360 Coronavirus Business Support Summary 9 April

Here’s what we know (and what we don’t know) currently (9 April)

£10K grant for all businesses with premises with rateable value under £15K

East Riding Council sent letters out to qualifying businesses on Thursday 19 March. Their website has a section for businesses to input their bank account details in order to receive the grant ( www.eastriding.gov.uk/business-rates-grants ). The first payments were received on 1 April. The Hull City Council portal opened on 3 April:

https://www.hullcc.gov.uk/myrevsandbens/scripts/OPENPortal-Live.wsc/ndr/ndrgrant.p

Please ensure you enter your business name exactly as it appears on your rates bill – several of our clients have informed us their claims have been rejected if this is not done.

£25K grant for businesses with premises with rateable value between £15K and £51K in hospitality, retail and leisure

We now know it is a £25K grant (not up to £25K) – The ERYCC portal is now (3 Apr) accepting claims for these, as is the Hull City Council one.

2020 / 21 Business Rates Holidays for those in leisure, retail or hospitality

Should be automatic but same advice, check rates bills to ensure correctly classified. Now extended to bingo halls, estate agents and letting agencies but some confusion over whether need to be closed or not to qualify.

What if I’m not entitled to a business rates holiday but all my staff are working from home

You will qualify for empty building rates relief (ie 100% for 3m – indefinite if listed) if all furniture, equipment etc has been removed. Hull City Council are asking for photographic evidence that this is the case. We’re unsure if other councils are doing the same. Consider partial relief if part of building emptied.

Contact andrew@360accountants.co.uk for further info on the above.

Humber LEP grant for IT hardware , software and consultancy required to enable home working

40% of spend between £2,500 and £25,000 – www.humberlep.org for further info

Government Backed Funding – Business Interruption Loan Scheme

Updated section with detail on loans. Also be aware that there are Humber LEP grants available for ‘crisis management assistance’ which may cover some of this work. Businesses in other regions should check locally.

Who will provide the loan?
Link to partners: https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme-cbils/accredited-lenders/

Amount of Loan Available
In theory, up to £5m. However, in reality, lenders will look to provide loans that are realistic for the needs of each individual business. The amount may need to be verified by way of a cash-flow forecast or other supporting information

Cost of the Loan
Interest rate:-12 month’s interest free period plus up to 12 months capital repayment holidays
(Normal commercial interest rates will apply from lender to lender)
The government will cover all up-front fees (arrangement fees) the lender may charge

Term of The Loan
Finance terms of up to six years are available for loans and asset finance facilities.
For overdrafts and invoice finance facilities, the loan terms will be up to three years.

Security To be Provided For The Loan – how it works
80% guarantee: The scheme provides the lender with a government-backed, partial guarantee (80%) against the outstanding facility balance after realisation of any security taken.
Unlike the existing similar schemes such as the EFGS , there will be no additional fee charged by the government for its guarantee.
Loans <£250,000: Lenders are now banned from taking any personal guarantees (PGs) for facilities of £250,000 and under.
Loans >£250,000: Lenders must establish a lack or absence of security prior to businesses using CBILS.  Personal guaranteed (PGs) limited to 20% of any amount left outstanding on the CBILS loan after amounts recovered from other business assets.

If the lender can offer finance on normal commercial terms without the need to make use of the scheme, they will do so.

We anticipate that some lenders will look to take some form of additional security depending on the amount and this may involve Personal Guarantees and/or a debenture.

Liability of The Borrower
Remember – The borrower always remains 100% liable for the debt
The business proprietors may also be required to provide personal guarantees

Eligibility to Take a Loan From The Scheme
Smaller businesses from all sectors (with a small number of exceptions) can apply for the full amount of the facility.

To be eligible for a facility under CBILS, an SME must…
Be UK-based in its business activity, with annual turnover of no more than £45m
Have a borrowing proposal which, were it not for the current pandemic, would be considered viable by the lender.
Loans are limited to a maximum of 25% of 2019 turnover or double the annual wage bill, whichever is greater.

Please note: If the lender can offer finance on normal commercial terms without the need to make use of the scheme, they will do so.

When can I get a CBILS supported loan
The scheme went live on Monday 23 March and will initially run for six months.

Is it my only option right now
Not at all. In fact, as the lender will pay a fee to access the scheme, if they can offer finance on normal commercial terms without the need to make use of the scheme, they will do so.

Are other non CBIL lenders still open for business, can I still borrow money via regular routes
Yes, the majority of lenders are still open for business, although criteria has changed. There is still an appetite to fund investment property, bridging, commercial property, invoices and assets. Please get in touch to discuss your requirement.

The new CBILS scheme has many positive features at this difficult time for businesses but the reality is that obtaining the finance may be more involved and slower than has been reported in the press so we suggest businesses apply early.

Interest Free Redundancy Payments Loan

Additional funding measure to consider if you have to make people redundant.

The Redundancy Payments Office has a facility which allows borrowing to help businesses, who have to make cuts, preserve the remainder of the workforce. It also allows payment of the redundancies by the company rather than a claim having to be lodged with the government should the business be forced to close.

Payments go direct to the redundant employees so no danger of monies being retained by the company.

Repayment terms negotiable, no security required and no interest accrued on the debt.

The criteria for a company that wishes to make an application are:

  • The business will continue to trade after roles are made redundant.
  • The business can save some of the jobs of its workforce by making some roles
  • The business can demonstrate it can repay the resultant debt in full.
  • The business has been refused a loan by its bank.
  • The business can provide documents to support it has no funds from which to
    make the redundancy payments itself.
  • The business can confirm that it has undertaken all possible cost-saving
  • If the business is part of a group, it would have to provide evidence that there
    are no funds within the rest of the group to assist with redundancy costs and the RPO would need a guarantee.

Contact sean@360accountants.co.uk for further info on the above.

80% grant to cover wages of furloughed employees

There is a maximum grant of £2500 per employee per month towards gross wages. The government will also reimburse 80% employers’ NI and auto enrolment costs which should save businesses upto an extra £300 per employee per month.

Employer puts employee into furloughed status (ie told to stay at home and not work) – some template documents / letters have been produced by various trade organisations – our recommendation is to take legal / HR advice.

Employer may , if they wish, top up some or all of the 20%.

HMRC are building a website whereby employers can input details of furloughed workers and company bank account details in order to receive the grant. This is expected to go live on 20 April.

Anyone who was in the company’s employment on 29 Feb can be furloughed – even those that have subsequently been made redundant or laid off.

Employers must pay wages then wait for the grant – what if can’t afford to pay the wages and loans / other grants don’t arrive in time?

Furloughed workers on National Minimum Wage do not receive a pay increase when NMW rates increased on 1 April 2020 – they will remain on old rates until return to work.

What we don’t know:

How to treat furloughed employees on payroll, pay slips, Real Time Information submissions (software will need to be updated).

How quickly the grants will be paid.

What if there are a pool of workers – how do you decide who is furloughed?

What anti abuse rules will be in place – checking turnover, asking employees to confirm not working, fines / prison or does the government just want businesses to survive?

Guidance for Director/Shareholders

Given the current financial climate you may wish to consider increasing directors salaries from March’s payroll and lowering or stopping any dividend payments due to there potentially not being the distributable reserves available to pay dividends and then utilise the furlough scheme from 1 April.

This would increase current PAYE and national insurance liabilities but does however safeguard directors’ personal incomes in the event any business becomes insolvent and has to close as a result of the on-going situation.

Directors salaries do however qualify for the newly introduced Government furlough scheme, a business can receive a grant of up to £2,500 per employee/director plus employers national insurance and minimum auto enrolment pension contributions. This works based on 80% of the employee/director’s previous month’s gross salary up to a maximum of a £2,500 grant per employee/director (so the maximum grant would be based on a gross salary of £3,125 per month or above). The remaining 20% of the employee/director’s monthly salary can be paid by the employer but this is optional.

Guidance for Casual Employees

For any employee not on a regular salary or on a ‘zero hours contract’ the 80% furlough grant can be based upon either their income for the same month last year or an average of their monthly earnings for the current 2019/20 tax year.

The furlough scheme is available from 1 March but this only applies to workers laid off or furloughed during this month. Any furloughed employee or director cannot work for the business during this period of being classified as furloughed.

This guidance is our recommendation but is not in any way us dictating what needs happen for any individual business or employee, in the event of a HMRC or Government investigation the responsibility still lies with the directors and/or business owners for any action taken within their business.

Contact jono@360accountants.co.uk for further info on the above.

HMRC Corona Virus Time To Pay Helpline

0800 024 1222 – open Monday to Friday 8am to 4pm.

This is a new, free to phone number, we believe they have many more people now answering the phones although they seem to be external agents that take the details of your proposal and promise HMRC will be in touch in due course. We have heard reports of some agents stating TTP arrangements not available for Corporation Tax, others saying it is, and some stating interest is payable. Lack of training / experience may be an issue.  If you are unable to get through then we are recommending that clients write to HMRC with details of the liabilities they wish to delay, a proposal of when they can afford to make the payments, an explanation that they have tried to contact the helpline but couldn’t get through and a number for HMRC to contact them on to set up a direct debit. Sophie has produced a template which she will be happy to share with you.

On the occasions people have successfully got through HMRC has been extremely receptive (unlike in previous downturns) and not asked for proof of attempts to raise finance elsewhere, personal savings etc and very helpful instalment periods.

VAT deferral

Any VAT payable for the next 3 months (20 March to 30 June) will be deferred until Apr 2021 if a business is unable to pay. We now know you must cancel your direct debit.

Self assessment tax due 31 July 2020

This has been deferred until 31 Jan 2021 for any taxpayers unable to make this payment.

Contact sophie@360accountants.co.uk for further info on the above.

Self employed (ie sole traders and partnerships)

Announcement on 26 March of a new Self Employed Income Support Scheme as follows:

Taxable grant of 80% of normal earnings (average of last 3 years).

Maximum of 3 months (currently) with a maximum grant of £2500 pm.

Anyone with profits under £50,000 in 2018/19. If profits were over £50K but the average of 2016 – 2019 were below £50K then still qualify.

Self employment must be the ‘majority’ of their income (more than half).

Must already be in self employed (anti abuse measure).

Must have filed a 2019 Tax Return – if late must file in next 4 weeks in order to qualify.

HMRC will contact qualifying individuals early June at the latest – no cash until then! It will be back dated to 1 March.

Newly self employed WILL NOT QUALIFY.

Landlords

Will be given 3 month mortgage holiday when it can be proved their tenants are unable to pay their rent due to Corona Virus.

Changes to insolvency rules

On 28 March the government announced it would be temporarily suspending the ‘wrongful trading’ laws to protect directors during the pandemic. The move will allow directors to pay employees and suppliers even if they believe the business is technically insolvent. This should give them the breathing space to claim government grants and access government backed borrowings.

A temporary block on creditors being able to put businesses into administration to give them time to restructure has also been introduced.

Insolvency rules are extremely complex and whilst these moves are welcome, if you are in any doubt whatsoever please speak to a licensed insolvency practitioner.

Grants for young entrepreneurs

Anyone aged 18-30 with a business under 4 years old (including those about to launch) can apply for a grant from the Princes Trust. There is £5m available for business owners affected financially by Corona Virus. Please see link below:

https://www.insider.co.uk/news/rbs-princes-trust-launch-5-21804687

Making Tax Digital Phase 2 postponed

Making Tax Digital is the need to submit VAT returns via an electronic method, this second phase relates to businesses who are VAT registered but whose sales are under the VAT threshold (£85,000).

HMRC has extended the soft launch period from 1 April 2020 to VAT return periods starting on or after 1 April 2021.

We believe we’ve got your back during these challenging times. If you agree then please leave us a 5 star review on Google or Facebook. It would help our business greatly. If there’s more we can be doing then please contact help@360accountants.co.uk and we’ll do our best.

Thanks

Team360

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