The spread of coronavirus COVID-19 has resulted in significant disruption to business activity. The current advice issued by the Government will dramatically impact most businesses over the coming months.
Below are details of the current guidance issued by HM Revenue & Customs to support businesses affected by Coronavirus (COVID-19) which we will also update as HMRC guidance is updated.
If you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact us.
HMRC has set up a phone helpline to support businesses and self-employed people concerned about not being able to pay their tax due to coronavirus (COVID-19).
The helpline allows any business or self-employed individual who is concerned about paying their tax due to coronavirus to get practical help and advice. Up to 2,000 experienced call handlers are available to support businesses and individuals when needed.
If you run a business or are self-employed and are concerned about paying your tax due to coronavirus, you can call HMRC’s helpline for help and advice: 0800 0159 559.
For those who are unable to pay due to coronavirus, HMRC will discuss your specific circumstances to explore:
- agreeing an instalment arrangement
- suspending debt collection proceedings
- cancelling penalties and interest where you have administrative difficulties contacting or paying HMRC immediately
The helpline number is 0800 0159 559 - and is an addition to other HMRC phone contact numbers.
Opening hours are Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm, and Saturday 8am to 4pm. The helpline will not be available on Bank Holidays.
If you need any assistance speaking with HM Revenue & Customs please contact us.
Guidance for Employers and businesses on coronavirus (COVID-19)
Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) will now be available for eligible individuals diagnosed with COVID-19 or those who are unable to work because they are self-isolating in line with Government advice. This is in addition to the change announced by the Prime Minister that SSP will be payable from day 1 instead of day 4 for affected individuals.
People who are advised to self-isolate for COVID-19 will soon be able to obtain an alternative to the fit note to cover this by contacting NHS 111, rather than visiting a doctor. This can be used by employees where their employers require evidence. Further details will be confirmed shortly.
The government will bring forward legislation to allow small and medium-sized businesses and employers to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19. The eligibility criteria for the scheme will be as follows:
- this refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19;
- employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible - the size of an employer will be determined by the number of people they employed as of 28 February 2020;
- employers will be able to reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP (according to the new eligibility criteria) as a result of COVID-19;
- employers should maintain records of staff absences, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note;
- eligible period for the scheme will commence the day after the regulations on the extension of Statutory Sick Pay to self-isolators comes into force;
- the government will work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible. Existing systems are not designed to facilitate employer refunds for SSP.
If you need any assistance please contact our payroll team.
The government will introduce a business rates retail holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.
Businesses that received the retail discount in the 2019 to 2020 tax year will be rebilled by their local authority as soon as possible.
A £25,000 grant will be provided to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from smaller premises, with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000.
Any enquiries on eligibility for, or provision of, the reliefs should be directed to the relevant local authority. Guidance for local authorities on the business rates holiday will be published by 20 March.
Support for businesses that pay little or no business rates
The government will provide additional funding for local authorities to support small businesses that already pay little or no business rates because of small business rate relief (SBBR). This will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to businesses currently eligible for SBRR or rural rate relief, to help meet their ongoing business costs.
If your business is eligible for SBRR or rural rate relief, you will be contacted by your local authority – you do not need to apply.
Funding for the scheme will be provided to local authorities by government in early April. Guidance for local authorities on the scheme will be provided shortly.
Support for businesses through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
A new temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, will launch next week to support 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. Businesses can access the first 6 months of that finance interest free, as government will cover the first 6 months of interest payments.
For further information including eligibility criteria please visit:
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 HMRC’s Time To Pay service. These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities. These businesses can contact HMRC’s new dedicated COVID-19 helpline from 11 March 2020 for advice and support. To ensure ongoing support, HMRC have made a further 2,000 experienced call handlers available to support firms and individuals when needed. If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to COVID-19, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.
Please contact a member of our team if you have any queries on funding.
Coronavirus guidance for Companies House submissions
If your company cannot file accounts on time
If COVID-19 has affected your company and you need more time to file your accounts, you should act before your filing deadline.
All companies must send their accounts, reports and confirmation statements to Companies House every year. If a company’s accounts are filed late, the law imposes an automatic penalty.
Your company should take appropriate measures to make sure accounts are filed on time. You should also file your accounts online if you’re able to.
If, immediately before the filing deadline, it becomes apparent that accounts will not be filed on time due to your company being affected by COVID-19, you may make an application to extend the period allowed for filing.
Late filing penalties
If you do not apply for an extension and your accounts have been filed late, an automatic penalty will be imposed. The registrar has very limited discretion not to collect a penalty.
Each appeal is treated on a case-by-case basis, and Companies House already has policies in place to deal with appeals based upon unforeseen poor health. Appeals based upon COVID-19 will be considered under these policies.
Off-Payroll Working in the Private Sector (IR35)
It was announced on 17 March that HMRC would delay implementation of the new Off-Payroll Working in the Private Sector legislation until April 2021. We will update information on this page as and when we receive it.