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APH Accountants COVID-19 Business Support Update 09/04/20

Hi All,

Please find below the latest up to date (as I can be) COVID-19 business support information. 


1. Business Rates Cash Grant
2. Ltd Company Directors – Martin Lewis
3. Corona Virus Job Retention Scheme – Bank Details
4. Client Feature – Concentric HR Ltd
5. Providing Information to us Digitally
6. Helping each other
7. And finally! The latest Scam!

We are doing our level best to answer every single query – but if we have missed anything please do get in touch. Our contact details are below.

Office Number: 0151 630 4542    

Paul White: 0151 556 7247           

Helen White: 0151 556 7241        

Matt Newman: 0151 556 7246     

Carla Ashley: 0151 556 7244       

Kerry Roe: 0151 556 7240            

Dave Parry: 0151 556 7245          

Danielle Levy: 0151 556 7243     

Katy Holmes: 0151 556 7249       

Lauri Murphy: 0151 556 7248       

1.   Business Rates Cash Grant – Update
How Lincoln businesses will get a £10k coronavirus relief grant

For any clients who have been unable to or are unsure if they can claim the business rates cash grant please read the information below. This information has been kindly provided by Kim Smith, Director of JP Jackson Ltd – Forensic Business Rates Auditors

As most people are no doubt aware, business rates cash grants have been at the forefront of many conversations during the current coronavirus crisis because they can be a lifeline and in severe cases, it could mean the difference between a business staying afloat or going under. 

One of the things that has come to light during discussions with some of our existing clients is that some people are simply not aware that they are able to claim such a grant. 

Rules and regulations have changed considerably in recent weeks with regards to business rates and many businesses will have a payment holiday for 2020/21, as well as a cash grant of up to £25,000 for each property they occupy and liable to pay the rates on. 

Unfortunately though, there are many companies and private business owners who are still deemed liable for the rates in full for the coming year and receive no such grants at present – it is this type of company that we may be able to help because many are unaware that they may qualify for both the grant and backdated relief.  

We have been challenging Local Authorities all over the country, even before the COVID-19 outbreak, to award discounts/reductions where those Councils have not deemed it relevant, putting forward arguments on a case by case basis and detailing why our own interpretation of complex and ambiguous regulations should be considered on such cases.

This has proved very successful, not just for us but for the businesses that have agreed to allow us to work on their behalf. In the majority of these cases, not only have these businesses received relief unexpectedly, but they will now be in line for the cash grant too! 

So, if your business property, or properties, has a rateable value under £51,000, regardless of how many properties you occupy, why not contact us and let us take a no-obligation look at your business rates and see if we think there is some merit in taking on a case with your local Council? 

All that is required initially is details of the premises you occupy and what type of business you operate from those premises. 
If we think there is a case to take on, we can agree on a small, commission-based, fee for our efforts, which would come out of any reduction in the rates that you receive as a result. Please note that we would not charge a fee for the award of the cash grant itself, but merely on any reduction in your business rates liability for 2019/20 and 2020/21 only.”

For more information Kim’s contact details are below:
Phone: 0151 6774214

2.   Ltd Company Directors – Martin Lewis
It is now fairly common knowledge that there is little support about for those of us that are Ltd Company Directors. The best we can hope for is to furlough ourselves on a low salary (as dividends have been excluded) and just perform our Directors Duties (as highlighted in yesterday’s newsletter) or carry on as we are as much as possible.

Martin Lewis has come up with a couple of potential solutions, that may help some but certainly not all, therefore his video here is probably well worth a watch.
Some interesting points:Conflicting advice from different government departments
How will they know what you do if the rules and guidance are not clear
You can furlough yourself then go and do the same work as a freelancer i.e. go from working through your Ltd Company to working as a sole trader.
Also, if you furlough yourself you can go get a job for someone else – the irony being you can help someone else save their business but not your own! Crazy but true! – However, if you need extra money then it’s an option without losing your furlough claim.

3.   Corona Virus Job Retention Scheme – Bank Details

Online Portal for reclaiming 80% of salary

More information has now been provided in respect of this from some senior members of HMRC who appeared before a Parliamentary Select Committee yesterday:


 HMRC aim to make a payment within 4-6 days of a claim, allowing time to check for fraud; 

 Live testing has started, and the system can apparently deal with a very large volume of claims (fingers crossed on that one!);

There will be a guidance document released within the next week on how to submit claims;

Employers can submit one claim per pay period, so one per week if you run a weekly payroll and so on; I thought I read it was once every 3 weeks max?

A high proportion of the first claims are expected to include back dated pay from March;

You can make claims up to 14 days ahead, so if a monthly pay period goes to the end of the month, you can submit the claim mid-month;

There is still no plan to incorporate new starters employed after 28th February;

There will apparently be a hotline for employees to report employers who are making them work during furlough. If HMRC receives evidence of a breach of rules, claims will not be paid. 
 In the future there will be the ability for HMRC to check claims retrospectively. Remember from my previous update that you need to keep your furlough agreements / letters etc for 5 years!

Criminal proceedings will be considered for significant fraud.

Can employees still take holiday on furlough and what should they be paid?
Benidorm's beaches crowded with hordes of British tourists, in ...
This is important with the Easter bank holidays now upon us. There has been NO mention anywhere in the guidance about whether holidays can be taken and what rate of pay they attract. 

ACAS recently changed its guidance on this. ACAS firstly said that they thought it was not possible for employees to take annual leave during furlough, however they now say that they can. It is possible they have received information from HMRC or that they are just guessing like the rest of us. Who knows!

There has however been a tweet from HMRC customer support in response to a question asked (not formal guidance), but it says the following:

if an employee is on holiday or has a scheduled bank holiday whilst on furlough, they are entitled to still receive this holiday. Employers must ensure that any employee on holiday is paid their full salary for that period of holiday.” 

Rules on holiday pay are very complex and I won’t go into them here, however we will hopefully get detailed guidance on how holidays interact with furlough during the next few days and I will update you accordingly.

If you are running payroll imminently and have any questions about holidays or any other aspect of the pay calculations, please give us a call.

Bank Details Needed


4.   Client Feature – Concentric HR Ltd

Throughout this period of uncertainty I have been relying on the skill and expertise of Laura and Andrew Cross from Concentric HR Ltd. Laura has helped review any matters relating to employment law for me, advise me on my own business and provided endless support to questions no-one knows the answers to yet.
It is at times like these that some people stand up and be counted and Laura and Andrew are those type of people, so this is a bit about them
Who are they?
· Concentric HR is a small HR Consultancy based in Heswall, which has been delivering HR support for SME businesses since 2003. The business is run by Laura and Andy Cross, a husband and wife team who sadly met whilst working in HR for the Co-op’s funeral arm many years ago, and now have too many years of HR experience to remember!

How do they help business owners?
· Running your own business is great as you’re building your own future, and very often you have a great team of people around you. But sometimes when it comes to managing the people side of things, you can feel a little unsure and exposed. That’s where we come in … 
We act as your dedicated HR Manager, on call or on site as and when you need us.
Typically clients ask us to support them with managing disciplinary and grievance processes, absence, improving performance etc, but right now it’s all about the F-word – furlough!
We also do some of the positive HR stuff such as recruitment, training and team building.
We make sure that your contracts of employment and HR policies and procedures are up to date, as we often find that many businesses don’t ever review these. Right now, we have just finished working on the mandatory changes needed to contracts of employment from 6th April 2020 as part of the Good Work Plan. The lockdown might be a good opportunity to take some time to review the HR documents in your business.
In a nutshell, we take the hassle out of your hands by supporting you with difficult meetings and writing all of the dull but important letters and paperwork you need to support your people management processes. You are then free to focus on doing what you do best – running your business!

Laura and Andy’s contact details are:
Tel: 0151 342 6978

5.   Providing Information to us Digitally

A high number of clients will need either self-assessments, year-end accounts, VAT returns or payroll doing now that we have entered the new tax year.
We cannot collect any paperwork whatsoever from our office or from clients directly during the Covid-19 Crisis.
Therefore we are asking clients to provide all information digitally in pdf format where possible.
If you do not have a scanner to do this, then there is a free app called cam-scanner you can use from your phone and email in the scans to us.
Instructions on how to use cam-scanner can be found on YouTube however it is a very simple app to use and is available for android and iPhone.

Of course if you prefer to use other types of apps then please do so.

6.   Helping each other

If you think we can help each other out in whatever way you can think of then please do get in touch. 

The two clients above have very kindly provided the above information. No matter what type of business you have, if you feel you could help other clients of APH then let me know.

It could be anything from sharing videos with us of what you are up to, how you are staying positive, more likely how mad the kids are driving you, it could be some words of wisdom, marketing ideas, business ideas and advice. Anything really to help each other out – Please get in touch!

Personally I am still waiting on some haircutting tips on any barbers or hairdressers out there as I think I might be returning to a 70’s still feather cut at this rate.

7.   And finally! – The latest Scam!

I seem to be hearing more and more about scams – here is the latest one (from my email inbox) So be vigilant folks

In the words of looney tunes, that’s all folks!

Kia Kaha

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