The Chancellor has set out a package of temporary, timely and targeted measures to support public services, people and businesses through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19.
This includes a package of measures to support businesses including:
– a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – deferring VAT and Income Tax payments – 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 – HMRC Time To Pay Scheme
Support for businesses through 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 – 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.
Support for businesses through 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.
Support for businesses who are paying sick pay to employees
We will bring forward legislation to allow small-and medium-sized businesses and employers to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19. The eligibility criteria for the scheme will be as follows:
– this refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19 – employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible – the size of an employer will be determined by the number of people they employed as of 28 February 2020 – employers will be able to reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP (according to the new eligibility criteria) as a result of COVID-19 – employers should maintain records of staff absences and payments of SSP, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note. If evidence is required by an employer, those with symptoms of coronavirus can get an isolation note from NHS 111 online and those who live with someone that has symptoms can get a note from the NHS website – eligible period for the scheme will commence the day after the regulations on the extension of SSP to those staying at home comes into force – the government will work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible
Eligibility – You are eligible for the scheme if:
– your business is UK based – your business is a small or medium-sized and employs fewer than 250 employees as of 28 February 2020
How to access the scheme
A rebate scheme is being developed. Further details will be provided in due course once the legalisation has passed.
Support for businesses that pay business rates
Business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses
We 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.
Further guidance for local authorities is available in the expanded retail discount guidance.
Cash grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses