The changes will allow directors of companies to pay staff and suppliers even if the company is facing insolvency. 

They will also alleviate the concerns expressed by many company directors that taking out additional loans offered by the Government could place the director at risk of personal liability. The changes also include a temporary moratorium for businesses undergoing a restructuring process. During the moratorium the creditors cannot put the business into administration.

back to top

Loans are available to help support businesses through this period

With tighter measures around social distancing and isolation, including the closure of a large amount of businesses in the hospitality and leisure industries, we are seeing a rise inMACO invest queries relating to funding which the Government has promised. 

The Government has announced a raft of measures to assist businesses who require funding support through a variety of initiatives. The main one being the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS). 

Announced by The Chancellor during Budget 2020, but finalised recently, this new scheme is one that will provide support to small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), across the UK, who are experiencing disruptions to their cashflow. 

The key features and eligibility criteria of the scheme are briefly summarised below:

1) Established for businesses with a turnover of up to £45 million: this scheme allows businesses from all sectors to apply for the full amount if they are based in the UK with an annual turnover that doesn’t exceed the specified amount, and have a borrowing proposal that appears to be viable.

2) Between £1,000 and £5 million facility: This lending scheme is via the British Business Bank and covers a wide range of products, including term loans, overdrafts, asset finance and invoice finance. These are available on repayment terms of up to six years.

3) 80% government-backed guarantee: The scheme provides the lender with a government-backed guarantee against 80% of the outstanding facility balance. This is useful in terms of the potential to convert a decision from rejection of a loan to acceptance. However, it’s important to note that the borrowing business will remain 100% liable for the debt.

4) No guarantee fee for SMEs to access the scheme: The scheme doesn’t require SMEs to pay an access fee in contrast to the lenders who will be required to pay a fee.

5) Interest and fees paid by the Government for a year: The scheme allows for smaller businesses to benefit from no upfront costs and low initial repayments as the Government will make a Business Interruption Payment to cover the first year of interest and any lender fees. This will help to reduce the pressure on smaller businesses by giving them a year in which to recover and continue as before.

6) Finance terms: The scheme naturally offers different finance terms depending on the product required. For term loans and asset finance facilities, the finance terms are up to six years. Whereas, for overdrafts and invoice finance facilities, terms are up to three years.

7) Security: The lender can choose to use the scheme for unsecured lending for facilities of £250,000 and under. The Big Four banks have agreed that they will not take personal guarantees as security for lending below £250,000. For facilities above £250,000, the lender must establish that the borrower is unable to provide security, before it uses CBILS. Primary residential property cannot be taken as security under the scheme.

Are you considering applying for a loan?19796 MACO FINANCIAL ACUITY NEWSLETTER WEB FILES 12

In order to make an application, you should be satisfied that there is a need. In the current economic environment this will be, for many, a simple decision. In making an application you should have a clear view on both the purpose and the quantum that is desired. 

You will be required to provide a current business plan and cashflow/financial projections for the business for the period ahead including the rationale and assumptions you will make about the downturn in trade you will experience. 

You should speak to us about what you information and plans will need to submit to your lender and what will be involved in the process. We can help you to get ready and prepared.

Loan application – tips and pointers 

The main challenge is working out when normal trading will return and thus how much funding will be needed to bridge the intervening gap. It is unlikely that trading will return overnight to previous levels once the ‘lockdown’ is over so you will need to ensure that you build in a ramp up period in your projections. But starting when?

You will need to be explicit on how COVID 19 is affecting your business e.g. reduced sales, delayed cash, reduced personnel through illness affecting productivity.

Ensure you complete the application form as comprehensively as possible and have, for example, up to date financials and a robust set of projections and assumptions to accompany the application as well as details of current financial commitments. That said, check with the individual lender what information is required as, for example, a business plan may be optional.

For loans below £250k, a personal guarantee should not be required but confirm this with the lender.

You may bank with a bank that is not on the lenders panel and therefore have to start afresh in looking for a lender. If one lender turns you down, you can still approach other lenders within the scheme.

Access to the scheme has now been opened up to smaller businesses facing cashflow difficulties who previously would not have been eligible for CBILS because they met the requirements for a standard commercial facility. However, the Government has not put any restrictions on the interest rates that the 40 banks involved in the scheme can charge for the loans.

We can provide guidance and application support, as well as introducing clients to the scheme lenders and alternative finance providers. Get in touch with Euan to arrange a call.

Get in touch with Euan Ferries, Corporate Advisory to arrange an initial discussion: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

back to top

Covid 19 maco2

Covid-19:MAFS Update for investorsMACO saving

Coronavirus – Covid-19 appears to be receding in China but taking hold and indeed accelerating everywhere else around the world.

Our thoughts at this time are with everyone who has been directly or indirectly affected by the contagion. It will inevitably be a difficult period for all of us in the UK, especially if the situation in Italy is replicated here, which as I write is looking increasingly likely.

We must continue to adhere to the advice and direction of the public health experts in Scotland and the rest of the UK and act and behave accordingly. This is not a time for amateur assessments and for that matter some of the bad news peddlars we are seeing daily on our TV screens and in the online and print media. We know that bad news sells and some journalists have a canny ability of making bad news seem a whole lot worse than it actually is or will be.

You’ll be aware that in response to the outbreak that stock markets around the world are in an anxious mood are re-positioning to the downside. We have seen some dramatic falls as the markets are trying to come to terms with the shock and those shocks that are still to come.

So, I wanted to make you aware of our thoughts and to remind you that we’re here if you have any questions or concerns.

The ebbs and flows, and highs and lows, of stock markets are perhaps the only thing we can safely say are a given. Cutting and running may be on the mind of some, but it may not be the correct medium, or for that matter short term strategy.

Irrespective of how Covid-19 plays out, our advice will remain consistent. Don’t try and second-guess the markets and don’t let short term market volatility distract you from an asset allocated, diversified investment strategy.

As we have never been through this type of event in most of our living memories in the UK, nobody knows exactly how it will unfold and what the impacts will be for equities, inflation, interest rates, etc. despite what some are predicting in the media.

There is no past performance, there are no precedents and the future is impossible to predict.

Since 1975, the UK Stock market has fallen by 20% or more nine times. Each time going on to record new highs and considerably higher stock market valuations in the years that MACO projectfollowed. So, keep in mind the long term time frame.

We don’t doubt the resilience of UK companies and predict that they will navigate the impacts of the Covid-19 successfully. Over the long term the stock market has grown even with short-term setbacks – though there are never any guarantees and past performance is not a guide to the future.

It is nigh on impossible to second-guess when is the best time to enter or exit the market, as the speed at which markets react to news, good and bad, means that stock prices have already absorbed the information.

With any long-term investment strategy, having a mix of investments is key. At any point, there’ll be certain sectors or regions that are doing better than others. A portfolio moving in different directions is actually a good thing. It shows that you aren’t exposed to all the same risks. 

Investors with diversified portfolios, who stay in the market, have historically and consistently experienced steady gains over time. Perhaps the most important lesson from the past 30 years of stock market volatility is that heavy falls in markets end up being little more than a stumble in the market’s long term rise. Although this cannot always guaranteed.

So, our advice is to ignore the noise and daily market speculation and movements, and focus on the long term. It’s also important to remember that volatility also presents buying opportunities. Regular reviews provide the opportunity for ongoing discussion and assessment of appetite for investment risk, investment time horizon and investment goals.

Rest assured, we will be very aware of every market movement, but at the same time we won’t overreact to what can often be just noise. If you wish to discuss any aspect of the current situation then please do get in touch with your Martin Aitken Independent Financial Adviser.

back to top

Key Announcements from the Spring Budget 2020

The full highlights and commentary are on maco.co.uk >read more MACO business

The Chancellor announced a £12 billion “temporary, timely and targeted” coronavirus stimulus on top of an £18 billion increase in general public spending, but tax measures were relatively few. An additional £330bn in loans, £20bn in other aid, a business rates holiday (England, Wales & NI), and grants for retailers and pubs were also announced on 17th March 2020 by the Chancellor.

The pension annual allowance thresholds will each be increased by £90,000 from 2020/21, removing taper as an issue for most people with incomes under £200,000.

The capital gains tax entrepreneurs’ relief lifetime limit has been cut from £10 million to £1 million with immediate effect.

The annual investment limit for junior ISAs and child trust funds will be increased to £9,000 from 2020/21.

The national insurance contributions employment allowance will increase from £3,000 to £4,000 from April 2020.

There will be a review of the taxation of funds to make the UK more attractive for fund management. It will also consider the VAT treatment of fund management fees.

From April 2021, only zero emission vehicles will get 100% first year allowances. Cars with emissions up to 50g/km will have an 18% a year writing down allowance; for higher emitters the allowance will be 6% a year.

From April 2022, red diesel (and rebated biofuels) will only be available to users for agriculture, rail and non-commercial heating.

E-publications (e-books, e-newspapers, e-magazines and academic e-journals) will be VAT zero-rated from 1 December 2020.

NEW: UK Business and Personal Tax rates 2020-21 >download a pdf

Employment taxes: changes for the new tax year from 6 April 2020 >read more

Off-payroll working in the private sector (IR35) rules deferred. On 17 March, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Steve Barker, said in a statement to the House of Commons that the start date for the new IR35 tax rules would be deferred to 6 April 2021.

back to top

Click on the links below to download a pdf version (includes links to futher support and guidance) which can be easier to read on screen.

Publication date: 2 April 2020. We are expecting further announcements from HMRC on the CJRS scheme and from the UK Government on support measures for the Third Sector (in addition to those already announced by the Scottish Government). We will publish further updates when we hear more.

Temporary VAT zero-rating of PPE
Chancellor extends furlough scheme until October