As restrictions are lifted and we move closer to pre-pandemic trading conditions it may feel like the pandemic is behind us. But for many companies, the effects of the last 18 months are still being felt.
HMRC Time to Pay
HMRC is taking a more understanding approach to the payment of tax payments. During the pandemic, they offered to defer payments. This is no longer the case but they are offering taxpayers the opportunity to discuss payment difficulties and to make arrangements.
If you engage with HMRC and explain your circumstances they may be able to help you work out a plan. The most important thing is to engage actively with them when required to. Ignoring their requests will see the attitude of support and helpfulness they are providing quickly vanish.
You can call HMRC’s dedicated Coronavirus tax service ont 0800 024 1222. If you are upfront with them you will get the best outcome.
Business discounts and tax rate holidays for the 2021-2022 Tax Year
If your company operates in an industry that was particularly hard hit by the pandemic there are a number of discounts and tax rate easements available to you.
From April to July 2021 businesses within certain sectors can enjoy a 100% discount on their business rate. This drops to a still considerable 66% between July 2021 and March 2022. The kinds of businesses that qualify include:
- Hotels, Lodges, B&Bs, and Private for-hire accommodation
- In-person entertainment like Cinemas, Concert Halls and Theatres
- Leisure and Sports facilities like Gyms, Spas, and Tennis clubs
- Restaurant and Catering
If this applies to your business you should seek professional advice on how to use these breaks to navigate existing financial difficulties.
Recovery Loan Scheme
At the end of March 2021, all of the Government’s previous Coronavirus loan schemes came to an end. They were replaced by the Recovery Loan Scheme.
The scheme allows you as a business owner to apply for a loan up to the value of £10 million. This is dependent on your requirements and is dependent on approval, but the government is providing an 80% guarantee to lenders.
The British Bank Website has a list of approved lenders who you apply through.
If you aren’t accepted for one of these loans you still have options on this front. You can contact your local authority who have access to discretionary funds for businesses not qualifying for grants.
These are businesses who narrowly miss out on Recovery Loans like those who host events, those who did not benefit from the business rates cut, and those who supply groups impacted by the pandemic like hotel suppliers.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was put in place during the pandemic to help you avoid losing valuable employees while trading was disrupted. Furloughed employees are paid 80% of their wages up to £2,500. At present employers are required to contribute 20% of their wages to keep the scheme going.
This has been extended as an option for business owners until the end of September 2021. You also have the option of flexible furloughing which sees the employee do some of their normal hours but spend the rest of their regular work time furloughed.
The minimum amount of time an employee can be furloughed for is 7 days which needs to be considered. But careful navigation of this system could help your business better handle opening up and the return of normal trading.
Statutory Sick Pay Refunds
Employees who have taken sick leave either as a result of having Coronavirus or because they were observing the government’s mandatory self-isolation rules, can see their employers get a full refund for those 14 days they missed.
Companies with under 250 employees whose employees missed work after March 2020 can make this claim from the government as long as the employee in question was engaging in legally required shielding, isolating, or had Covid.
Full records of illness are required, and the refund can be claimed online. This may ease some of the financial burdens currently on your business.
If you believe that none of these options will be sufficient to see your business through this tough period contact us for expert advice. Our team of experienced insolvency practitioners can provide extensive support. Whether that is exploring every avenue to try to keep your business afloat, or ensuring the process of closing your business down in the best way for you.