Coronavirus & The Impact On Business

17th March 2020 | Uncategorised

Impact on Businesses

As can be expected we have had a number of queries from clients in regards to their options following any downturn in trade or temporary halt in operations due to the Coronavirus outbreak. We understand it has become a testing time for business owners in the UK and elsewhere but we are on hand to help you through these challenging times. 

What Help is Available?

The chancellor was quick to respond to the outbreak and announced the following initiatives in Thursday’s budget.

Statutory Sick Pay – If members of staff are diagnosed with COVID-19 or those who are unable to work because they are self-isolating, SSP will be available from day 1 rather than day 4. Usually this would come at the expense of the employer, however the government has stated it will refund the cost of SSP (currently £94.25 per week) in full for a total of 14 days. 

Business Rates – Businesses in retail, leisure or hospitality firms with a rateable value of under £51,000 will qualify for 100% rate relief for the 2020/21 tax year. In previous tax years, rates relief such as Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR) didn’t extend to businesses in shared office space but as a number of our clients operate in these, we are awaiting confirmation from HMRC to see if this will be extended.

Cash Grant – Firms eligible for small business rates relief will get a £10,000 cash grant which will be paid by local authorities. If you qualify you don’t need to do anything, the current guidance advises that local authorities will be in touch with you.

Retail, Hospitality & Leisure – A £25,000 grant will be provided to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from smaller premises, with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000. Application details to be releases on the 20th March.

Time To Pay Arrangements – More flexibility is being given to companies affected by coronavirus in regards to time to pay arrangements, if any clients are in difficulty with upcoming VAT, Corporation Tax or PAYE liabilities then it is advised to speak to your accountant or get in touch with HMRC. The government have employed 2,000 members of call centre staff to facilitate this. 

Business Loan Scheme – A ‘’Coronavirus Small Business Interruption Loan Scheme’’ whereby the government will provide quickly available, cost effective, and low risk funding to affected companies.

Self-Employed – For citizens that are self-employed, a contractor, or working on a freelance basis, their rights are more limited, but they may be entitled to Employment Support Allowance (ESA) from day one rather than day 8 (ESA is currently £73.10 a week). Those not eligible for SSP (i.e. the self-employed) can now more easily make a claim for Universal Credit. 

What are Business Owners Required to do?

  • Employers should maintain records of staff absences and employees will not need to provide a GP fit note.
  • If employees need to provide evidence to their employer that they need to stay at home due to coronavirus, they will be able to get it from the NHS 111 Online instead of having to get a fit note from their doctor – this is currently under development and will hopefully be made available soon.

How Can We Help?

All members of staff are on hand to help, some may be working from home but any required meetings can be facilitated remotely and as always any urgent documents which require approving can be done through our secure online portal. The vast majority of clients are managed through cloud based software so we are open for business and we will be available to assist with the following;

  • Advising on how to negotiate with HMRC in respect of arranging time to pay arrangements for any PAYE, VAT, Self-Assessment, and Corporation Tax liabilities which are due.
  • Whilst the announcements made by the chancellor are welcomed unfortunately there is a lack of detail on how they will be administered. As more information becomes available over the coming days, we will be able to advise on the various schemes and assist with the application process. We also work with a range of commercial lenders should you need any introductions to discuss your financing arrangements.
  • Assisting with the transition to cloud based accounting when required.
  • Provision of advisory services including cash flow management, management accounts and projections so that management teams & business owners can make informed business decisions.
  • We can make introductions to trusted partners we work with that can provide specialist advice in other areas of business such as IT & Telecoms for home working, Human Resources, and Employment Law.

If you would like any further information on your options or any other changes announced in the budget, please contact your usual point of contact. Otherwise feel free to contact our offices on 0161 399 0121 / 0151 303 3112 or by email info@williamsoncroft.co.uk.

Williamson & Croft is a market leading accountancy, advisory and tax firm with particular specialisms in property, construction, retail, digital and creative, technology and professional services.

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