Measures announced in the Budget on 11th March were extended on 17th March. The Chancellor announced a set of “temporary, targeted and timely” changes to help businesses weather impending storms. At this early point do not yet have the full details of when and how they will take effect as they depend on forthcoming legislation.
Taking these changes into account may help you plan ahead both personally and for your business. We will continue to monitor all announcements and offer you help and advice as appropriate.
Help with Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)
If you have less than 250 employees you will be able to claim up to two weeks sick pay back from the government for absence related to Coronavirus. Make sure you keep records of the absence and payments made but a doctor’s note will not be required.
Business Rates: discounts and grants
If you qualify for the Business Rate retail discount you will pay no rates at all. This relief available to retailers has also been extended to hospitality and leisure sectors. Initially limited to properties with a rateable value of less than £51,000 it has now been confirmed to apply to all. These businesses will also be eligible for a grant of up to £25,000.
If you already pay little or no business rates your local authority may provide you with a £10,000 grant (upped from £3,000 in the budget). This is funded from £2.2bn provided by the government for businesses who qualify for Small Business Rate Relief (SBBR) or Rural Rate Relief.
Government Backed Loans and Overdrafts
The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) is now available through participating lenders. Up to 80% of the loan value (with a maximum of £5m in value) will be guaranteed by the government via the state-owned British Business Bank.
The Chancellor has outlined that if there is more demand than the £330bn initially offered, then more will be made available and that the scheme will be up and running next week.
Delay of off-payroll working rules in private sector (IR35)
The Government said it had decided to delay reforms to IR35 for 12 months, amid the fallout from coronavirus. The changes would have led to self-employed individuals operating through a company paying more tax under legislation known as IR35. This news will be welcomed by self-employed workers who faced an increase in tax bills next month.
Struggling to Pay Tax Bills?
Our advice is always that if you are concerned about being able to pay your tax bills, approach the matter head on with HMRC. Genuine problems due to disruption will be taken into account when you apply to make arrangements via the “Time to Pay” scheme. Arrangements are made on a case-by-case basis and depend on an honest appraisal of what you can afford.
There is more detail of the government’s help for businesses on their website.