All of us have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, whether you’re one of the fortunate few who has only been impacted by not going on your normal holidays, or even just having to wear a face covering when shopping.
Many of us though, have been impacted massively, especially if you are a business owner or solopreneur, or if you have unfortunately lost your job due to COVID. What help is there out for you? We have gone through the government guidance and found some of the ways you can get help.
Please note: most of this guidance is dependant or may be slightly different depending on whether you live in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland. Please ensure to check these on the government website.
HMRC do have a handy link to see what support your business may be eligible for: https://www.gov.uk/business-coronavirus-support-finder?priority-taxon=09944b84-02ba-4742-a696-9e562fc9b29d
If you have been made redundant or have lost your job, applying for universal credit may be your first point of call. Not only will they be lovely on the phone (at least that has been our experience) but also, they will point you in the right direction of other benefits if UC is not for you. You could get UC if; you have less than £16,000 in savings and you or your partner are under state pension age. Don’t forget that applying for benefits is your right, you have probably been paying income tax and national insurance all of your working life, for this exact moment!
Self Employed Income Support Scheme:
You cannot claim if you trade through a limited company or a trust. To be eligible you must be currently trading but impacted by reduced demand due to COVID, OR, have been trading but currently cannot due to COVID.
The details of the fourth grant will be announced on 3rd March 2021. The details of the third grant (currently closed but gives some idea what the fourth may include) are:
Business must have had a new or continuing impact from COVID which will have had a reduction in your profits.
The grant is worth 80% of your average monthly trading profit, up to £7,500 in total.
The grant does not need to be repaid if eligible, but will be included in your income for Income tax and National Insurance calculations, as such it must be reported on your 2020 to 2021 Self Assessment tax return.
Tax / NI payments:
HMRC have waived the late payment penalties if you set up a payment plan for the outstanding tax and NI you owe by 2nd March 2021. You will however still have to pay interest on the Time to Pay instalments at 2.60%. You will still need to file by 31st January 2021 in order to not be hit with a late filing penalty!
Payments on Account:
Payments on account are based on your previous year’s tax bill. Due to COVID, you may have a reduced bill arising for this tax year, as such you can apply to HMRC to reduce your 2020 to 2021 payment on account (upcoming tax bill).
Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS):
For small and medium-sized businesses to allow them to borrow between £2,000 and up to 25% of their turnover, up to £50,000. Only certain banks are open to this scheme so check with your bank to see if they offer it. You can apply for this if your business; is based in the UK, was established before 01.03.2020, has been adversely impacted by the pandemic. Consider the impact this pandemic has had on your business carefully, it may not have impacted how much work you do or calls you were getting, but did it impact your cashflow? Were people unable to pay on time due to their circumstances, this may have caused you uncertainty. This may continue. This loan could help. There are no fees to pay for the first 12 months and after 12 months the interest rate is 2.5% per year. It can be spread over 6 or 10 years.
The scheme is open to applications until March 31st, 2021.
You cannot apply if you are already claiming the CBILS (below).
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS):
Grants loans to small and medium-sized businesses up to £5 million. The government pays the interest and fees for the first 12 months. To apply you will need to show that your business would be viable if not for the pandemic and has been adversely impacted by coronavirus.
The scheme is open until March 31st, 2021.
If you are an employer:
You can take advantage of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). You can claim 80% of the wages you pay to your furloughed workers. Furloughed workers must be such by contract, or an amendment to their contract, signed by them. They cannot do work for you that generates income for your business. They can do staff training if possible / necessary but not much else. They can volunteer for other companies and even work for other companies while furloughed by you. To claim for this, search HMRC for the CJRS, for details.
You can also claim back the full amount of the first 2 weeks SSP paid out to any workers who have been of sick due to COVID-19, whether that’s with the virus itself, self isolating due to someone in the household having symptoms or even if they have been required to ‘shield’ due to vulnerability (you can only claim back 2 weeks’ worth of this period).
If you pay VAT:
You can defer your VAT payments and spread them across a number of months. The new scheme is open from 23.02.21 to 21.06.21. The month you decide to join the scheme will determine the max number of instalments you can pay over (the earlier the better).
Business rates relief:
Businesses in the retail, hospitality, leisure sectors and Nurseries in England (and in some other parts of the UK) will not have to pay business rates for the 2020 to 2021 tax year. Your local councils should have already been in touch to help you with this.
We want to make sure we are supporting you the best way possible and part of that is making sure you are aware of all the options available to you.
We have advised people to go and look at what help is out there as many people do not think they are entitled to it but only because they aren’t aware of it. This pandemic will not last forever, and so all the support is trying to do is help us all survive until we can get to some sort of normal life.
For business owners, use the link at the top to see what help is available for you. For individuals, phone up Universal Credit and ask for help, whatever it may be.
If you need a little extra help, we are at the end of a message or e-mail. Alternatively, book in one of our FREE 30 minute discovery calls to see what we offer.