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Newsletter April 2020

Newsletter April 2020

Even the Budget last week was like an annex to a Coronavirus survival guide and included clarification on a number of issues for small business owners. As there was little of consequence regarding other tax changes in the budget our newsletter this month concentrates on the COVID-19 matters. It includes:

  • Clarification of Statutory Sick Pay issues
  • Revised rates reductions for High Street and leisure businesses and pubs
  • Additional support settling tax liabilities.
  • Changes to Entrepreneurs’ Relief.

Postscript - keeping up-to-date

Since the 11 March Budget, there have been at least two mini budgets and a host of other updates that may affect your business or personal financial situation. We strive to keep our newsletter information up-to-date but recent changes may not have appeared in this publication.

If you have any concerns or questions about the content of this newsletter, or any other Coronavirus related issue, please pick up the phone. We are here to help.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)

Employers have been rightly worried about the cost of funding SSP for employees that are self-isolating or suffering from the COVID-19 virus. Especially as SSP is now due on day one of absences.

The Chancellor has now confirmed that he will create a means for employers to recover any SSP paid for the first 14 days of sick leave.

Additionally, employees 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.

Those who are not eligible for SSP, for example the self-employed or people earning below the Lower Earnings Limit of 118 per week (increasing to 120 from 6 April 2020), can now more easily make a claim for Universal Credit or Contributory Employment and Support Allowance.

Business rates changes

In England

The government will increase the Business Rates retail discount to 100% for one year, expand it to the leisure and hospitality sectors and increase the rates discount for qualifying pubs to 5,000. Taken together with existing small business rate relief (which provides full relief for businesses using a single property with a rateable value of 12,000 or less), an estimated 900,000 properties, or 45% of all properties in England, will receive 100% business rates relief in 2020-21:

  • Businesses that received the retail discount in 2019-20 will be rebilled by their local authority as soon as possible.
  • Those businesses eligible for the newly expanded retail discount and/or the new pubs discount may need to apply to their local authority to receive the discount.
  • Any enquiries on eligibility for, or provision of, the reliefs should be directed to the relevant local authority.

The government is also providing an additional 2.2 billion 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 3,000 to around 700,000 business currently eligible for SBRR or Rural Rate Relief, to help meet their ongoing business costs. For a property with a rateable value of 12,000, this is one quarter of their rateable value, or comparable to 3 months of rent.

Regional variations in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland may need to be considered. To find out what your position will be contact your local rating authority or council.

Protecting cash flow - tax payments

It is unlikely that our businesses will be unaffected by the inevitable slow-down in economic activity as the Coronavirus outbreak starts to bite.

Maintaining a strict control over your personal and business cash-flow is going to be a key decider in surviving this process.

A major expenditure item is taxation whether that be VAT, PAYE/NIC, self-assessed liabilities or Corporation Tax.

We suggest that all businesses rework their cash-flow forecasts based on the revised trading outlook post COVID-19. Be realistic and tend towards less optimistic scenarios. If the outcome requires support from your bank you may be eligible for a government backed Business Interruption Loan - the government will guarantee 80% of the loan - make your application now based on your revised cash-flow.

And finally, all businesses and self-employed people 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. You can contact HMRC’s new dedicated COVID-19 helpline for advice and support. To ensure ongoing support, HMRC has made a further 2,000 experienced call handlers available to support firms and individuals when needed. For Time to Pay support if you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to COVID-19, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.

And please call us if you need help reworking your cash-flow forecasts, negotiating loans with your bank or presenting tax payment deferment schemes to HMRC.

Changes to Entrepreneurs’ Relief

Prior to 11 March 2020, business owners could sell multiple, qualifying businesses during their lifetime, and as long as the total chargeable gains did not exceed 10m, a reduced rate of Capital Gains Tax of just 10% would apply.

Since budget day, 11 March 2020, this lifetime allowance has been reduced to 1m.

Business owners who are contemplating a sale of their business after the March date may need to rethink their disposal strategies as this change could potentially double the amount of CGT payable on their sale.

Please contact us for more information on this topic.

Tax Diary April/May 2020

1 April 2020 - Due date for Corporation Tax due for the year ended 30 June 2019.

19 April 2020 - PAYE and NIC deductions due for month ended 5 April 2020. (If you pay your tax electronically the due date is 22 April 2020).

19 April 2020 - Filing deadline for the CIS300 monthly return for the month ended 5 April 2020.

19 April 2020 - CIS tax deducted for the month ended 5 April 2020 is payable by today.

30 April 2020 - 2018-19 tax returns filed after this date will be subject to an additional 10 per day late filing penalty.
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1 May 2020 - Due date for Corporation Tax due for the year ended 30 July 2019.

19 May 2020 - PAYE and NIC deductions due for month ended 5 May 2020. (If you pay your tax electronically the due date is 22 May 2020).

19 May 2020 - Filing deadline for the CIS300 monthly return for the month ended 5 May 2020.

19 May 2020 - CIS tax deducted for the month ended 5 May 2020 is payable by today.

31 May 2020 - Ensure all employees have been given their P60s for the 2019-20 tax year.




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