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COVID-19 Business Support Centre

Use our information hub and FAQs to find out what help and financial support is available for employers, small businesses and self-employed workers dealing with the impact of coronavirus COVID-19.

Self Employed

Learn more about the dedicated Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) to help self-employed people, and find other support available for sole traders affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

Small Business

Read our guidance for small businesses, limited companies and company directors looking for financial support and information on dealing with the effects of coronavirus COVID-19 on business.

Employers

Find out how to support your employees through COVID-19 and discover what financial aid is available to employers, including the SSP Relief Scheme, and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

FAQs

Self-Employed

What help is available for sole traders affected by COVID-19?

The government’s Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) helps sole traders affected by the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. The scheme provides self-employed workers up to 80% of their monthly wages, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month. Learn more here.

Is there any help for sole traders who don’t qualify for the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme?

Unfortunately, sole traders who have not yet submitted their first Self Assessment tax return aren’t eligible for the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS), except in Scotland. The Scottish government have announced a Newly Self Employed Hardship Fund for self-employed workers not eligible for SEISS.

For the rest of the UK there are other types of support, such as Universal Credit and the Employment & Support Allowance have been made more accessible to help those impacted financially by COVID-19.

Can I defer my Payment on Account for income tax?

Yes, to help self-employed people who have been financially affected by the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, the government have deferred the Payment on Account Income Tax payment. The previous due date of 31st July 2020 has been deferred until 31st January 2021.

How will the payments for SEISS be calculated?

Money paid out through the Self-Employed Income Support scheme will be calculated based on your average monthly profits over the last three financial years. If you have been trading for less than three years, HMRC will use the period they do have, and average it up to three years.

Does my HMRC invitation means I’m eligible for the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) after all?

Receiving an invitation to claim doesn’t automatically mean you’re eligible, so double check!

HMRC are contacting self-employed workers they believe may be eligible for the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) based on their 2018/19 tax return. Your situation may have changed since that point, but HMRC don’t yet have that data.

How much can I claim for under the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS)?

The SEISS grant awards 80% of 3 months-worth of average monthly trading profits to eligible applicants, up to total amount of ÂŁ7,500. Learn more about the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme.

Is the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) a loan?

No, the scheme is a grant, so if you successfully make a claim for SEISS, you will not have to repay the money. Learn more about the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme.

Will need to include my claim for Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) on my Self Assessment tax return?

Yes – the grant money awarded under SEISS is subject to income tax and SEISS rules, so you’ll need to mention the grant on your Self Assessment tax return.

Can I carry on working if I get the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant?

Yes, you can claim the SEISS grant, and still carry on working. Those who receive this support can also start a new trade, carry out volunteer work, or start work for an employer.

Small Business

Can sole directors use the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS)?

Unfortunately, SEISS is only available to sole traders who work for themselves, and doesn’t include directors who are, technically, employees of their company. There are other options available to sole directors affected by the coronavirus COVI-19 pandemic. Learn more here.

What help is available for sole directors of limited companies affected by COVID-19?

As employees of their own company, sole directors may be eligible to furlough themselves under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).

This does mean having to stop working though, which many sole directors may be unenthusiastic about. Directors might also be eligible for other types of support such as Universal Credit, Employment & Support Allowance, or the Small Business Grant Scheme. Learn more here.

Can directors claim Statutory Sick Pay?

Like any other employee on the payroll, directors are eligible for SSP as long as they satisfy the other conditions for receiving it. This also means that SSP can be reclaimed for directors off-sick with coronavirus, through the SSP Relief Scheme.

What happens if our annual accounts are not ready in time for filing?

If the impact of coronavirus COVID-19 has affected your ability to file your company accounts on time, you can apply for more time to file them. Remember though, that you must take action before the filing deadline.

Can I defer my VAT payment?

The next quarter of VAT payments have been deferred to help VAT registered businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

You will not pay any VAT from now until the end of June 2020, and have until the end of the financial year to repay those bills.

Am I eligible for the Small Business Grant Fund?

Businesses who need support dealing COVID-19 are eligible for a payment of ÂŁ10,000 through the Small Business Grant Fund as long as:

  • The business is based in England and occupies a property
  • The business’s property was in receipt of Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief on 11 March 2020

Who can use the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)?

The CBILS is only open to businesses that are based in the UK, and whose turnover is less than ÂŁ45 million per year. Learn more about CBILS.

Can I defer paying my Corporation Tax bill because of COVID-19?

Whilst the government have given people more time to pay their income tax and VAT bills because of coronavirus, the payment deadline for Corporation Tax has not been extended. You may be able to request more time using HMRC’s Time to Pay scheme.

How much is available if I borrow using a Small Business Bounce Back Loan?

The government-backed Small Business Bounce Back Loans allow small businesses suffering as a result of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic to borrow anywhere between ÂŁ2,000 and ÂŁ50,000.

Is applying for a Small Business Bounce Back Loan a long process?

The government are actively working to reassure lenders of their support, helping funds become available in just days, once approved.

Is the Small Business Bounce Back Loan the same as the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)?

No, the two loans are backed by the government, but operate under different schemes.

Can I apply for the Creative, Tourism & Hospitality Enterprises Hardship Fund?

The fund is available to Scottish micro businesses that fall within its remit of creative, tourism or hospitality industries. The fund is only open to businesses employing fewer than 50 staff, and who have experienced a 50% drop in revenue as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Learn more here.

Employers

What is the minimum amount of time an employee can be furloughed?

To be eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the furlough period must be a minimum of three weeks.

Can I still ask my employee to work whilst on furlough?

No, employees must not work for their employer whilst furloughed. This includes answering work related emails or phone calls.

This only relates to the employer who placed them in furlough. A worker who has another employer can continue working for them, even if you furlough them.

Does the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme cover NI and pension contributions?

CJRS will reimburse an employer for 80% of an employee’s regular wages, up to a maximum of £2,500 each month. It will also cover the employer’s NI and the minimum employer’s pension contributions that are due on the subsidised amount.

Some of my staff are on zero hours contracts – are they eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme?

Yes, anyone whose basic pay is operated through payroll on a PAYE scheme can be included.

Can CJRS be used for commission payments?

No, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme can only be used to reimburse an employee’s basic pay, and doesn’t include bonuses or commission payments.

Do I need an employee’s sick note to reclaim SSP for COVID-19?

No, you won’t need employees to provide a note from the GP, in order to reclaim SSP paid out for coronavirus COVID-19. You can ask staff to provide you with an isolation note from the NHS 111 website, if you need it for your records.

My employee has COVID-19 but isn’t eligible for sick pay. What can I do?

Employers can still help unwell employees like they normally would, by providing their staff with a form called SSP1, which they can then use to claim benefits.

When will the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme be available?

Employers can claim for furloughed workers through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme from 20th April 2020. Learn more about the scheme.

How long can I use the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for furloughed staff?

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended from June 2020 until October 2020.

Employers can continue to reclaim 80% of the costs of staff furloughed as a result of COVID-19, up to the end of July 2020. You can read our article for more information, including changes to the scheme from August 2020.

When does the online system for the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme open?

You can apply to reclaim SSP through HMRC’s online service, which will be available from 26th May 2020.

What’s the maximum amount of SSP I can reclaim through the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme?

Employers to reclaim a maximum of two week worth of SSP for coronavirus-related sickness absences.

How much is Statutory Sick Pay?

Before 6th April 2020 SSP was ÂŁ94.25 per week. On or after 6th April 2020, SSP increased to ÂŁ95.85 per week. Even if you pay more sick pay to employees, you can only reclaim the statutory rate under the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme.

What is coronavirus-related sickness for SSP?

Employers who want to reclaim SSP paid to employees unable to work because of coronavirus can only do so if; their employee couldn’t work because they, or someone they live with, has COVID-19 or has symptoms, or; they were sent a shielding letter by their GP, instructing them to remain home for at least 12 weeks.

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COVID-19 support for our clients

Our COVID-19 and business FAQs are designed to get you to the information you need quickly and easily.

However, if you have a specific query which is not answered here, then please speak to your dedicated accountant or a member of our payroll team by calling 020 3355 4047.

COVID-19 support for new clients

As an online accounting firm, we’re always available to provide accurate, reliable advice in a financial crisis.

So, if you’re not currently a client of ours, then get an instant quote or book a call with one of our accountancy advisors, who are on hand to help your business during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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