Corona Virus: Help and Support

We have today provided the below information to our clients regarding the effects the Corona Virus may have on their businesses. We thought it would be helpful to share it on our website as well.

Please bear with us as the information and advice is changing on a daily basis, and some of the information available is limited.

If you are not a client but need some help, please get in touch and we will do all that we can to help you. It’s in times like these that we need to help eachother.

Summary of Current Help Available

The COVID-19 guidance for employers and businesses factsheet is attached below.

COVID-19 Factsheet

This advises what needs to be done if Coronavirus is suspected among any members of staff and details the financial measures that are being made available including:

  • Refund for businesses and employers required to access Statutory Sick Pay
  • A 100% Business Rates retail discount for one year 
  • Funding support for those small businesses that pay little or no Business Rates because of Small Business Rate Relief
  • The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

No details are yet available as to the £3,000 grant except that it is expected that businesses will need to apply to their local authority. It looks as though it will only be available to those who get Small Business Rate Relief i.e. have a business premises. Those working from home do not appear to be eligible.

Statutory Sick Pay for Employees

As per the attached factsheet, SSP will be reclaimable by employers for any staff member who contracts COVID-19 or has to self-isolate as per government guidelines. As it stands now, this would apply to people without symptoms if a member of their household does have symptoms.

At present the RTI payroll system does not allow for these costs to be reclaimed, so there may be a delay in businesses getting credits on their PAYE account.

Please let us know if this affects any of your staff, and we will be able to submit the correct returns for you.

In the event of a “lockdown” ordered by the government, anyone unable to work from home may be allowed to claim SSP at this point, even if they do not have symptoms. This has not as yet been confirmed.

The maximum claimable per employee is 2 weeks. SSP is paid at £94.25

Communication with Employees

We would recommend that you communicate regularly with your employees, and make them aware that as per the guidelines, they should tell you and self-isolate as soon as anyone in their household has symptoms.

It is key to let them all know the sick policy for your business, and what may happen if the situation becomes more severe.

If possible, you could also arrange for them to work from home.

Keeping everyone informed is the best way to avoid panic, and will stop people coming into work when they should not be doing so.

Check Your Insurance Policies

We would advise all clients to check out any insurance policies you may have. If you have keyman insurance see if you are covered by a lockdown, or if you contract the virus.

If you have any cover for staff, again let them know.

Problems Paying Taxes to the HMRC

If you have tax falling due in the next few months (VAT, PAYE and CIS, Self-Assessment), and the current situation will affect your ability to pay, you can contact the HMRC’s time To Pay Service. All businesses in financial distress and with outstanding tax liabilities may be eligible to receive support. Their dedicated helpline is 0800 0159 559. The HMRC have allocated 2,000 call handlers to the line that opened on 11th March.

Arrangements are on a case-by-case basis.

Other Financial Help

We would also suggest that you see what help is available from your bank, either now or in the next few months. RBS, Lloyds Bank and Barclays have pledged to offer support by mortgage repayment holidays, temporary increases in credit card limits, waiver of fees on early access to fixed savings accounts and late credit card, mortgage, and loan payments.

Review Business Costs

If you believe that the currently situation is going to affect your business, we would advise you to look at all costs and reduce discretionary and non-essential expenses as far as possible.

Fixed costs such as wages, rent, utilities, financing costs etc that will still need to be paid if sales decrease need to be looked at and budgeted for. If lump sum payments are coming up such as van insurance, paying monthly might be the prudent thing to do.  

Communicate and Carry On

We believe that it is vital that your business must at least give the impression that it is carrying on. We would suggest talking to clients and suppliers, and informing them of your short-term plans – be it “Business As Usual” or that, in the case of restaurants etc, that there will be a temporary closure.

Just by letting people know what is going on, you should again avoid panic or uncertainty.

If you do need to stop working, but will continue to pay your staff, is there anything you can do to help the community? Can you introduce delivery services to clients, or help older clients that may have to self-isolate.

We’re Here To Support You

If you need any help or are worried about anything please get in touch and we will do all that we can to help and give advice.

If you have accounts that are due, we will get these sorted out as soon as possible, so that you will know what your future tax liability will be as soon as possible.

If you have down time at home, please feel free to forward paperwork to us – we will be happy to process things whenever you supply them.

If you are a Self-Assessment client you may want to use the time to sort out the paperwork for 2019-20 so that you can provide it to us in April, so that again you will know your tax liabilities ASAP.  

If you have any concerns about being able to pay our future bills, again please get in touch.