Practical business advice - Coronavirus

19 - 05 - 2020

The UK, Scottish and Welsh governments are continuing to make tax and legislation changes to help business during the coronavirus pandemic. Some of the recent measures are noted below.


Please be aware that this note is based on the information published as at 19 May 2020 and is intended to provide guidance on how Foremans LLP believe at this juncture the schemes operate. The below is based on Foremans LLP’s interpretation of the available information and HMRC guidance.


Foremans will continue to update our clients as and when information is received from the Government. 

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme


The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is now active and has been extended up to the end of October 2020.  


All UK employers with a PAYE scheme can access support to continue paying some of their employees’ salary whilst they are unable to work during the crisis. Employers are currently reimbursed the lower of 80% of salary and £2,500 per month per employee. Employers NI and minimum pension contributions will also be reimbursed based on the furlough payment.


The minimum period of furlough is 3 weeks. The employee must not work for the employer in the period of furlough. However the employee can work through another employment whilst on furlough leave from a different employer. The payment is a grant rather than a loan. The salary is paid through the normal business payroll under the Real Time Information (RTI) system.


From August 2020 employers will be asked to pay a percentage of the salaries of furloughed staff. There will also be more flexibility to bring back furloughed staff on a part time basis whilst still receiving support from the scheme. Further details regarding the changes in August 2020 will be issued in due course.


We are currently administering furlough payments for clients. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any queries regarding furlough payments to yourself or your employees.




The temporary changes to VAT payments have not been altered since they were announced in March 2020.


All VAT registered UK businesses are eligible to defer any VAT payments due between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020. Businesses can only defer:


·         Quarterly and monthly VAT return payments for the periods ending in February 2020, March 2020 and April 2020.

·         Annual Accounting advance payments due between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020.


The deferment does NOT cover HMRC Mini One Stop Shop (MOSS) VAT scheme payments or import VAT.


VAT repayments will not be offset against the deferred VAT but may be offset against any other outstanding VAT liabilities. Deferring payments will not create a repayment.


Businesses can still pay any VAT due as normal.


VAT returns should still be filed by the due date.


Grant Schemes


England, Wales and Scotland have different schemes.




Retail and Hospitality Grant Scheme - The Retail and Hospitality Grant Scheme will provide businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a cash grant of up to £25,000 per property.


Business Rates Holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses - Retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England can apply for a holiday from business rates for the 2020/2021 tax year.


Small Business Grant - All Businesses eligible for small Business Rates Relief will get a grant of £10,000.


Further information is available at:




Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund - The scheme is now closed.


Creative, Tourism and Hospitality Enterprises Hardship Fund – The scheme is now closed.


Newly Self- Employed Hardship Fund – Available for the self employed not entitled to SEISS as they became self employed after 06 April 2019. The scheme is administered by local authorities through who any claim should be made.


Further information is available at:




Small Business Grant - All Businesses eligible for small Business Rates Relief will get a grant of £10,000.


Welsh Economic Resilience Scheme - paused on 27 April 2020.


Further information is available at:


Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme


The scheme supports Small and Medium businesses with access to loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance of up to £5 million for up to 6 years. A business interruption payment will also be made by the government to cover the first 12 months of interest payments and any lender levied fees.


The governments will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% for each lender. There are currently 40 accredited lenders able to offer the scheme which includes all the major banks. A list can be found at:




·         Business is UK based

·         Turnover is less than £45 million per year

·         The business meets the British Business Bank Eligibility Criteria. Please follow the following link to assess your eligibility:




The scheme is now open for applications. You should contact your business bank or one of the 40 accredited providers to discuss your business plan and access to the loan.



Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan


A small to medium sized business affected by coronavirus may be able to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 through the Bounce Back Loan Scheme.


The Government will guarantee 100% of the loan and for the first 12 months there will be no fees, interest or repayments.


Commercial Tenants Protection from Eviction


Commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of COVID-19 will be protected from eviction. No business will automatically forfeit their lease and be forced out of their premises if they miss a payment up to 30 June 2020. The government have the option to extend this period if needed.


This is not a rental holiday. The tenant will still be liable to pay the rent.


Companies House Accounts Filing


All companies should take appropriate measures to ensure accounts are filed on time as the law imposes an automatic penalty.


If it becomes apparent that accounts will not be filed on time due to the company being affected by COVID-19 you should apply for an automatic and immediate 3 month extension to file your accounts.


Please note that companies that have already extended their filing deadline or shortened their accounting reference period may not be eligible for an extension.


Late filing penalties will still apply where a deadline is missed but appeals will be treated “sympathetically”.


Companies House have also temporarily suspended the strike-off process to prevent companies being dissolved before Directors or potential creditors have the opportunity to submit the appropriate paperwork to prevent the strike-off.


Time to Pay


HMRC have also upgraded their time to pay service for businesses. If you have missed or are worried about missing a tax payment due to Coronavirus you should contact HMRC to discuss being allowed additional time to make payments. The HMRC helpline number is 0800 0241 222. The helpline is available Monday to Friday 8am to 4pm.


Exemption for COVID-19 Related Reimbursed Home Office Expenses


The Financial Secretary to the Treasury announced on 13 May 2020 that the reimbursement of expenses for home office expenses are temporarily exempt from income tax and National Insurance.


To be eligible for the exemption the expenditure must meet the following two conditions:


·   Equipment is obtained for the sole purpose of enabling the employee to work from home as a result of the coronavirus outbreak


·   The provision of the equipment would have been exempt from income tax if it had been provided directly to the employee by or on behalf of the employer.


Self Assessment Second Payments on Account 2019/20 due 31 July 2020


If you are due to make a self assessment payment on account on 31 July 2020 you can defer making the payment until 31 January 2021.


The deferment is optional and HMRC do advise making the payment on 31 July 2020 if you can.


This is an automatic offer and no applications are required. No penalties or interest for late payment will be charged if you defer payment until 31 January 2021.


You can set up a payment plan with HMRC for the deferred payment which may help with payment when it becomes due on 31 January 2021.


Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)


The Self Employment Income Support Scheme became open for claims on 13 May 2020. The aim is to support the self employed who have lost income due to coronavirus. The scheme includes members of partnerships.


The payment is a grant and will be the lower of 80% of trading profits and £2,500 per month. Initially the payments are for the first 3 months in one lump sum.


You can claim if you are self employed and:


·         Traded in 2018/2019 tax year

·         Submitted your 2018/19 self assessment tax return on or before 23 April 2020

·         Traded in the tax year 2019/20

·         Intend to carry on trading in tax year 2020/21

·         Carry on a trade that has been adversely affected by coronavirus.


Taxpayers may wish to request a review of their entitlement to a SEISS grant where they have been told they are not eligible by HMRC or they wish to dispute the amount awarded. A review can now be requested via the HMRC eligibility checker where there is an option to complete an online form requesting a review. Although only the tax payer can apply for SEISS the review can be requested by either the tax payer or their agent.


If you believe you are eligible for SEISS and have been rejected or that the amount you have been awarded is incorrect please contact Foremans for help with your review application.

Scam Calls


We are aware of a significant number of scam calls and emails saying that you are eligible for financial help or owed a tax refund. HMRC will NOT ask you to click on a link or give any personal information either over the phone or by email. Please do not respond to any such contact.



Please be aware that the advice and proposals regarding coronavirus are constantly changing and before acting on any of the above you should check the current situation with:



If you would like to discuss any of the issues noted above please contact us on:


01244 625 500 or 01978 364 000


Whilst all due care and attention has been taken in the preparation of these notes no liability can be accepted for any omission or item contained therein.


Foremans LLP

19 May 2020






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