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Are accountants claiming Small Business Grant Fund

Are other amall accountancy firms claiming the £10,000 from the SBGF?

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I run a small pracitce from a rented office and qualify for SBRR of 100% due to the size/rateable value.

Since 23 March I have been working from home, in line with Goverment Guidance, and going into the office may be once or twice a week to collect paper files, post etc.

I continue to pay the rent as it falls due along with all other expenses as I have sufficient funds, at present, to meet these.

My local authority has contacted me and invited me to claim the SBGF of £10,000.

I have read through the criteria for the grant and meet all of these.  However, I am uncertain as to whether I should be claiming from an ethical point of view.  I do not know at this point how much COVID19 will affect my practice; that will depend on how my clients fare.

I have read som guidance from the one of the professional bodies I am a member of which says "No tax advisor should engage in assisting a client to abuse any of the unprecedented goverment support for businesses and individuals in this emergency, including use of "Time to Pay" arrangements."

This is aimed at us as advisors but it must also apply to us as taxpayers.

What do other members think and have they claimed in a similar position?

Replies (31)

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By Wanderer
20th Apr 2020 17:40

Yes, of course!

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By johnt27
20th Apr 2020 17:58

Claim and donate to a charity of your choice if you don't need the money

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By GHarr497688
20th Apr 2020 18:35

Wow I think you should retire if you can't work that out !

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By Truthsayer
20th Apr 2020 19:27

If you didn't need the money from, for example, your state pension, would you worry about whether it was ethical to claim it? Ethics ain't got nothing to do with it.

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By SXGuy
20th Apr 2020 19:38

What happens if say 50% of your clients go bust within 6 months. Do you think you'll be able to go back to the LA and say sorry I should have claimed?

If you've got a ton of money to cover all costs and your income is still flowing in then by all means skip claiming.

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By carnmores
20th Apr 2020 20:14

a must

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blue sheep
By Nigel Henshaw
20th Apr 2020 20:29

Hilarious, this is the best one today, even better than somebody charging £50 per employee for the furlough claim

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By mumpin
20th Apr 2020 21:22

You have to claim.
But then be sympathetic to staff and subcontractors.
Spread it all around a bit,
Thats the point.
Substance over form.
Trickle down in practice.

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By pauld
20th Apr 2020 21:35

Excellent - I shall retire for the day with a smile and a chuckle. You could always give it to Tom.

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By Dowland
21st Apr 2020 09:05

Thank you for all of the responses which are duly noted.

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By Tax Dragon
21st Apr 2020 09:28

It is certainly not an "abuse" to claim what you are entitled to, if that is your concern. Of course, as others have said, you can choose not to claim or you can claim and share/donate as you consider appropriate.

(And @Truthsayer, I have had clients that wanted to waive their state pension as they didn't need it. I doubt I am alone in that.)

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By bernard michael
21st Apr 2020 09:49

Save it for MDTP when pubs reopen he must be almost sober by now

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By bernard michael
21st Apr 2020 09:49

Save it for MDTP when pubs reopen he must be almost sober by now

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By legerman
21st Apr 2020 09:53

As a sole practitioner who rents a small office paying £120 a month and in receipt of SBRR, yes I was entitled to it and yes, I did make a claim, and notified those clients that were also entitled to it. Do I feel like I've abused the system, no definitely not. I was eligible and I claimed it.

Did I need it? Probably not, although I will take a bit of a hit client wise over the next few months. I've also partly returned my good fortune by doing a lot of unpaid work to help my clients who are in a much worse situation, as many other practitioners have.

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Replying to legerman:
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By Dowland
21st Apr 2020 16:39

Thank you for your reply. Your position seems to align with my own so your input is appreciated.

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Replying to Dowland:
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By thacca
22nd Apr 2020 09:42

Agreed. I have claimed the grant. Probably not needed at the moment. But I do not plan to charge for the the CJRS claims. I potentially have around 100 to submit.

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By bernard michael
22nd Apr 2020 10:05

I can't believe I'm reading that some accountants are suggesting turning down grants, which are being given to offset unknown present and future problems

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Replying to bernard michael:
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By carnmores
22nd Apr 2020 17:12

Spot on Bernard. I now work mainly from home but support others to claim as much as possible.

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By NewACA
28th Apr 2020 10:17

When your taxes get jacked up to pay for the COVID-19 hand outs, you'll wonder why you didn't take the £10k, just to help pay the extra £20k COVID-19 tax bill you end up with in a couple of years time.

Why do you think Gordon Brown reduced VAT to 15%? It was just so that no-one would complain in a couple of years time when he stuck it up to 20% permanently thereafter as a quid pro quo.

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By Problematic
17th Jun 2020 11:28

Not sure why we need the sarcastic comments but there are always some who seem to take great delight in posting them. It's enough to put folk off asking anything so I expect to regret this post!

Like Dowland I have considered a similar question and about the Self Employed Grant. I work from home therefore no LA grant available to me. I have not claimed the Self Employed Grant as it is arguable whether I "have been adversley affected". Although I am not suffering like many at the moment, I can still work, preparaing accounts to 31-3-2020 etc and I have been working, without charging to assist clients with claims so I have been busy. My fees will undountedly be reduced in months to come as it is inevitable some clients will give up. Perhaps the SE grant would balance this out, or I may acquire new clients, new ideas and new businesses to replace those who gave up. I am uncertain as to whether I should be claiming the SE grant. I can talk myself into making a claim but ....something holds me back!
HMRC compliance check in a couple of years shows I had a better year than the previous one would not look good! Unlikely but it could happen.
Anyone else in my situation?

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Replying to Problematic:
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By Paul Crowley
17th Jun 2020 12:54

Trouble is 'adversly affected' cannot be defined at point of making the claim, only later by tribunals with hindsight.

Definitely concur Your first 2 lines. See https://www.accountingweb.co.uk/any-answers/could-we-cultivate-a-kinder-...

Intersting to note which entries get thanked the most

That poll would indicate no, we do not want a kinder tone

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Replying to Problematic:
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By legerman
17th Jun 2020 13:02

Problematic wrote:

Like Dowland I have considered a similar question and about the Self Employed Grant. I work from home therefore no LA grant available to me. I have not claimed the Self Employed Grant as it is arguable whether I "have been adversley affected". Although I am not suffering like many at the moment, I can still work, preparaing accounts to 31-3-2020 etc and I have been working, without charging to assist clients with claims so I have been busy. My fees will undountedly be reduced in months to come as it is inevitable some clients will give up. Perhaps the SE grant would balance this out, or I may acquire new clients, new ideas and new businesses to replace those who gave up. I am uncertain as to whether I should be claiming the SE grant. I can talk myself into making a claim but ....something holds me back!
HMRC compliance check in a couple of years shows I had a better year than the previous one would not look good! Unlikely but it could happen.
Anyone else in my situation?

The main question is, *have* you been adversely affected? There are two periods, one presumably up to 13th July, one from 14th July. Only you can decide the answer, based on the now rather than the future. I think the main question you should be asking yourself is, if HMRC look into it, can I justifiably present my case. If you can, claim it (imo)

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Replying to legerman:
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By bernard michael
17th Jun 2020 13:19

My local authority didn't ask whether I had been adversely effected.
All they wanted to know were :-
Company name & address
Type of trade
Business bank details
Rates account number

It was the easiest £10000 I've ever "earned"

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Replying to bernard michael:
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By SXGuy
17th Jun 2020 13:38

Yes because you've confused the original question with the latest answer. Which was about the SEISS claim whereas the original question was about the SBRR cash grant.

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Replying to SXGuy:
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By bernard michael
17th Jun 2020 13:42

Ain't life difficult if you don't keep up

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Replying to bernard michael:
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By Dowland
17th Jun 2020 13:52

Having read the Draft Legislation relating to the CJRS and SEISS it appears that although the SBGF grant is classed as "coronavirus support payment" appears to be explicitly excluded when considering whether a grant has been incorrectly claimed, or at least that is my reading of it.
Is that others' interpretation?

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Replying to Problematic:
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By Dowland
17th Jun 2020 13:32

It is good to hear tha others have the same dilema as me.

The examples HMRC have provided re "adversely affected" :
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/how-different-circumstances-affect-the-self-...

seem to me to be quite black and white and do not cover the nuanced situations some taxpayers, like sole practitioner accountants or solicitors, will face. We may have been able to continue to work during the lockdown but will we be able to recover all of that time? We may not have lost any clients during that period but may lose then subsequently as a result of COVID-19.

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By tom123
17th Jun 2020 14:03

If you meet the guidance then of course you claim?

What about all this free CJRS stuff you must be doing.

Honestly, accountants in practice can be so squeemish about earning money

(only slightly tongue in cheek..)

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Replying to tom123:
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By carnmores
17th Jun 2020 15:51

only slightly tongue in cheek?
i subscribe to theory that we should be helping out clients in this extraordinary time, you may choose to profit from their misfortune, i wonder how they will see it when they found out many accountants did this for free

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Replying to carnmores:
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By Paul Crowley
18th Jun 2020 07:18

I think Tom said "free CJRS"

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Replying to Paul Crowley:
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By carnmores
18th Jun 2020 11:22

Exactly

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