If you’re self-employed or a business owner, coronavirus is probably affecting your business. It isn't always apparent what help you can get to support you through these unprecedented times but we’re here for you. It’s a challenge to determine who’s eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), lay-offs are a last resort and we all want to make it out the other side.
A full range of business support measures has been made available to UK businesses. Find out what you can get for your business from GOV.UK - but we’ve simplified it below for small businesses and self-employed individuals. Click on the headings below to jump to the relevant section.
The nature of the COVID-19 outbreak is constantly evolving, as a result information, directives and advice from the government are always updating and changing. From the UK to the US and India to South Africa, the world is rolling out measures to ensure businesses can survive this difficult period.
This blog is accurate at the time of writing. However, the government continues to make changes as the situation develops and new information is released. For all the latest information on the situation in the UK, please visit the UK Government website.
Coronavirus Small Business Support
Small businesses are feeling the force of the pandemic and if you’re here looking for assistance - it’s expected. Here are some lifelines the government is offering to small business owners and their workforce.
- Financial Support Schemes and Grant Funds
- Paying Your Employees
- Claiming Back Sick Pay
- Paying Tax
- Business Rates Relief
Financial Support Schemes and Grant Funds
To determine what financial support schemes you may be eligible for, use the business support finder to see what support is available for you and your business. Here are some programmes you will find:
- Apply for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.
- Apply for the Coronavirus Future Fund.
- Apply for a Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan.
There are also business support grants for which you can apply. These apply to England only:
- Small Business Grant Fund
- Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund
- Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund
Paying Your Employees
Subject to conditions, the Job Retention Scheme enables employers to claim a grant from HMRC to cover 80% of their workforce’s wages.
Claiming Back Sick Pay
Check if you can claim back SSP paid to employees due to coronavirus.
This scheme is for employers. You can claim back up to two weeks of SSP if:
- You’ve already paid your employee’s sick pay (use the SSP calculator to work out how much to pay).
- You’re claiming for an employee who’s eligible for sick pay due to coronavirus.
- You have a PAYE payroll scheme that was started on or before 28 February 2020.
- You had fewer than 250 employees on 28 February 2020 across all your PAYE payroll schemes.
The scheme covers all types of employment contracts. Employers who are unable to claim online should have received a letter on an alternative way to claim. Contact HMRC if you’ve yet to receive a letter and can’t make eligible claims online.
If you’re a UK VAT-registered business that deferred VAT payments between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020, you need to take steps to set up a new direct debit. You’ll also need to continue to submit VAT returns as usual and pay the full VAT amount on payments after 30 June.
If you need more help to pay your VAT, you may be eligible to support your tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay (TTP) service. This allows you to pay off your debt by instalments over an agreed time period. If you can’t pay your tax bill on time due to coronavirus, contact the HMRC helpline as soon as possible.
Business Rates Relief
If you own a restaurant, you can register your establishment for the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme.
Coronavirus Self-Employed Support
Check if you can claim a grant through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme. Anyone who has registered for Self-Assessment after 05 April 2020 won’t have access to the scheme. But if you failed to meet the Jan 2020 deadline for submission of your 2019 Self-Assessment, you've been given an extension to July 2020 to complete your return.
The scheme looks similar to the support offered to the employed workforce. Just like the employed scheme, they base it on 'take-home' pay. The application process sounds straightforward and HMRC will contact those who are affected directly.
If you owe less than £10,000, you might be able to set up a Time to Pay Arrangement online. This lets you pay your Self Assessment tax bill in instalments. HMRC won't charge interest or penalties on any amount of the deferred payment on account, provided you pay before the deadline.
Self Assessment Payment Helpline
Telephone: 0300 200 3822
Monday to Friday
8 am to 4 pm
Use HMRC’s digital assistant to find more information about the coronavirus support schemes and learn about the latest news on the government’s COVID-19 Action Plan. In the meantime, we want to help where we can with the day-to-day of your business.
We’re Here to Help You...
Like most, we aren’t experts on the ever-changing situation that COVID-19 presents. However, EasyBooks can guide you through everyday business bookkeeping, offering tips and advice to help you operate as close to normal as you can - given the circumstances.
With a booking app dedicated to SME owners and self-employed individuals, we’re here to support you through these challenging times and extend a helping hand. Stay safe and you can view our blog for more information here.