Coronavirus – financial assistance available

Updated as of 17 April 2020

The government has announced financial assistance packages for UK businesses to support them and mitigate the impact of coronavirus.   Find out details of these benefits for all sectors below. 

Small businesses

Benefits: Commercial tenants cannot be evicted if they miss a payment up until 30 June (this date may be extended).

This is not a rental holiday. All commercial tenants will still be liable for the rent.

How to apply: All commercial tenants in the UK are eligible.

The change will come into force when the Coronavirus Bill receives Royal Assent so no action is required from tenants (but we advise speaking to your landlord if you are experiencing difficulties paying your rent.

Details: Businesses in difficulty may be able to agree a suspension of debt collection proceedings, or cancellation of penalties.

How to apply: Arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities.

HMRC has set up a dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.

Details: HMRC will reimburse 80% of workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month, in relation to employees that would otherwise have been laid off due to the effects of Coronavirus on their business.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will cover the cost of wages backdated to 1 March and is initially open for 3 months, but will be extended if necessary.

How to apply:

Businesses will need to:

  • designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers,’ and notify  employees of this change;
  • inform HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings through a new online portal

HMRC are working to set up a system for reimbursement as existing systems are not geared up for this. HMRC will set out more details shortly.

Details: VAT payments can be deferred for 3 months (from 31 March to 30 June 2020).

How to apply:  Businesses can choose whether to make a VAT payment during this period. If you want to defer:

  • you do not need to advise HMRC, just adjust your direct debit mandate or online system so the payment doesn’t automatically get made;
  • you still need to submit your VAT return on time;
  • you will need to pay the deferred VAT by 31 March 2021.

VAT refunds and reclaims will be paid by the government as normal.

Details: Businesses will be able to apply for a three-month extension for filing their accounts, meaning they will not face an automatic fine for late filings

How to apply: Businesses will still need to apply to Companies House for the extension, it will not be automatic.

Details: A one-off grant for businesses in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief

How to apply: Grant money will not be available until early April, when Local Authorities will write to businesses with details of how to claim.

Details: The relief will be available to UK based providers on Ofsted’s Early Years Register or those using their property wholly or mainly used for the provision of the Early Years Foundation Stage.

How to apply: There is no action for you. However, local authorities may have to reissue your bill to provide this support. They will do this as soon as possible.

You can estimate your revised the business rate charge using the business rates calculator.

Details: Business in the retail, hospitality and/or leisure sector based in England, who pay rates on properties wholly or mainly used:

  • as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues
  • for assembly and leisure
  • as hotels, guest & boarding premises and self-catering accommodation

will benefit from the holiday.

How to apply: There is no action for you. However, local authorities may have to reissue your bill to provide this support. They will do this as soon as possible.

You can estimate your revised the business rate charge using the business rates calculator.

Details: For businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000

How to apply: Any enquiries on eligibility for, or provision of, the reliefs should be directed to the relevant local authority

SME’s – all sectors

Benefits: Commercial tenants cannot be evicted if they miss a payment up until 30 June (this date may be extended).

This is not a rental holiday. All commercial tenants will still be liable for the rent.

How to apply: All commercial tenants in the UK are eligible.

The change will come into force when the Coronavirus Bill receives Royal Assent so no action is required from tenants (but we advise speaking to your landlord if you are experiencing difficulties paying your rent.

Details: Businesses in difficulty may be able to agree a suspension of debt collection proceedings, or cancellation of penalties.

How to apply: Arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities.

HMRC has set up a dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.

Details: HMRC will reimburse 80% of workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month, in relation to employees that would otherwise have been laid off due to the effects of Coronavirus on their business.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will cover the cost of wages backdated to 1 March and is initially open for 3 months, but will be extended if necessary.

How to apply:

Businesses will need to:

  • designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers,’ and notify  employees of this change;
  • inform HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings through a new online portal

HMRC are working to set up a system for reimbursement as existing systems are not geared up for this. HMRC will set out more details shortly.

Details: VAT payments can be deferred for 3 months (from 31 March to 30 June 2020).

How to apply:  Businesses can choose whether to make a VAT payment during this period. If you want to defer:

  • you do not need to advise HMRC, just adjust your direct debit mandate or online system so the payment doesn’t automatically get made;
  • you still need to submit your VAT return on time;
  • you will need to pay the deferred VAT by 31 March 2021.

VAT refunds and reclaims will be paid by the government as normal.

Details: Up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19

How to apply:  For firms with 250 employees or less.

A rebate scheme is being developed. Further details will be provided in due course.

Details: Businesses will be able to apply for a three-month extension for filing their accounts, meaning they will not face an automatic fine for late filings

How to apply: Businesses will still need to apply to Companies House for the extension, it will not be automatic.

Details: The scheme aims to provide access to loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance of up to £25 million and for up to 6 years.

The government will also make a Business Interruption Payment to cover the first 12 months of interest payments and any lender-levied fees,, but interest rates are set by the bank and no caps apply.  Borrowers will still have to repay 100% of the loan at the end of the term.

How to apply:  Open to UK based businesses with turnover of up to £50 million per annum.

All the major banks will offer the Scheme once it has launched: talk to your bank or finance provider (not the British Business Bank) as soon as possible and discuss your business plan with them.  You will not have to apply for a standard commercial loan first.

The Government advises that if you have an existing loan with monthly repayments you may want to ask for a repayment holiday to help with cash flow.

The scheme is available now but there have been some reports of long delays for businesses trying to get access to the loans.

Details:  The Retail and Hospitality Grant Scheme provides businesses in the sector with a cash grant of up to £25,000 per property.

For businesses in these sectors with a rateable value of:
under £15,000, they will receive a grant of £10,000; and
between £15,001 and £51,000, they will receive a grant of £25,000.

How to apply: The local authority will write to eligible businesses.

Any enquiries on eligibility for, or provision of, the reliefs and grants should be directed to the relevant local authority.

Details: Business in the retail, hospitality and/or leisure sector based in England, who pay rates on properties wholly or mainly used:

  • as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues
  • for assembly and leisure
  • as hotels, guest & boarding premises and self-catering accommodation

will benefit from the holiday.

How to apply: There is no action for you. However, local authorities may have to reissue your bill to provide this support. They will do this as soon as possible.

You can estimate your revised the business rate charge using the business rates calculator.

Details: The relief will be available to UK based providers on Ofsted’s Early Years Register or those using their property wholly or mainly used for the provision of the Early Years Foundation Stage.

How to apply: There is no action for you. However, local authorities may have to reissue your bill to provide this support. They will do this as soon as possible.

You can estimate your revised the business rate charge using the business rates calculator.

Large businesses – all sectors

Benefits: Commercial tenants cannot be evicted if they miss a payment up until 30 June (this date may be extended).

This is not a rental holiday. All commercial tenants will still be liable for the rent.

How to apply: All commercial tenants in the UK are eligible.

The change will come into force when the Coronavirus Bill receives Royal Assent so no action is required from tenants (but we advise speaking to your landlord if you are experiencing difficulties paying your rent.

Details:  The Bank of England will buy short term debt (commercial paper) from larger companies if they have been affected by a short-term funding squeeze, and allow them to finance their short-term liabilities.

It will also support corporate finance markets overall and ease the supply of credit to all firms.

How to apply: The scheme is open to companies – and their finance subsidiaries – that make a material contribution to the UK economy (with significant employment in the UK) and were previously in good financial health (investment grade rating).

Companies must apply via a bank.

https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/news/2020/march/the-covid-corporate-financing-facility

The scheme is open now (from 23 March).

Details: Businesses in difficulty may be able to agree a suspension of debt collection proceedings, or cancellation of penalties.

How to apply: Arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities.

HMRC has set up a dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.

Details: HMRC will reimburse 80% of workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month, in relation to employees that would otherwise have been laid off due to the effects of Coronavirus on their business.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will cover the cost of wages backdated to 1 March and is initially open for 3 months, but will be extended if necessary.

How to apply:

Businesses will need to:

  • designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers,’ and notify  employees of this change;
  • inform HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings through a new online portal

HMRC are working to set up a system for reimbursement as existing systems are not geared up for this. HMRC will set out more details shortly.

Details: Businesses will be able to apply for a three-month extension for filing their accounts, meaning they will not face an automatic fine for late filings

How to apply: Businesses will still need to apply to Companies House for the extension, it will not be automatic.

Details: VAT payments can be deferred for 3 months (from 31 March to 30 June 2020).

How to apply:  Businesses can choose whether to make a VAT payment during this period. If you want to defer:

  • you do not need to advise HMRC, just adjust your direct debit mandate or online system so the payment doesn’t automatically get made;
  • you still need to submit your VAT return on time;
  • you will need to pay the deferred VAT by 31 March 2021.

VAT refunds and reclaims will be paid by the government as normal.

Details: The relief will be available to UK based providers on Ofsted’s Early Years Register or those using their property wholly or mainly used for the provision of the Early Years Foundation Stage.

How to apply: There is no action for you. However, local authorities may have to reissue your bill to provide this support. They will do this as soon as possible.

You can estimate your revised the business rate charge using the business rates calculator.

Details: Business in the retail, hospitality and/or leisure sector based in England, who pay rates on properties wholly or mainly used:

  • as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues
  • for assembly and leisure
  • as hotels, guest & boarding premises and self-catering accommodation

will benefit from the holiday.

How to apply: There is no action for you. However, local authorities may have to reissue your bill to provide this support. They will do this as soon as possible.

You can estimate your revised the business rate charge using the business rates calculator.

Self-employed

Details:  This is a taxable grant for 80% of trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next 3 months (but this may be extended if needed).

HMRC will calculate the amount based on your total trading profit for the last 3 tax years (or the years you have been trading if you haven’t been trading for 3 years).

The grant will be paid directly into your bank account, in one instalment backdated to 1 March, estimated to arrive at the start of June.

Unlike employees who are furloughed, the self-employed can continue to work.

How to apply:

This scheme is not open yet. HMRC will contact those who are eligible and invite them to apply online.

You can apply if you:

  • submitted your self-assessment tax return for the tax year 2018-19
  • traded in the tax year 2019-20
  • are trading when you apply, or would be except for COVID-19
  • intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020-21
  • have lost trading/partnership trading profits due to COVID-19

 

and

  • your trading profits are less than £50,000

and

  • more than half of your income comes from self-employment.

People do not need to, and should not, contact HMRC.    

If you have not submitted your self-assessment tax return for the tax year 2018-19, you have an extra 4 weeks to do this (until 23 April 2020).  

Details: Those due to make a Self-Assessment payment by 31 July 2020 you can defer this until January 2021.

How to apply: This is an automatic offer with no applications required.

The deferment is optional. If you are still able to pay your second payment on account on 31 July you should do so.

No penalties or interest for late payment will be charged in the deferral period.

For further information read Government Guidance here.