Update – 27th March 2020
The following is the latest guidance, measures and details available since our last update on 21 March 2020:
CORONAVIRUS SELF-EMPLOYMENT INCOME SUPPORT SCHEME (SEISS)
We have prepared a separate article for the Coronavirus Self- Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS). Please click here for details.
UNIVERSAL CREDIT AND EMPLOYMENT AND SUPPORT ALLOWANCE
In our last update dated 21 March 2020 (link available in the body of our email), under points 6 & 7 we provided guidance on the Universal Credit and Employment and Support Allowance.
This can be claimed in conjunction with the SEISS, but is dependent on your personal circumstances and household income, as well as other criteria.
Using the following link will provide details of any eligibility you may have before considering a claim: https://benefits-calculator.turn2us.org.uk
CORONAVIRUS JOB RETENTION SCHEME
We have prepared a separate article for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Please click here for details.
SMALL BUSINESS GRANT FUND AND RETAIL, HOSPITALITY AND LEISURE GRANT FUND
Detailed guidance for previously reported £10,000 and £25,000 grants for businesses either within the Small Business Rate Relief scheme, or in the retail, hospitality and leisure sector with rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000, has now been published.
The Government has written to local councils with the method for administering the grant. We can confirm that those within the Small Business Rate Relief Scheme, even those with rateable value between £12,000 and £15,000, will be eligible for the full £10,000.
Again, we reiterate that the guidance states that you do not need to apply for this grant and the council will grant this to you in April. If you are concerned about receiving this you should contact your local council authority for confirmation.
EXTENSIONS TO 12 MONTH BUSINESS RATES HOLIDAY
In the past few days, the Government has announced an extension to the 100% business rates relief for the next 12 months to estate agents, lettings agents and bingo halls.
If this applies to your business, you should contact your local council before the 1 April to ensure you are not charged.
MORATORIUM FOR COMMERCIAL RENTERS
Commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of COVID-19 will be protected from eviction.
These measures will mean no business will automatically forfeit their lease and be forced out of their premises if they miss a payment up until 30 June.
There is the option for the government to extend this period if needed.
This is not a rental holiday. All commercial tenants will still be liable for the rent. Commercial tenants are protected from eviction if they are unable to pay rent.
This scheme is an extension of the anti-eviction measures put in place for non-commercial renters.
Cars, vans and motorcycles with an upcoming MOT may be relieved to hear that there will be a 6-month exemption from getting a MOT. You will still need to make sure your vehicle is in a roadworthy condition and use your vehicle in line with the Government’s current lockdown guidelines.
This is an added extension on top of the 3-month extension given to lorries, HGVs, buses and coaches.
CORONAVIRUS TIME TO PAY HELPLINE
Given the sheer volume of calls and reported wait times of over 3 hours for people trying to defer tax payments, the Government have opened a new helpline on 0800 024 1222. This line is open between 8am to 4pm Monday to Friday. You should consider contacting this lesser known helpline first for Time to Pay Arrangements.
VAT is automatically deferred, without need for claim, for VAT falling due on 7 April, May and June. The first quarter/month-end, which will not be deferred, will be for the period ending 31 May 2020, which will fall due on 7 July 2020. You are still expected to make this payment.
The 31 July Payment on Account for Self-Assessment taxpayers is also automatically deferred to 31 January 2021.
SCAMMERS AND FRAUDSTERS
During this time of uncertainty, we also ask you to be extra vigilant and suspicious of phishing e-mails, unusual text messages or any other communication from anyone claiming to be HMRC, Government or other business requesting money or personal details.
We are aware that people have been receiving messages regarding “fines” for breaking Government lockdown procedures.
If you receive anything like this, we advise you to hang up the call if you have been contacted by telephone, delete the email, and contact the relevant business using the phoneline on their official website.