skip to Main Content
ISVA Members: Covid-19 Guidance can be found in the Information and Policies section of the Members Area
Putting the client first 020 8882 4896 mail@surveyorsweb.co.uk

COVID-19 Restrictions: A Message from the Chairman

From Ian Vicary, ISVA Chairman

The message from the UK Government seems clear: STAY AT HOME UNLESS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY. 

As a result, I would be surprised if surveyors and valuers were to consider it appropriate to continue to undertake physical inspections of properties – especially as part of the home buying process.

There may be some exceptions for letting agents dealing with emergencies or vulnerable tenants, etc., but on the whole, everyone should STAY AT HOME AND WORK.

The ISVA will continue to do what we can to support members throughout this crisis.  We encourage everyone to stay abreast of updates to restrictions being put in place and business support being made available by the Government.  Some more information on this is provided below for you to consider.

Most of all, we urge everyone to prioritise their safety and that of those around them.

Ian Vicary

24 March 2020


The following information may be helpful:

We have been given a link to an HM Treasury site which may provide a positive result for many small businesses, e.g. cash grant of £10,000.

You can find out more by following this link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses

We have also received two further updates from ISVA Accountants, Joshua Leigh & Co, which are reproduced below.

Please note that the advice was provided to the ISVA and not to its individual members.  You should seek independent advice from your own professional advisors before taking any action based upon the ideas presented.


From Joshua Finn CA, Joshua Leigh & Co

23 March 2020

Specifically, in regard to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, please see below:

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – to reimburse employers for 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, to a cap of £2,500 per month (per employee).

Further, the scheme will be available to all UK businesses and:

  • Backdated to March 1st, 2020
  • Open initially for at least three months but extended ‘for longer if necessary’

 

Employers will need to:

  • Designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers’ (see further below)
  • Submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings through a new online portal (HMRC will set out further details on the information required)

As noted above, the grant is a reimbursement to the employer therefore the employer will make the wage/ salary payment to the furloughed worker and then be reimbursed by HMRC.

When will the scheme be live?

No set date but the following are indications it will not be immediate:

  • “HMRC are working urgently to set up a system for reimbursement. Existing systems are not set up to facilitate payments to employers.”
  • “HMRC are working night and day to get the unprecedented Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme up and running and we expect the first grants to be paid within weeks.”
  • “If your business needs short term cash flow support, you may be eligible for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme”

What is a furloughed worker?

We understand that a furloughed workers are “workforce who remain on payroll but are temporarily not working during the coronavirus outbreak”.

It is noted that employers will need to notify employees of this change in employment status to furloughed, but that changing the status of employees remains subject to existing employment law and, depending on the employment contract, may be subject to negotiation.

There are many unanswered questions which we and many employers have and hopefully HMRC shall release further information in the coming days.

In light of the above, and the information which HMRC have released to date, we therefore recommend that if you and your employees meet the initial above criteria provided by HMRC, that these furloughed workers are included on the March payroll with 80% of their salary, from the date they became furloughed workers. This would then be paid to them by you, the employer as normal, and reclaimed from HMRC in the coming weeks.

So for example, Joe Bloggs, was furloughed half way through March, and his normal monthly gross salary is £1,500.

So his salary for month should be £750 + £600 (£750 * 80%) = £1,350.


From Joshua Finn CA, Joshua Leigh & Co

20 March 2020

The Chancellor announced today further measures to support businesses through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19.

I have summarised these below, although more detail can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis.

You will need to:

  • designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers,’ and notify your employees of this change – changing the status of employees remains subject to existing employment law and, depending on the employment contract, may be subject to negotiation
  • submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings through a new online portal (HMRC will set out further details on the information required)

HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. HMRC are working urgently to set up a system for reimbursement. Existing systems are not set up to facilitate payments to employers.

The above is the only information released so far by HMRC and as stated HMRC are working on releasing further information ASAP.

Deferring VAT and Income Tax payments

VAT

  • Businesses can defer Valued Added Tax (VAT) payments for 3 months.
  • The deferral will apply from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020.
  • All UK businesses are eligible.
  • This is an automatic offer with no applications required. Businesses will not need to make a VAT payment during this period. Taxpayers will be given until the end of the 2020 to 2021 tax year to pay any liabilities that have accumulated during the deferral period.
  • VAT refunds and reclaims will be paid by the government as normal.

For Income Tax Self-Assessment, payments due on the 31 July 2020 will be deferred until the 31 January 2021.

  • If you are self-employed you are eligible.
  • This is an automatic offer with no applications required.
  • No penalties or interest for late payment will be charged in the deferral period.

As well as the above as per my email below from Tuesday, you may want to consider deferring payments to HMRC in respect of other taxes, such as 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.

Source: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-employees-employers-and-businesses

Support for businesses that pay business rates

Business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses

HMRC will introduce a business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.

You are eligible for the business rates holiday if:

  • your business is based in England
  • your business is in the retail, hospitality and/or leisure sector

Properties that will benefit from the relief will be occupied hereditaments that are wholly or mainly being 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

How to access the scheme

There is no action for you. This will apply to your next council tax bill in April 2020. However, local authorities may have to reissue your bill automatically to exclude the business rate charge. They will do this as soon as possible.

Cash grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses

The Retail and Hospitality Grant Scheme provides businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors 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.

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

You are eligible for the grant if:

  • your business is based in England
  • your business is in the retail, hospitality and/or leisure sector

Properties that will benefit from the relief will be occupied hereditaments that are wholly or mainly being used:

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

How to access the scheme

You do not need to do anything. Your local authority will write to you if you are eligible for this grant.

Guidance for local authorities on the scheme will be provided shortly.

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

Find your local authority.

Support for businesses that pay little or no business rates

The government will provide additional Small Business Grant Scheme funding for local authorities to support small businesses that already pay little or no business rates because of small business rate relief (SBBR), rural rate relief (RRR) and tapered relief. This will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to eligible businesses to help meet their ongoing business costs.

You are eligible if:

  • your business is based in England
  • you are a small business and already receive SBBR and/or RRR
  • you are a business that occupies property

How to access the scheme

You do not need to do anything. Your local authority will write to you if you are eligible for this grant.

Guidance for local authorities on the scheme will be provided shortly.

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

Find your local authority.

Support for businesses through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

A new temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, will launch early next week to support primarily small and medium-sized businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts.

The government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan (subject to a per-lender cap on claims) to give lenders further confidence in continuing to provide finance to SMEs. The government will not charge businesses or banks for this guarantee, and the Scheme will support loans of up to £5 million in value.

Businesses can access the first 12 months of that finance interest free, as government will cover the first 12 months of interest payments.

You are eligible for the scheme if:

  • your business is UK based, with turnover of no more than £45 million per year
  • your business meets the other British Business Bank eligibility criteria

How to access the scheme

The full rules of the Scheme and the list of accredited lenders is available on the British Business Bank website. All the major banks will offer the Scheme once it has launched. There are 40 accredited providers in all.

You should talk to your bank or finance provider (not the British Business Bank) as soon as possible and discuss your business plan with them. This will help your finance provider to act quickly once the Scheme has launched. 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 will be available from early next week commencing 23 March.

In other news:

  1. The Bank of England has cut interest rates from 0.25% to 0.1%, just a week after an emergency reduction from 0.75%.
  2. Three-month mortgage holidays – refer to attached PDFs for more information.
  3. The government has ruled that incoming IR35 regulations will not come into effect until 6 April 2021. The government has decided to delay the incoming IR35 rules due to the coronavirus pandemic. Chief treasury secretary, Steve Barclay, said that the reforms will be pushed back to 6 April 2021.
Back To Top