Winter Covid Support Measures for Businesses

The Government recently announced their next set of measures to support business through the pandemic during the winter period.

It has been a tough time for most businesses and we wanted to ensure you are accessing the support that is available.  Here we have summarised the initiatives you may be able to utilise to improve your cashflow, retain staff or grow your team.

We have added links for you to find further information on the topics which are relevant to your business.

Self Assessment tax bill – time to pay increased

From 1 October, the limit for time to pay, the online payment plan service used to set up instalment arrangements for paying tax liabilities, is increased to £30,000, up from £10,000.

The increased £30,000 threshold follows the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s announcement on 24 September to increase support for businesses and individuals through the uncertain months ahead

Self-assessment tax due on 31 January 2021 may be spread over 12 interest-free payments.

Find out more here

Payment of VAT

On 24 September 2020, the Chancellor announced that businesses who deferred VAT due from 20 March to 30 June 2020 will now have the option to pay in smaller payments over a longer period.

Instead of paying the full amount by the end of March 2021, you can make smaller payments up to the end of March 2022, interest free.

You will need to opt-in to the scheme, and for those who do, this means that your VAT liabilities due between 20 March and 30 June 2020 do not need to be paid in full until the end of March 2022.

Those that can pay their deferred VAT can still do so by 31 March 2021.

Find out more here 

VAT reduction extended

The temporary reduced (5%) rate of VAT for businesses in the hospitality sector will be extended until 31 March 2021

Job Support Scheme

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) will end on 31 October 2020.

The new Job Support Scheme starts on 1st November and will provide funding for employers who are able to retain employees but on shorter hours. The scheme will initially run for six months from November

The Job Support Scheme is designed to protect viable jobs in businesses who are facing lower demand over the winter months due to Covid-19, to help keep their employees attached to the workforce. The scheme will open on 1 November 2020 and run for 6 months.

The company will continue to pay its employee for time worked, but the cost of hours not worked will be split between the employer, the Government (through wage support) and the employee (through a wage reduction), and the employee will keep their job.

The employee must work at least 20% of their usual hours.  For every hour not worked, the Government will pay 62% and the employer will both pay 5% of usual wage for that employee. Employees take home at least 74% of pay for working minimum of 20% of hours.

Employers using the Job Support Scheme will also be able to claim the Job Retention Bonus if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Find out more here 

Job Retention Bonus

The Job Retention Bonus is a £1,000 one-off taxable payment to you (the employer), for each eligible employee that you furloughed and kept continuously employed until 31 January 2021.

You’ll be able to claim the bonus between 15 February 2021 and 31 March 2021. You do not have to pay this money to your employee.

You can claim the bonus if you’re an employer who has furloughed employees and made an eligible claim for them through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Your employee must have been eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grant for you to be eligible for the bonus.

You can still claim the bonus if you make a claim for that employee through the Job Support Scheme.

To be eligible for the bonus you must make sure that your employees have been paid at least the minimum income threshold.

To meet the minimum income threshold, you must pay your employee a total of at least £1,560 (gross) throughout the tax months:

  • 6 November to 5 December 2020
  • 6 December 2020 to 5 January 2021
  • 6 January to 5 February 2021

You must pay your employee at least one payment of taxable earnings (of any amount) in each of the relevant tax months.

Find out the full details here  https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-you-can-claim-the-job-retention-bonus-from-15-february-2021

Bounce Back Loans

The repayment terms of bounce back loans and other coronavirus support loans are to be extended to help businesses with cashflow. In particular, a new Pay As You Grow scheme will allow businesses with bounce back loans to extend the term of the loan from six to 10 years.

If you haven’t applied you have until Monday 30 November 2020 to apply

  • You can borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 The amount is capped at 25% of your total turnover (usually for calendar year 2019, or new businesses can estimate).
  • No interest will be charged, and no repayments will need to be made in the first 12 months.
  • After 12 months, all banks will charge a fixed 2.5% annual interest.
  • You can repay the loan early without penalty.Or with some banks you can part-repay or overpay.
  • It has just been announced that the loans can now last for 10 yearsOne year interest free and the rest at 2.5%.

Find out more here 

Employing young people

There are currently 2 schemes available to support young people in to work. If you are interested in a employing a young person check out the apprenticeship scheme or kick start scheme or you can use both.

  • Apprenticeship scheme

If you are interested in employing younger staff, consider an apprentice or the kick start scheme

  • £1,500 for every out-of-work 16-24-year-old given a ”high quality” six-month work placement
  • £2,000 for every under-25 apprentice taken on until the end of January, or £1,500 for over-25s

Find out more here

  • Kick Start Scheme

The Kickstart Scheme provides funding to employers to create new 6-month job placements for young people who are currently on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment.

This is part of the government’s Plan for Jobs and aims to create hundreds and thousands of new, fully funded jobs across England, Scotland and Wales. The first placements are likely to be available from November.

Funding will cover for each job placement:

  • 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week
  • the associated employer National Insurance contributions
  • employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions

There will also be extra funding to support young people to build their experience and help them move into sustained employment after they have completed their Kickstart Scheme funded job.

Find out more here

The scheme is aimed at employers who want to recruit 30 or more staff. However Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce, Wenta and Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce are working in partnership in order to become an ‘intermediary’ for small businesses in Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and North London to access the Government Kickstart Scheme.

If you’re a Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire or North London business, you can now register your interest for this scheme here 

Before applying, please read the below eligibility requirements.

The Kickstart Scheme job placements must:
• Be for a period of 6 months
• Be for at least 25 hours per week (employers can pay for more hours)
• Be paying at least the National Minimum Wage through PAYE (employers can pay more if they wish to do so)
• Be paying the statutory employer duties for the health, safety and welfare for young people, National Insurance and pension contributions
• Include support for young people to help them get work after they finish their Kickstart Scheme job
• Not replace any existing or planned jobs
• Not cause existing employees or contractors to lose or reduce their employment

Self Employed Income Support Scheme ( SEISS)

There has been a grant extension is for self-employed individuals who are currently eligible for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme and are actively continuing to trade, but are facing reduced demand due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

To be eligible for the grant extension self-employed individuals, including members of partnerships, must:

  • currently be eligible for the the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (although they do not have to have claimed the previous grants)
  • declare that they are currently actively trading and intend to continue to trade
  • declare that they are impacted by reduced demand due to coronavirus in the qualifying period (the qualifying period for the grant extension is between 1 November and the date of claim)

The extension will provide two grants and will last for six months, from November 2020 to April 2021. Grants will be paid in two lump sum instalments each covering a three-month period.

The first grant will cover a three-month period from the start of November until the end of January. HMRC will provide a taxable grant covering 40 per cent of average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months’ worth of profits, and capped at £1,875 in total.

HMRC are providing broadly the same level of support for the self-employed as is being provided for employees through the Job Support scheme.

The second grant will cover a three-month period from the start of February until the end of April. HMRC will review the level of the second grant and set this in due course.

The grants are subject to Income Tax and National Insurance Contributions.

HMRC will provide full details about claiming and applications in guidance on GOV.UK in due course.

Summary

Most of this information has been taken directly from the Government website.Every business has a unique set of circumstances it is important to claim only for what you are entitled to. If we can help and advise you about any of the support on offer, please do get in touch.

Posted in Uncategorised, Website Blog | Tagged accountant dunstable, bedfordshire payroll services, business coronavirus, business loans, business survival, businessgrants

Why you need Cloud-based Accountancy Software

 

We believe in keeping your accounting as straightforward as possible. This is why we recommend using online Cloud based accounting software to manage your financial records.

There are many benefits to using cloud based accountancy software like Xero.

You gain instant access to financial information, compliance with ‘Making Tax Digital’ (MTD), simplified data entry, automated business processes and reduced costs.

Making Tax Digital

In 2019 the government introduced MTD; an initiative designed to streamline the UK tax system to make it easier for businesses and individuals to submit tax returns. For many, completing a tax return is an absolute mine field and one that can result in substantial penalties if incorrect.

In 2018/19 the Exchequer reported a ‘tax gap’ (the difference between the amount of tax which should be paid to HMRC, and what actually is) into the billions.

Today, MTD means all VAT registered businesses with turnover above the £85k threshold must keep digital records and submit tax returns via recognised accounting software.  With plans to extend MTD to corporation tax and income tax in the future, switching to cloud-based software has never been more important.

Upgrade 

Picking the right user-friendly accounting system will help streamline your business, and save time and money.

Here’s just some of the reasons why you should upgrade your approach to accounting:

  • Your accountant can have direct access to the software, removing the need for you to collate financial data for them.
  • 24/7 access to financial data on the go. All you need is an internet connected device to gain instant access to data which can enable you to make informed business decisions, quickly.
  • Preparing accounts, invoicing, payroll etc. is a much faster and streamlined process. It’s also a more efficient as it removes the potential for human-error.
  • You can take advantage of built in functionality to analyse your business performance. Plus use it to identify potential business opportunities or areas of concern.
  • When technology can automate many of the mundane tasks traditional accountants would have to do manually, the result is a cost-saving to you.

Seems like a no-brainer, right?

Why choose Xero for your business?

As with anything in life, it can be difficult to know which software is right for you. As a Xero gold-partner and the number one firm of accountants in Luton and Dunstable using Xero, we’re well-positioned to help you understand the plethora of opportunities this software has to offer.

We’ve covered the benefits of using online accountancy software, so here’s some of the features and tools you can expect from Xero:

  • Bank reconciliation
  • Contacts – Keep track of suppliers and customers
  • Dashboard
  • Expense claims
  • Files – Attach documents to your financial data
  • Financial reporting
  • Free, unlimited email support
  • Inventory
  • Invoicing – Create and send invoices automatically
  • Log in from anywhere
  • Mobile apps (Android, iPhone/iPad)
  • Multi-currency
  • Online accounting – Access Xero anytime, anywhere
  • Payroll
  • Purchase orders
  • Quick and easy to use
  • Receive bills electronically
  • Fixed assets
  • Smart lists – Segment contacts based on purchase history
  • VAT returns.

*Information on features and tools taken from the Xero website.

Professional Support

The team at Spicer & Co are always happy to help. Combined with Xero’s expert support and excellent training videos, you’ll have access to all of the support you’ll need to make the most of the next generation accounting.

If you would like to explore how Xero could work for your business, get in touch and we can chat it through over the phone or over a coffee – socially distanced of course!

 

Posted in Website Blog | Tagged accountant dunstable, accountant luton, bedfordshire payroll services, changing accountants, income tax, tax, xero, xero gold partner

Rishi Sunak’s Summer statement

Rishi Sunak’s Summer statement

This is a summary of Rishi Sunak’s Summer statement 2020 which details the support and changes which will be taking place over the coming months.

Support for businesses

Several support measures have been announced by The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, to support employers and employees These new measures are designed to support businesses and to protect jobs. There is a drive by the Government to support youth unemployment and give support to the economy.

Job retention bonus

The Government will pay a one-off bonus of £1,000 to employers for each of their furloughed employees who returns to work and remains continuously employed until 31 January 2021.

To be eligible for the bonus, the employee must have been paid an average of £520 per month between November and January.

Full details of the scheme are expected at the end of July.

Furlough Scheme

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will finish at the end of October 2020 and will not be extended.

New ‘kickstart’ jobs scheme

To assist with youth unemployment, the Chancellor announced a ‘kickstart’ plan.

Employers will receive funding if they create a new job with a minimum of 25 hours per week for a person aged between 16 and 24-years-old who is at risk of long-term unemployment and claiming Universal Credit.

The available funding will pay for the employee’s National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week (plus the associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions) for six months.

Employers will be required to provide training to the new employee and support them in gaining a permanent role. The scheme will run from August 2020 with jobs expected to start in the Autumn.

 Apprenticeships and traineeships

From August 2020 to January 2021, the Government will pay employers to create new apprenticeships.

Employers will be eligible to receive £2,000 for each new apprentice they hire who is under the age of 25 and £1,500 for each new apprentice aged 25 or over. This is in addition to the existing £1,000 payment the government already provides for new 16 – 18-year-old apprentices and those aged under 25 with an Education, Health and Care Plan.

The Government also plans to triple participation in traineeships by funding employers who provide trainees with work experience at a rate of £1,000 per trainee.

Stamp Duty

There has been a temporary change in Stamp Duty to try and ignite the housing market. Until now, in England and Northern Ireland, stamp duty has been paid on land or property sold for £125,000 or more. There are different rates and systems in Scotland and Wales.

Buyers usually pay their duty based on the price on the day the sale is completed and pay HM Revenue and Customs within 14 days. This threshold in England and Northern Ireland will increase – with immediate effect – to £500,000 until 31 March.

Eating out and going away in the UK

The sales tax – VAT – included in the cost of food, accommodation and attractions will be cut until mid-January from 20% to 5%

VAT will be charged at 5% (rather than 20%) from 15 July 2020 to 12 January 2021 on the following supplies:

  • food and non-alcoholic drinks from restaurants, pubs, bars, cafés and similar premises; and
  • accommodation and admission to attractions across the UK.
  • The temporary cut should see prices fall when eating out or going out which it is hoped will encourage people to go out to restaurants.

Further details to be released by HMRC

Introduction of “Eat Out to Help Out” scheme.

In a further measure to encourage consumers back to bars and restaurants this scheme will entitle every diner to a 50% discount on their meal, up to £10 per head (including children). There will be a list of participating restaurants, cafés, pubs or food service establishments. These businesses will be reimbursed fully for the discount applied.

The discount can be used an unlimited amount of times, but it is only available Monday to Wednesday during August. It applies to any eat-in meal and includes non-alcoholic drinks.

Qualifying Business will need to register to reclaim the value of the discount.

Home improvements

A scheme, which starts in September, the government will pay at least two-thirds of the cost of home improvements that save energy. This will be paid as a voucher when the work is approved.

 

We will update when more details become available but do call us if you need any help with your accounting or tax advice. 

Click here to contact us

Posted in Website Blog | Tagged Furlough Scheme, Job retention bonus, New ‘kickstart’ jobs scheme, Rishi Sunak's Summer statement, summerstatement

Payroll doesn’t have to be painful

 

payroll services

Our Payroll services mean this doesn’t have to be difficult or painful!

As soon as your business employs somebody, you need to meet your obligations as an employer. Payroll Services will be one of the aspects to consider. This affects anyone who employs at least one person – including individual directors who pay themselves via their limited company.

Payroll isn’t confined to limited companies. Services are needed when sole traders and partnerships employ someone too.

Good news! Payroll can be much easier than you think!

Payroll is More Than a Payslip!

Of course, paying employees is the main goal of payroll services. But – it’s paying everyone the right amount that counts. There are several aspects to take care of:

Deductions
There are laws and legislation which dictate how much Income Tax and National Insurance should be deducted from each person’s salary and paid to HMRC.

Pension Contributions
You need to pay the correct contributions on time to your staff pension scheme. If you don’t, you risk being fined by the regulator. Current pension contribution for employers is at 3% for employers and 5% for employees with no further changes expected. For more details on pension contributions visit the pension regulator website here.

Employee Changes
From new joiners to leavers and employees on sick/maternity/paternity leave… staff changes can affect the payroll system operating within the business. You need to be aware of the current requirements and levels at all times.

Payroll can be run weekly/fortnightly/monthly depending on the needs of your business. Linked to payroll services, we can offer advice for directors of companies about taking tax efficient wages alongside dividends.

Payroll and Beyond

Many businesses especially value the services beyond the number crunching. Our clients enjoy peace of mind due to the extra support that’s available from our Payroll Services team, such as:

Pension Schemes
We can provide full support and help to set up your pension scheme, including:
– providing letters and information to your staff about your auto-enrollment
– enrolling employees in the chosen pension scheme and completing your compliance
declaration – which is a legal requirement
– updates on changes with the workplace pensions

PAYE Updates and HMRC Advice
You’ll receive monthly information regarding PAYE and National Insurance amounts due. Plus we offer support and advice about how to make payments to HMRC in the correct time frame to avoid penalties. Plus, we’ll provide P45’s and P60’s when required.

Employment Allowance Claim – up to a maximum of £4,000 for 20/21 tax year. ( This was £3000.00) 
Employers are entitled to claim £4,000 allowance each tax year. This allowance helps towards your contributions reducing payments throughout the year. Are you claiming yours? More details here 

HMRC Liaison
Do you need to raise a query with HMRC? Maybe ask questions about reclaiming statutory payments such as Statutory Maternity Pay? Or have queries regarding PAYE payments and account details? Help is at hand! We will call HMRC on your behalf with any queries regarding your payroll scheme.

Real Time Information Reporting (RTI)
RTI was introduced in April 2013 – the largest change to PAYE since it was first introduced in 1944. We track and send submissions to HMRC ensuring they are sent on time in line with RTI requirements. This is a legal requirement of employers and if PAYE information is not reported on time it is subject to penalties.

Legislation Updates
Notification of changes in the law like the change in minimum wage rates and ensure that as an employer you are in line with the law. We will keep you updated.

Current rates for the minimum wage are –

25 and over £8.72 £8.21
21 to 24 £8.20 £7.70
18 to 20 £6.45 £6.15
Under 18 £4.55 £4.35
Apprentice £4.15 £3.90

For more information visit this page 

Why Outsource Payroll?

To save money and time! These are the key reasons that clients ask us to look after their payroll. Involving our expert support also offers you tremendous peace of mind. Outsourcing ensures that your business:
– complies with current legislation
– avoids late filing penalties
– operates a Payroll system that is accurate and correct
– receive full support with payroll – from wage slips to leavers and starters as well as pensions
and payments to HMRC

At Spicer & Co, we believe that every business is unique. Talk to us about our Payroll Services, without obligation. We will offer a flexible and tailored payroll package that allows peace of mind with friendly experts on hand for any questions or queries.

If you are based in the Dunstable, Leighton Buzzard, Houghton Regis or Luton areas, call us to arrange a no obligation discussion on our payroll services.

Posted in Website Blog | Tagged bedfordshire payroll services, payroll, payroll services, payroll services dunstable

Demystifying the Domestic Reverse Charge VAT

The introduction of the domestic reverse charge for construction services will be delayed for a period of 5 months from 1 October 2020 until 1 March 2021 due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the construction sector. Click here for the update on this change. 

There will also be an amendment to the original legislation, which was laid in April 2019, to make it a requirement that for businesses to be excluded from the reverse charge because they are end users or intermediary suppliers, they must inform their sub-contractors in writing that they are end users or intermediary suppliers.

The Domestic Reverse Charge VAT  is a big change being implemented in the way VAT is being collected in the building and construction industry.

This has been set up to tackle fraud. This will mean that fraudsters will no longer be able to set up a construction business, charge VAT to customer then disappear before paying the VAT to HMRC. This practice is known as missing trader fraud and the change means that the customer receiving the service will have to pay the VAT due to HMRC instead of paying the supplier. It will only apply to individuals or businesses registered for VAT in the UK (although it will not apply to consumers).
This will affect you if you supply or receive specified services that are reported under the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS).

We would like to draw your attention to the details on the HMRC website which states the following –
You need to prepare for the  introduction date by:
• checking whether the reverse charge affects either your sales, purchases or both
• making sure your accounting systems and software are updated to deal with the reverse charge
• considering whether the change will have an impact on your cashflow
• making sure all your staff who are responsible for VAT accounting are familiar with the reverse charge and how it will operate,

What contractors need to do
If you’re a contractor you’ll also need to review all your contracts with sub-contractors, to decide if the reverse charge will apply to the services you receive under your contracts. You’ll need to notify your suppliers if it will.

What sub-contractors need to do
If you’re a sub-contractor you’ll also need to contact your customers to get confirmation from them if the reverse charge will apply, including confirming if the customer is an end user or intermediary supplier.

The reverse charge does not apply to consumers or final customers of building and construction services. Any consumers or final customers who are registered for VAT and Construction Industry Scheme will need to ensure their suppliers do not apply the reverse charge on services supplied to them.

For reverse charge purposes consumers and final customers are called end users. They are businesses, or groups of businesses, that do not make onward supplies of the building and construction services in question, but they are registered for CIS as mainstream or deemed contractors because they carry out construction operations, or because the value of their purchases of building and construction services exceeds the threshold for CIS.

Services affected by the domestic reverse charge
The reverse charge will affect supplies of building and construction services supplied at the standard or reduced rates that also need to be reported under CIS. These are called specified supplies.
There is an important difference between CIS and the reverse charge where materials are included within a service. The reverse charge applies to the whole service whereas CIS payments to net status sub-contractors are apportioned and no deductions are made on the materials content.
The reverse charge does not apply if the service is zero rated for VAT or if the customer is not registered for VAT in the UK.

It also does not apply to some services.

These are those supplied to end users or intermediaries connected with end users. Find out more found in the End users and intermediary supplier businesses section.
Employment businesses who supply staff and who are responsible for paying the temporary workers they supply, are not subject to the reverse charge. Read the Applying the domestic reverse charge for construction services to certain sectors or types of transactions section for more information.

You will have to apply the reverse charge if you supply any of these services:
• constructing, altering, repairing, extending, demolishing or dismantling buildings or structures (whether permanent or not), including offshore installation services
• constructing, altering, repairing, extending, demolishing of any works forming, or planned to form, part of the land, including (in particular) walls, roadworks, power lines, electronic communications equipment, aircraft runways, railways, inland waterways, docks and harbours
• pipelines, reservoirs, water mains, wells, sewers, industrial plant and installations for purposes of land drainage, coast protection or defence
• installing heating, lighting, air-conditioning, ventilation, power supply, drainage, sanitation, water supply or fire protection systems in any building or structure
• internal cleaning of buildings and structures, so far as carried out in the course of their construction, alteration, repair, extension or restoration
• painting or decorating the inside or the external surfaces of any building or structure
• services which form an integral part of, or are part of the preparation or completion of the services described above – including site clearance, earth-moving, excavation, tunnelling and boring, laying of foundations, erection of scaffolding, site restoration, landscaping and the provision of roadways and other access works

For more detailed information please visit the HMRC website or give us a call to check what you need to do if you are affected by this change. Click here

Please also see our graphic below which explains this in simple terms!

Posted in Website Blog | Tagged domestic reverse charge vat

Government Support Update

Three major changes to support due to the Corona Virus pandemic have been announced today, 29th May 2020 by the Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

Employers to start paying share of furlough scheme

Furloughed workers will continue to receive 80% of their pay, but from August it will include a growing employer contribution. It will start with employers paying NI and pensions in August, plus 10% of pay in September, rising to 20% in October.

During August the government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500. Employers will have to pay NI and pension contributions. For the average claim, that’s 5% of the gross employment costs the employer would have incurred had the employee had not been furloughed.

In September, the government will cut its grants to 70% of wages up to a cap of £2,190. Employers will pay NI and pension contributions and 10% of wages to make up the 80% total up to a cap of £2,500. That works out at 14% of the average gross employment costs the employer would have incurred.

In October the government grant will be cut to 60% of wages up to a cap of £1,875. Employers will pay NI and pension contributions and 20% of wages to make up the 80% total up to a cap of £2,500. That’s 23% of the gross employment costs the employer would have incurred had the employee not been furloughed.Fl

Flexible Furlough Scheme Announced

From 1 July 2020 businesses will be allowed to bring furloughed employees back part-time, a month earlier than previously announced. The move is aimed to help support people back to work.

It will be down to individual firms to decide what part-time means. They will be able to set the hours and shift patterns staff will work when they return, but companies will have to pay 100 per cent of wages while they’re in work. The rest of their salary can be claimed via the furlough scheme up to the allowance as per the details above.

The Self Employed Income Support Scheme Extended

Those eligible for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will be able to claim the additional grant in August, which will be worth 70% of their average monthly trading profits, capped at £6,570 overall. The money will again be paid out in a single installment covering June, July and August.
Applications for the second grant will open in August.

Posted in Website Blog | Tagged furloughscheme, seiss, self employed help corona virus

New updates for businesses during Coronavirus

There are 3 major updates this week concerning the support available for businesses during the Coronavirus outbreak.

Please find details below with relevant links.

The Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS)

Open from 4th May 2020

This has been has been set up  to support small businesses who are struggling to get funding through the main Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).

To qualify -The scheme is open to businesses, including sole traders and partnerships, that were trading on 1 March 2020.

To apply – Complete a two-page application form and self-certify your details. This means lenders do not have to verify the information. Most applicants should receive loans within a few days after being approved.

You can’t apply if you’ve already got a CBILS loan but you can transfer a CBILS loan of up to £50,000 to BBLS before 4 November 2020.

Following the launch of BBLS, the minimum loan for CBILS has been increased to £50,001.

 Bounce Back Loan Scheme features

Up to £50,000 loan: Available loans are from £2,000 up to 25% of a business’ annual turnover or £50,000, whichever is lower. Turnover is based on a full calendar year so if your business was established after 1 January 2019, you should apply the 25% limit to your estimated annual turnover from the date you started.

  • 100% guarantee: Lenders have a 100% government guarantee. The borrower always remains 100% liable for the debt.
  • Interest free for 12 months: The government will cover the first 12 months of interest.
  • Interest rate:The interest rate after the 12 months interest free period is set at 2.5% per year.
  • No repayments for 12 months: Borrowers will not have to begin principal repayments for the first 12 months.
  • No guarantee fee: Businesses and lenders do not have to pay a fee to access the scheme.
  • Finance terms: The length of the loan is for six years but early repayment is permitted without early repayment fees.
  • No personal guarantees: No personal guarantees are required and no recovery action can be taken over a principal private residence or principal private vehicle.

Bounce Back Loan Scheme eligibility criteria

  • Businesses from all sectors can apply. The exceptions are Credit institutions (falling within the remit of the Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive), public sector bodies, insurance companies and state-funded primary or secondary schools – all of these sectors are not eligible to apply.

The business must self-certify the following:

  • Confirm it is UK-based in its business activity and established by 1 March 2020
  • Confirm it has been adversely impacted by coronavirus
  • Confirm it is not currently using a government-backed coronavirus loan scheme (unless using BBLS to refinance a whole facility)
  • Confirm it was not a ‘business in difficulty’ at 31 December 2019 (if it was, then the borrower must confirm it complies with additional state aid restrictions under de minimis state aid rules)
  • Confirm it is not in bankruptcy, liquidation or undergoing debt restructuring
  • Confirm that 50% of the income of the business is derived from its trading activity (this confirmation is not required if the borrower is a charity or a further education college)

 How to apply for a Bounce Back Loan

Accredited lenders are listed on the British Business Bank website.

If you experience problems accessing the British Business Bank website the current list of accredited lenders is as follows:

  • Barclays
  • Clydesdale Yorkshire Bank
  • Danske Bank
  • NatWest
  • Santander
  • RBS
  • Ulster Bank
  • Lloyds Bank
  • HSBC
  • Bank of Scotland

Most lenders are currently only accepting applications from existing customers, but it has been reported that HSBC is taking applications from non-customers if you set up a ‘feeder account’.

Lenders do not need to carry out any credit checks or verify the long term viability of firms.

More information here https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-schemes/bounce-back-loans/

 

Top-up to local business grant funds scheme

 New funding is being made available to co-working space tenants, market traders and other businesses in England who aren’t being given funding through the coronavirus business rates relief grant scheme. 

The fund is aimed at small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs. Local authorities have been asked to prioritise businesses in shared spaces, regular market traders and small charity properties that would meet the criteria for Small Business Rates Relief. It also covers bed and breakfasts that pay council tax rather than business rates.

Local authorities may choose to make payments to other businesses “based on local economic need”.

To qualify

– Businesses must have under 50 employees and be able to demonstrate that they have seen a significant drop of income due to coronavirus restriction measures.

Grants of £10,000 and £25,000 will be available and local authorities can choose to make payments of any other amount under £10,000.

More guidance and amounts being provided to each council will be released shortly.

For more details visit this link

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/top-up-to-local-business-grant-funds-scheme

 

Self Employed Income Support Scheme – portal opens today!

Self-employed are now invited to get ready to make their claims for coronavirus (COVID-19) support. For more details on the scheme visit our blog by clicking here. 

From today (Monday 4 May), HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) those who are eligible for the Self Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) 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), paid in a single installment.

HMRC has opened the portal so you can go online and check your eligibility for SEISS.

In order to receive quick confirmation from the eligibility checker, make sure you have –
Your Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) and National Insurance Number to hand and make sure your details are up-to-date in their Government Gateway account.

Once the online check is complete, eligible customers will be given a date when they can submit their claim.
For more details here and the link to the portal click here. 

 

For other help available during the Coronavirus outbreak check out our blog – click here. 

 

If you are business in need of help and support and would like to talk to us about our accounting services please call or email us.

Posted in Website Blog | Tagged business coronavirus, business loans, business update, businessgrants, seiss

Business Survival Tips

 

Business Survival Tips

Over the last few weeks much of the measures you will have been putting in place will be emergency plans. Now is the time to review your business plan for the next 3 months. You need to come up with a new strategy and probably revise your business plan for the next 6 months at least.

We would also recommend you consider the following.

Check your costs

Do a detailed audit of ALL your outgoings. We often have subscriptions or small costs for memberships coming out of our business bank account which normally we hardly notice. But this is the time to do a detailed audit of every expense and analyse if it can be suspended or cancelled. You will then have a clear picture of your financial liabilities.

Check your contracts

You will have contracts in place with staff and customers. If you have not checked this recently now is the time to do this. If you think you may have to may have to make staff redundant at the end of this, then you need to take advice now. Not all businesses will bounce back, and many may recede before they grow back to pre-corona status. So therefore, you need to know where you stand and your liabilities. Speak to an HR expert. You may need to consider various options to keep your business running and it might be feasible to avoid redundancy with staff pay cuts or reducing hours.

Chase money owed to you

This should be a matter of urgency. Many businesses will not survive so you need to deal with any outstanding debts quickly and try and recover money owed. Managing relationships sensitively with customers is of course important. Seek advice if you are not sure the best methods of collecting unpaid invoices.

Map out the risks

Understand the worse case scenarios. Plan for a later lock down than you think, consider how long it may take for your business to recover. Talk to customers if possible and find out how they are feeling and what their plans are. If you are a business aimed at consumers this might be more difficult. Each business will have its own unique set of circumstances so its important to consider your position and what the main issues and threats to you are.

Can you pivot your business model?

Is there any opportunity for you to trade in another way? Make sure you have explored all the options open to you. Can you trade online, run courses online, sell goods or services?

Do not stop marketing

Even if you are just keeping social media channels going and sending emails to customers – do you best to keep in touch. Communicating with your audience is important.

You can run some competitions on social media and offer prizes people can use when you start trading again. Do some videos and keep customers entertained? How about raising money for a charity?

 Work on your business

Make use the time to update your website, refresh your social media or plan some new ideas for goods and services for when this is over.

 

Now it may seem like this will go on forever. It wont and its important to try and stay as positive as possible. Ensure you have accessed all the financial help that is available to you. The most important message is to plan and prepare as those businesses with a strategy will emerge stronger.

 

Posted in Website Blog | Tagged business, business coronavirus, business problems, business survival, cash flow

Be tax return ready!

With the current climate its never been more important to get your 2019/20 tax return completed and filed.

Many self-employed business owners now find they have more time on their hands so use this time to get your tax return done. If there are any announcements on additional benefits dependant on your earnings during 2019/20 you may need this to be ready to apply.

So what do you need to do?

If you have never filed a return before then, of course, this may seem daunting. You must have registered to file a self-assessment tax return with HMRC and you will need your UTR and Government Gateway login. This comes in the post so make sure you apply if you haven’t done this already.

If you do this annually and are used to it then don’t leave it to the last minute this year and get this done as soon as possible. If you are due a refund, then the sooner you complete your return, the sooner you get the refund!

Get your paperwork straight!

Are your receipts in a box or carrier bag waiting to be sorted!

Gather all the information you need to submit your return. This will be much easier for you if you have been using an online accounting system such as Xero. All the information will be there and all you need to do is ensure it is up to date.

If you have been using excel spreadsheets you will need to ensure you have entered all your income and expenditure.

Make sure you have paid close attention to your record keeping. Check your bank records against your income and expenses and that you have all relevant receipts. Reconcile your bank statement to ensure your figures are correct.

Frequently asked questions

I haven’t made a profit do I still need to do a tax return?

HMRC says that you need to send a tax return and pay your tax bill through Self Assessment if, in the last tax year, you were:

· a self-employed sole trader earning more than £1,000

HMRC have a useful tool which you can use to check if you need to a tax return – click here 

Is there any other income or expenses I must include? 

Here is a list of additional incomes you may have, and you must include 

  • Property rental income – find out more info here
  • Any savings interest or dividends
  • Payments from tips/commission
  • Income from overseas 
  • Pension contributions
  • Benefits including State Pension, Child Benefit and Blind Person’s Allowance

What are the allowable expenses for small businesses?

There are several costs that you incur when running your business that you can claim back against your Self-Assessment tax bill.

Here is a list of the main items small businesses can claim:

  • Office rent & utilities including business rates 
  • Insurance 
  • Marketing costs including advertising, networking, website and IT 
  • Stationery
  • Phone Bills
  • Uniforms
  • Staff salaries or freelancer/subcontractors
  • Anything you need to buy to sell on -e.g. stock or raw materials
  • Bank charges 
  • If you are working from home, you can claim a percentage of business premises costs. This would include utilities, council tax, mortgage interest or rent, telephone and internet. You must find a ‘reasonable method’ of dividing the costs between personal and business use. They suggest using the number of rooms used for business purposes, or the time spent working from home.

Read our blog on tax deductibles here.

Every person/business has a unique set of circumstances and having an accountant who understands the tax system will benefit you by removing any worry or concerns you have. Filing a tax return incorrectly could result in a fine or a repayment later. You want to ensure you are paying the right amount of tax. 

If you decide to file this without speaking to an accountant just check, check and check again!!

We are of course happy to help you and advise you! Just call us.

Self Employed Income Support Scheme

The new ‘Self employed Income Support Scheme’ has been launched.

Today the Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer, has announced support for the self-employed. This covers 95% of people who receive the majority of their income from self-employment.

How much will I be entitled to?

A cash grant worth 80% of your average monthly trading profit over the last three years will payable around June.

The scheme will be open to those with a trading profit of less than £50,000 in 2018-19 or an average trading profit of less than £50,000 from 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19.

To qualify, more than half of your income in these periods must come from self-employment and you must have filed a tax return for 2018-19. 

If you haven’t yet filed this, you have four weeks to do so to qualify for the scheme.

How do I apply?

Self-employed people who are eligible for the new scheme will be able to apply directly to HMRC for the taxable grant, using a simple online form, with the cash being paid directly into people’s bank account. Individuals should not contact HMRC now. HMRC will use existing information to check potential eligibility and invite applications once the scheme is operational. HMRC will identify eligible taxpayers and contact them directly with guidance on how to apply, you do not need to do anything right now.

Which period will this cover?

The income support scheme will initially cover the three months to May. 

Grants will be paid in a single lump-sum installment covering all 3 months and will start to be paid at the beginning of June.

To minimise fraud, only those who are already in self-employment and meet the above conditions will be eligible to apply. 

I pay myself a salary through my limited company – am I eligible?

If you pay yourself a salary and dividends through your own company, then you are not covered by the Self Employed Income Support Scheme but will be covered for their salary by the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme if you are operating a PAYE scheme.

Does this scheme apply to partnerships?

Yes, this scheme also applies to members of partnerships.

My profit was in excess of £50,000 per year do I qualify?

No

I did not make a profit over the past 3 years so do I qualify?

We are awaiting further advice on this. We will update this page once we know.

Can I access any other help?

Before grant payments are made, the self-employed will still be able to access other available government support for those affected by coronavirus including more generous universal credit and business continuity loans where they have a business bank account. 

The loan is interest-free. You can also defer tax payments including VAT and the July self-assessment tax payment.

Please read our blog here on the other available help 

Does this scheme only apply if I am earning nothing currently?

No, if you are still able to trade then you can do so and still apply for help under this scheme.

 

We will continue to update you on any further developments.

Posted in Website Blog | Tagged Coronavirus, self employed help corona virus, Self Employed Income Support Scheme