From Linda Cooke, Records & Administration Office
ISVA Council has recently instructed new accountants, Joshua Leigh & Co, to deal with the Association’s financial and tax affairs. They have circulated to all their clients some information which may be of interest at this time of uncertainty. The text of their email is reproduced below, with their permission, and I hope you find it to be useful.
Please note that this advice was provided to the ISVA and not to its individual members and that you should seek independent advice from your own professional advisors before taking any action based upon the ideas presented.
From Joshua Finn CA
17 March 2020
During these challenging times, I have outlined below some measures you may wish to consider. The Chancellor is due to make further announcements [later today] so depending on what is announced the below advice may change.
Not paying/delaying payments to HMRC
Even if you have a decent level of cash now, you may want to consider deferring payments to HMRC in respect of VAT, PAYE and corporation tax.
A dedicated helpline has been set up to help businesses and self-employed individuals in financial distress and with outstanding tax liabilities receive support with their tax affairs. Through this, businesses may be able to agree a bespoke Time to Pay arrangement. If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to COVID-19, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.
Similar to the above, you may wish to notify HMRC that you will either not be paying it (it’s a payment on account after all) or will be delaying the payment.
If you cannot pay because of Coronavirus, call the HMRC Coronavirus helpline:
Telephone: 0800 015 9559
Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm
Saturday, 8am to 4pm
Try to renegotiate supplier payment terms and even improved pricing.
Consider asking your landlord to have a three- or six-month payment holiday.
The government is temporarily increasing the business rates retail discount in England to 100% for 2020-21 for properties below £51,000 rateable value. Nearly half of all business properties will not pay a penny of business rates. This will also be implemented through your local council. If you already receive the current business rates retail discount, you will receive notification of the changes in due course. If you currently don’t receive any relief, you can check with your Local Authority for your eligibility. You can find your local authority here.
Please note that if you do not currently pay business rates because of the terms of your lease, it is possible your landlord may be getting the benefit and therefore you should approach them as you would expect the benefit to be passed on (the cost is effectively included in your lease costs).
There is also a £3,000 cash grant being made available to 700,000 of our smallest businesses, which will be delivered by Local Authorities, and worth a total of £2 billion. Your local council will have further information on this as the scheme is rolled out.
A Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme has been introduced. Businesses with a turnover of less than £41 million can apply for a loan of up to £1.2 million, with the government covering up to 80% of any losses with no fees. The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) temporarily replaces the Enterprise Finance Guarantee Scheme and will be provided by the British Business Bank through accredited lenders. To apply visit this website and follow the information provided.
Please note that there is no certainty that this funding will be available and in the case of previous loan guarantee schemes the turnaround time for applications was significant.
Employees and sick pay (SSP)
For businesses with fewer than 250 employees, the cost of providing 14 days of statutory sick pay per employee will be refunded by the government in full. This will provide 2 million businesses with up to £2 billion to cover the costs of large-scale sick leave. Coronavirus statutory sick pay is expected to be in the form of a refund. The Treasury says that it is “working with employers over the coming months to set up a repayment mechanism as soon as possible for employers reclaiming statutory sick pay”.
- People who cannot work due to coronavirus and are eligible for Statutory Sick Pay will get it from day one, rather than from the fourth day of their illness – we intend to legislate so this measure applies retrospectively from 13 March 2020
- Statutory Sick Pay will be payable to people who are staying at home on government advice, not just those who are infected, from 13 March 2020 after regulations were laid on 12 March 2020 – employers are urged to use their discretion about what evidence, if any, they ask for.
A more severe measure to consider, is asking your employees to take a period off work as unpaid leave.
You should check your employment contracts to see if there is any related clause in this respect and obtain employment law advice in regards to this, before making any decisions.
I am here to support you where I can – please contact me if you need any additional resources or guidance.
Joshua Finn CA
0203 333 7007
07866 610 699
Joshua Leigh & Co
159 High St, Barnet, Herts, EN5 5SU
Joshua Leigh & Co Limited is registered in England and Wales with registered number 8692136 and registered at the above address. Registered to carry on audit work in the UK by The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland – details about our audit registration can be viewed at www.auditregister.org.uk under reference number 3819.