Coronavirus - Updates

Update 7 May 2020

Self-employed COVID-19 grant claims

HMRC have now issued guidance on checking eligibility to receive a grant. This can be done now, details in the Government guidance below:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/self-employed-invited-to-get-ready-to-make-their-claims-for-coronavirus-covid-19-support

You will be required to set up a User ID and join the Government Gateway if not already done, and this should be done when you check eligibility.

The eligibility check will provide you with the time and date from which you can make a claim.


Update 9 April

Local Authority Grants

Many clients in the Lancaster City Council area that were eligible for £10 ,000 grants have now applied on line and received the grant into their bank accounts within a day or so of applying. All those the Council believe are eligible have now been contacted by letter, and you can complete the written application on the form enclosed with the letter, rather than applying online, if you wish to do so. To be eligible you should be already registered for business rates, but currently paying little or no rates under the Small Business Rates Relief scheme. If you believe you are eligible but have not received a letter, then you should contact the Council as soon as possible, details at https://www.lancaster.gov.uk/business/business-support

Grants of £25,000, are now available to some of those in the retail, hospitality and leisure industries. Further details here:

http://www.lancaster.gov.uk/news/2020/apr/support-grants-bring-help-to-businesses-in-the-lancaster-district

We understand from clients operating in different Local Authority areas that other councils have broadly similar arrangements in respect of applying for and receiving the Grants.

Job Retention Scheme

HMRC have announced that the scheme will be up and running from April 20th, and that they will then issue details of how to apply. If you have placed employees on furlough arrangements, or require any further details, please get in touch with your usual payroll contact.

Self-employed

HMRC advise that they will contact by letter those they believe are eligible for the relief available to the self-employed. Letters are expected to be issued later this month, with payment in early June. If you believe you are entitled to a payment, but do not receive notification by the end of this month, please contact Tony or Karen on 01524 831353. We will of course assist in the processing of applications under this scheme.

Other queries

If you have any other queries please get in touch with your usual contact or ring 01524 831353


Update 27 March

Coronavirus - assistance for self employed

Last night the Chancellor announced his measures to assist the self-employed. A summary of the measures are provided in the link below:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme

Particular points to note

  • The scheme is based on a formula, explained in the guidance, which will provide maximum relief of £2,500 per month for up to 3 months.
  • This 3 month period may be extended in due course if the Government believe it is needed.
  • Applications cannot be made yet. HMRC will contact those they believe eligible, and we will assume that you wish us to make the application on your behalf.
  • Payments are not expected to be made until June.
  • The scheme only applies to those who were self-employed and submitted 2018/19 Self Assessment Tax Returns. There are other restrictions mentioned in the link.
  • BEWARE OF SCAMS. If someone rings, texts or emails claiming to be from HMRC it will be a scam.

Many of you have already contacted us to provide clarification of how the scheme will work in their particular circumstances. Hopefully the link above will provide some of the answers, but we will respond to all emails either today or over the weekend.

Further measures already announced which may assist some of the self-employed:

  • VAT due for payment between now and June 30th 2020 may be deferred until 31 March 2021. If you wish to take advantage of this you will have to stop the Direct Debit at your bank. VAT Returns will still have to be made on time.
  • Self Assessment payments due on 31 July 2020 may be deferred to 31 January 2021. No interest or penalty will be charged.
  • Those eligible for Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR) will receive a £10,000 grant during April. Your Local Authority will contact you. Lancaster City Council have announced that they will make advances of £2,500 on this grant to those eligible. Details here: http://www.lancaster.gov.uk/environmental-health/emergency-planning/coronavirus
  • Deferment of mortgage payments. Please contact your lender.
  • Increased scope for Universal Credit claims.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any queries. Most importantly please keep safe.


Update 25 March

Grants

Lancaster City Council are now offering advances to those within the business rates system eligible for the £10000 grant, who are suffering immediate financial hardship. Further details here:

http://www.lancaster.gov.uk/environmental-health/emergency-planning/coronavirus

Assistance for the self-employed

The Government have still not announced the relief and assistance that will be available to the self-employed. They are saying that relief will be available, but they are still working on exactly how this will work. Obviously this will be frustrating to many of you, but we will simply continue to monitor the situation and update as soon as the information is available.

Arrangements for laying off employees

If it is necessary to temporarily lay off some or all of your employees under the Governments ‘furlough’ arrangements you will need to formally notify them, as this will constitute a temporary change to their employment contracts. Please get in touch with your usual payroll contact if there are any queries.

Support for business

HMRC are updating their summary daily, and the update issued yesterday is below

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses

Our working arrangements

In line with the most recent Government guidance all staff are now working from home. Please get in touch with your usual contact preferably by their usual email address.


Update 24 March

Self employed workers

Government Minister Michael Gove speaking on radio this morning said that the Chancellor would make an announcement on the self-employed ‘later’. This therefore implies that it may not be today, but most commentators are expecting it at some stage this week. This is clearly not ideal , but at least there is confirmation that they are working on the details of something to assist the self-employed. We will of course provide further information once details are available.

Business and premises closures

Following the Prime Minister’s broadcast last night the Government issued a list of businesses and premises which must be closed.

The list is below. The initial closure is for a period of three weeks

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close

This document also summarises the business support which has been made available, but crucially there is no information yet as to exactly when payments will be made.

Details of the support being made available by the major banks is shown on yesterday’s update above.

Payroll processing/office

We are not on the list of businesses which must be closed, and we are processing as an absolute priority payroll, and dealing with other matters directly related to the Coronavirus outbreak. Two of us will continue to work from here, in order to coordinate our response to customers. For the time being we have divided the office in to two completely separate halves, and the Government’s social distancing advice is being meticulously observed. Most staff are working from home and as previously advised they are all equipped to work as if they were here. We have locked the office door, and have asked customers calling at the office to post any information through the letterbox, and ring or email us as necessary. A separate email will be issued later today to those for whom we prepare payroll.


As you will know the Government have made several announcements over the last few days, in respect of the help and reliefs to be made available to businesses following the Coronavirus outbreak. Although announcements have been made, some of the necessary details about how to apply, and when money is expected to be paid, are still being worked on and have not yet been released. We are continuously monitoring the position and will provide regular updates on the website, as well as directly to clients via email and telephone.

A summary of the reliefs already announced can be found on the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses

Many self-employed clients have raised the point that that there is less provision currently announced for them than for the employed and their employers. Further announcements are expected from the Government and we will keep you advised.

As we are based in Morecambe many clients have businesses based within the area covered by Lancaster City Council. They have announced a fund of £1 million to assist local business, further details can be found at:

http://www.lancaster.gov.uk/business/business-support

Other local authorities have similar offerings. We will of course provide assistance if requested in applying for available funding, whether nationally or locally.

All of the main high street banks are making emergency funding available, and they all have full details prominently displayed on their websites.

We have already responded to many customer queries, and we are totally focused on the situation as it unfolds, so as to be able to update and advise as soon as possible. The office is open, but in line with Government guidelines on social distancing we are operating with minimal staff working from the office, and the remainder working from home. All staff are fully equipped to work from home, and you can get in touch with your usual contact by email on their usual email address.

If you wish to speak to Tony please ring the office, or contact via email on tony@tcoates.co.uk

Finally and most importantly, please keep safe.