Statutory Sick Pay
For businesses with fewer than 250 employees, the cost of providing 14 days of Statutory Sick Pay per employee will be refunded in full by the government. This will provide two million businesses with up to £2 billion to cover the costs of large-scale sick leave. Employers will be able to make a claim online from Tuesday 26th May 2020.
Click here for more information.
Business Rates Holiday
Businesses in the retail and hospitality sector and those running nursery settings across England for the 2020-2021 tax year are eligible for a business rates holiday. Businesses that have already received the retail discount in the 2019-2020 tax year will be re-billed by their local authority as soon as possible.
For more details, visit the gov.uk website.
If you’re a business or self-employed individual in financial distress due to COVID-19 and have outstanding tax liabilities, you may be eligible to receive tax support through HMRC’s Time to Pay service. These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities.
A dedicated helpline has also been set up to help businesses and self-employed individuals with tax issues during this time. Through this, you may be able to agree to a bespoke Time to Pay arrangement. If you are concerned about not being able to pay your tax due to COVID-19, call HMRC's dedicated helpline on 0800 024 1222.
Deferral of VAT for businesses
The government is giving businesses the option to defer VAT payments between 30th March and 30th June 2020 to help businesses manage their cash flow. Any deferred payments should be paid in full by 31st March 2021.
New Payment Scheme
Businesses who have chosen to defer their VAT payments will be able to pay what they owe in smaller instalments through the government's new payment scheme. Self-assessment taxpayers will also benefit from a separate 12-month extension as part of HMRC's Time to Pay service. For the latter, this means payments deferred in July 2020 or due in January 2021 will not need to be paid until January 2022.
On 10th June 2020, the Department for Work and Pensions launched a new campaign and website surrounding Universal Credit and COVID-19. The website provides clear, factual information on employment and benefits for claimants and potential claimants, as well as advice on issues such as housing, sick pay, furlough and self-employment. There is also guidance available for employers and businesses, including answers to frequently asked questions.
Eligibility for claiming losses caused by COVID-19 through insurance
Businesses that have cover for both pandemics and government-ordered closure should be covered by their insurance. The government and insurance industry confirmed on 17th March 2020 that the advice to avoid businesses such as pubs, theatres, and other entertainment venues was sufficient to make a claim.
However, insurance policies differ significantly between providers, so businesses are encouraged to check the terms and conditions of their specific policy and contact their providers. Most businesses are unlikely to be covered, as standard business interruption insurance policies are dependent on damage to property and will exclude pandemics.
New measures: Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act
As of the 24th September 2020, the government has extended the measures it put in place to help businesses avoid insolvency during the pandemic. These measures were previously due to expire on 30th September 2020. Find out more about these measures and how they can benefit your business on the gov.uk website.