The coronavirus / COVID-19 is causing a lot of uncertainty. The situation is changing on a daily basis. Updates will be posted on this page including links to government websites.
The Alterledger team will continue to provide support to our clients. All our systems are online so there should be no break in service whether we are working from home or from the office.
The HMRC COVID-19 helpline has been set up for businesses concerned about paying their tax due to coronavirus (COVID-19). The current advice is that businesses should call the number below to make their own arrangements on an individual basis.
HMRC COVID-19 helpline
Telephone: 0800 015 9559
Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm
Saturday, 8am to 4pm
The UK Government announced a relaxation of VAT payments on 20th March. Any VAT returns filed between 20th March and 30th June are subject to new rules. Any VAT due from these returns will not be payable until 31 March 2021. This offer is automatic and available to all VAT registered businesses.
VAT returns will need to be filed as normal. If you file a repayment return, HMRC will process a refund as usual. If your VAT return requires a payment to HMRC and you are unable to pay, it is our recommendation that you still file your return, but cancel any Direct Debit Instruction before you file the return. Please note that any HMRC concessions will still require VAT to be paid at a later date. If you find it easier to pay your next VAT return when it would normally fall due, you still have the option to do this.
PAYE returns will also need to be filed as normal. It is important for your employees that you record the correct payroll information so you can reclaim any Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) from HMRC. Employers with fewer than 250 staff will be able to reclaim SSP for the first 14 days of sickness due to COVID-19. For the purposes of this temporary measure, employees who are not symptomatic, but are self-isolating to prevent infection or contamination with COVID-19 will be deemed to be incapable of work for SSP purposes.
Company directors who receive wages subject to Class 1 National Insurance are also eligible for SSP if they are unable to work due to COVID-19 illness or self-isolation. Dividends are not subject to National Insurance so these earnings do not count towards the weekly threshold of £118.
For information on furloughed workers and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme see the article here.
Self-employed businesses will typically have payments due to HMRC on 31st July and 31st January each year. The UK Government announced on 20th March that payments due to HMRC on 31st July 2020 will be deferred to 31st January 2021. This is automatic and no applications are required to delay your payment.
The Self-employment Income Support Scheme was announced on 26th March and will provide grants to the self employed including musicians, artists and other freelancers.
Scottish Government Support
Not all the support announced by the UK Government will apply in Scotland. For devolved matters in Scotland, please refer to the Scottish Government website.
Support for Scottish Business
The Scottish Government has announced £2.2 billion of support for businesses. This supersedes the £320 million package announced on 14 March and includes an additional £1.9 billion of increased support following the UK Chancellor’s announcement on 17 March. The measures include:
- 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
Support for Scottish Third Sector
Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell MSP announced a £350 million fund to support welfare and wellbeing in Scotland with a focus on charities and community groups. £20 million will be allocated to a Third Sector Resilience Fund, to help ensure the health and continued viability of the third sector organisations affected by cash flow and other problems.
Support for Newly Self-Employed
The Scottish Government announced a Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund on 21st April with grants of £2,000 to people who started as sole traders in the last year. The fund is for people who started freelancing after 5th April 2019 and are not eligible for any other financial support from the government.
UK Government Support
The UK Government has announced measures to support business including:
- a statutory sick pay relief package for SMEs
- a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England
- small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
- grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
- the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank
- a new lending facility from the Bank of England to help support liquidity among larger firms, helping them bridge coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through loans
- the HMRC Time To Pay Scheme
Welsh Government Support
Welsh Government measures include a £10,000 grant to all businesses eligible for Small Business Rates Relief with a rateable value of £12,000 or less.
The total package of business support totals £1.4 billion and provides retail, leisure and hospitality businesses in Wales with a year long business rates holiday. A grant of £25,000 will also be offered for businesses in the same sector with a rateable value of between £12,001 and £51,000.