Information for clients affected by Coronavirus
In view of the latest Government recommendations all staff are currently working from home to assist in preventing the spread of Covid 19. The health and wellbeing of our staff and clients is of paramount importance to us.
We wish to assure clients and contacts that we are able, and will continue to offer and provide, our full range of services, to support and assist you and your businesses through these challenging times.
We are available on our usual office numbers or mobile numbers which are on our meet the team or find us pages. Virtual meetings can be arranged via conference calls, Microsoft Teams, Skype or FaceTime.
We have put together a short video to showcase just some of the measures we have put in place to ensure the offices are safe and secure when we are back open again (see below). Please also ensure you have read the visitor producers PDF document which can be found by click the buttons below:
If you would prefer not to visit the office we are still offering virtual meetings which can be arranged via conference calls, Microsoft teams, Skype or FaceTime.
We thank our clients for their patience and cooperation in these new uncertain times
As always, if you would like to discuss any of the issues highlighted in this newsletter, please do not hesitate to contact us.
We are always happy to help and offer an initial free meeting - call us on 020 8661 7878
Guidance on Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and Fraudulent Claims
Currently during September, the grant will cover the monthly salary cost for fully furloughed staff to 70% (up to £2,187.50.) Employers will pay 10% of wages for the hours employees don't work plus Employer National Insurance Contributions (NICs) and pension contributions.
From 1 October 2020 the percentage covered will be reduced to 60% (up to £1,875.00.) Employers will pay 20% of wages for the hours employees don't work plus Employer National Insurance Contributions (NICs) and pension contributions. CJRS will end on Saturday 31 October.
The latest data from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has revealed that up to £3.5 billion in CJRS claims were either fraudulent or paid out in error. The Government has paid out £35.4 billion through the furlough scheme since its introduction. Approximately 9.5 million people have been placed on furlough leave at some point since its introduction, and HMRC is now looking to crack down on employers that have committed ‘furlough fraud’. As per the conditions of the CJRS, if an employer has asked an employee to carry out any work whilst on furlough leave, then they will need to prove that whatever they asked them to do was not making money for them or any other businesses that may be linked, or providing services to them.
If you believe you could have made an incorrect claim under the CJRS, the responsibility is on you to correct the claim. HMRC have published guidance setting out what you should do if you have claimed too much or not claimed enough under the scheme.
What to do if you have claimed too much
The action that you need to take if you believe you have claimed too much under the CJRS depends on when you made the claim and whether you will be making further claims under the scheme. There is a 72 hour window in which a claim can be deleted from the online claim service. Once this time interval has elapsed, if you have claimed too much under the scheme, HMRC needs to be informed. If you will be making another claim under the scheme, this can be done in your next claim by adjusting that claim for the amount that you have over claimed. If you need to do this, you must keep evidence of the adjustment that you have made for six years. If you are not planning to submit another claim, you should contact HMRC on 0300 322 9420 to arrange how to pay the money back.
Deadline for telling HMRC about an overpaid grant
To avoid being charged a penalty, you must tell HMRC about any overpaid grants under the scheme by latest of:
• 90 days from the date on which you received the grant to which you were not entitled.
• 90 days from the date on which you were no longer entitled to keep a grant that you had claimed because your circumstances had changed.
Repaying any overpaid grant within this time frame will prevent a potential tax liability in respect of the over-claimed amount from arising.
What to do if you think you have not been paid enough
If you have made a mistake in working out your claim under the CJRS, you may have not claimed enough money. Where this is the case, you should contact HMRC by telephone on 0800 024 1222 to amend your claim. Even if you have not claimed the full amount to which you are entitled back from HMRC, you must pay your employees the correct amount. Where a claim is increased, HMRC could carry out additional checks on the validity of the claim.
Penalty for failing to tell HMRC about an overpaid grant
If HMRC are not informed about an overpaid CJRS grant by the notification deadline, you may be charged a penalty for failing to notify them. The amount of the penalty will depend on whether you knew you had been overpaid and whether you attempted to conceal it. HMRC have stated that they will not charge a penalty if you did not know that you had been overpaid at the time, or if your circumstances changed so you stopped being entitled to the grant, as long as it is repaid by 31 January 2022 (for sole traders) or within 12 months from the end of your accounts period (for companies).
turpin barker armstrong are more than happy to help you with any advice. Please speak to us about how we can help you check any claims made under the CJRS. You are welcome to contact us by phone on 0208 661 7878 or email email@example.com
CJRS - Step by step guide for employers
It also describes the processes involved, please click on the image below to access the PDF guide:
We are happy to assist any of our clients with this process for a small fee, please get in touch for more information or if you require any further assistance please call 020 8661 7878 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Covid-19 Business News Update
The Government has been updating a lot of the support and guidance pages so please take time to look through the update to look for anything that may affect you or your business.
In addition, there is news about high street shops reopening and parents returning to work after leave.
APPLY FOR THE CORONAVIRUS LOCAL AUTHORITY DISCRETIONARY GRANTS FUND – ENGLAND
The Discretionary Grant Fund supports small and micro businesses that are not eligible for other grant schemes opened on the 8 June.
Small and micro businesses with fixed property costs that are not eligible for the Small Business Grant Fund or the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund may be eligible for the Discretionary Grants Scheme.
What you get
You can get a grant of £25,000, £10,000 or any amount under £10,000.
You may be eligible if your business:
- is based in England
- has relatively high ongoing fixed property-related costs
- occupies property (or part of a property) with a rateable value or annual mortgage/rent payments below £51,000
- was trading on 11 March 2020
The Government has asked local councils to prioritise businesses such as:
- small businesses in shared offices or other flexible workspaces, such as units in industrial parks or incubators
- regular market traders
- bed and breakfasts paying council tax instead of business rates
- charity properties getting charitable business rates relief, which are not eligible for small business rates relief or rural rate relief
You cannot apply if your business is in administration, insolvent or has received a striking-off notice.
If you are already claiming funding
You cannot apply if you are already claiming under another government grant scheme, such as:
- Small Business Grant Fund
- Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant
- Fisheries Response Fund
- Domestic Seafood Supply Scheme
- Zoos Support Fund
- Dairy Hardship Fund
You are still eligible if you have applied for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme or the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme.
If you already get state aid
The discretionary grants fund counts towards state aid.
Payments of £10,000 or less count towards the total de minimis state aid you are allowed to get over a 3-year period - €200,000. If you have reached that threshold, you may still be eligible for funding under the COVID-19 Temporary Framework.
Payments of £25,000 count as state aid under the COVID-19 Temporary Framework. The limit for the framework is €800,000.
Your local council will ask you to complete a declaration confirming that:
- you will not exceed the relevant state aid threshold
- you were not an ‘undertaking in difficulty’ on 31 December 2019. This applies only to the COVID-19 Temporary Framework
Full report see: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-the-coronavirus-local-authority-discretionary-grants-fund?utm_source=281bab0e-92ec-4a01-ab95-81f8181c1364&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate
GOVERNMENT HELP AND SUPPORT IF YOUR BUSINESS IS AFFECTED BY CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)
Watch videos and register for the free webinars to learn more about the support available to help you deal with the economic impacts of coronavirus.
SENDING YOUR FORMS TO COMPANIES HOUSE DURING THE CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK
As an emergency response to coronavirus (COVID-19), Companies House has developed a temporary online service to upload a number of completed forms and send them to Companies House digitally.
As part of their response to coronavirus, they are currently working new ways to allow users to file documents with them. They have introduced a temporary service to upload a document to Companies House during the coronavirus outbreak.
Read the guidance to find out which documents you can upload using the new upload service.
They are continually working to improve the service. As this service is updated, it will include more document types and features such as acknowledgments and payments.
This service will not be available for Companies House documents you can already send to them online.
You must use the existing online services to:
- file your accounts
- file your confirmation statement
- make changes to your company
- close your company
HIGH STREET SHOPS, DEPARTMENT STORES AND SHOPPING CENTRES TO REOPEN IN ENGLAND
Shops in England selling non-essential goods will be able to reopen from Monday 15 June.
High street retailers and department stores, including book shops, electronics retailers, tailors, auction houses, photography studios, indoor markets, and shops selling clothes, shoes and toys, will be allowed to open their doors again provided they follow the COVID-19 secure guidelines set out by the government in May.
Retailers will need to take certain steps to protect customers and staff, including limiting the number of customers allowed inside at one time, placing protective coverings on large items such as sofas which may be touched by passing shoppers, and frequently checking and cleaning objects and surfaces.
Employers should also display a notice visibly in their shop windows or outside their store to show their employees, customers and other visitors that they have followed this guidance.
- All non-essential retail shops to reopen in England from Monday 15 June, provided they follow government guidelines to keep staff and customers as safe as possible
- the government issued detailed COVID-19 secure guidance for retailers and other sectors in May, following extensive consultation with businesses, trade unions and devolved administrations
- businesses should display a downloadable notice to inform customers and staff they have followed COVID-secure guidance
PARENTS RETURNING TO WORK AFTER EXTENDED LEAVE ELIGIBLE FOR FURLOUGH
People on paternity and maternity leave who return to work in the coming months will be eligible for the government’s furlough scheme, HM Treasury announced 9 June.
- Parents on statutory maternity and paternity leave who return to work in the coming months will be eligible for furlough scheme even after 10 June cut-off date
- Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will close to new entrants at the end of June as new flexibilities are introduced to support economy
- This will only apply where they work for an employer who has previously furloughed employees
- This also applies to people on adoption leave, shared parental leave, and parental bereavement leave.
BUSINESS LOAN SCHEME STATISTICS
HM Treasury has released management information about the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS), Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) and Future Fund Scheme.
CORONAVIRUS JOB RETENTION SCHEME: PEOPLE RECEIVING DIRECT PAYMENTS
How the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) can be used by direct payment holders who employ people for their care. This guidance helps people who buy care and support through a direct payment to know how and when they can use the CJRS to furlough employees during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
It includes examples of when direct payment holders may or may not choose to use the CJRS, employ people for their care.
TRAVELLERS EXEMPT FROM BORDER RULES IN THE UK
This guidance explains who will be exempt from new border rules in the UK introduced due to coronavirus.
Some travellers will be exempt from new border rules in the UK. This means they may not need to provide their journey or contact details or self-isolate for 14 days after they arrive.
There are different self-isolation rules and penalties depending on whether you are travelling to:
- Northern Ireland
If you have any questions regarding the above please do not hesitate to get in touch via email email@example.com or call us on 020 8661 7878
Self-employed get second grant from government
The grants paid out by the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will be worth 70% of a self-employed person's average monthly trading profits to cover three months' worth of income.
They will be capped at £6,570.
The scheme so far has been used by 2.6 million people and has paid out £6.8bn in claims to self-employed who have been affected by the impact of coronavirus on the economy.
This is the second and final time grants will be offered, the chancellor said.
The Government offered the first grant to the self-employed in March, paying 80% of average monthly trading profits, capped at £7,500.
No announcement or Grant was made at the Daily press conference regarding Company Directors and those who became self-employed after April 2019.
Should you require any further help and/or assistance in regards to the above, please do not hesitate to contact us or visit our dedicated coronavirus website page here.
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) is changing!
The Chancellor stated that in June and July the furlough scheme will continue as before, but employers will be asked to cover National Insurance and employer pension contributions in August.
By September, businesses will pay 10% of wages for furloughed staff, and in October 20%, the UK chancellor said.
This means the subsidy will taper off from August, with businesses expected to pay a greater share of their staff salaries, starting with covering National Insurance and pension contributions.
From September the government will cover only 70% of salaries, to a cap of £2,190 and from October it will pay 60%, to a cap of £1,875.
Employers will make up the shortfall to get salaries back to 80% of pre-Covid lockdown levels.
After that, the scheme will close.
Flexible Furloughing of employees
From 1 July, employers can bring back to work employees that have previously been furloughed for any amount of time and any shift pattern, while still being able to claim CJRS grant for their normal hours not worked. When claiming the CJRS grant for furloughed hours employers will need to report and claim for a minimum period of a week.
The scheme will close to new entrants from 30 June. From this point onwards, employers will only be able to furlough employees that they have furloughed for a full 3-week period prior to 30 June.
This means that the final date by which an employer can furlough an employee for the first time will be 10 June, in order for the current 3-week furlough period to be completed by 30 June. Employers will have until 31 July to make any claims in respect of the period to 30 June.
Further guidance on flexible furloughing and how employers should calculate claims will be published on 12 June
Should you require any further help and/or assistance in regards to the above, please do not hesitate to contact us or visit our dedicated coronavirus page on our website for more information here.
As you would expect, we are currently receiving a high number of calls and email enquiries regarding the various measures implemented by the Government in a bid to support businesses and workers, we will endeavour to get back to everyone as soon as we can.
We have therefore put together the answers to 30 of the most frequently asked questions on the new Coronavirus Job retention Scheme’ (CJRS).
We have also created an example furlough letter which can be found on our recent blog "Guidance on furloughing employees" or click the button below:
We would also like to draw your attention to the following specific site within the UK Government website which may also help:
click for Government covid-19 website
The following link will take you to the webinars that HMRC have created explaining the CJRS and other employee related matters:
click for HMRC webinars
If you have any queries regarding these measures, please contact us on 0208 661 7878 and if we cannot take your call immediately, we will endeavour to return your call as soon as possible alternatively email firstname.lastname@example.org
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)
All UK employers can claim for 80% of furloughed employees’ usual monthly wage costs, up to £2,500 a month as long as they were on your PAYE payroll on 28 Feb 2020. You will need to make a claim for wage costs through the scheme, once HMRC have received your claim and you are eligible for the grant, they will pay it via BACS payment to a UK bank account. Click here for the official government guidance page We will endeavour to issue updates as and when we receive them.
Income Tax Payments
The 31 July 2020 payments on accounts towards the 2019/20 income tax liabilities for self-employed individuals are deferred until January 2021. Our current understanding is that this does not apply to company directors, who are not deemed to be “self-employed”.
One aspect of the guidance which has immediate effect is HMRC’s deferral of all VAT payments due between 20th March and 30th June 2020; as noted as the above webpage: “This is an automatic offer with no applications required. Businesses will not need to make a VAT payment during this period. Taxpayers will be given until the end of the 2020 to 2021 tax year to pay any liabilities that have accumulated during the deferral period. VAT refunds and reclaims will be paid by the government as normal”.
This measure does not however affect the timing of submission of VAT returns, which still need to be submitted as normal – if tba carry out bookkeeping and VAT services for you we request that you call/email your usual tba contact to arrange provision of your records. The current HMRC guidance lacks any specific advice for businesses whose VAT payments are taken by Direct Debit, though we would advise such businesses wishing to take advantage of this VAT deferral period to contact their banks & arrange suspension/cancellation of such Direct Debits if any fall within this payment period.
Bounce Back Loans
Small businesses will benefit from a new fast-track finance scheme providing loans with a 100% government-backed guarantee for lenders,
- Businesses will be able to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 and access the cash within days.
- Loans will be interest free for the first 12 months, and businesses can apply online through a short and simple form.
- Loan terms will be up to 6 years.
- No repayments will be due during the first 12 months.
You can apply for a loan if your business:
- is based in the UK
- has been negatively affected by coronavirus
- was not an ‘undertaking in difficulty’ on 31 December 2019
- banks, insurers and reinsurers (but not insurance brokers)
- public-sector bodies
- further-education establishments if they are grant-funded
- state-funded primary and secondary schools
- if you are already claiming under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (“CBILS”)
According to the British Business Bank website, the key feature of this scheme include:
Up to £5m facility: The maximum value of a facility provided under the scheme will be £5m, available on repayment terms of up to six years.
80% guarantee: The scheme provides the lender with a government-backed, partial guarantee (80%) against the outstanding facility balance, subject to an overall cap per lender.
No guarantee fee for SMEs to access the scheme: No fee for smaller businesses. Lenders will pay a fee to access the scheme.
Interest and fees paid by Government for 12 months: The Government will make a Business Interruption Payment to cover the first 12 months of interest payments and any lender-levied fee, so smaller businesses will benefit from no upfront costs and lower initial repayments.
Finance terms: Finance terms are up to six years for term loans and asset finance facilities. For overdrafts and invoice finance facilities, terms will be up to three years.
Security: At the discretion of the lender, the scheme may be used for unsecured lending for facilities of £250,000 and under. For facilities above £250,000, the lender must establish a lack or absence of security prior to businesses using CBILS. If the lender can offer finance on normal commercial terms without the need to make use of the scheme, they will do so.
The borrower always remains 100% liable for the debt.
Smaller businesses from all sectors 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.
The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) is managed by the British Business Bank on behalf of, and with the financial backing of the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). Full details on CBILS and the list of participating CBILS Lenders can be found on the British Business Bank website at: http://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/CBILS
All of the above guidance is, to the best of our knowledge, accurate and up-to-date as at the time of writing, however you will appreciate that the Government are issuing new information on a regular basis, so we would urge all of you to monitor the “gov.uk” website (link above) to ensure you are fully informed of the latest developments.
We will issue further updates as and when appropriate.
Should you have specific queries, please contact us & we will be happy to help where possible.