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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

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.
To access the scheme 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 for a 3-
month period. HMRC are in the process of setting this scheme up and we will let you know when and how to make a claim. In the meantime, if you choose to furlough staff, you will have to pay them as normal.

Deferring tax and VAT payments:

HMRC will support businesses by deferring Valued Added Tax (VAT) payments for 3 months. If you’re selfemployed, Income Tax payments due in July 2020 under the Self-Assessment system will be deferred to January 2020.

The VAT deferral period will apply from 20 March 2020 to 30 June 2020, which will cover payments ordinarily due for the quarters ended 29 February 2020, 31 March 2020 and 30 April 2020.
The deferred VAT period must be paid to HMRC by 5 April 2021.

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

Support for Businesses Paying Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)
HMRC will provide support for businesses that are paying SSP on behalf of staff who have taken leave due to COVID-19. This could be due to self-isolation if a household member is showing symptoms. The refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per employee and is eligible to all businesses with fewer than 250 employees as at 28 February 2020.
Although there is no need for a GP Fit note, it would be advisable for employers to record the sickness for when the claim can be made. We would also recommend asking your staff to complete an isolation note from

HMRC are currently developing a rebate scheme where employers will be able to claim but this will need to wait for legislation to be passed, which could take a couple of months at least.

Business Rates Reliefs and Grants
Much has already been said about the grants that the Government have announced but below is a highlight of the reliefs and grants available:

Business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure industries For retail, hospitality and leisure industries, there will be no rate charges for 2020/2021 provided that your business is based in England.
You do not need to apply for this as it will automatically show on your next 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 industries
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
As with the rates holiday, the local authority will write to you if you are eligible for the grant.

Support for businesses that pay little or no business rates
The government will also 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.

Again, the local authority will write to you if you are eligible for the grant.
From looking at the information that has been provided, we believe that small businesses that have ‘serviced offices’ or where rates are included within the rental charges of the property, that these businesses will not be eligible for the grant.

Business Interruption Loan
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.

This loan could be used as an alternative to deferring VAT and income tax payments mentioned above or for paying staff whilst wating for Job Retention scheme to become operational.

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