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Coronavirus Updates

Cold_FluThe situation in relation to coronavirus is rapidly evolving and things are changing every day.  We find ourselves asking the same questions as many of you, at this time all we can do is share with you what we know when we know it.

“We have seen a significant increase to calls and emails to the office around all this uncertainty, without this crisis it is already a busy time of year with tax year-end.  Therefore we ask if you would kindly review the below information to take the strain off our staff resources to ensure we can continue to meet your payroll deadlines”.

Useful Resources

ACAS Guidance for Employers & Employees

Gov Coronavirus Response

Gov Guidance for Employers

CIPP News & Coronavirus Payroll Updates

ACAS Guide to Homeworking

Universal Credit and Claiming Benefits

Gov Guidance for Employees

 

It has been confirmed that payroll professionals are “Key Workers” that fulfil a crucial role during this crisis, ensuring Britain continues to get paid.  Therefore it is business as usual for us so we can support your business and workers.  If you are having financial difficulty, we urge you to look through the information below and to regularly check the government support for employers to see what financial support you can access!  Also, talk to us, do not pull the shutters down and simply disappear, we are in this together and only together with good communication will we find our way through this. #KeepUKPaid

Here’s a link to our contingency plan page.

 

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, 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.

Eligibility

All UK businesses are eligible.

How to access the scheme

You 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.  Hopefully, in the coming days, ACAS will issue some more detailed guidance and help for employers with this.
  • 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.  Existing systems are not set up to facilitate payments to employers.

If your business needs short term cash flow support, you may be eligible for a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan.

 

SSP – Statutory Sick Pay

It was announced that SSP (Statutory Sick Pay) will be payable from day 1 where an employee is advised to self-isolate whether they display symptoms or not.  Employers with less than 250 employees as at 28 February 2020 will be able to reclaim 2 weeks’ SSP paid to an employee.  This became effective from the 13th March 2020.

If an employee does not qualify for SSP, then they may be able to claim Universal Credit.

Employers should maintain records of staff absences and payments of SSP but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note; employees can now obtain an isolation note HERE.

The Impact Of Changes On Payroll

SSP has not been reclaimable by any employer for many years now and there is no current facility to be able to reclaim any SSP payment via payroll/RTI at this time.  The government will work with employers, payroll software and other stakeholders over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible.

Employers should be prepared to fund the SSP payments themselves for the interim.

Some payroll software will not allow SSP to be paid from day one; a manual payment/override will have to suffice until software updates are released.

 

Off-Payroll Working Reforms (IR35)

The government has announced this week that the IR35 Off-Payroll Working Reforms due to apply from the 6th April 2020 will now be postponed until 6th April 2021.

This is part of additional support for businesses and individuals to deal with the economic impacts of COVID-19. This means that the different rules that exist for inside and outside the public sector will continue to apply until 6 April 2021.

 

Time To Pay Scheme for Tax Payers

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.

Eligibility

You are eligible if your business:

  • pays tax to the UK government
  • has outstanding tax liabilities

How to access the scheme

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.

If you’re worried about a future payment, please call us nearer the time.

 

Other Support For Businesses

Support for businesses that pay business rates

The government will introduce a business rates retail holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.

Businesses that received the retail discount in the 2019 to 2020 tax year will be rebilled by their local authority as soon as possible.

A £25,000 grant will be provided to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from smaller premises, with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000.

Any enquiries on eligibility for, or provision of, the reliefs should be directed to the relevant local authority.  Guidance for local authorities on the business rates holiday will be published by 20 March 2020.

Business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses

The Government will introduce a business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.  Businesses that received the retail discount in the 2019 to 2020 tax year will be rebilled by their local authority as soon as possible.

Eligibility

You are eligible for the business rates holiday if:

  • your business is based in England
  • your business is in the retail, hospitality and/or leisure sector

Properties that will benefit from the relief will be occupied hereditaments that are wholly or mainly being used:

  • as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues
  • for assembly and leisure
  • as hotels, guest & boarding premises and self-catering accommodation

How to access the scheme

There is no action for you.  This will apply to your next council tax bill in April 2020.  However, local authorities may have to reissue your bill automatically to exclude the business rate charge. They will do this as soon as possible.

You can estimate the business rate charge you will no longer have to pay this year using the business rates calculator.

Further guidance for local authorities is available in the expanded retail discount guidance.

Cash grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses

The Retail and Hospitality Grant Scheme provides businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a cash grant of up to £25,000 per property.

For businesses in these sectors with a rateable value of under £15,000, they will receive a grant of £10,000.

For businesses in these sectors with a rateable value of between £15,001 and £51,000, they will receive a grant of £25,000.

Eligibility

You are eligible for the grant if:

  • your business is based in England
  • your business is in the retail, hospitality and/or leisure sector

Properties that will benefit from the relief will be occupied hereditaments that are wholly or mainly being used:

  • as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues
  • for assembly and leisure
  • as hotels, guest and boarding premises and self-catering accommodation

How to access the scheme

You do not need to do anything.  Your local authority will write to you if you are eligible for this grant.

Guidance for local authorities on the scheme will be provided shortly.

Any enquiries on eligibility for, or provision of, the reliefs and grants should be directed to the relevant local authority.

Find your local authority.

 

Support for businesses that pay little or no business rates

The government will provide additional Small Business Grant Scheme funding for local authorities to support small businesses that already pay little or no business rates because of small business rate relief (SBBR), rural rate relief (RRR) and tapered relief.  This will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to eligible businesses to help meet their ongoing business costs.

Eligibility

You are eligible if:

  • your business is based in England
  • you are a small business and already receive SBBR and/or RRR
  • you are a business that occupies a property

How to access the scheme

You do not need to do anything. Your local authority will write to you if you are eligible for this grant.

Guidance for local authorities on the scheme will be provided shortly.

Any enquiries on eligibility for, or provision of, the reliefs and grants should be directed to the relevant local authority.

Find your local authority.

 

Deferring VAT and Income Tax Payments 

We will support businesses by deferring Valued Added Tax (VAT) payments for 3 months. If you’re self-employed, Income Tax payments due in July 2020 under the Self-Assessment system will be deferred to January 2021.

VAT

For VAT, the deferral will apply from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020.

Eligibility

All UK businesses are eligible.

How to access the scheme

This is an automatic offer with no applications 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.

Income Tax

For Income Tax Self-Assessment, payments due on the 31 July 2020 will be deferred until the 31 January 2021.

Eligibility

If you are self-employed you are eligible.

How to access the scheme

This is an automatic offer with no applications required.  No penalties or interest for late payment will be charged in the deferral period.

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.

 

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

A new temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, will launch early next week to 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.

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

Eligibility

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.  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 will be available from early next week commencing 23 March.

 

Insurance

Businesses that have cover for both pandemics and government-ordered closure should be covered, as the government and insurance industry confirmed on 17 March 2020 that advice to avoid pubs, theatres etc is sufficient to make a claim.

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.

Payroll Service Company

Our expert payroll team will tailor our payroll service to suit your business needs. We will:
• Process PAYE Income Tax and National Insurance
• Provide your staff with payslips
• Deal with HMRC
• Process starters and leavers including P45s
• Produce P60 statements
• Work out sick pay and annual leave

Payroll advice bank

Find out more

Workplace pension services

Every employer needs to have a pension scheme in place. We can help you to choose and set up a suitable scheme. We will:
• Assess your workers
• Set up your pension scheme
• Calculate employee and employer contributions
• Carry out ongoing assessment of your workers
• Submit a Declaration of Compliance

Workplace pensions advice bank

Find out more