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post august grant

Government Support. Self-employment grant. CBILs and Bounce Back Loans

Second and final self-employment grant

You can as of today now claim for the second and final self-employment grant.

Don’t forget this does not apply to limited companies I am afraid.

The second and final taxable grant made available by HMRC amounts to 70% of your average monthly trading profits and is again paid out as a single instalment covering 3 months worth of profits.

This payment is capped at £6,570 in total.

The claim can be made in the same was you made the first claim and it must be made by on or before 19 October 2020.

Further information regarding the claim and the making of it can be found here.

CBILs and Bounce Back Loans

We thought we best clarify; for the avoidance of confusion, the current deadlines in place by the Government as to when it is currently proposed that each scheme be closed:

CBILs – it is current proposed that this will remain in place up until the end of September 2020 but this may be extended.

Bounce back loans – it is current proposed that these will be available up until 4 November 2020 but again is subject to revision.

Please note that the above deadlines are in reference to applying for these so if you have either of these loans already, the agreement you already have will still stand until the end of the agreed term.

Additional funding you might not be aware of

The Government has recently announced an additional £20 million of suport that is being made available through local Growth Hubs and can be used to fund:
  • one to many events providing guidance as to how to respond to coronavirus
  • small grants to access specialist professional advice
  • small grants to cover the purchase of minor equipment to adapt or adopt new technology
More information can be found here.

Business Interruption Insurance

There has recently been a rather large court case regarding this that we believe is going to appeal but if you think you might be eligible for this and have previously been turned away we recommend that you speak with your insurance company again to clarify any impact on you.
resources 15.06

What is a flexible furlough? How do I put employees on flexible furlough?

Yes we had another late Friday night update and a client with much greater HR expertise than us has kindly shared the following with us with regards to a number of questions that might be raised.

What is a flexible furlough?

From 1 July 2020, employers can bring furloughed employees back to work for any amount of time and any work pattern.

You will still be able to claim the furlough grant for the hours your flexibly furloughed employees do not work, compared to the hours they would normally have worked in that period.

How do I put employees on flexible furlough?

From 1 July 2020, only employees that you have successfully claimed a previous grant for will be eligible for more grants under the scheme.

This means they must have previously been furloughed for at least 3 consecutive weeks taking place any time between 1 March and 30 June 2020. For the minimum 3 consecutive week period to be completed by 30 June, the last day an employee could have started furlough for the first time was 10 June.

You should have a discussion with employees who you wish to place on the flexible furlough scheme because you will need to agree the arrangements of their part time work. The agreement should be confirmed in writing and you must keep a written record of the agreement for five years.

You do not need to place all your employees on furlough. In addition, you can continue to fully furlough employees if you wish.

How long can flexible furlough last?

Flexible furlough agreements can last any amount of time. This means that they do not need to last for a minimum of 3 weeks. However, the period that you claim for must be for a minimum period of 7 calendar days. Any flexible furlough period of less than this cannot be claimed for via the scheme.

Employees can enter into a flexible furlough agreement more than once.

What do I pay an employee on flexible furlough?

You will pay the employee for the hours they work, along with national insurance contributions and pension contributions for those hours.

The scheme will allow you to recover the remainder of wages to a maximum cap. Wage caps are proportional to the hours an employee is furloughed. For example, an employee is entitled to 60% of the £2,500 cap if they are placed on furlough for 60% of their usual hours.

The amount that the scheme will cover will begin to decrease from September 2020, and you will be responsible for all of the national insurance and pension contributions from August 2020, regardless of the employee being on flexible furlough.

Claims under the new scheme will be open from 1 July 2020.

When claiming for employees who are flexibly furloughed you should not claim until you are sure of the exact number of hours they will have worked during the claim period. This means that you should claim when you have certainty about the number of hours your employees are working during the claim period. If you claim in advance and your employee works for more hours than you have told HMRC about, then you will have to pay some of the grant back to HMRC.

What records do I need to keep?

You’ll need to keep records of how many hours your employees work and the number of hours they are furloughed during flexible furlough. For example, you will need to record that an employee who normally works for 37 hours a week is actually working for 15 hours and is furloughed for 22 hours.

Can my employees work for me during ‘down time’ in flexible furlough?

During flexible furlough, employees are not allowed to do any work for you or any linked or associated organisation during the periods that you record them as being on furlough.

Employees on flexible furlough can do training during the hours that they are recorded as being on furlough, but must be paid at least national minimum wage for those hours.

How do I calculate normal working hours?

If your employee is flexibly furloughed, you’ll need to work out your employee’s usual hours and record the actual hours they work as well as their furloughed hours for each claim period.

There are two different calculations you can use to work out your employee’s usual hours, depending on whether they work fixed or variable hours.

You should work out work out usual hours for employees who work variable hours, if either:

  • your employee is not contracted to a fixed number of hours
  • your employee’s pay depends on the number of hours they work

Where the employee’s working hours are fixed, or their pay does not vary with the amount of hours worked, the reference period for calculating their hours is the hours your employee was contracted for at the end of the last pay period ending on or before 19 March 2020.

Where an employee works variable hours, you will use the higher of:

  • the average number of hours worked in the tax year 2019 to 2020
  • the corresponding calendar period in the tax year 2019 to 2020.

 

Webinars (NOT TO BE MISSED)

One of the first and most important lessons that I have learnt is the time lost with family whilst I was working on the business and this is where Joe Laws of Joe Laws Photography will be joining us to discuss what he has planned to help people always appreciate this.  Already I have scheduled in our family photoshoot and these are memories that whilst might have in the past have been forgotten, but in the future, will always be remembered.

Family versus work versus you
Book here to join us at 11.30 on Thursday 18 June.

In our second webinar, planned for two weeks’ time on Thursday 25 June, I will be discussed what I think lies ahead and what we can potentially anticipate.

What to expect next
To join click here on Thursday 25 June at 11am where I will discuss my thoughts and make this as interactive as possible for those attending to help people plot a route forward.

Don’t forget that you can register for webinars previously missed by clicking on the links on past newsletters to access a recording, going to our website, or visiting our company YouTube channel.

post 11 may self

Self-Employment Grant Update

So, based on current guidance, the portal will start to go live for some clients as of Wednesday but there are still several things unknown but we thought we would tell what we; and you, should expect:

  • Some people are now receiving text messages to set up their personal government gateway ID’s with HMRC.  We recommend you do this, but either register through your web browser or if already registered, then only log back in through your web browser to reduce the risk of fraud.
  • If you are unsure as to whether you have an account, just try registering just in case and if there is an error warning then contact our office and we may be able to assist or point you in the direction of where you go with HMRC.  Please try registering first though to avoid a deluge of calls to the office.
  • You personally must make the claim using this personal Government Gateway ID and we will not in any circumstances be able to make this claim on your behalf as these claims are meant to be made by the claimant and cannot be made through our firm portal based on the most recent guidance.
  • We are told that it is a ‘simple form’ and we expect/hope that HMRC use the information they already have access to calculate what you are due; this is our interpretation though, so we are not expecting to manually have to make any such calculations which should speed up the process and make it more efficient all round.

Naturally all of the above is subject to change but we will keep an eye on this and notify you of any changes as and when we receive them ourselves.

loan 2 may

Government Loan And New Grant Announcement

So the bounce back loans are now live and can be accessed via most banks websites as we have been tracking them this morning.

I know we covered most of this last week but the key known facts that we are aware of so far:

  • They cover borrowing from £2,000 to £50,000 with some banks adding that the amount borrowed must not exceed 25% of turnover as well as a guideline.
  • The Government guarantees 100% of the loan and there will be no repayments within the first 12 months.
  • You cannot claim if you are already claiming under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).  If you have already received a loan of up to £50,000 through the CBILS you can transfer this to the Bounce Back Loan scheme but this must be arranged with your lender by not later than 4 November 2020.
  • After the first year, interest is fixed at 2.5%.
  • There are no early repayment fees.

We’re told that the application process should be relatively quick and simple but naturally nobody has been through this and we would initially recommend you contact your bank if this is of interest then liaise with us if you require any assistance.

New premises grant

This one almost slipped under the radar but we spotted it and there is a new discretionary fund that has been made available to local authorities that is aimed at small businesses with on-going fixed property-related costs.

Now there is no mention of working from home costs so as yet we are not aware of any additional allowance for this but there are HMRC allowances for businesses and employees working from home and more information regarding this can be found here.

In terms of this new grant, local authorities are being asked to prioritise businesses in share spaces, regular market traders etc and more guidance can be found here.

To qualify, businesses must be deemed to be small as in have less than 50 employees and be able to demonstrate a significant drop in income due to COVID-19.

There are three levels of grants:

  1. Grants of £10,000
  2. Grants of up to £25,000
  3. Grants of less than £10,000 which will be at the discretion of local authorities

Further guidance for local authorities is set to be forthcoming so contact them directly if you have any further queries.

What is planned for May?

Whilst we must get back on track ourselves as firm in May, our ‘Strike-Back’ strategy continues and we have an exciting line-up of speakers planned for clients that will further help you reinforce and re-engineer your business so that you come back with a bang as you are most likely sick of us by now!

We have our first four speakers lined up so will announce more information later this week.

15.04

Furlough and Help for Self-Employed Update

The timing of our two webinars; links towards the foot of this newsletter, couldn’t have been timed better.  We’ve just outlined the headlines below together with the links to the full HMRC articles and will go through all of this in more detail this coming Friday.

Furlough Update
Thousands more employees will now be able to receive support through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) after the eligibility date was extended to 19 March 2020, the government announced today (full article can be found here).
Employers can claim for furloughed employees that were employed and on their PAYE payroll on or before 19 March 2020. This means that the employee must have been notified to HMRC through an RTI submission notifying payment in respect of that employee on or before 19 March 2020.
This change makes the scheme more generous while keeping the substantial fraud risks under control and is expected to benefit over 200,000 employees.
HMRC are aiming to have the scheme fully operational next week but anticipate issues and the system crashing when it first goes live.

Update for the Self-Employed
How the figures will be calculated has now been outlined in detail and the breakdown of which can be found here.It will be based on those figures declared on your tax returns covering the 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 tax years as appropriate.

Any more queries around either of the above, please come along to our webinar on Friday where we will look to answer as many as we can.

COVID 19 Strike Back – Lets hit back and lets hit back hard!

Now that the dust has settled and we should have digested the support there and how we access this; though some finer details are still yet to be clarified, let’s hit back with all of this rather than feel sorry for ourselves and our business.  If you don’t, you more than likely won’t have a business to return to.

To start with we are ecstatic that we can now share our co-branded document that has been produced alongside one of our software providers that has a walk-through of how best you can do this.  This can be found here.

There is still time to jump onto our second 30 minute LIVE work-out webinar without the spandex this week where we will look at pivoting your business to bounce back (register here).

Following on from this I am opening up the diary for the team for the week commencing 20 April 2020 for you to have a 30 minute one-to-one free session to discuss anything we cover next week in more detail.

Just to stress, now is not the time to stand still, it is the time to strike back!

Further guidance

Following our previous newsletter and as referred to above, people have been asking for further guidance around:
  • Help for the self-employed (to book on click here)
  • Furloughing of staff (to book on click here)

As a result of this we will be doing two separate 30 minute live webinars this Friday covering the above two areas and will add access to finance to each of them also.

To book on, click either of the respective links above.

 

Finally – Client Exchange (APRIL ONLY)

Don’t worry we are not exchanging any clients.

During such unprecedented times we are going to support one another and we won’t always be able to do this for free.

We can however help one another out in exchange for goods/services to the value.

In light of this; and only for the remainder of this month as a trial, if you need some assistance but are struggling financially, can you email what you need to enquiries@gtaccountants.com and we will try to see if we can match you up with another customer.

Please note this is not a free advertising tool but instead to help those clients in need so that we can be specific.

If you are looking to advertise, let me know and I will do a separate client-led newsletter with content provided by you so you can advertise your services but by way of a newsletter rather than direct e-mail as I don’t think any of us would appreciate being sold to in the current climate unless we were looking to buy.

april 1

Import update on HMRC direct debits

We thought we should send an update out, given how quiet things have been over the past few days.

In short, the detail behind the Government announcements is where there is change hence there has been very few updates and thus our newsletters may become more sporadic again over the coming weeks.  Don’t worry though, if anything new comes to light for us to urgently share we will continue to do so.

One important update though; can you please cancel any direct debits to HMRC in respect of your VAT or self-assessment if you plan to take advantage of the ‘deferring payment’ otherwise money will still be taken automatically. 

As we continue to focus more on the detail and roll out of everything introduced by the Government, we are asking everybody take advantage of any extra time they have on their hands to ask themselves the following:

  • If you could start your business from scratch today; knowing what you have learnt and with the resources that you have accumulated, how would you structure it differently?  What will you do differently going forward?
  • Given the troubled times we are now facing; if you had known in advance that they were coming, what would you have done differently to prepare?

Now that we can start to focus on what changes need to be made, finance accessed etc. we can focus on how we bounce back positively on the other side of this so you will notice a change in direction in terms of being more upbeat again as we take on you the next step of making the best of a horrible situation.

A friend or contact in need

Never has it been more important to stick together in such times and no more than ever we are here for you to support you however we can.

Can we kindly ask that you listen out across social media, in your circle of friends and contacts, for anybody who too would benefit from the same support that you too are receiving.

Even if they just registered for our newsletter; which they can do by just clicking onto our website here, or if they were to take advantage of our newly introduced and dedicated COVID-19 (click here) and Cash Flow SOS page (click here), you would be helping them out.

Together, we can get through this.

Further help on it’s way

Whilst we have provided you all with a deluge of updates and information we acknowledge that we can do more.

Naturally we are stretched significantly as it is so would like to get this help out to as many of you at the same time as possible but appreciate that a newsletter may not always be the best method.

In light of this, we propose to run a series of live webinars; that will be not be more than say 30 minutes in length; allowing for a 15-20 minute update from us and 10 minutes for questions.

The most popular areas that we are being asked about and that we would look to run a live webinar on include:

  • assistance for those that are self-employed
  • furloughing staff
  • access to finance including government grants
If any of these are of interest, please e-mail us at enquiries@gtaccountants.com and we will set up a group live webinar subject to demand.
summary covid19

COVID-19 Summary (28 March 2020)

Wow, it has been quite a week and I appreciate that we have been sending quite a few newsletters with updates so we thought we would summarise where things are here.  In addition, we have provided more detail below this regarding furloughed employees and finally provided an update regarding accessing the government grants.
The Chancellor has set out a package of temporary, timely and targeted measures to support public services, people and businesses through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19.

This includes a package of measures to support businesses including:

  • a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
  • deferring VAT and Income Tax payments
  • a Self-employment Income Support Scheme
  • a Statutory Sick Pay relief package for small and medium sized businesses (SMEs)
  • a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses in England
  • small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
  • grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
  • the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank
  • a new lending facility from the Bank of England to help support liquidity among larger firms, helping them bridge coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through loans
  • the HMRC Time To Pay Scheme

More detailed guidance around each of the areas above can be found here

Furloughing Employees Update from HMRC

What is it?

It is a grant for employers to help fund employee wages, where certain conditions are met, that has temporarily been put in place for 3 months initially, but this may be extended.

Note that this is a grant and not a loan, so it will not be repayable.

Which Businesses can claim?

  • It is open to all UK employers who have created and started a PAYE payroll scheme on 28th February 2020
  • Any UK organisation can claim it is not based on profits but business must have a UK bank account
  • Special rules apply to those public sector employers, who are funded primarily from public grant funding, mainly as they are expected to still be delivering a public service.  Please do seek further guidance around this area though if you think it might impact you.

Which employees are eligible?

  • To claim for an employee that you decide to furlough, they must have been on your payroll as at 28 February 2020 and this is includes various types of contract such as full time, part time etc.
  • We understand the furloughing of employees can be done on an individual basis, however, you need to be aware of employment law, particularly around discrimination.
  • The scheme also covers employees who were made redundant after 28 February 2020, as long as they are rehired by their employer.
  • Employees on unpaid leave cannot be furloughed, unless they were placed on unpaid leave after 28 February.
  • Employees on sick leave or self-isolating should get Statutory Sick Pay, but can be furloughed after this, whilst employees who are shielding in line with public health guidance can be placed on furlough.
  • If the employee is on maternity leave and receiving maternity pay, SMP or maternity allowance, this will continue.  However, if you top the statutory payment up this can be claimed back through the furlough scheme as long as both parties agree; this also applies to other statutory payments such as Statutory Adoption Pay

Employee salaries and entitlements

  • During the furlough period the employee’s wages will still be subject to the normal income tax and national insurance deductions etc
  • If your employee reduces their hours, then they are still deemed to be  working for you, so the scheme will not apply.
  • If your employee has more than one employer they can be furloughed for each job. Each job is separate and the cap applies to each employer individually based on current guidance.
  • A furloughed employee can take part in volunteer work or training, as long as it does not provide services to, or generate revenue for, or on behalf of your organisation.
  • Employees that have been furloughed have the same employment rights as they did previously.
  • The government has also announced changes to carrying over annual leave, allowing workers up to 2 years to take unused holiday, for more info click here.

Making a claim

  • Employees will have had to have been furloughed before any claim can be made.
  • The reclaim amount which will be repaid into employers’ bank accounts by BACS, that is likely to be in arrears, can be up to 80% of an employee’s regular wage plus on-costs up to a maximum amount of £2,500.  Therefore a maximum amount that can be claimed is £2,500 salary plus on-costs for employer’s National Insurance and the required minimum pension contributions.  Employers will need to pay 80% of normal, regular salary without bonuses, commission etc. included or £2,500 whichever is lower. We are awaiting further guidance from HMRC on the calculation of the NI and pension contributions on the subsidised wages paid, so expect further updates on this one.
  • There are a couple of calculation methods for those on variable pay, either the same month’s earnings in the previous year, or average monthly earnings for the year (pro rata for less than a year)
  • As a worker will have been furloughed National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage will not be relevant unless training is being undertaken whilst furloughed
  • Once the scheme has been closed by the government, HMRC will continue to process remaining claims before terminating the scheme
  • Payments received by a business under the scheme are made to offset these deductible revenue costs and thus will be taxed as income.
  • Businesses can deduct employment costs as normal when calculating taxable profits for Income Tax and Corporation Tax purposes.
  • There are a number of data items that HMRC will require when making a claim via their portal.  It isn’t yet clear what the portal might look like, or the format required for the data.

If you would like to share guidance with your employees to help them understand this legislation, please ask them to visit: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-you-could-be-covered-by-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

 

Some further queries you might have

 

Do employers have to backdate the 80% March payment values in April payroll/tax year 2020/21 or does it all have to be completed on the March payroll tax year 2019/20?

Currently, our understanding is that furloughing applies from the date that you notify your employees that they are being furloughed, not the date that you make the payments. Our suggestion would be to notify your employees now that you intend to furlough, with the amount that you intend to pay. Naturally guidance around this might change and we always recommend you take professional HR advice around this.

If a worker is furloughed, can they be brought back into work early if say work commitments change? 

Yes, we believe you can bring back your employees early but again take HR advice around how this is worded to enable the option to be considered at some point during the period of being furloughed.

For owner/Directors who are on the payroll, will they be treated as employees or self-employed?

Legally, directors of a limited company are employees and should be treated as such.  Like employees, any claim will be based in the same way BUT WILL NOT take account of any dividends.

If it is a single director company, are they eligible for this scheme?

Based on the latest ICAEW interpretation of the HMRC guidance; as HMRC are silent on this matter, they too are eligible and can make a claim provided they meet the same eligibility criteria that other employees need to meet.

Will you guys help us out as a business when this scheme is launched fully?

Of course we will and just watch out for further guidance coming but we will coordinate this all as part of the payroll process.

For those clients that handle payroll themselves internally, we will also help you through the same process if you wish so you’re not alone.

Any further questions that you might have which are are not covered above; and any action taken regardless, we always suggest is taken with the sign off of a qualified HR person with the above to act as a guide as to what can be interpreted from what HMRC has issued.  Use this accordingly to plan ahead, we will keep things right with regards to the declaration and reclaiming of amounts from HMRC then; you alongside an HR expert, can ensure the paperwork and implementation side of things can be handled correctly.

Don’t forget, as clients of ours, you have access to unindemnified advice from the HR team at Avensure or you can contact ACAS whose details are here.

As local authorities start to develop varying strategies around issuing the grant funding being provided by the Government, we suggest all businesses who feel that they meet the eligibility requirements contact their local councils through their websites to lodge a claim.

Grant Update

The links for Newcastle, North Tyneside, South Tyneside and Northumberland Council Councils can be found below:

Newcastle City Council click here
North Tyneside Council click here
South Tyneside Council click here
Northumberland County Council click here

The process seems quite straightforward and we have already lodged our claim but any queries around this please direct these towards your local authority.
Screenshot 2020-04-24 at 15.14.17

COVID-19 Update (27 March 2020)

We are going to focus on the announcement for the self-employed yesterday but first want to clarify; before we are inundated with queries; this does not apply those clients who have a limited company.  These measures are aimed at those who act as a sole trader or as a partnership.  There are no known further announcements planned with limited companies but naturally things are moving quite fast so that could change.

So let’s summarise the key points:

  • The scheme will allow you claim a taxable grant worth 80% of trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next 3 months; though this may be extended.
  • There are certain conditions; that must be met if you are to apply, which can be found here.
  • To work out the average, HMRC will take 80% of the average profits across the 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 tax years.
  • The grant awarded will be paid directly into your bank account in one instalment.
  • You cannot yet apply for this scheme and instead HMRC will contact you by the beginning of June to apply online so do not yet contact HMRC.

As with all other recent announcements there will be a lot more detail to follow over the next week or so, so watch out for further updates from ourselves.

MAJOR Government Backed Loans Update

As we highlighted the varying approaches being adopted by the banks yesterday; we weren’t overly happy with this inconsistency of the ethics by which some banks might send you down a lending route where they would earn money from factors outside of your control rather than giving you the interest-free option also.

Thankfully we already have invested in a software company that has a lending platform that both encompasses the Government-backed interest-free loan options whilst also includes the normal commercial market and just today agreed our approach to this with them.

We have discussed with a number of you already the option of going down this route and mentioned it in previous newsletters but you must consider; at least, but not only, the following:

  • Can you afford to service the debt beyond the interest-free 12 month term; subject to getting access to the Government-backed loan?
  • What are the costs of taking on the debt beyond the initial interest-free term as over a longer period, a commercial loan might actually work out cheaper?
  • What information have you got behind this application to give lenders the peace of mind that this investment in you and your business is a worthwhile one?
  • What have you already done to mitigate the damage done/likely to be done as a result of the current challenges that we face?

Don’t forget, this option is not just open to limited companies but is also open to sole traders, partnerships and many more.

We can, and are, helping clients with such applications so please contact us if this is of interest to you.

We have also seen clients already go down this path completely independently and that too is fine but please factor in the considerations in the bullet points above.  There are also several other factors as the scary fact is that more often than not we spend less time searching for finance than we do booking a holiday and often rely on Google’s listing which can be led by those that pay the most to advertise.

For those that do this independently, can we just kindly repeat our ask from yesterday that if you are being asked for information that you already have/have had access to can you please ensure that you have this ready rather than ask us to supply this again.