JOHNSTON WOOD ROACH HAVE IN PLACE PROCEDURES TO ENSURE THAT OUR SERVICE TO YOU IS NOT INTERRUPTED THROUGHOUT THE COVID-19 OUTBREAK
We want to take this opportunity to assure you that we have implemented systems and procedures to ensure that we continue to meet your accountancy requirements. Should it be necessary, all staff are equipped to work from home, and this will ensure we maintain our excellent level of service and business as usual.
However, we do have a duty of care regarding our team and client’s health and wellbeing which is something we take very seriously. In order to do this, we are suspending face to face client meetings. As an alternative, we will be holding all meetings remotely via a video link or conference call.
The office is currently still open and therefore all books and records can still be delivered to us and left in reception or sent electronically via our secure portal.
Payroll will continue to be processed as normal and we will ask you to provide the necessary information in a timely manner as you normally would.
It is inevitable that over the next few weeks or months you will experience some level of interruption regarding your business.
This week the Prime Minister pledged to stand by Briton’s “through thick and thin” with “further and faster” measures to defeat coronavirus and the Chancellor announced a £330bn stimulus package to protect the economy. He also announced a raft of tax relief measures for the hospitality and entertainment industries. There are also measures in place to help and assist you, some of which are detailed below. We are still waiting for additional detail in respect of the majority of these measures and we will update you as soon as further information is provided.
Tax Liabilities – Time to Pay Arrangements
HMRC to provide assistance through the delay of collection of tax bills (VAT, PAYE, NI and Corporation Tax) through the launch of a new ‘time to pay’ regime. HMRC Coronavirus Helpline Number—0800 0159 559. Up to 2,000 experienced call handlers are available to support businesses and individuals when needed. Opening hours are Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm, and Saturday 8am to 4pm.
Where possible, we can discuss this with HMRC on your behalf and can deal with any of the following:
• agreeing an instalment arrangement
• suspending debt collection proceedings
• cancelling penalties and interest where you have administrative difficulties contacting or paying HMRC immediately
Government Backed Loans
The government have said that they will provide “an unprecedented package of government-backed and guaranteed loans to support business to get through this”. That means any business who needs access to pay their rent, salaries, suppliers or purchase stock will be able to access a government-backed loan or credit on attractive terms.
The Chancellor also said “I have today agreed a new lending facility with the Governor of the Bank of England to provide low cost, easily accessible loans to assist the larger companies.
To support lending to small and medium sized businesses, I am extending the new Business Interruption Loan Scheme I announced at the Budget last week, so that rather than loans of £1.2 million, it will now provide loans of up to £5 million, with no interest due for the first six months. Both of these schemes will be up and running by the start of next week.”
For small companies (in the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors) occupying business premises with a rateable value of between £15,000 and £51,000 will be eligible for grants worth up to £25,000, this is in addition to the one year rates holiday already announced. The government are also extending the business rates holiday to all businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors, irrespective of their rateable value. That means every single shop, pub, theatre, music venue, restaurant – and any other business in the retail, hospitality or leisure sector – will pay no business rates whatsoever for 12 months, and if they have a rateable value of less than £51,000, they can now get a cash grant as well.
The smallest 700,000 businesses (those with a rateable value of less than £15,000)—across all sectors of the economy—will also be eligible for cash grants of £10,000. This will help meet their ongoing business costs.
Sick Pay & Employment issues
Reimbursement of the sick pay costs for up to 14 days, which is just under £200 per employee, SSP will be now be available for those who have the coronavirus and also those who are unable to work because they are self-isolating in line with government advice. The weekly allowance for SSP will increase from £94.25 to £95.85 on the 6 April.
For those not eligible for SSP (including self-employed people), Contributory Employment and Support Allowance will be payable, at a rate of £73.10 per week if you are over 25, for eligible people affected by coronavirus or self-isolating in line with advice from day one of sickness, rather than day eight. For more information go the Department for Work and Pensions website.
For further advice please follow this link – the ACAS website is being updated on a daily basis to assist both the employer and the employee.
Britain’s biggest mortgage lenders have agreed to support customers struggling to repay their home loans as a result of the coronavirus, with payment holidays of up to three months. The government said this was to give people time to recover from the virus. They have also added that the housing secretary will soon be making a statement to “protect renters in these difficult times”.
If you do hold Business Interruption Insurance, it is worth checking your policy to see if you are covered for this situation. The Chancellor said “Let me confirm that, for those businesses which do have a policy that covers pandemics, the government’s action is sufficient and will allow businesses to make an insurance claim against their policy”
We can help you!
We are here to help you and your business get through these difficult times; we have detailed below some additional ideas which will aid your cash flow in the short term:
Tax losses – Any trading losses incurred in the current period can be carried back and offset against the previous years profits generating an immediate refund of tax.
CIS refunds – If you are self employed and have had CIS suffered at source we recommend the preparation of your tax return is dealt with as soon as possible after the end of the tax year to accelerate any possible refund due to you.
Research & Development Claims – The government have announced they will be reviewing R & D claims in a more timely manner allowing any R & D tax credits to be repaid as soon as possible.
In times of financial uncertainty it is important you are fully aware of any upcoming tax liabilities with as much notice as possible in order to plan ahead, we therefore recommend dealing with the preparation of your accounts and tax returns as soon as possible.
Businesses who receive regular VAT refunds should consider reverting to monthly VAT returns if they have not already done so.
Loans and Grants
When applying for the afore mentioned measures (loans & grants) it is important that you have up to date financial information including management accounts & cash flow forecasts. We are able to offer assistance and advice in this respect.