IMPORTANT update regarding Small Business Grants, Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and Self Employment Income Support Scheme

Business Support Update

Updated Wed 15 April with new news relating to SBG, CVJRS and SEISS including How to Claim, Who can Claim, and What information you need in order to make your claim.

There are two areas which have been updated in the last 24 hours, being the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CVJRS) and the Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), and I will highlight the key amendments which are most relevant below.

Small Business Grants Update

But first, while many small business owners have already received their Small Business Grant (SBG), some have had no news as yet. If this is you, please contact your local authority as it appears that if you have previously had full small business rates relief, or if you do not pay your business rates by direct debit, then they will not hold your bank details and therefore cannot process your application.

I don’t have firm details for other local authorities, however Stockport MBC have a dedicated webpage advising you of how to make your claim and what information they need in order for you to be paid. There is also an email address for you to contact if you do not know your business rates reference number, or if you have recently had your business property rates but have not reported your occupancy to them, which is:

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

The guidance here has been updated today, 15 April 2020, announcing that 19 March is now the date at which employees needed to be on your payroll in order to be eligible for  furlough payments as opposed to 28 February previously advised by the Government.

Many of you who have furloughed employees during recent weeks have been in touch with us following contact from HMRC advising that if you use an agent to process your payroll that we will be able to make a claim on your behalf.  However, at this stage we must advise that for many of our payroll clients we are a file only agent and will not be able to make a claim for you. If we are authorised for your business and you would like us to make your claim for you, we must highlight that there will be a cost to this work.

You will need the information listed below to make the claim yourself

  • your employer PAYE reference number
  • the number of employees being furloughed
  • National Insurance Numbers for the furloughed employees
  • Names of the furloughed employees
  • Payroll/employee number for the furloughed employees (optional)
  • either your Self Assessment Unique Taxpayer Reference or Corporation Tax Unique Taxpayer Reference or Company Registration Number
  • the claim period (start and end date)
  • amount claimed (per the minimum length of furloughing of 3 consecutive weeks)
  • your bank account number and sort code
  • your contact name
  • your phone number

All of this information can be found on the reports which Sandra sends to your appointed payroll contact each month if you have employees. 

If you are a director only client, you should have most of this information readily to hand, but please contact Zoe if you are unsure.

You will need to calculate the amount you are claiming, bearing in mind that there may be a difference in the gross amount you have paid your employees and the amount you are able to claim back if you have topped up their pay to 100%. 

Please also remember that HMRC will retain the right to retrospectively audit all aspects of your claim.

The portal is due to go live next Monday 20 April 2020, with first payments expected to be made to employees by or on 30 April 2020, with an aim of future payments being made within 4-6 days of claim submission.

HMRC assure us that testing has been positive, guidance documents will be provided in advance of the go live date, and that a well staffed helpline will be in place for employers.  However we would expect that the system will be incredibly busy when it goes live and that there may be some lengthy queueing of requests.

Only one claim can be made per payment period – this means that if you pay your employees weekly, you can submit weekly claims, but for monthly payroll only one claim per month can be made.

Any claims which have been backdated to March should be included in your first claim.

And claims can be made up to 14 days in advance, meaning that if your pay period runs to the last day of the month, then you can submit your claim up to 14 days in advance.

As per my previous communication, HMRC has stated that there will be a confidential helpline for employees to effectively shop any employers who have been abusing the trust of this system and asking their employees to work whilst furloughed. If there is any evidence of any breach then no claim payment will be made to that employer, and criminal proceedings may also be considered!

When Sandra last spoke with HMRC regarding making claims they also strongly recommended all employers should log onto their own business tax account and check that they have PAYE added as a service. If you do not yet have this in place, please add the service in readiness.
You can read more detail about the scheme here: 

Self Employment Income Support Scheme

The guidance for SEISS claims has also been updated by the Government and HMRC as follows:This will no longer be an automatic process!!

  • There will be an online service be used to make a claim. 
    • This is not available yet. As soon as it is available we will let you know.
    • HMRC will aim to contact you by mid May 2020, and will make payments by early June 2020, rather than end of June as originally advised.
  • The grant will be treated as income and  subject to Income Tax and National Insurance contributions but does not need to be repaid.
  • You can make a claim for Universal Credit while you wait for the grant, but any grant received will be treated as part of your self-employment income and may affect the amount of Universal Credit you get.
  • Unlike furloughed employees, if you receive this grant you can still continue to work as normal.

Details of who can claim have changed

  • You must now be able to confirm to HMRC that your business has been adversely affected by coronavirus. HMRC will take a risk based approach to payment of grants.

Other details remain the same – you must have:

  • submitted your Self Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018 to 2019
  • traded in the tax year 2019 to 2020
  • are trading when you apply, or would be except for coronavirus
  • intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020 to 2021
  • have lost trading profits due to coronavirus
  • trading profits of no more than £50,000 and more than half of your total income (on average across the three years taken into consideration)

What next?

You cannot make a claim yet!

HMRC will aim to contact you by mid May 2020 if you’re eligible for the scheme and invite you to claim using the GOV.UK online service.

Please do NOT contact HMRC in relation to this as this will lead to further delays. 

Do NOT give any contact or bank details to anyone claiming to be from HMRC other than thought the GOV.UK online service, as this will most likely be a scam.

You can read more detail about the scheme here: 

I think that’s all for now – we will of course send further updates as we become aware of more changes or updates.

Enjoy the sunshine, look after one another and stay safe and well,

Sarah x

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