We appreciate the challenges that many of our clients will be facing during this difficult time. We want to reassure you that we will do everything we can to be as responsive as possible to any questions you may have to help you through these uncertain times.
Please note that we are also doing all that we can to protect the safety of our team and their families. Consequently the office is not fully “manned” at the moment, but our team are still working and doing their utmost to maintain business as normal. Response times may be a little slower than you are used to, but please bear with us and we will get back to you.
The following details may help with any general questions that you have, but if you require any further information please do not hesitate to get in touch with your usual contact. Please note that the picture is evolving all the time and we will endeavour to keep the website up-to-date, but please check www.gov.uk for up-to-the-minute guidance.
Business owners and their staff will have specific concerns regarding the future. ACAS provide some good information regarding responsibilities and rights and this can be found here:
Those that employ fewer than 250 staff are able to reclaim statutory sick pay in full for the first 14 days of absence. At the time of writing, the mechanism for achieving this is not clear. Please keep an eye on the gov.uk website for any updates, or get in touch with your usual Hardings contact if in any doubt.
There may be circumstances where redundancy is being considered. Before taking any action in this regard, please get in touch with your usual Hardings contact as a first port of call.
During his speech on 17th March, the Chancellor announced a new Business Interruption Loan Scheme which will allow businesses to apply for loans of up to £5m provided their turnover does not exceed £41m. These bank loans will be partially guaranteed by the government with up to 80% of any losses being covered. More detail on this scheme can be found here
There have been promises made regarding grants from Local Authorities to smaller businesses. At the time of writing, the details regarding this are sparse but it is anticipated that these will become available in April 2020. It appears that there is no need to apply for these grants and they should be automatically issued to those business that apply for either Rural Rate Relief or Small Business Rates Relief. Our latest understanding is that qualifying businesses will hear from their Local Authority by early April.
Additional grants will be available for those in the retail, leisure and tourism sectors provided their premises has a rateable value between £15k and £51k.
HMRC continue to offer their “Time to pay” scheme and this is expected to be very popular in the coming months. HMRC have dedicated over 2,000 staff to this service, but call waiting times are still expected to be significant. If you are struggling to meet an impending tax liability, then please call HMRC on 0800 015 9559. The lines are open between 8am and 8pm Monday to Friday, and 8am and 4pm on Saturdays.
For our VAT registered clients, we would advise keeping an eye on your taxable turnover. There may be a benefit to de-registering from VAT if the conditions for de-registration are met. Please get in touch with your usual Hardings contact if you would like to discuss this further.
Fraudsters are often more successful when their targets are under great stress. Please be particularly aware of the following key points:
Hardings will be here to help you through any problems you may have over the coming months and we look forward to continuing to aid your success once these difficult times have passed.