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Covid-19 Business Support Update 16.10.20

Hi Everyone,

Well here we are with a whole heap more restrictions and more government and local financial support available, however no-where near as generous as before. It’s going to be a long winter for sure but one we will get through by supporting each other.

A general update on APH is that we are continuing to work from home for the foreseeable future but will update you when/if we return to the office.

We have released this newsletter at a weekend so that you have plenty of time to digest the content as there is a fair bit in it.

Please do read the newsletter to make sure that you are claiming every single penny that you can over the coming months.

A list of all our contact numbers is below should you wish to speak with any of us.


Contact APH Accountants Wirral Merseyside chartered accountants for self employed limited companies and start ups

Office Number: 0151 630 4542    
Email: accounts@aphaccountants.co.uk

Paul White: 0151 556 7247           
Email: paulwhite@aphaccountants.co.uk

Helen White: 0151 556 7241        
Email: helenwhite@aphaccountants.co.uk

Matt Newman: 0151 556 7246     
Email: mattnewman@aphaccountants.co.uk

Carla Ashley: 0151 556 7244       
Email: carlaashley@aphaccountants.co.uk

Kerry Roe: 0151 556 7240            
Email: kerryroe@aphaccountants.co.uk

Dave Parry: 0151 556 7245          
Email: daveparry@aphaccountants.co.uk

Danielle Levy: 0151 556 7243     
Email: daniellelevy@aphaccountants.co.uk

Katy Holmes: 0151 556 7249       
Email: katyholmes@aphaccountants.co.uk

Lauri Murphy: 0151 556 7248       
Email: laurimurphy@aphaccountants.co.uk


  1. Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CRJS) AKA Furlough Scheme
  2. Job Support Scheme (JSS)
  3. Job Support Scheme Expansion (JSSE)
  4. Job Retention Bonus
  5. Local Restrictions Support Grant
  6. Liverpool City Region Hospitality and Leisure Support Grant
  7. Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) plus Grant Extension
  8. Bounce Back Loan Scheme – Pay as you Grow
  9. VAT Deferral
  10. VAT Extension
  11. Statutory Sick Pay for Covid-19
  12. Time to Pay
  13. Self-Assessment Season

1) Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CRJS) AKA Furlough Scheme

As you all will know by now the Furlough Scheme in its present format will end on the 31st October 2020.

Helen will be contacting you shortly to make claims for October after which the scheme ends. For October the amount claimed back from the government will be 60% with 20% being paid for by the Employer.

Please remember you should have kept records of if/when and which employees you have furloughed as these maybe requested by HMRC at a later date and are needed in order to support your claims.

In his Winter plan package, Rishi announced that the current Furlough Scheme will be replaced by the Job Support Scheme of which details are below. A further extension of this scheme was announced last week for businesses that have been forced to close down under the new Tier 3 arrangements, more of which is below.

2)Job Support Scheme (JSS)

The Job Support Scheme is designed to protect viable jobs in businesses who are facing lower demand over the winter months due to Covid-19, to help keep their employees attached to the workforce. The scheme will open on 1 November 2020 and run for 6 months.

The Job Support Scheme is far less generous than the Furlough scheme and is somewhat debatable as to how effective it will be.

Eligibility

  1. Employers with a UK bank account and UK PAYE schemes can claim the grant.
  2. Neither the employer nor the employee needs to have previously used the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
  3. There will be no financial assessment test for small and medium enterprises (SMEs)

Criteria

  1. The employee must be working at least 33% of their usual hours
  2. For the time worked, employees must be paid their normal contracted wage.
  3. For time not worked, the employee will be paid up to two-thirds of their usual wage.

So if they work 33% of normal hours (This isn’t limited to 33% employees can work more hours)

The Gov will top up one third of the remaining 67% so 22% and the employer will top up another 22%

So in total the Employee will get 77% – (55% from the Employer and 22% by the Gov)

  •  Employees cannot be made redundant or put on notice of redundancy during the period within which their employer is claiming the grant for that employee.
  • The Government will cap any contribution they make to £697.92 a month.
  • Payments of the grant will only be made AFTER you have paid your Employees and an RTI return has been submitted.

How to make a claim

  1. As with the Furlough scheme we will continue to support our clients in making the claims on their behalf (if possible) FOC.
  2. When further details of the scheme have been released, we will send another newsletter out with more information or contact via email to see if you require a claim doing. SO please keep an eye for further newsletters.
  3. At the moment there is no further information available so please be patient and we will contact you when we know more.

HMRC Checks

  1. HMRC will check claims.
  2. Payments may be withheld or need to be paid back if a claim is found to be fraudulent or based on incorrect information.
  3. Grants can only be used as reimbursement for wage costs actually incurred.
  4. Employers must agree the new short-time working arrangements with their staff, make any changes to the employment contract by agreement, and notify the employee in writing.
  5. This agreement must be made available to HMRC on request
  6. HMRC will inform Employees directly of full details of the claim

IF IN DOUBT ON POINTS d-f CONSULT WITH A HR PROFESSIONAL

I use Laura from Concentric HR Ltd who I cannot recommend highly enough. She has been a god send through the Covid Crisis with HR issues. If you require Laura’s contact details please let me know

Further Information about the scheme can be found at this link: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/921389/Job_Support_Scheme_Factsheet.pdf

3)Job Support Scheme Extension

Under the expansion, businesses whose premises are legally required to shut for some period over winter as part of local or national restrictions will receive grants to pay the wages of staff who CANNOT work.

This expansion of the JSS will help businesses through the period they are affected by these restrictions, supporting the wage costs of employees who have been instructed to and cease work in eligible premises and enabling those premises to reopen as quickly as possible when they can

The JSS is available to employers for six months, from 1 November 2020 and will be reviewed in January 2021. Further guidance will be published in the coming weeks.

Eligibility – Employers

  1.  In line with the rules for the JSS already announced: all employers with a UK bank account and a UK PAYE scheme registered on or before 23 September 2020 can claim the scheme.
  2. This means a Real Time Information (RTI) submission notifying payment to that employee to HMRC must have been made on or before this date
  3. This scheme will cover businesses that, as a result of restrictions set by one or more of the four governments in the UK, are legally required to close their premises.
  4. This includes premises restricted to delivery or collection only services from their premises
  5. The scheme will pay a grant to the employer calculated on the number of eligible employees who have been instructed to and cease work at the relevant premises.
  6. Employers will only be able to use the scheme for employees who cannot work (paid or unpaid) for that employer
  7. Employers must be instructed to and cease work for a minimum of 7 consecutive (or calendar) days.
  8. An employee can return to work at a later date
  9. Claims must not overlap and must be made monthly in arrears.
  10. These payments will be taxable, and employers will be required to cover employer NIC and automatic enrolment pension contributions in full, where applicable, but are not required to make further contribution to wage costs.
  11. However, employers can top up employee pay if they wish.
  12. Businesses required to close as a result of specific workplace outbreaks by local public health authorities are not eligible for this scheme.
  13. In line with the rules of the JSS already announced, neither the employer nor the employee needs to have previously used the Coronavirus Job Retention

Eligibility – Employees

  1. Similar to the Job Support Scheme, where employees receive two-thirds of their wages for time not worked, the grant per eligible employee available from the UK Government is two-thirds of their normal pay up to a limit of £2,100 per month.
  2. Normal pay is still yet to be defined i.e. is it the latest normal pay or the referenced pay period of 28th Feb per the furlough scheme – further details will be provided when we find out more.
  3. Your employer can claim under the rules announced today (9 October) if their premises are closed. When premises re-open, employers can claim under the normal JSS for firms facing reduced demand.

How to make a claim

  1. As with the Furlough scheme we will continue to support our clients in making the claims on their behalf (if possible) FOC.
  2. When further details of the scheme have been released we will send another newsletter out with more information or contact via email to see if you require a claim doing. SO please keep an eye for further newsletters.
  3. At the moment there is no further information available so please be patient and we will contact you when we know more.
  4. This is a temporary scheme, available to employers from 1 November 2020 for 6 months and will be reviewed in January 2021
  5. Employers will be able to make a claim on a monthly basis online through gov.uk from December 2020 and this will be reviewed in January 2021.

HMRC Checks

  1. HMRC will check claims.
  2. Payments may be withheld or need to be paid back if a claim is found to be fraudulent or based on incorrect information.
  3. Grants can only be used as reimbursement for wage costs actually incurred.
  4. Employers must agree the new scheme with the relevant staff, make any changes to the employment contract by agreement, and notify the employee in writing. This agreement must be made available to HMRC on request. • HMRC intend to publish the name of employers who have used the scheme, and employees will be able to find out if their employer has claimed for them under the scheme. HMRC will continue to operate a hotline for individuals to make reports of any fraudulent claims they may be aware of

IF IN DOUBT ON POINT d CONSULT WITH A HR PROFESSIONAL

I use Laura from Concentric HR Ltd who I cannot recommend highly enough. She has been a god send through the Covid Crisis with HR issues. If you require Laura’s contact details please let me know

Scheme Further Information about the scheme can be found at this link

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/925672/20201009_JSSC_Factsheet_FINAL_EG_1516_002_.pdf

4)Job Retention Bonus

You cannot claim the Job Retention Bonus until 15 February 2021. Once we have the details we will let you know how to make the claim.

The Job Retention Bonus is a £1,000 one-off taxable payment to you (the employer), for each eligible employee that you furloughed and kept continuously employed until 31 January 2021.

You can claim the bonus if you are an employer who has furloughed employees and made an eligible claim for them through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Your employee must have been eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grant for you to be eligible for the bonus.

Employees you can claim for

  • you made an eligible claim for under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
  • you kept continuously employed from the end of the claim period of your last Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme claim for them, until 31 January 2021
  • are not serving a contractual or statutory notice period for you on 31 January 2021 (this includes people serving notice of retirement)
  • you paid enough an amount in each relevant tax month and enough to meet the Job Retention Bonus minimum income threshold

To meet the minimum income threshold you must pay your employee a total of at least £1,560 (gross) throughout the tax months:

  • 6 November to 5 December 2020
  • 6 December 2020 to 5 January 2021
  • 6 January to 5 February 2021

You must pay your employee at least one payment of taxable earnings (of any amount) in each of the relevant tax months

HMRC have indicated that we as agents can make this claim on your behalf

5) Local Restrictions Support Grant

The Government have had in place since September a Local Restriction Support Grant (LRSG) to support businesses who have been forced to close due to local restrictions. Previously this grant hasn’t been applicable to Merseyside but now due to the new Tier system and the closure of some businesses due to being in the Tier 3 category, it unfortunately is now relevant. The government initially would provide up to £1,500 every 3 weeks but after the introduction of the tier system this has been increased to up to £1,500 every 2 weeks.

The direct aim of this grant is to support businesses that provide in-person services at their business premises who have been forced to close under the new restrictions.

The criteria are:

  • Business must occupy a property on which it pays business rates.
  • Has been forced to close due to lockdown restrictions for at least 3 weeks.
  • Therefore cannot provide its usual in person service from its business premises.

Note: businesses can still provide a takeaway service and claim the grant.

The grant you can claim depends on the rateable value of your business premises as follows:

  • Rateable values of up to £15,000 – £667 every 2 weeks of business closure
  • Rateable values between £15,000 and £51,000 – £1,000 every 2 weeks of closure
  • Rateable values of over £51,000 – £1,500 every 2 weeks of closure

The grant is also available on a discretionary basis to some other businesses who do not meet all of the above criteria, such as businesses who don’t pay business rates but have been forced to close, and also some businesses that have not been required to close but have been severely impacted (for example by the closure of customer businesses).

The basic detail covering the above can be found here https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-youre-eligible-for-the-coronavirus-local-restrictions-support-grant

The claims will be made through your local council’s website. The council’s applications aren’t yet open but keep an eye on the website and our website/social media and we will try and update as soon as they are. It should be in the very near future.

This grant can be claimed alongside the Job support scheme (above & expanded scheme), Job retention (furlough) scheme (above) and the Liverpool City Region Hospitality and Leisure Support scheme (below).

6) Liverpool City Region Hospitality and Leisure Support Grant

In addition to the above the local councils of the Liverpool city region (Tier 3 lockdown area) have today launched the Liverpool City region Hospitality and Leisure Support Grant aimed at further supporting the types of businesses mentioned on the LRSG grant above that employ staff.

The criteria is largely the same as the above grant with the addition that the business must employ at least one member of full time staff (or equivalent). As above this doesn’t necessarily mean full closure but that the business has been affected by the lockdown restrictions in some way. This grant is discretionary and awarded by your local council based on your circumstances. The fund is limited so priority will be given to those most in need, such things as number of employees, severity of restrictions directly impacting the business etc.

You can find full guidance here

https://www.wirral.gov.uk/health-and-social-care/coronavirus-updates/hospitality-and-leisure-support-grant-guidance >

Applications are now open. You can apply via the above link.

The amounts you may receive under this grant:

For business forced to close:        

  • £800 per full time employee. (employed continually between October 2020 and January 2021)

And one of the following:

  • For businesses with rateable values of up to £15,000 – a further £1,300
  • For businesses with rateable values of £15,001-£51,000 – a further £2,000
  • For businesses with rateable values of over £51,000 – a further £3,000

For businesses not forced to close:

  • £1,200 per full time employee

And one of the following:

  • For businesses with rateable values of up to £15,000 – a further £2,000
  • For businesses with rateable values of £15,001-£51,000 – a further £5,000
  • For businesses with rateable values of over £51,000 – a further £10,000

I think the theory behind awarding more to businesses who are affected but remain open is that these businesses are ineligible for the extended job support scheme that provides 2/3rds of the employee wages and so need more support to maintain jobs.

This grant can be claimed alongside all of the other grants mentioned.

Businesses that are Eligible to Apply for the Hospitality & Leisure Grant

Amusements and visitor attractions (family entertainment centres)

Outdoor Pursuits Centre

Art Gallery / Museum (privately owned)

Play Centre /Soft Play Centre

Bars

Private Golf Courses and Driving Ranges

Bowling Alley Public House Café with indoor / outdoor seating

Registered bed and breakfast accommodation (not Airbnb accommodation) Bookmakers

Restaurant

Camping and Caravan sites

Sports Club (e.g. football, rugby)

Gyms, yoga / dance centres

Theatre / Cinema / Event Spaces

Hotel

Trampoline Centre

Ice Rink

Urban farms

Leisure centres

7)Self Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) Plus Grant Extension

The first part of the self-employed receiving a grant took place in June and for those eligible they received 80% of their trading profits. The first part of the scheme closed on the 13th July.

The second part of the grant scheme opened on the 10th August. You can claim for the second grant even if you didn’t apply for the first grant (However it is still subject to the same eligibility criteria). This time round the grant will be for 70% of your trading profits

Applications for the grant will end on the 19th October 2020 so make sure you have claimed.

Third Part – Grant Extension

To be eligible for the grant extension self-employed individuals, including members of partnerships, must:

  1. Currently be eligible for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (although they do not have to have claimed the previous grants)
  2. Declare that they are currently actively trading and intend to continue to trade and that they are impacted by reduced demand due to coronavirus in the qualifying period
  3. The period for the grant extension is between 1 November and the date of the claim.
  4. The grant extension will provide two grants and will last for six months, from November 2020 to April 2021. Grants will be paid in two lump sum installments each covering a three-month period.
  5. The first grant will cover a three-month period from the start of November until the end of January.
  6. HMRC will provide a taxable grant covering 20 percent of average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single installment covering 3 months’ worth of profits, and capped at £1,875 in total.
  7. The second grant will cover a three-month period from the start of February until the end of April. HMRC will review the level of the second grant and set this in due course

HMRC are providing broadly the same level of support for the self-employed as is being provided for employees through the Job Support scheme.(20% v 22%)

More information about the scheme can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/self-employment-income-support-scheme-grant-extension/self-employment-income-support-scheme-grant-extension

The relevant link to make a claim is shown below.

https://www.tax.service.gov.uk/self-employment-support/enter-unique-taxpayer-reference

Bounce Back Loan Scheme – Pay as you Grow

Amongst the coronavirus support updates made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer was the extension of all loans – with particular focus on the Bounce Back Loan Scheme under the new Pay as You Grow scheme.

  1. The Bounce Back Loan Scheme’s (BBLS) repayment structure will be converted into “Pay as You Grow” – offering a more flexible repayment system over a longer period for businesses who borrowed under BBLS, announced the Chancellor. 
  2. Pay as You Grow will allow businesses to extend the length of their BBLS loans from six to ten years, cutting monthly repayments in half. 
  3. Businesses will also be able to pay interest-only repayments for up to six months and struggling businesses will have the option to apply for BBLS payment holidays, suspending repayments altogether for up to six months.

Where possible you should take full advantage of these flexible terms and make repayments over a long a term as possible, take advantage of repayment holidays and interest only payments, the interest rates are extremely low, The aim for the next 6 – 12 months for most businesses will be to preserve cashflow and therefore you should take advantage of this.

For anyone who still hasn’t applied for a bounce back loan, then this is the easiest loan you will ever apply for so take advantage of it if your business needs it. Applications for BBLS will remain open until 30th November 2020.

9) VAT Deferral

On 24 September 2020, the Chancellor announced that businesses who deferred VAT due from 20 March to 30 June 2020 will now have the option to pay in smaller payments over a longer period.

a. Instead of paying the full amount by the end of March 2021, you can make smaller payments up to the end of March 2022 interest free

b. You will need to opt-in to the scheme, and for those who do, this means that your VAT liabilities due between 20 March and 30 June 2020 do not need to be paid in full until the end of March 2022.

c. Those that can pay their deferred VAT can still do so by 31 March 2021.

d. If you are still unable to pay the VAT due and need more time, see the guidance about what to do if you cannot pay your tax bill on time you can also contact HMRC by phoning: 0300 200 3835.

Again in terms of cashflow planning for your business then you should if possible take advantage of these payments arrangements.

If you would like any help with regards to the above please contact us.

10)VAT Extension

The chancellor has announced the extension of a VAT cut for the hospitality and tourism sectors – some of the worst-hit by the pandemic.

The temporary reduction of VAT rates from 20% to 5% would remain in place until 31 March 2021, rather than 13 January.

11)Statutory Sick Pay – Covid-19

There seems to be far more people going sick due to Covid than last time round so we thought it might be worth re-visiting the rules on paying and reclaiming sick for people who are self-isolating

Who can use the scheme

This scheme is for employers. You can claim back up to 2 weeks of SSP if:

  1. You have already paid your employee’s sick
  2. You’re claiming for an employee who’s eligible for sick pay due to coronavirus
  3. You have a PAYE payroll scheme that was created and started on or before 28 February 2020
  4. You had fewer than 250 employees on 28 February 2020 across all your PAYE payroll schemes

Employees do not have to give you a doctor’s fit note for you to make a claim. But you can ask them to give you either:

  • An isolation note from NHS 111 – if they are self-isolating and cannot work because of coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • The NHS or GP letter telling them to stay at home for at least 12 weeks because they’re at high risk of severe illness from coronavirus

The scheme covers all types of employment contracts

We will let you know when the scheme will end.

As the new employer, you can only make claims for SSP that you have paid, a claim cannot include SSP paid by the previous employer.

12) Time to Pay

If you owe any Taxes whatsoever then please don’t ignore request from HMRC demanding payments. Ignoring requests for payments only leads to penalties being adding to what you owe and in some cases these penalties can be draconian.

At the moment HMRC are being extremely flexible in helping with time to pay arrangements. Therefore our advice is to call them on the number below to arrange time to pay on mutually agreeable terms. Doing it this way will stop any penalties arising, help you plan your cashflow and stop any debt collectors contacting you on behalf of HMRC.

If you are not sure then call us rather than ignore any HMRC demands!

Self Assessment Payment Helpline
Telephone: 0300 200 3822
Monday to Friday, 8am to 4pm

Payment Support Service
Telephone: 0300 200 3835
Monday to Friday, 8am to 4pm

PLEASE DO NOT IGNORE ANY HMRC PAYMENT DEMANDS – SORT IT OUT AND STOP ANY PENALTIES

13) Self Assessment Season

It’s that time of the year again folks not Halloween or Christmas but the dreaded self-assessment deadline! Let’s get organised this year and send your records in nice and early that way you will know any potential tax liability sooner rather than later.  We can then help you to decided what is the best course of action with HMRC i.e. payment plans or defer.

The deadline is 31st January 2021 to submit and pay any taxes owed by, please don’t leave it until the last minute as we become overloaded with work in January and we are therefore requesting everyone has submitted all the required information to us by the end of December latest to ensure no deadlines are missed.

Please supply your information in electronic format by scanning in or taking photographs and emailing or whatsapping us the information – you can whatsapp to my mobile 07595 272980 if need be.

That’s all again for now folks. Please recommend us or refer us to anyone you know who needs an Accountant or could benefit from our services.

Please feel free to call, email or whatsapp us anytime for help and assistance.

Kia Kaha

Paul/Matt/Carla and all the Team at APH

www.aphaccountants.co.uk

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