A personal message from Elinor, James and Taz

Firstly, we hope you and yours are keeping well. These are difficult times, both personally and in business.

We’re still working, remotely of course these days, and we’re putting in the hours to understand each new business scheme and how they are interpreted by HMRC.

To help you find the best way ahead in these unsettling times we’ve put together a webpage of resources explaining every COVID-19 measure. There’s also information about how to join our frequent interactive video Q&A sessions. To find it, please go to: COVID-19 Support

Stay safe everyone, together we will get through this, take care and lets look after each other.

Find out more

Resources

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Changes announced to Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)

03 Apr, 2020

Many small businesses that have applied for a government backed CBILS loan thus far have been offered standard overdrafts and loans – without the Government's 80% guarantee – on the basis that they fit the banks’ criteria for this type of lending.

The Chancellor has now confirmed that this is not the intention of his CBILS scheme and that from now on all businesses affected by the COVID-19 disruption should be offered a CBILS loan with the government guarantee. This change is underlined by the following statement in the press release:

Businesses and employers in Northern Ireland

01 Apr, 2020

The Northern Ireland Office (NIO) is a UK government department responsible for Northern Ireland affairs. The NIO seeks to ensure the smooth working of the devolution settlement in Northern Ireland.

A new press release, jointly published by the NIO, HM Treasury, and Prime Minister's Office, 10 Downing Street explains the latest guidance for people in Northern Ireland.

Businesses in Northern Ireland can access the following national schemes:

Financial support for exporters

01 Apr, 2020

There is a special financial support targeted specifically at exporters.  This is in addition to the package of government-backed and guaranteed loans and other measures designed to support businesses coping with the financial effects of Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Contactless payment limit increased

01 Apr, 2020

The spending limit for contactless card payments has been increased from £30 to £45 effective 1 April 2020. The change in the limit had been under consideration and has now been expedited as part of the industry’s response to the Covid-19 outbreak. 

The change will allow more contactless payments to be made reducing the need to enter pin numbers and handling of cash. Mobile payments such as Apple Pay and Google Pay, do not have an upper limit once they've been authenticated using biometric technologies such as a fingerprint or face scan.

Coronavirus deferral of VAT payments

01 Apr, 2020

In another move to help businesses the government announced that VAT registered businesses can defer any VAT payments due between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020. There is no application process required to defer the relevant payment. However, businesses can still choose to pay any VAT due as normal. 

Coronavirus – relaxation of insolvency rules

01 Apr, 2020

New insolvency measures have been announced to help prevent businesses unable to meet debts, due to the impact of Coronavirus, to continue trading and not be forced to file for bankruptcy. The measures were announced by the Business Secretary, Alok Sharma.

Further details on Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

01 Apr, 2020

HMRC has published further details on how the new Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will work in practice. It had already been announced that the new scheme will see the government cover up to 80% of wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month, for each employee that has been furloughed (on a leave of absence). The scheme will run for at least 3 months, backdated from 1 March 2020, but will be extended if necessary.

Relaxation of phone contracts during COVID-19 outbreak

01 Apr, 2020

An interesting joint statement from the Government, Ofcom and the telecommunications industry has been published to help offer support to vulnerable consumers and those who may become vulnerable due to circumstances arising from COVID-19.

The UK’s major internet service and mobile providers, namely BT/EE, Openreach, Virgin Media, Sky, TalkTalk, O2, Vodafone, Three, Hyperoptic, Gigaclear, and KCOM have all agreed the following commitments, effective immediately (from 29 March 2020):

Working Tax Credits increased for one year

01 Apr, 2020

As part of the package of measures to tackle the Coronavirus outbreak, the government has announced that the basic element Working Tax Credit payments will be increased from an expected £1,995 to £3,040 for the 2020-21 tax year starting on 6 April 2020. 

This annual increase of £1,045 is equivalent to £86.67 per month for one year from 6 April 2020. The actual amount that Working Tax Credits recipients will receive depends on their circumstances, including their level of household income.

Coronavirus tax payment helpline

01 Apr, 2020

The phone number for the COVID-19 helpline launched earlier this month has been changed to 0800 024 1222. Calls to the previously published number will be redirected. The launch of the new number will help increase capacity. 

The helpline will field questions and concerns from any business or self-employed individual worried about paying their tax due to Coronavirus disruption and to receive practical help and advice. HMRC has said that there are up to 2,000 experienced call handlers available to support businesses and individuals when needed.

Directors – between a rock and a hard place

01 Apr, 2020

Directors that have drawn remuneration from their companies as a mix of low salary and higher dividends would seem to be overlooked by the schemes announced in the past two weeks to support the employed and the self-employed.

In the first news story published by government announcing the Self-Employed Income Support arrangements (26 March 2020), the following paragraph was inserted:

Deferring VAT and tax payments

01 Apr, 2020

As part of the government’s response to assist businesses during the COVID-19 crisis is the offer to defer VAT and self-assessment tax and NIC payments.

VAT

HMRC will not enforce payment of VAT liabilities that fall due between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020. For most VAT registered firms, this will boost cashflow as one quarter's VAT payment will not be made.

SELF-ASSESSMENT TAX AND NIC

HMRC have also confirmed that any second payment on account due 31 July 2020 does not need to be made.

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