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Hames Partnership

CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)

A Message from Hames Partnership

I would like to reassure you that Hames Partnership are committed to maintaining an uninterrupted accountancy service during these unprecedented times.

The office is now open however to keep our staff and clients safe, visits need to be arranged by appointment only. Our opening hours also differ slightly to normal, please see below:

Opening Times:

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday - 9am to 5pm

Wednesday 10am – 2pm


If you are a client please call the office on 01455 292005 to arrange a suitable time to either drop off or collect your accounting records.

When you arrive please press the buzzer by the front door, place your documents in the drop box and step back 2 metres. A member of staff will then greet you, collect your records all at a safe distance.

The majority of our staff are still working remotely from their homes and our business continuity plan is in place which, allows us to continue providing the same high quality service. We have secure IT systems in place to allow our staff to access our systems and files remotely. Where possible we will conduct meetings by telephone, telephone conference facilities and or Teams.


Below we have highlighted the current business support measures issued by the Government, including who is expected to be eligible for the reliefs. Guidance is being updated by the Government on a regular basis and more detail will be made available once received.

Please keep checking this link for the latest Government advice.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

All UK businesses are eligible for this scheme, where HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to £2,500 per month. This is a grant.

In order to access the scheme, you will have needed to designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers’ and notify your employees of their change in employment status.

The deadline to do this has now passed, so you are now unable to furlough any other employees.

When on furlough, an employee cannot undertake work for or on behalf of the organisation.

The Government will reimburse employers for up to 80% of the furloughed worker’s wage, plus the associated employer national insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions on that wage. Employers can then choose to fund the 20% difference but they do not have to.

From 1 August, the level of the grant will be slowly reduced. No grant will be available for Class 1 employer NICs or pension contributions from 1 August although these contributions will remain payable by the employer.

From September 1, you will also be asked to contribute towards the cost of your furloughed employees’ wages to ensure they continue to receive at least 80% of their wages for the time they’re on furlough.

You’ll still need to pay employer National Insurance and pension contributions on furloughed employees’ pay. For claims ending before 1 August 2020 you can claim for these costs too.

You cannot claim for:

  • additional National Insurance or pension contributions you make because you choose to top up your employee’s wages
  • your employees’ wages for any time they spend working, or any National Insurance or pension contributions you make on these wages
  • any pension contributions you make that are above the mandatory employer contribution

You can choose to top up your employees’ wages above the minimum furlough pay amount but you do not have to. Employees must not work or provide any services for the business during hours which they are recorded as being on furlough, even if they receive a top-up wage.

HMRC retain the right to retrospectively audit all aspects of any claims. For more detailed guidance click here.


Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) relief for SMEs

Employers of small and medium sized businesses, can reclaim a refund of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) per employee for absences due to COVID-19.

Eligibility for this scheme include:

  • Refund cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per employee
  • Employers with fewer than 250 employees are eligible (determined from how many were employed as of 28/02/20)
  • Employers can reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP. The rebate scheme is still being developed.
  • Employers should maintain records of staff absences as evidence for a claim and payments of SSP (no longer need to provide a GP fit note) but employees can get an ‘isolation note’ from NHS111 online.

Coronavirus SSP is to paid from day 1, rather than day 4, of absence from work due to COVID 19. Need to enter this as a separate pay element on payroll software, as Coronavirus SSP for the reclaim process.

Please follow the link for further information.


Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

This scheme aims to support small to medium sized businesses to access to working capital of up to £5million in value, for up to 6 years.

The government will pay to cover the first 12 months of interest payments and any lender-levied fees, so smaller businesses will not have any up-front costs and have lower initial payments.

The government will also provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% per loan to give lenders further confidence in continuing to provide finance to SME’s.

The scheme is now open for applications. To apply you should talk to your bank or one of the 40 accredited finance providers as soon as possible, to discuss your business plan.

If you have an existing loan with monthly repayments, you may want to ask for a repayment holiday to help with cash flow.

The full rules and list of accredited lenders are available on the British Business Bank website.


Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

The scheme currently allows you to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of your average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months’ worth of profits, and capped at £7,500 in total.

If you’re eligible and your business has been adversely affected you must make your claim for the first grant on or before 13 July 2020.

This scheme is being extended, and you will be able to claim a second and final grant in August 2020.

HMRC will work out your eligibility the same way as the first grant. If you make a claim for the second grant you will have to confirm your business has been adversely affected on or after 14 July 2020.

This grant will be a taxable grant worth 70% of your average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering a further 3 months’ worth of profits, and capped at £6,570 in total.

You can claim for the second and final grant even if you did not make a claim for the first grant.

The online service for the second and final grant is not available yet.

More information can be found at the following link www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme


Deferral of VAT payments

The deferral will apply from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020

This is an automatic offer for all VAT registered UK businesses to either defer the payment until a later date, or pay the VAT as normal. HMRC will not charge interest or penalties on any amount deferred. However, you will still need to submit your VAT returns on time.

If you choose to defer your VAT payment, you must pay the VAT due on or before 31 March 2021. You do not need to tell HMRC that you are deferring your VAT payment. VAT refunds and reclaims will be paid by the government as per usual.

Taking advantage of VAT deferral

In order to take advantage of the deferral of VAT for the period of 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020, it has been advised by HMRC to cancel the direct debit to HMRC. This will have to be reinstated after this period.


HMRC’s Time to Pay Service

All businesses and self employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through this Service. These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities. You are eligible if you business pays tax to the UK government or has outstanding tax liabilities.

If you have missed a tax payment or you might miss your next payment due to COVID-19, please call HMRC’s dedicated helpline: 0800 024 1222.


Deferring Self-Assessment payments on account

If you are due to pay a self-assessment payment on account by 31 July 2020 but the impact of the coronavirus causes you difficulty in making payment by that date, then you may defer payment until January 2021.

You are eligible if you are due to pay your second self-assessment payment on account on 31 July. You do not need to be self-employed to be eligible for the deferment. The deferment is optional. If you are still able to pay your second payment on account on 31 July you should do so. This is an automatic offer with no applications required. No penalties or interest for late payment will be charged if you defer payment until 31 January 2021.


Small Business Grant Scheme

The government will provide additional Small Business Grant Scheme funding, which is a one-off grant of £10,000, for businesses who pay no or little business rates due to Small Business rate relief (SBBR), rural rate relief (RRR) and tapered relief.

Businesses based in England, already receive SBBR and/or RRR and occupy property are eligible for this. Your local authority will write to you if you are eligible for this grant, so you don’t have to do anything.


Protection for eviction for commercial tenants

All commercial tenants in England, Wales and Northern Ireland who cannot pay their rent because of COVID-19 will be protected from eviction. These measures will mean no business will automatically forfeit their lease and be forced out of their premises if they miss a payment up until 30 June. There is the option for the Government to extend this period if needed. This is not a rental holiday. All commercial tenants will still be liable for the rent. The change will come into force when the Coronavirus Bill receives Royal Assent.

No action is required.


Support for retail, hospitality and leisure business that pay business rates

Business Rates Holiday:

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

More information can be found at the following link www.gov.uk/government/publications/business-rates-retail-discount-guidance

Cash grants:

The Retail and Hospitality Grant Scheme provides businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a cash grand of up to £25,000 per property. Businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of up to £15,000 may be eligible for a grant of £1,000. Businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of over £15,000 and less than £51,000 may be eligible for a grant of £25,000. You are eligible for the grant if your business is based in England, your business is in retail, hospitality or leisure sector and your business has a rateable value of under £51,000.

You do not need to do anything. Your local authority will write to you if you are eligible for this grant. Any enquiries on eligibility for, or provision of, the reliefs and grants should be directed to the relevant local authority. More information can be found at the following link www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-business-support-grant-funding.


Support for nursery businesses that pay business rates

The Government will introduce a business rates holiday for nurseries in England for the 2020-2021 tax year. You are eligible for the business rates holiday if your business is based in England. Properties that will benefit from the relief will be: occupied by providers on Ofsted’s Early Years Register and wholly or mainly used for the provision of the Early Years Foundation Stage. There is no action for you. However, local authorities may have to reissue your bill to provide this support.


Please note that information is changing daily, and systems are still being put into place. The links above are what we are basing our content on so please feel free to look for any additional information.