Archives for Gina Epps BFP ACA FCCA

Our June 2020 ‘Tax Tips and News’ newsletter

Our latest newsletter covers:

  • Second Self Employed Grant
  • Deferring the July SA tax payment
  • Flexible furlough scheme
  • Correcting furlough claim errors
  • Opening your first Amazon Seller Account
  • Protecting your business from fraud
  • Helping your employees feel safe at work
  • Increased remote working in the future
  • Changes to business asset disposal taxes
  • Creating a robust supply chain
  • Hosting an effective webinar
  • Tax efficient savings update
  • Changes to advisory fuel rates
  • Questions and answers

You can download a full PDF copy (and subscribe for future issues automatically) from our website here.

Stay Safe and call us if we can help!

Dean and Gina

Struggling to set up your Personal Tax Account (essential for the Self Employed Grant applications!) – Here is our step-by-step guide.

Online Personal Tax Accounts are regularly useful to our clients wanting to view their State Pension Forecast, National Insurance record, Employment Income records, Self Assessment liabilities etc.

However they are now an almost essential first step for submitting an application to the Government’s Self Employed Grant scheme (SEISS). If you haven’t already got a Personal Tax Account set up, you do this at any time although we recommend you do this (and use the eligibility checker) before the grant applications open next week.

Below is a step-by-step guide to how to set up a Personal Tax Account. And you can see our separate guide to completing the rest of the Self Employed Grant Application here.

  • Visit hmrc.gov.uk and select ‘HMRC services: sign in or register’
Screenshot 2020 05 07 09.39.29 - How to Set Up a Personal Tax Account with HMRC
  • Select ‘Create sign in details’, below the sign in button
Screenshot 2020 05 07 07.29.03 - How to Set Up a Personal Tax Account with HMRC
  • Enter an email address that you have immediate access to
Screenshot 2020 05 07 07.29.14 - How to Set Up a Personal Tax Account with HMRC
  • HMRC will then send your email a confirmation code. You need to enter this on the webpage, to confirm your email address.
Screenshot 2020 05 07 07.30.30 - How to Set Up a Personal Tax Account with HMRC
Screenshot 2020 05 07 07.30.04 - How to Set Up a Personal Tax Account with HMRC
  • Enter your full name.
Screenshot 2020 05 07 07.30.44 - How to Set Up a Personal Tax Account with HMRC
  • Now to create your security details. Create a password and then a recovery word so that you can always get back into your account if you forget your password
Screenshot 2020 05 07 07.30.57 - How to Set Up a Personal Tax Account with HMRC
Screenshot 2020 05 07 07.31.17 - How to Set Up a Personal Tax Account with HMRC
  • Then HMRC will issue your Government Gateway user ID – which is essentially your username to login with. They should email a copy of this user ID straight to your email address. Make sure you have received it, before you move on from this page, so you know you have a record of it.
Screenshot 2020 05 07 10.40.56 - How to Set Up a Personal Tax Account with HMRC
  • More security! Make sure that only you can sign in, by creating a way to ‘access codes’. Select one of 3 different options
Screenshot 2020 05 07 07.32.58 - How to Set Up a Personal Tax Account with HMRC
  • Confirm you are you! HMRC will ask some security questions. We would recommend the Passport or Multiple Choice questions rather than the P60 and payslip questions (just because they’re easier to decipher and you’re more likely to have the knowledge in your head, or your passport to hand!)
Screenshot 2020 05 07 07.34.09 - How to Set Up a Personal Tax Account with HMRC
Screenshot 2020 05 07 07.34.36 - How to Set Up a Personal Tax Account with HMRC
  • Success!
Screenshot 2020 05 07 07.35.54 - How to Set Up a Personal Tax Account with HMRC
  • Finally choose how to receive further IMPORTANT correspondence from HMRC.
Screenshot 2020 05 07 07.36.11 - How to Set Up a Personal Tax Account with HMRC
  • Now you should be logged in, and have access to your Personal Tax Account. This is where you can make the Self Employed Grant application (from your allotted application date).

We hope this helps – as always we are more than happy to talk you through this process by telephone and sharing your computer screen if you are not confident, or you’re incurring issues. We are ‘Accountants You Can Talk To’ so please talk to us.

Best wishes and stay safe

Dean and Gina.

Bounce Back Loan Scheme

This new scheme is targeted at small and medium size businesses.

You can apply to borrow between £2,000 and up to 25% of turnover, with a cap of £50,000.

No repayments are due for the first 12 months of loan, and after then interest accrues at 2.5% per year. The standard term of the loan is 60 months, but you can repay early at any time without an early repayment charge.

Crucially this Loan Scheme is 100% backed by the Government (unlike their other Coronavirus loan schemes) which means you do not need to provide a personal guarantee and also that the bank should be quicker and more efficient at issuing the loan. If you have already applied for and / or received a loan of up to £50,000 under one of the existing schemes, you can apply for it to be transferred to this new scheme.

11 lenders are currently authorised to issue loans – RBS, Barclays, Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank, Danske Bank, HSBC, Lloyds, Natwest, Santander, Starling, Co-operative, Bank of Scotland, TSB and Ulster Bank.

It is recommended that you apply via your normal business bank provider (if they are on the list) and if not, you can approach one of the others. Similarly if you are turned down by a lender, you are free to approach another. You are only blocked from making more than one application at a time. The loan is a one-time only deal – you can’t have two loans.

You can apply for a loan if your business:

  • is based in the UK
  • was established before 1 March 2020
  • has been adversely impacted by the coronavirus

The application process is very straightforward across all of the banks – we have already run through several dummy applications, so that we know what you’ll be faced with! Very minimal information is required, and the whole application takes approx 10-15 minutes.

Please remember we are Accountants You Can Talk To – if you would feel more confident applying with our assistance we are more than happy to book a short telephone call and share your computer screen, so that we can assist you with the application.

Best wishes and continue to stay safe.

Dean and Gina.

Self Employed Grant – application process

HMRC have this week announced that the much anticipated grant for the self employed (SEISS) is almost here.

We have put together the below step-by-step guide on how to prepare NOW for the application and then how to make the application from 13 May. When the grant was announced we expected as your authorised agents we could apply for this grant on your behalf, using our own Agent portal to HMRC’s system. However HMRC have this week announced this additional functionality has not proved possible in the limited time available to develop the system, and given the one off nature of the scheme. In fairness they have delivered a very user-friendly application process way ahead of their ‘early June’ deadline.

We know many of our clients will process the application confidently themselves – indeed we know many of you have already completed steps 1 and 2 of the process.

If you do feel you will need extra assistance, please contact us now! Hanley & Co are in our 30th year of being ‘Accountants You Can Talk To’. We WANT to come alongside you and help in any way we can. As such we are very happy to book a short 10-15 telephone appointment with you, during which we can screen share your computer and be by your side through the application process, and also to answer any other queries you may have at this stressful time.

  • Step 1 – Check your eligibility – AVAILABLE NOW

HMRC have now made available an online tool so you can check if you are eligible to make a claim using the Government’s SEISS (self employed) grant scheme, and if so you will be given a date from when you can submit your claim. All you have to enter is your Unique Tax Reference number (found on any personal tax correspondence from us or HMRC) and your National Insurance number.

You may have received an email or post from HMRC inviting you to use this tool, but if you haven’t received anything from them, you can still use it!

Once your eligibility is confirmed HMRC will provide you with a date from when you can submit your claim. They are understandably staggering applications from 13-18 May, to spread demand on their system. Bear in mind that even if you’re at the back end of this period, HMRC have already exceeded everyone’s expectations to deliver this very quickly – we were initially advised to expect this functionality in early June!

  • Step 2 – Create your Personal Tax Account – AVAILABLE NOW

Once you have your application date from the above tool, HMRC will invite you to create a personal tax account (Government Gateway ID and password). This is essential and creating it ahead of your application day, will mean you can submit your claim promptly and easily. We’ve created a separate step-by-step guide available here on how to create your Personal Tax Account here.

If you don’t have access to a computer or internet, there will be a telephone service available. However given our lengthy ‘on-hold’ telephone calls with HMRC, we strongly recommend online submissions wherever possible.

  • Step 3 – Submit your claim – AVAILABLE 13-18 MAY

HMRC should email or text you (depending on the contact details you’ve provided to them) to confirm when the portal is open for you.

Log in to your Personal Tax Account (see above on how to set this up) to complete the application form. You will be presented with a detailed calculation of the grant available to you (based on information HMRC already hold from your Tax Returns). You are then asked to:

  • read and accept the eligibility criteria;
  • complete declarations, including to confirm that the business has been adversely affected by coronavirus; and
  • supply the bank account details into which you would like the grant to be paid.

To clarify you will not need to provide any information about your income – the calculations have already been prepared by HMRC based on the tax returns submitted.

We strongly recommend you keep a record of the receipt on your screen once submitted – either by printing it out, printing to a PDF or simply taking a photo of your screen on your phone.

  • Step 4 – Receive payment – 25 May 2020 or 6 working days from submission

You should receive payment into your bank account on the later of either 25 May 2020 or 6 working days from submission. We have been very impressed with how promptly HMRC have paid out recent furlough reimbursement claims by employers – so we are hopefully these grant payments will be similarly efficient.

We hope the above helps – to reiterate, whilst as agents we are not able to submit the application on your behalf, as initially expected, PLEASE do not hesitate to contact us to arrange a short telephone appointment so Dean or Gina can talk you through the application process and help with any other queries.

Best wishes and please continue to stay safe.

Dean and Gina

Cash grants for Self Employed individuals – NEW

Cash grants for self-employed – cash grant of up to 80% of your average trading profits, capped at £2,500 per month. This scheme will run for the next 3 months March, April and May, and will be extended longer if necessary.

You are eligible for the grant:-

  • if your self-employment income makes up the majority of your total income,
  • if you completed a 2019 Self Assessment Tax Return AND
  • if you had 2019 trading profits of less than £50,000.

Average profits are calculated using your 2016/17, 2017/18 and 2018/19 figures, or just 2018/19 if you only commenced trading recently. We can easily provide this information to you if we prepared your Returns.

Most generously, if you can continue your trade outside of the ‘lockdown’ restrictions, then you can do so and still claim the grant. There is no requirement to cease work altogether, as with the Job Retention Scheme for furloughed workers under the PAYE system.

HMRC will release a simple online application form in early June 2020, which we can assist you with, once the system is available.

Once the form is processed and checked, HMRC pay directly into your bank account the grant for March, April and May 2020. Obviously there is going to be a delay between now and receiving the grant. To assist with this period, the Government recommend looking at the other reliefs on offer including mortgage holidays, Universal Credit applications (which are being fast-tracked so you receive an upfront payment within days) and the Loan scheme. All detailed elsewhere on this page.

If the scheme is extended, we expect claims to be required on a monthly basis. Therefore we recommend we prepare your 2019/20 Tax Return promptly after April 2020 – so that if/when the form requires more up to date profit figures, you can submit and receive further grants without delay.

HMRC have generously offered to include anyone who has not yet filed a 2019 Return, providing that Return is filed within the next month. If this is you – please contact gina@hanleyandco.co.uk urgently and we can help.

Remember Dean and Gina would be delighted to talk through your individual circumstances and how any of the Covid reliefs (detailed on our dedicated webpage might apply to you.  We’re all working remotely at the moment, but are available on our usual contact numbers and emails during normal office hours.

80% Wages Reimbursement – Job Retention Scheme – UPDATE

Full details are not yet released from Government, but the ICAEW has today provided us with guidance based on their more detailed understanding so far.

All UK businesses are eligible for the Job Retention scheme. HMRC will reimburse 80% of the wage costs (so including Employers NI and Employers Pension costs) of those workers who you are genuinely unable to temporarily provide work for (who are ‘furloughed’), up to a cap of £2,500 per month. Its important to recognise this is a grant from HMRC, not a loan.

The ICAEW understands single director companies and agency workers are eligible for the scheme, as long as genuinely there is no work is undertaken during the furloughed period.

You must prepare a letter to each worker advising them of their furloughed status (which is a variation of their employment contract) and offering to pay either 80% of their wages, or advising you will be topping up to 100% full pay. You must get their written agreement to this. We hope to be provided with draft wording for such letters in due course. If the employee refuses to accept the change in status or the 80% pay offer, then redundancy proceedings can commence in accordance with employment law.

The employees must undertake absolutely no work for the business during a furloughed period. The furloughed period and reimbursement claim can be backdated to 1 March 2020 (if that was genuinely the timing). We understand that furloughed periods may begin and end, for example as furloughed staff return to work to cover for someone who is taken ill. We also understand there may be provision for circumstances where shift sharing between employees is undertaken for example in nursery or school settings.

The relevant wages to be used in the calculation will likely be taken as an average of the previous 12 month period, or less for a new employee. Specific guidance is expected for oddities such as seasonal workers or those on maternity leave, where perhaps the wages earned over the same season last year or pre-maternity period will be used.

HMRC are urgently setting up a portal and process for us to claim this reimbursement on your behalf. Please contact us immediately if you have any workers you need to temporarily send home, so that we can make the applications when it is available.

In the intervening period, hopefully the employers has sufficient funds to pay the staff, before the reimbursement from HMRC is received. If not, the official advice is to apply for a government backed loan under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (details on our webpage), to provide sufficient cashflow until the reimbursements arrive.

Finally, please note Hanley & Co are accountants, not legal or employment lawyers. The information provided above is our understanding but we cannot be responsible for the above advice. If you are in any doubt, please take separate legal advice or await official guidance.

Remember Dean and Gina would be delighted to talk through your individual circumstances and how any of the Covid reliefs (detailed on our dedicated webpage might apply to you.  We’re all working remotely at the moment, but are available on our usual contact numbers and emails during normal office hours.

COVID reliefs – updated guidance.

Last updated Sunday 22 March 2020 10am.

Here is a summary of the reliefs announced by the Government so far.  We will continue to update this page, our Social Media feeds and also circulate email newsletter briefings as information is released to us.     

We’ve arranged the various reliefs below by income status (i.e. self-employed, business owner, employee, individual) but please do read through them all – as more than one relief may apply to your individual circumstances. For example; if you’re self-employed or run a business you may be eligible for: reimbursement of up to 80% of your normal worker payroll costs if you have to send your staff home due to lack of work, defer your VAT liabilities for almost 12 months, business rates relief, increased tax credits or a new Universal Credits claim, a mortgage holiday, deferred 31 July interim Self Assessment payment AND a Time To Pay arrangement with HMRC to spread your due tax liabilities. 

Another important note (and then we’ll let you dive into the detail below), is that if you’re experiencing a lull in your business activity or you’re isolated at home now, we would strongly encourage you to focus on getting your business and personal income records and finances up to date.  Many of the reliefs available will rely on the most up to date figures you can provide, so it will be worth using any down-time wisely (as well as giving you something productive to focus on during these troubled times). 

Home-owners, renters, landlords

Mortgages – Lenders to provide mortgage payment holidays of at least 3 months for those facing finance issues as a result of coronavirus. Contact your mortgage provider directly to discuss.

Renters / Landlords – Government have announced they will bring forward emergency legislation preventing renters who fall behind on their rent from being evicted.  Housing benefit is being boosted to help renters (and in turn landlords) so that it covers at least 30% of the market rent in the local area. This can be applied for using the Universal Credit contact details below. Landlords are able to apply for mortgage payments holidays, to help support their tenants.

Self-employed

Defer your Self Assessment liability – all self employed people who submit Self Assessment and would normally be required to make an interim payment on 31 July 2020 – you now have until 31 January 2021 to do so. No specific application to HMRC is necessary for this, and no interest or penalties will be charged by HMRC for the 6 months deferral.

Universal Credit / Working Tax Credit Both the Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit element annual allowances have been increased by £1,000 per year for the next 12 months. If you’re self-employed and directly affected by COVID-19, the ‘minimum income floor’ concept for Universal Credits has been temporarily relaxed – which effectively means you will be able to claim Universal Credit at a rate equivalent to Statutory Sick Pay £94.25 per week. Also remember if you make a self-employed loss say this month, DWP will take that as £NIL and also carry forward that loss against your next month’s positive income.  We will update here when the application process for this is clarified next week.  

Even if you’re not self-employed and / or directly affected by COVID-19, you still may be eligible for an increase to your existing Universal Credit or the Working Tax Credits element, or to make a new claim. Its worth contacting DWP on 0800 328 5644 or use your online account.

Spread your Personal Tax liabilities – all businesses in financial distress, and with outstanding Self Assessment liabilities, can contact HMRC to discuss a Time To Pay arrangement – this is where settlement of your liabilities are spread over a reasonable period after the normal payment deadline.  Speak to us first and we can advise you about contacting HMRC’s dedicated COVID-19 Time To Pay helpline on 0800 0159 559 to discuss an arrangement. 

Businesses

Defer your VAT liabilities – all VAT registered UK businesses are eligible to defer their VAT liability payments between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020. No specific application to HMRC is necessary to defer payment after the due date, however VAT Returns will still have to be filed on time. Businesses will have until 5 April 2021 to settle up. If the business is in a VAT refund position, these will be paid promptly by HMRC are normal.

Spread your Business tax liabilities – all businesses in financial distress, and with outstanding or due Corporation Tax liabilities, can contact HMRC to discuss a Time To Pay arrangement – this is where settlement of your liabilities are spread over a reasonable period after the normal payment deadline.  Speak to us first and we can advise you about contacting HMRC’s dedicated COVID-19 Time To Pay helpline on 0800 0159 559 to discuss an arrangement. 

Pubs and restaurants – whilst the government has ordered you close, you can still provide a delivery or take-out service, and you can do so without applying for change of use under planning regulations. English retail, hospitality, leisure and now nurseries businesses – you will enjoy a 12 month holiday from business rates for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.  English retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from smaller premises – a £25,000 grant will be provided, if your business property has a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000.  Any other business paying little or no business rates but with business premises will receive a small business grant of £10,000 to help with their ongoing business costs. More detailed guidance (and Government funding) will be issued to and by each local authority in early April.  You should be directly contacted by your local authority – you do not need to apply. 

Small businesses who are employers

Reimburse wages costs – all UK businesses are eligible for this scheme. HMRC will reimburse 80% of the wage costs of those workers who you are unable to temporarily provide work for (who are ‘furloughed’), up to a cap of £2,500 per month. You do not have to top up this 80% to a full 100% normal salary, but you can if you wish. The employees must undertake no work for you during this period. HMRC are urgently setting up a portal and process for us to claim this reimbursement on your behalf. Please contact us immediately if you have any workers you need to temporarily send home, so that we can make the applications.

Reclaim Sick Pay for employees – employers can now reclaim up to 2 weeks worth of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid to employees, with a COVID-19 sickness absence.  Additionally, the SSP eligible period will now start on the first day of absence – NOT the fourth day.  Employees do not need to give you a GP fit note but you should, as always, maintain records of staff absences and payments of SSP.  We can help trigger the SSP and reclaim if we already run your payroll, or provide guidance if you run your own. The Government is working to set up a prompt repayment mechanism for this SSP reclaim.  Additionally, employers should be able to reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP as a result of COVID-19.

Extra help for small businesses

Loans (12 months interest free) – the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme to support long-term viable businesses who may need to respond to cash-flow pressures by seeking additional finance, with the first 12 months (was 6 months when first announced!) interest free (or rather the interest is covered by the Government).  Contact your bank to enquire. 

Got business insurance cover?  If your business has insurance cover for both pandemics and government-ordered closure, this crisis should be covered.  The government and insurance industry confirmed on 17 March 2020 that advice to avoid pubs, theatres etc is sufficient to make a claim. Unfortunately, most businesses are unlikely to be covered, as standard business interruption insurance policies are dependent on damage to property and will exclude pandemics.

Remember Dean and Gina would be delighted to talk through your individual circumstances and how these reliefs might apply to you.  We’re all working remotely at the moment, but are available on our usual contact numbers and emails during normal office hours.

Message of Support from H&Co

In these uncertain times, we wanted to reach out to all our clients to let you know we are here to offer support and guidance over the next few months. We consider it is our prime responsibility to support our clients with information and advice.  

We have gathered up to date information about the various reliefs announced by the Government so far – these are summarised on our ‘Covid-19 reliefs‘ page.

We will update this page, and our social media feeds and also circulate email newsletters whenever information is released to us. We will be available throughout, to support our clients with advice and help in clarifying options for all the coming challenges.

Health and wellbeing are the most important things right now and so all our staff will be working remotely (from home) from Wednesday 18 March.   This means the office will be closed.   We will of course deal with any post through our letterbox on a regular basis. 

We have installed a new cloud-based telephone system that will allow our communications to work seamlessly – wherever we are working.   The office phone numbers remain 0161 339 7502 and 01253 320018.

We will continue to complete your accounts, VAT, payrolls and tax returns as required, promptly.

If you and your people are working remotely and / or struggling to keep your records straight then please let us know.  We can install a variety of Cloud-based solutions to help and if you can scan and email documents to us, we can help in posting them.

If you need any help or information or would just like to discuss available options please call us and ask for Dean – or email (help@hanleyandco.co.uk)

Our business depends on your business and we must all pull together during the next few weeks / months.

Keep safe.

Dean Logan and all the staff.

COVID-19 reliefs available for businesses, sole traders and individuals.

Here is a summary of the reliefs announced by the Government so far.  We will continue to update this page, our Social Media feeds and also circulate email newsletter briefings as information is released to us.     

We’ve arranged the various reliefs below by income status (i.e. self-employed, business owner, employee, individual) but please do read through them all – as more than one relief may apply to your individual circumstances. For example; if you’re self-employed you may be eligible for business rates relief, increased tax credits, a mortgage holiday and a Time To Pay arrangement with HMRC to spread your due tax liabilities. 

Another important note (and then we’ll let you dive into the detail below), is that if you’re experiencing a lull in your business activity or you’re isolated at home now, we would strongly encourage you to focus on getting your business and personal income records and finances up to date.  Many of the reliefs available will rely on the most up to date figures you can provide, so it will be worth using any down-time wisely (as well as giving you something productive to focus on during these troubled times).  We will be delighted to assist you in getting up to date, perhaps sooner than you ‘normally’ do in the tax year.   

Self-employed, business owners, employees.

Mortgages – Lenders to provide mortgage payment holidays of at least 3 months for those facing finance issues as a result of coronavirus. Contact your mortgage provider directly to discuss.

Renters – We expect there to be similar assistance for renters.  For now, Government have announced they will bring forward emergency legislation preventing renters who fall behind on their rent from being evicted.  We expect further guidance on this to be announced this week – so watch this space.

Spread your tax liabilities – all businesses and people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, can contact HMRC to discuss a Time To Pay arrangement – this is where settlement of your liabilities are spread over a reasonable period after the normal payment deadline.   This will be particularly useful, at this time, for those businesses with Corporation Tax liabilities due or individuals under Self Assessment with an interim payment due on 31 July 2020.  Do speak to us first, as we may need to prepare your latest set of accounts in order to quantify your liabilities but then we can advice you contacting HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559 to discuss a Time To Pay arrangement. 

Not eligible for SSP?  You might not be eligible for SSP because you’re self-employed or your employment income is below the relevant limit.  If so, you can apply for the ‘new style’ Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit.  This will be for people directly affected by COVID-19, or self-isolating to government guidelines, from the first day of sickness rather than the eighth day.  Citizens Advice has a dedicated helpline for those claiming Universal Credit for the first time 0800 144 8444.

Already in receipt of Universal Credit?  For the duration of the outbreak, the requirements of the minimum income floor will be temporarily relaxed for those directly affected by COVID-19 or self-isolating.  This effectively means self-employed claimants will be compensated for losses in income.  If you’re not directly affected by COVID-19, the minimum income floor still applies, but if your income decreases or you’re loss making as self-employed, its worth contacting DWP on 0800 328 5644 or use your online account, to take a fresh look at your expected income.  Remember if you make a self-employed loss say this month, DWP will take that as £NIL and also carry forward that loss against your next month’s positive income. 

Businesses occupying property

Pubs and restaurants – you can temporarily switch to provide takeaways or deliveries without applying for change of use under planning regulations – this will help the business itself and also provide a useful food service for those at home self-isolating.

English retail, hospitality and leisure businesses – you will enjoy a 12 month holiday from business rates for the 2020 to 2021 tax year. 

English retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from smaller premises – a £25,000 grant will be provided, if your business property has a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000. 

Any other business paying little or no business rates but with business premises – could receive a small business grant of £10,000 to help with their ongoing business costs.

Guidance and Government funding on the business rates holiday and grants will be issued to and by each local authority in late March.  You should be contacted by your local authority – you do not need to apply. 

Small businesses

Loans – the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme to support long-term viable businesses who may need to respond to cash-flow pressures by seeking additional finance, with the first 6 months interest free (or rather the interest is covered by the Government!).  Contact your bank to enquire. 

Got business insurance cover?  If your business has insurance cover for both pandemics and government-ordered closure, this crisis should be covered.  The government and insurance industry confirmed on 17 March 2020 that advice to avoid pubs, theatres etc is sufficient to make a claim. Unfortunately, most businesses are unlikely to be covered, as standard business interruption insurance policies are dependent on damage to property and will exclude pandemics.

Extra support for employers

Paying SSP to employees – employers can now reclaim up to 2 weeks worth of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid to employees, with a COVID-19 sickness absence.  Additionally, the SSP eligible period will now start on the first day of absence – NOT the fourth day.  Employees do not need to give you a GP fit note but you should, as always, maintain records of staff absences and payments of SSP.  We can help trigger the SSP and reclaim if we already run your payroll, or provide guidance if you run your own. The Government is working to set up a prompt repayment mechanism for this SSP reclaim.  Additionally, employers should be able to reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP as a result of COVID-19.

Remember Dean and Gina would be delighted to talk through your individual circumstances and how these reliefs might apply to you.  We’re all working remotely at the moment, but are available on our usual contact numbers and emails during normal office hours.

Ecommerce Clients Update


In the last 8 weeks we have:

  • Assisted a client whose selling account was blocked to obtain a UK VAT registration number – in under 48 hours!
  • Continued development of a systematic method of extracting and summarising Amazon’s confusing VAT accounting reports.  No need for expensive Xero, A2X, Link my Books subscriptions for our clients!
  • Appointed by three large clients whose (separate) accountants had each totally misunderstood VAT liability calculations and Amazon accounting.
  • Helped a client obtain £150k of VAT refunds following a comprehensive and accurate submission to HMRC which resulted in just a one-hour VAT control visit.  We were also able to help the HMRC’s officers understand some aspects of Amazon accounting!