Key Coronavirus Updates That All Accountants Should Know

10th Jul 2020
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Staying on top of government updates is vital

Almost four months have passed since the UK coronavirus lockdown was introduced on the 23rd March, and life has changed dramatically. With businesses up and down the country suddenly forced to close, a raft of emergency measures were put in place by the government to keep the economy afloat while the crisis was playing out.

No doubt as a busy accountancy firm you’ll have spent a large amount of time over the last few months fielding panicky calls from clients. You’ll also have a firm grasp on the various schemes designed to help businesses who may be struggling, and been a lifeline for those with a variety of issues.

However, the whole coronavirus pandemic has brought massive uncertainty, and everything from the economy to travel to health guidance seems to change pretty much daily. With this in mind, we thought we’d do a quick run-down of updates to the main schemes on offer and signpost you off to further information for reference.

Update on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Businesses can now submit claims that include days in July. The cut off for submitting claims for periods ending on or before the 30th June is the 31st July.

It’s also worth being aware that this scheme will end on the 31st October 2020 and no new applications can be made.

Since the 1st July, employers have been able to bring furloughed employees back to work for as many hours/shifts as required, whilst still receiving CJRS grant for the hours they’re furloughed.

From the 1st August 2020, the amount of grant a business can receive will reduce every month. To remain eligible for the CJRS, employers must pay furloughed employees 80% of their wages (capped at £2,500 per month) although some of this will need to be paid by the business.

More can be found about the on the CJRS page of the Gov website.

Update on the second round of grants claimable through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

The SEISS scheme was extended at the end of May. Eligible claimants can apply to receive a second and final grant of 70% of their average monthly trading profits, with payments being made in August. This will be a single instalment to cover three months’ of profits, and the cap is £6,570 in total.

For those who haven’t yet claimed the first grant, the deadline to do so is the 13th July.

The eligibility criteria hasn’t changed since the first of the SEISS grants was launched, and claimants do not need to have claimed the first grant in order to claim the second. To find more details around eligibility, see the SEISS page of the Gov website.

Here are the other key schemes that are still on offer to businesses during the COVID-19 outbreak:

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)

This scheme (administered via the British Business Bank) supports SMEs in accessing emergency loans during the coronavirus crisis. Claims are made using a group of approved lenders, and in turn the government gives 80% backing to the loans to increase lender confidence.

Loans on offer can be worth up to £5 million, with the government covering the first year of interest payments.

More information about the CBILS can be found here.

Bounce Back Loans

If one of your clients has a small business that has been negatively affected by the COVID-19 outbreak they can apply for a 100% state-backed loan worth up to £50,000. Known as a Bounce Back Loan, there will be no repayments due for the first 12 months and no interest accrued either.

Find out more about the Bounce Back Scheme.

Business Rates holiday

Businesses operating in the hospitality, leisure or retail sectors in England and Scotland now don’t need to pay business rates for the 2020/2021 tax year.

No rateable value threshold will apply on this relief, meaning businesses of all sizes can benefit.

Think this may apply to one or more of your clients? Find out more here.

Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF)

Under the SBGF all qualifying businesses in England that receive either Rural Rates Relief (RRR) or Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR) can apply for a single grant payment of £10,000.

Eligible recipients will receive one grant per property. You can see more details about the SBGF here.

Don’t forget!

The schemes we’ve looked at here are some of the key ones. However, we strongly recommend checking the Coronavirus Business Support section of the Gov website regularly for a full list and any additional updates.

R&D Tax Credits

This one actually isn’t coronavirus-related; it’s been around since the early 2000s and is permanent. However, far too many companies and accountants alike unfortunately still haven’t heard of it. This is a massive shame, as with average SME claims sitting at around £45,000 many are seriously missing out.

In a nutshell, if a UK company has undergone any scientific or technological research projects in the last two years then they can claim back some of the costs through R&D Tax Credits. The scheme is open to any company in any sector, and a huge range of costs can be covered. It’s incredibly generous too, with up to 33 pence in every £1 of R&D expenditure claimable.

The relief is offered either as a reduced Corporation Tax or as a cash lump sum, and it doesn’t matter whether the company made a profit or a loss.

So, if any of your clients have recently developed a brand new product, process or service - or upgraded an existing one - then please do take a look at our R&D Tax Credits page for more information. Also, at this point you may wish to read our recent blog written specifically for accountants: 5 Excellent Reasons To Work With An R&D Tax Relief Consultancy.

Get in touch

The team at Myriad Associates is focussed entirely on R&D Tax Credits, R&D Grants, Video Games Tax Relief and R&D Capital Allowances. We will work with you throughout the pandemic and beyond to advise your clients around all aspects of R&D tax accurately and efficiently, so you can get on with everything else.

Put your clients’ minds at rest during this challenging period and see if they can get started on an R&D Tax Credits claim today. Contact the R&D experts on 0207 118 6045 or use our contact page to discover what collaborating with us means both for your firm and your clients