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CORONAVIRUS IN THE UK: FINANCIAL GUIDE FOR INDIVIDUALS AND BUSINESSES

DIANA HURTA, DH Accounts & Business CEO Monday 30th March, 2020

The upsetting situation with Coronavirus is changing by the day. To help you through these uncertain times the Chancellor Rishi Sunak has set out a package of temporary, timely and targeted measures to support public services, people and businesses through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19.

In this article you can find guidance for individuals and business.

INDIVIDUALS

There are few options for you if you are employee or self-employed how you can get support.

If you are out of work

a) If you’re on a low income or out of work, you may be able to get Universal Credit. Check if you are eligible for Universal Credit on GOV.UK website: https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit/eligibility

b) If you lost work and you look for work, you might be eligible for Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA). You can find step-by-step guide how to claim JSA on GOV.UK website: https://www.gov.uk/jobseekers-allowance/eligibility

c) If you cannot work because of illness or disability, you can either get Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) or you might be eligible for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). SSP is paid by employer, theretofore you need to speak to your employer if you qualify for SSP. ESA is paid by government, theretofore you can apply for ESA on GOV.UK website: https://www.gov.uk/employment-support-allowance

d) The government has announced that Working Tax Credits payments will be increased. You don’t have to take any action or contact HMRC - the increase in your payments will start from 6 April 2020: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/increase-to-working-tax-credits-what-this-means

If you are unable to pay rent and council tax bill

If you are having difficulty meeting your housing costs or Council Tax bill the Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) and Discretionary Council Tax Hardship (DCTH) schemes may be able to help.

This will depend on your council. You can find their contact details on letters from them or check at GOV.UK website: https://www.gov.uk/find-local-council

If you are unable to pay mortgage

The government’s new policy aims to ease the stresses facing borrowers during the coronavirus outbreak. Homeowners and landlords can now apply for a three-month mortgage payment holiday by contacting their lender.

If you cannot pay your tax bill

If you are self-employed in temporary financial distress as a result of Covid-19, you may be eligible to receive support with your tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service.

•    For Income Tax Self-Assessment payments due on the 31 July 2020, will be deferred until the 31 January 2021.
•    For Self Assessment tax bill, if you have missed your payment date and you cannot pay, call the HMRC Coronavirus helpline: https://www.gov.uk/difficulties-paying-hmrc

If you do not get job by 5 April 2020

If you are unemployed or not working till 5 April 2020, you might paid too much tax through payroll. You may be able to get a tax refund (rebate). Check on GOV.UK website: https://www.gov.uk/claim-tax-refund

If you've lost self-employed income

If you're self-employed or a member of a partnership and have lost income due to coronavirus, you can claim a grant Self-employment Income Support Scheme. This scheme will allow you to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of your trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next 3 months. This may be extended if needed: https://www.gov.uk/self-employment-income-support-scheme

BUSINESSES

If you have employees

Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary. HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month.

HMRC also 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.

If you have outstanding tax liabilities

All businesses 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.

HMRC will support businesses by deferring Value Added Tax (VAT) payments for 3 months. The deferral will apply from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020. This is an automatic offer with no applications required. 

If you have retail, hospitality or leisure business

All retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses in England, will receive the retail discount in the 2019 to 2020 tax year. A business rates holiday will be rebilled by their local authority as soon as possible. There is no action for you. This will apply to your next council tax bill in April 2020.

The Retail and Hospitality Grant Scheme provides businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a cash grant of up to £25,000 per property. You do not need to do anything. Your local authority will write to you if you are eligible for this grant.

If you need help with cash flow

The temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme will support SMEs with access to loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance of up to £5 million and for up to 6 years. 

The government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan (subject to pre-lender cap on claims) to give lenders further confidence in continuing to provide finance to SMEs.

The full rules of the scheme and the list of accredited lenders are available on the British Business Bank website: https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme-cbils/accredited-lenders/

You can find guidance for employees, employers and businesses on GOV.UK website:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19

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