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2018

COVID-19 Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme

The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme will repay employers the current rate of SSP that they pay to current or former employees for periods of sickness starting on or after 13 March 2020.

The repayment will cover up to 2 weeks starting from the first day of sickness, if an employee is unable to work because they either:

  • have coronavirus
  • cannot work because they are self-isolating at home
  • are shielding in line with public health guidance

Employees do not have to give you a doctor’s fit note for you to make a claim.

The online service used to reclaim SSP is not available yet. HMRC will announce when the service is available and this guidance will be updated.

Records you must keep

You must keep records of all the statutory sick payments that you want to claim from HMRC, including:

  • the reason why an employee could not work
  • details of each period when an employee could not work, including start and end dates
  • details of the SSP qualifying days when an employee could not work
  • National Insurance numbers of all employees who you have paid SSP to

You’ll have to keep these records for at least 3 years following your claim.

You can read more on the government business support website where they will be making more information available in the next few days.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-back-statutory-sick-pay-paid-to-employees-due-to-coronavirus-covid-19

 

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Bounce Back Loans

New 100% government back loan scheme for small businesses.

If you have been negatively impacted by coronavirus, the scheme will help small and medium-sized businesses to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000.

The government will guarantee 100% of the loan and there won’t be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months.

No repayments will be due during the first 12 months and the government will work with lenders to agree a low rate of interest for the remaining period of the loan.

 

How do you apply?

The scheme launches next Monday 4th May and can be submitted through short and standard online forms. Small businesses will be able to access loans worth 25% of turnover, capped at £50,000.

You can’t apply if you are already claiming funding via the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

You can read more on the government business support website where they will be making more information available in the next few days.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/small-businesses-boosted-by-bounce-back-loans

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Support for businesses through deferring VAT

HMRC will support businesses by deferring VAT payments for 3 months. 

The Chancellor announced a VAT payments deferral on 20 March to support businesses with cash flow during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This means that all businesses with a UK VAT registration have the option to defer VAT payments due between 20 March and 3‌0‌‌ June.

You therefore have until 3‌1‌‌ March 2021 to pay any VAT deferred as a result of this announcement.

You do not need to inform HMRC if you wish to defer payment. You can opt in to the deferral simply by not making VAT payments due in this period.

If you pay by Direct Debit you should cancel this with your bank. You should do so in sufficient time so that HMRC does not attempt to automatically collect on receipt of their VAT return.

Should you wish, you can continue to make payments as normal during the deferral period.

HMRC will also continue to pay repayment claims as normal. You must continue to submit VAT returns as normal.

For more information please go to GOV.UK.

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Directors and Furlough

There is one question we have been asked more than any other by directors since the furloughing guidelines were issued…

We would like to share our updated thoughts on this subject and why you don’t have to (completely) make your mind up just yet.

Basically, you are asking two questions…

  • 1) Can I Furlough myself?
  • 2) Can I claim back 80% of my salary (normally £719 per month) from the government?

Let’s deal with the first one…

Can I furlough myself?

There has been much debate within the accountancy profession on this matter and the simple answer is “Yes”.

So, if you have found yourself in a position where you have no work and you believe that situation will last for at least 3 weeks, please sign and retain a copy of the letter and furlough yourself.  The letter needs to be sent from your limited company to yourself (and the other directors if you need to).  We will be asking to see it if we make a claim on your behalf when we can.

If you need a copy of the letter, please email enquiries@rivingtonaccounts.co.uk and we'll send you a copy. 

Whilst, furloughed you are only allowed to carry out duties of a director.  You will find a full list of what you are allowed to do here…

https://companieshouse.blog.gov.uk/2019/02/21/7-duties-of-a-company-director/

These guidelines were not issued with furloughing in mind so are open to interpretation.  However, we believe that maintaining the company’s statutory and financial records are the responsibility of the directors and can therefore be kept up to date.

We also recommend that, if funds allow, you continue to pay yourself your normal salary of between £719 & £1,025 per month.  If your normal salary is different to this, we will be in touch to discuss what you should do.  Apologies for the impersonal nature of this advice.

Can I claim back 80% of my salary (normally between £719 & £1,025 per month) from the government?

This is a question that does not need an answer now.  The portal to make the claims will not be live until at least the end of April. When the portal is ready, we will ask you if you have met the conditions to make a claim and, if so, we will assist you to make one.  Hopefully, by then we will have some further clarity on what “furloughing” means for directors so you will be clearer on whether you are eligible for a claim or not.

To be clear, any possible claim will only be for 80% of your salary and not include any dividends you pay yourself.

We hope this gives you some clarity on the position we are taking.  No doubt you will see all sorts of different opinions on social media and in the press over the coming weeks. 

 However, as soon as we have definitive guidance from the government on what directors can or can’t do whilst furloughed, we will be able to advise further.