I think we can all agree that whether you are furloughed, self employed, an employer, working in key businesses / industries or are now out of work, the last few weeks under COVID 19 have been stressful for everyone. I know that I am lucky to have been able to carry on working, however, the additional work is really taking it’s toll. And for those of you juggling all of this while home schooling too – well I take my hat off to you !
There have been lots of announcements and updated over the last few weeks, which I have been posting about on the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/zebraaccountants . However, I thought it would be useful to put everything in one place to make it easier for you to find.
You can find my previous post about the self employed grants scheme here https://zebraaccountants.com/covid-19-news-for-the-self-employed-updates/ .
The good news is that the scheme will be available from 13 May 2020. You MUST have your own login with Government Gateway to be able to claim, your accountants cannot do it for you.
A couple of points to note :-
- You CANNOT claim if you did not continue to trade through 2019/2020
- You CANNOT claim if you do not intend to continue to trade through 2020/2021
- You CANNOT claim unless your business has been adversely affected by the virus
- You CANNOT claim if your average profits (after expenses) for 2016/2017, 2017/2018 and 2018/2019 exceed £50,000
- You CANNOT claim if your self employed income is LESS than 50% of your income
- You CANNOT claim if you only started your self employed after 6 April 2019
- If you run a limited company, you are NOT self employed and are therefore not eligible
How to register with the Government Gateway
You can find the link to set up an account here https://www.gov.uk/personal-tax-account
On the next screen click on ‘Create an Account’ and ‘Continue’
Then click on ‘Create a Government Gateway Account’ – you will need your National Insurance Number and a UK passport / recent payslip / P60. If you do not have any of these, you will need to click on ‘Create a GOV.UK Verify account’
Then follow the online instructions
IMPORTANT : Make sure you make a note of ANY reference numbers that HMRC send, either while you are online, via email or via the post. These are really important and you must keep them somewhere safe
How to check if you are eligible
You can find out all the details of the scheme here https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme – you need to check if you are eligible. Please DO NOT claim if you do not meet the criteria, HMRC will follow up reports of fraud.
You can use the online tool to check if you are eligible, here https://www.tax.service.gov.uk/self-employment-support/enter-unique-taxpayer-reference – you will need your UTR, which can be found on the top of your tax returns, it is a 10 digit number.
If you are one of my clients, I emailed you on 27 March with the figures that you could claim, I have not checked your eligibility, you need to do this yourselves.
The portal will be open for claims from 13 May, which is a month earlier than we suspected, so make sure you have all of your information to hand to enter the claim straight away.
IMPORTANT : We have been told that accountants will be unable to make claims for clients through our agent portal, so it is critical that you set up your own accounts otherwise you cannot make the claim online
If you have had to furlough your staff, then you should have made your first claims by now via the CJRS Scheme.
I have made all of my clients claims up to 30 April and they have all received their money now. If you haven’t done so already, here are all the details of the scheme in my previous post https://zebraaccountants.com/coronavirus-job-retention-scheme/ .
If you are a director, you can furlough yourself, as long as you are then only performing statutory duties. You can find the details here https://www.rossmartin.co.uk/covid-19/4643-covid-19-company-directors-shareholders .
Rates Relief and Cash Grants
Most people appear to have received the grants from the local authorities now that they are eligible for. If you haven’t, now is the time to chase your local council offices to find out why you have been missed.
I have just seen an announcement that if you were not eligible for any of the business grants, due to where you work, but are affected by the virus, you may still be eligible for a grant. The information is here https://www.enterprisenation.com/learn-something/617m-coronavirus-grants-coworking-spaces/ . More information will follow as soon as I have them.
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)
Here are the details of the loan scheme introduced by the government, where they will guarantee 80% of the loan – here are all the details of the loans https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme-cbils-2/cbils-faqs-for-smes/
We have heard that many people who have applied have been turned down, which is not what we want to hear. However, if you are just looking for a small amount, the government have a new scheme.
Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan
If you are a small company, that has been turned down for a CBILS loan, you can apply for a Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan. The details are here https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-a-coronavirus-bounce-back-loan?fbclid=IwAR240dZHouZhvum9LnZUOHPiMyWBEFpuz3Cdj06z5U42rGgkYn-XavHutC4 .
There are only certain banks that are participating, so my understanding is that if you don’t have an account with them, you will need to set up a business account first before you can apply.
Are you workings from home now and incurring additional expenses? You might be able to make a claim for tax relief here https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-income-tax-relief-for-your-employment-expenses-p87
Have you managed to claim on your business interruption insurance? If not, but you feel like you should be able to from reading the contract, there are lots of groups set up to bring law suits against those companies. If you are having this issue with Hiscox please let me know, I have someone I can put you in touch with.
A FEW REMINDERS
Struggling to pay your taxes?
If you cannot pay your taxes on time – this includes Income Tax, PAYE and Corporation Tax you need to call the
Dedicated Helpline on 0800 0159 559
If you are self employed, you can defer your 31 July 2020 payment to 31 January 2021 without contacting HMRC.
If you have VAT that falls due for payment between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020, you will automatically get a referral to 31 March 2021 – if you have a direct debit set up, you will need to cancel this.
Not sure what your business is entitled to?
You can use this online tool to find out what you are entitled to https://www.gov.uk/business-coronavirus-support-finder
Be careful, there are lots of scams out there !!! If in doubt, don’t give your details out !
If you know someone has claimed fraudulently on any of the HMRC schemes, you can report them here https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/hm-revenue-customs/contact/customs-excise-and-vat-fraud-reporting