We have prepared a series of articles to explain what financial help is available to contractors and small businesses, extracting the information that’s most relevant to you. Here we look at the Coronavirus schemes designed to ease cashflow pressures.
Cashflow schemes for businesses
Most people who run their own businesses live by the mantra ‘cash is king’. In the uncertain times caused by COVID-19, cashflow is a major worry. Because of this, the Government has announced a number of schemes to help ease cashflow worries for businesses both large and small. Here’s our straight-forward explanation of the schemes which may help our small business and contractor community.
VAT payments due between 20th March and 30th June 2020 can be deferred to March 31st 2021. If you are a Clever Accounts client and wish to defer payment, you do not need to do anything apart from cancel your direct debit, if you have one set up.
Although payment can be deferred, VAT record submissions must be made in the usual way. Please do ensure you keep your financial records up-to-date as we will process your VAT return in accordance with the usual deadines.
Self-assessment payment on account
Payments on account which would be due by 31st July 2020 can be deferred to January 31st 2021. If you do defer payment, remember you will need to pay it next year, so budget accordingly. If you think you will have difficulty making payment, you can access a budget payment plan – let us know and we will help you. If your cashflow allows, you can pay by 31st July 2020 as usual if you are not experiencing issues.
Time to Pay
The Time to Pay scheme enables you to receive support from HMRC to meet outstanding tax liabilities. Arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities. If you think you will need to use the Time to Pay scheme, please get in touch and we will help you with some calculations.
Paying commercial rent
Commercial tenants (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) who cannot pay rent because of COVID-19 are protected from eviction. Whilst this is not a rental holiday, it does mean that no business will automatically forfeit their lease and be forced out of their premises if they miss a payment up until 30th June.
Sick pay for employees
The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme is open to employers who pay employees for periods of sickness starting on or after March 13th. It will cover up to two weeks starting the first day of sickness and relates to employees who are unable to work because they either have coronavirus or cannot work because they are self-isolating at home. Employees do not need a doctor’s note though businesses should keep records in the usual way, that is:
The reason why an employee could not work.
Details of each period when an employee could not work, including start and end dates.
Details of the SSP qualifying days when an employee could not work.
National Insurance numbers of all employees who you have paid Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) to.
The Government has announced a business rates holiday for the retail, hospitality and leisure sector including shops, restaurants, cafes, pubs, cinemas and live music venues, guest houses and self-catering accommodation. Businesses in this sector are also eligible for grants based on their business rate value. Local authorities are enacting the schemes so there is no action required on your part if you are eligible for the rates holiday.
If your business pays little or no business rates, you may be eligible for a one-off grant of up to £10,000 to help meet ongoing business costs. The grant applies to businesses in England that occupy a property and are in receipt of small business rate relief as of 11th March.
Paying your bills
If you are going to have difficulty paying any of the bills associated with running your business ie. utilities, broadband, insurance, then please speak to your provider sooner rather than later. It’s always best to reach agreement on a delayed payment rather than simply not pay, especially if you need service to continue. Some providers do have plans in place to ease the pressure on customers through difficult times.
Access to loans
If your business needs a loan you can access the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme which is designed to support SMEs with access to loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance of up to £5m and for up to six years. The Government is offering a Business Interruption Payment to cover the first 12 months of interest payments and any lender-levied fees, giving small businesses the benefit of no upfront costs and lower initial repayments.