For companies of all shapes and sizes up and down the country, it’s safe to say that it hasn’t been ‘business as usual’ since the Covid-19 or coronavirus lockdown commenced.
As a leading provider of award-winning serviced accommodation for business people, our offering has had to adapt just like the services and products delivered by others within the business community.
We are currently providing key worker and isolation accommodation to ensure the people helping our nation’s recovery get the support they need during this challenging period. Adapting a business to suit the current circumstances isn’t possible for every company however.
The government’s £350 billion business bailout package is designed to provide vital relief for UK based companies, their employees and sole traders during this difficult time.
But with so much information (and misinformation) accessible online, finding the help you need to keep your business afloat isn’t easy. We offer a rundown of the help available for businesses so you can access the financial support you need.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
For most companies, business success relies on one thing – their valued workers. Your workers need your support during this uncertain time, and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ensures your workers can get paid even if your business has temporarily closed.
Under the scheme, you can claim 80% of your employees’ wages. Employer National Insurance and pension contributions can also be recouped via the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
To make a claim, you need to be registered for PAYE online, hold a UK bank account, have access to your employer PAYE scheme reference number, and have the National Insurance and payroll numbers of each furloughed employee.
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme portal is now live – click here to claim. HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will review your case and the amount will be paid by BACS into your account allowing you to pass funds onto your workers.
Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme
Companies who have paid their employees Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) due to coronavirus related absence either on or after 13th March 2020 can reclaim payments.
Whether sick pay was paid due to a coronavirus diagnosis or they cannot work due to self isolation, up to 2 weeks’ sick pay can be repaid to employers. Unlike other SSP claims, employees do not need to provide a doctor’s note as evidence.
SSP claims from all employees – including full time, part time, agency contracted and flexible/zero hours’ workers – are all covered.
Deferral of VAT and Self-Assessment
Under the latest government guidance, VAT and Self-Assessment payments have been deferred. VAT payments due between 20th March and 30th June 2020 can be deferred for payment on a later date, without incurring interest or penalties.
The second Self-Assessment payment on account, due on 31st July 2020, has also been deferred. You will now have until 31st January 2021 to make a payment.
The deferrals of both VAT and Self-Assessment payments have been introduced to help businesses, sole traders and the self-employed manage their cash flow during this difficult time.
Deferral is automatic and you do not need to contact HMRC to inform them that you intend to defer. If you can pay your tax and/or VAT on time however, you should do so. Your VAT and Self-Assessment returns must still be filed on time.
Business rates relief and support grants
Retail, hospitality or leisure businesses that have been affected by Covid-19 may be eligible for a business rates holiday. This means you will not have to pay business rates for the 2020 to 2021 tax year. Private nurseries also do not have to pay business rates during this period. You do not need to apply for this relief. Your Local Authority will apply the discount for you and reissue your business rates bill accordingly.
Business support grants and business interruption loans are being made available to small and large businesses requiring further financial support.
A word on business insurance claims
For companies with business interruption insurance, making a claim could seem like the right next step. The vast majority of Covid-19 insurance claims however have been unsuccessful, here Iwoca explains why:
“It is important to note that even if you have the business interruption insurance extensions or policies outlined above, you might not be eligible to claim. This is because most insurance policies will list out specific diseases and viruses they will cover. Since COVID-19 is a relatively new outbreak, few will have this included in their policy cover.”