Joe Brewer Consulting Partner

Latest Covid-19 Business Announcements

The Covid-19 pandemic is still very much ongoing, and it remains unclear as to when normal life may resume. These past few days have seen a number of important announcements from the government, but many are left feeling unsure as to how it affects their business.

With so much to take in, it can be overwhelming knowing where to look first for advice. 
To help you keep on top of what the latest government announcements mean for you and your business, we’ve produced a roundup of the latest Covid-19 business announcements below:

Bounce Back Loans The “Bounce Back Loan” scheme is now available, and small business owners can apply to accredited lenders by filling out a simple online form, with only seven questions.

The government has agreed with lenders that an affordable flat rate of 2.5% interest will be charged on these loans. If you’ve already taken out a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan of £50,000 or less, you can apply to have this switched over to this generous new scheme.

This new scheme of 100% government-guaranteed loans gives owners of even the smallest businesses the confidence and flexibility to borrow a sum which works for them and ensure they can continue to trade.

As part of the scheme, small businesses (turnover less than £45 million) can borrow between £2,000 and £50,000, up to a maximum of 25% of their annual turnover. The government will provide lenders with a 100% guarantee and cover the cost of any fees and interest for the borrower for the first 12 months. No repayments will be due during this period to enable firms to get back on their feet.

The loans are available through a network of lenders, including the five largest banks.

Further guidance and route to apply is here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-a-coronavirus-bounce-back-loan 

VAT zero rating for PPEA temporary zero rate of VAT will apply to all suppliers of personal protective equipment (PPE) made between 1 May 2020 and 31 July 2020. This includes supplies between those dates made from stock purchased before 1 May.

This covers items recommended for use by Public Health England in its guidance of 24th April 2020 “Guidance, COVID-19 personal protective equipment (PPE)” and includes:

  • Disposable gloves
  • Disposable plastic aprons
  • Disposable fluid-resistant coveralls or gowns
  • Surgical masks
  • Filtering face piece respirators
  • Eye and face protection, including single use and reusable full-face visors and goggles

The objective of this temporary zero rate is to remove the burden of VAT on the price of purchasing PPE used for protection from Coronavirus by front line workers, in particular to aid sectors that cannot normally recover VAT on these items.

Self-Employment Income Support SchemeOn Monday 4th May 2020, HMRC advised that they will now be contacting people who may be eligible for the new Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

Those who are eligible will be able to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of their average trading profits up to a maximum of £7,500 (equivalent to three months’ profits). This will be paid in a single instalment. 

Eligibility - what to do right now

Use HMRC’s online tool to assess whether you are eligible for this scheme:  https://www.tax.service.gov.uk/self-employment-support/enter-unique-taxpayer-reference
 
You will need to have your Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) and National Insurance Number to hand as part of the assessment process.

Both your UTR and NI number can be found on your individual tax return for any relevant year of trading. If you are unable to locate this information, your accountant or tax adviser will be able to help you locate the appropriate details.

Eligibility - a reminder on the rules

As a reminder you will be eligible if:

  • Your business has been adversely affected by coronavirus 
  • You have traded in the tax year 2019 to 2020
  • You intend to continue trading, and you earn at least half of your income through self-employment
  • You have trading profits of no more than £50,000 per year
  • You have traded in the tax year 2018 to 2019 and submitted your Self-Assessment tax return on or before 23 April 2020 for that year

Note that where HMRC have determined you eligible, they will be contacting you via email, text message or letter. 

If you are ineligible, HMRC have made provision for individuals to request a review. Applications of appeal will be considered from 18 May and eligibility status will be explained by the end of May 2020.

Claim your SEISS grant

Unlike the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme where you could instruct an adviser to submit the claim on your behalf, HMRC have announced that eligible individuals will need to claim the grant directly through the Government Gateway themselves. 

The online service has been pronounced on as simple and easy to use and specifically designed to be user-friendly. The online service will be available from 13 May 2020. 
If your claim is approved HMRC have advised that payment will be issued to you within 6 working days.

Current guidance can be found on GOV.UK: 
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/self-employed-invited-to-get-ready-to-make-their-claims-for-coronavirus-covid-19-support 
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme#claim 

9-step Covid-19 Action Plan Meeting
We’re here to help you navigate your way through the Coronavirus crisis, one step at a time. 

Whether it’s helping you to take advantage of the government support available to you or supporting you with cashflow forecasting, get in touch to book your 9-Step Covid-19 action plan meeting.