Corona Virus Important Information for Businesses
Posted on 17th March 2020 at 11:23
The outbreak of Corona Virus is a worrying time for many businesses and individuals. In addition to the impact on health, many of you will be concerned as to how this affects your business.
We have recently been in discussion with some of our clients looking for guidance on this issue and encourage all business owners to read HMRC’s guidance for employers and business owners, which can be found on the gov.uk website at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/guidance-for-employers-and-businesses-on-covid-19
This gives helpful advice on minimising the spread of infection and what to do if one of your staff presents symptoms.
Financial Opportunities and Support Available
There is also financial support available. The latest information we have is as follows:
HM Revenue & Customs
Clients have already been in contact with HMRC, who have been very understanding and have offered to defer all tax payments (including VAT) for two months. In effect this is free credit to help with potential cash flow issues. Many of our clients are following suit and we’d encourage you to do the same if applicable.
A helpline has also been set up to help businesses and self-employed individuals with
outstanding tax liabilities receive support with their tax affairs. Through this, businesses may
be able to agree a bespoke ‘time to pay’ arrangement. If you are concerned about being able to pay your VAT or tax on time, due to the direct or indirect effects of Coronavirus, please call HMRC’s helpline on 0800 0159 559.
Banks and Loans
Banks are also said to be increasing credit lines and overdrafts and in some cases they may even offer repayment holidays on existing loans. We suggest you speak to your current lender. In respect of new finance, the Corona Virus Business Interruption Loan Scheme has been introduced.
Corona Virus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
Businesses with a turnover of less than £41 million can apply for a loan of up to £1.2 million, with the
government guaranteeing up to 80% of the loan. The guarantee is given to the financial institution making the loan but this guarantee will increase your likelihood of being accepted. The Corona Virus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) temporarily replaces the Enterprise Finance Guarantee Scheme and will be provided by the British Business Bank through accredited lenders. To apply visit this website and follow the information provided. https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/supporting-business-loans-enterprise-finance-guarantee/
Please note that there is no certainty that this funding will be available and in the case of previous loan guarantee schemes the turn-around time for applications was significant, so we would suggest that steps are taken as early as possible if you think you would benefit from this scheme.
For businesses with fewer than 250 employees, the cost of providing 14 days of statutory sick pay per employee will be refunded by the government in full. This will provide two million businesses with up to £2 billion to cover the costs of large-scale sick leave. Corona Virus
statutory sick pay is expected to be in the form of a refund. The Treasury says that it is “working with employers over the coming months to set up a repayment mechanism as soon as possible for employers reclaiming statutory sick pay”.
Help for self-employed
For the self-employed not eligible for SSP, contributory Employment and Support Allowance will be payable, at a rate of £73.10 a week if you are over 25, for eligible people affected by corona Virus or self-isolating in line with advice from day one of sickness, rather than day
For more information about Corona Virus government statutory sick pay, go to the Department for Work & Pensions website: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-work-pensions.
For further advice regarding sick pay and how best to support your employees should they self-isolate, the ACAS website has issued the following information: https://www.acas.org.uk/coronavirus
The Government announced increases in the Business Rates discount for smaller business premises in the recent budget. The Welsh Government has confirmed that this will be extended to Wales. Your local council should be able to provide further information in due course.
We hope you find the above information useful at this difficult time. If you have any queries do not hesitate to contact us.
Corona Virus Update
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