Coronavirus Special April 2020 Newsletter (updated as of 1 June 2020)
General advice for those who have seen a significant reduction in their income:
- Examine your bank statements carefully and stop any unnecessary direct debits.
- The Government have confirmed that mortgage lenders will allow a 3-month holiday which will not affect your credit rating. Many call centres are over-worked and you may have difficulty contacting them. If so, write a letter to the mortgage provider explaining your situation and keep a copy of the letter for your records.
- Stay in contact with any other creditors such as credit card companies/PCP car finance, etc.
- Concentrate your spending on food, heating and essential household items.
Government assistance for the self-employed:
- Taxable cash grants of 80% of profits are available, up to £2,500 per month, for at least 3 months, covering the period March 2020 to May 2020. The grant will be calculated using the average monthly trading profit over the last three years. This provides the same level of support as for employees.
- The scheme will be open to those with a trading profit of less than £50,000 in 2018-19 or an average trading profit below £50,000 from 2016-17 to 2018-19.
- To qualify, more than half of their income in these periods must come from self-employment. Those who receive their income mainly from employment, but also have a self-employed career, will not be eligible for this grant.
- The taxable grants will be paid in a single lump sum instalment covering all 3 months and will start to be paid at the beginning of June 2020.
- Individuals should not contact HMRC now and HMRC will contact them in due course.
- Those who pay themselves a salary and dividends through their own company are not covered by the scheme but will be covered for their salary by the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme if they are operating PAYE schemes.
- On 29 May 2020, the Chancellor announced that this scheme would be extended where a second, final grant will be made available worth 70% of average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment in August, capped at £6,570.
If the average annual taxable profit is £12,000 the grant will be £1,000 a month for 3 months = £3,000 @ 80% = a total of £2,400.
If the average annual taxable profit is £20,000 the grant will be £1,667 for 3 months = £5,000 @ 80% = £4,000.
If profits are higher, the grant will be higher, subject to the above limits.
To be eligible for the full grant of £7,500 average annual profits will need to be £37,500 over the 3-year period.
- Self-employed individuals will receive support based on their taxable profits.
- Directors of limited companies will receive support based on their wages via the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. On a salary of £9,500, the monthly salary is £792 and they can claim a grant of £792 for 3 months @ 80% = £1,900
- Where individuals are both employed and self-employed, they can only claim if their self-employed income is greater than 50%, presumably averaged over 3 years.
- For individuals who started self-employment after 5 April 2016, but before 5 April 2019, HMRC will work out some form of allowance.
- For those who started self-employment after 6 April 2019, this is not available, and they should apply for the Employment and Support Allowance.
- Beware of scammers – HMRC will contact you directly to arrange this grant.
Government assistance announced to date:
- If you are employed and you are “furloughed”, HMRC will reimburse 80% of wage costs for “furloughed” workers up to a cap of £2,500 a month. This has been extended to individuals who are directors of their own limited companies who are paid through a PAYE system.
- VAT will be deferred for returns submitted from March 2020 – June 2020.
- For income tax self-assessment, payments due on 31 July 2020 will be deferred until 31 January 2021.
- There is a HMRC Time to Pay coronavirus helpline: 0800 015 9559
- There is a coronavirus business interruption loan scheme via your bank for small businesses.
- If you own a furnished holiday let which is used for at least 105 days per year, support may be available in the form of a grant.
- Welsh Government business rate relief details have been announced. A £10,000 grant is available for businesses with a rateable value of less than £12,000 and a £25,000 grant is available for retail, leisure and hospitality businesses with a rateable value of between £12,001 and £51,000.
- The Welsh Government Economic Resilience Fund provides support of up to £10k to firms with up to 9 employees, provided that there has been a drop of at least 40% in turnover since 1 March 2020, and similar support up to £100k for firms with between 1 and 249 employees, provided that there has been a drop of at least 60% in turnover since 1 March 2020. These businesses cannot also claim full business rate relief.
Claiming from the Government:
- For employees, Statutory Sick Pay is claimable via your employer’s PAYE scheme.
- Employment and support allowance for those out of work is available of around £90 per week. Those with a reasonable level of savings may not be eligible. Universal Credit may be claimable – see following links on the Government’s Covid-19 website:
Companies House have granted applications for a 3-month extension to company filing deadlines as a result of Covid-19 disruption.
If you have travel plans that have been disrupted by the coronavirus, you may be able to obtain a partial or full refund of the cost of your travel. Contact your travel insurer, but as mentioned, call centres are over-worked and you may need to write to them or seek assistance from their website.
If your vehicle's MOT expiry date is on or after 30 March 2020, your vehicle is still allowed on the road as you will have been given an automatic 6-month extension to your current MOT.
Many individuals are now working from home and if you are now unexpectedly storing kit, such as electronic equipment, these may not be covered by your home insurance policy. Check your cover and contact your insurer.
Sky Sports have allowed customers to 'pause' their subscriptions, while BT Sport is now allowing its customers to claim bill credit.
Specific support available for musicians:
The UK charity, Help Musicians, have launched a £5m Coronavirus Financial Hardship Fund. Eligible musicians (self-employed, professional working musicians) are able to claim a one-off payment of £500 through an online form.