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Flexible Furlough, Extended SEISS, SSP Rebates, Top Up Grants and Stockport SUBS

31st May 2020 | Written by In Accountancy | Categories : CoronaVirus, Limited Companies, News, Personal Tax, Small Business Advice, Sole Traders, Tax Advice
Flexible Furlough, Extended SEISS, SSP Rebates, Top Up Grants and Stockport SUBS

Well, what an amazing weekend we’re having!! I suspect lockdown would have felt very, very different for most of us had we been experiencing our normal spring weather!

I took yesterday off and Andy and I went on a massive hike… a full 23 miles. It was absolutely beautiful and good for the soul. The poor dog however is exhausted today, and at 7.5 (or nearly as old as Andy in dog years) he’s walking like an old man! I’m feeling a little guilty as he lies beside me while I write this.

As often has been the case recently, this is a longer update than I’d originally planned. I had it written and ready to go to you on Friday afternoon, but thought I would just wait until I heard what Rishi had to say about the amendments to furlough scheme in his update before finalising.  Little did I know how much there would be to say!

So, I’ve included the following, in the below order – skip to the bits which are of most relevance to you. 

I had also initially hoped to include some spotlights on client businesses, particularly those who have ‘pivoted’, are open for business, or getting back on their feet as lockdown eases, but as I think it would get lost in all the other detail I will do this in later newsletters. I have my first 6 planned, and if you would like to be included in a future article please get in touch 😊

  • Top Up Grant Funding
  • SSP Rebates
  • SUBS Online Networking & Learning
  • SEISS Extension
  • Flexible Furlough
  • Mortgage Payment Holiday Extension
  • Other dates and details…

Local Authority Top Up Grant Funding for Stockport Based Businesses

  • So, the Top Up Grant applications are LIVE, well certainly for the Stockport Local Authority.
  • If you are eligible to apply for this additional round of discretionary grant funding, you can do so via the following link:
  • https://www.stockport.gov.uk/support-for-businesses-and-employers/discretionary-grant-scheme
  • In order to make your application you will need the information below to hand:
  • your VAT registration number
  • your landlord or letting agent’s contact information
  • when you first occupied the property
  • the size of the space of the property
  • the days and times that you use the property
  • information about the costs related to the business
  • if you’ve received any other financial help due to coronavirus

You will also need to be able to upload documents as evidence to support your claim, including:

  • Bank statements for the period in question in 2020, as well as bank statements from the comparative period for 2019
  • Your tenancy / lease agreement
  • Latest invoices relating to fixed property costs, such as rents, rates, service charges etc
  • Any other documentation / evidence to support your claim – such as evidence of business lost, contracts cancelled etc

Very best of luck – do please let us know how you get on!

Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme

This scheme is now live, and as per my previous communication last week, can be accessed via your Government Gateway account, much in the same manner as the CJRS is accessed:

Here is a quick link to your Gateway account login page:

https://www.gov.uk/log-in-register-hmrc-online-services

If you are unsure how much you should be claiming for, the Gov.uk website has a very handy calculator which you can access here:

https://www.gov.uk/calculate-statutory-sick-pay 

And, not forgetting the link to check whether you are eligible to claim 😊

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-back-statutory-sick-pay-paid-to-employees-due-to-coronavirus-covid-19

HMRC advises that successful refunds will be processed and in company bank accounts within five working days of application.

Stockport SUBS online Networking and Learning Event

Our last Stockport SUBS event had a big focus on people, processes and policies while getting ready to return to business, if not as usual, at least in a safe and productive way. 

We have had great feedback about both the content, the delivery and the format of this fun online networking and learning event. There is plenty of time to network with your peers as well as to hear some great ideas from local experts.

Key take outs from May’s event were:

  • Review your policies and processes – what can you streamline, or do more efficiently?
    • In fact, what might you or your team be doing which quite simply isn’t core and doesn’t need to be done?? 
    • What is your environmental policy? If you don’t know, then now is a great time to put one in place.
  • Look after your team, while looking after your environment – you can easily and cost effectively support both healthy bodies and healthy minds
    • Sam talked about Cycle to Work Schemes (although I hear on the grapevine that Halfords are sold out of popular commuter models until October, so get your orders in quick if a new bike is on your Christmas list!!)
    • Look into putting an Employee Assistance Programme in place which gives your employees AND dependants access to confidential counselling, advice and assistance on a wide variety of work and personal issues, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • Know when to make the tough decisions
    • It has been said that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is ‘a waiting room for redundancies’. If you do have any tough decisions to make around people, the general consensus was don’t delay. It does of course, go without saying to take advice and do this properly.
  •  Address the culture
    • A change is as good as a rest, they say. Use this global change as an opportunity to ensure that your organisation has the right culture in place. As Jim Collins put it, “Get the right people on the bus in the right seats, and the wrong people off the bus, before deciding where you’re going to steer it” or words to that effect! Set high standards and expect them to be met!

Our next SUBS Online Networking and Learning Event takes place at 9am on Friday 19 June 2020 via Zoom.  

The focus this time is BRAND… which in my humble opinion is another word for reputation… You will be hearing from experts in branding and getting your brand out there and known.

If you would like to join us, you will need to register, which you can do by following the link below:
To register please use the ZOOM link below:

https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJYpcOuprzstE9K7qZ9pWQy7pWDKMCPZs_iu

As always we would love to see some of you there 😊

SEISS Extension

We were delighted to hear the chancellor confirm that the Self Employed Income Support Scheme was to be extended for a further three months. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Who can apply?
    • If you were eligible for the first grant, you will be able to apply for a second grant.
    • You do need to confirm that you meet the eligibility criteria, which includes confirming that you have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic
      • HMRC’s guidance indicates that this includes being unable to work because your are shielding, self-isolating, are on sick leave or have care responsibilities due to coronavirus.
      • Other examples of how you may have been adversely affected would include if you have been forced to reduce or temporarily stopping trading because: your supply chain has been interrupted; you have reduced customers / demand; or if your staff are unable to work.
  • What period does this claim cover?
    • This is to cover the three months to August 2020.
  • When can you apply?
    • The portal is due to open to applications around mid August, and we are expecting further details and guidance to be announced on 12 June.
  • What has changed?
    • The grant will be now be 70% of average earnings for three months, rather than the 80% grant in the first round
    • The maximum amount will be capped at £6,570, down from the £7,500 for the first grant
  • What are the tax implications?
    • This grant will be treated as income and taxed as such on your self assessment tax return for the year to 5 April 2020
      • Please let us know how much grant income you receive so we can include this next year

Introducing the Flexible Furlough

Something we had very much been hoping for, in order to support companies and employees get back to work. I must say, the updated Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme terms are much more generous that we had expected – here’s what you need to know:

  • Part time working
    • Will be an option earlier than expected – from 1‌‌ July 2020
    • The government will continue to pay 80% of wages for any normal hours your employees do not work from 1 July until end of August
    • You are responsible for paying your employees wages in full for the hours they do work
    • There is no minimum time that you can furlough your employees for if they are returning part time, and the hours do not need to be the same each day/week/month – this means they can work as much or as little as you need.
    • However, you do need to agree working hours on at least a weekly basis with your employees, and confirm this to them in writing.
    • When making your claim for furloughed hours, you will need to submit data on their usual hours and actual hours – please keep good records!
    • If your employees are unable to return to work, or you do not have work for them to do, they can remain on furlough and you can continue to claim the grant for their full hours under the appropriate rules for the time period involved.
  • Employer contributions
    • As expected tapering of the support available will start from August, however the rate at which it will be tapered is more gradual than had been expected
  • August 
    • Employers will from 1 August be responsible for paying any Employer National Insurance Contributions (ER NICs) and Employer pension contributions 
  • September
    • From 1 September, the amount of wages for a furloughed employee that the Government will pay reduces from 80% of gross wages to 70%.
    • The cap also reduces accordingly to £2,187.50 for the hours the employee does not work
    • Employers will also pay ER NICs, pension contributions and a minimum of 10% of wages to make up 80% of the total up to a cap of £2,500
  • October
    • From 1 October, this support reduces to 60% of wages up to a cap of £1,875 for the hours the employee does not work
    • Employers will pay ER NICs, pension contributions and a minimum of 20% of wages to make up 80% of the total up to a cap of £2,500
    • The cap on the furlough grant will be proportional to the hours not worked should you bring your employee(s) back on a part time basis as outlined above
  • Other Important dates / details
    • The scheme will close to ‘new entrants’ from 30‌‌ June
    • Therefore the final date that you can furlough an employee for the first time is 10 June
    • From 1 July, you will only be able to furlough employees that you have furloughed for a full three-week period prior to 30‌‌ June.
    • There will be a new maximum limit to the number of staff who can be included on a claim based on the maximum staff ever included in a single claim under the current rules.
    • From 1 July you will not be able to make any claims for overlapping periods – the minimum claim period is 1 week, and the maximum will be one month.
      • You will not be able to overlap months for claims, regardless of your pay period
    • Any claims under the CJRS relating to the period up to 30 June MUST be made by 31‌‌ July
    • We are expecting further details and guidance to be announced on 12 June

Mortgage Payment Holiday Extension

  • It has also been announced that those in need of it, will be able to request a mortgage payment holiday of a further three months.
  • We would however remind you that interest still accrues during any repayment holiday period, so please do be aware of the impact of any payment holiday on the overall debt owed. If you can afford to, and your lender is flexible enough, it may be wise to continue to pay the interest element of your mortgage and take the holiday on the repayment element only

Other Dates and Details

  • Monday 1 June
    • Car showrooms and outdoor markets to reopen
    • Racing fixtures resume in Newcastle upon Tyne
  • Wednesday 3 June
    • The National Trust is to reopen some gardens and parklands for reduced numbers and pre booked tickets in certain instances
    • Andy Tyler’s birthday – I’ll not tell you how old, after all age is just a number 😉
  • Thursday 4 June 
    • McDonalds to reopen ALL drive-throughs and for delivery.
  • Monday 8 June
    • Dentists to reopen, prioritising emergency work and vulnerable clients
    • Travellers arriving in UK to self-isolate for 14 days from this date
  • Monday 15 June
    • More ‘non essential’ shops are set to open including;
      • Clothes and Shoe Shops
      • Toy and Book Shops
      • Furniture Shops
      • Electronics Stores and Auction Houses
      • Tailors
      • Photography Studios
      • Indoor Markets
    • John Lewis to open a number of stores, with more opening in a phased approach
    • Secondary schools to begin providing ‘face to face’ time for some students in Y10 and Y12
  • Wednesday 17 June
    • Premier League restarts subject to approval
    • FA Cup quarter-finals to be played on 27 June, with Final set to be played on Saturday 1 August
  • Thursday 18 June
    • LOCKDOWN REVIEW
  • Saturday 4 July
    • Pubs, hairdressers and cinemas expected to reopen.
      • This may be brought forward at the 18 June lockdown review, subject to progress

Wow, I think that’s it for now… As always, any questions, you know where to find me! 😊

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