I hope you are all keeping safe and well.

We are all awaiting a Government update on the view of the position regarding lock down, although I am sure the vast majority of you are the same as me in thinking we wont see the current position change significantly for at least a few weeks to come.

Things are starting to move on in relation to the Governments support measures, although further details are still to be provided in certain areas. An update on what we are seeing and aware of with the core support measures is as follows:

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)
We are seeing a strong shift now to helping clients with the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme assessments, preparing forecasts and cashflows, and advising on the best options for the clients. Banks are, I believe, now in a position where there internal policy is clearer on processes to deal with cases, enabling more to be pushed on.

One point to make in this area is that it is of key importance that forecasts and cashflows are assessed and prepared looking forward over a period of time rather than just over the next few months. Looking at “what if” scenarios and sensitivities are important given trading uncertainties particularly to do with the potential length of time the effects of the Pandemic will affect trading for.

Please get in touch for assistance in this area.

Job Retention Scheme (JRS)
We have had further details provided that identifies HMRC’s expectation that the JRS portal to submit claims should be operational from 20th April. This information also identifies that “file only” payroll agents won’t be able to file on a businesses behalf, but agents that are authorised for PAYE matters with HMRC will be able to claim on behalf of clients.

We will be working closely with our clients to discuss plans for the submission of claims and ensuring we help get the data ready and claims figures calculated to enable the submissions. Forward planning is key, and HMRC have already understandably identified that they are well aware they will be inundated with claims, and so have urged accountants to work with their clients to ensure the process is as smooth as possible, and to recognise that it will take some time to process claims and deal with any queries.

Don’t forget that not only is there the calculation of the amount of wage cost furloughed, but also the employers National Insurance and Auto Enrolment pension contributions to include in the claim. Businesses therefore need to be careful they are not missing out on amounts they can claim in their calculations.

Business Support Grant Funds
We are now seeing clients receiving pay-outs on these grants across all Local Authorities, which is good news. Local Authorities are, however, making it clear that they are still working through pay-outs, and so they ask businesses to be patient whilst they get through this process.

Self Employed Income Support
No further details have been provided on this scheme over and above those identified to you in previous Business Updates. The next stage with this support scheme is for HMRC to contact eligible individuals and invite them to register online when they have that system up and running. Details to be submitted on the initial registration have not yet been detailed. As previously reported, the expectation still remains that claims under this support would be being paid out some time in June.

HMRC Time To Pay Arrangements
This provision covers tax liabilities which are not within the automatic ability to defer VAT and also self-assessment July 2020 payments. We continue to help clients in dealing with HMRC in requesting time to pay arrangements for existing tax liabilities where cashflow does not allow the business to currently pay the liability. As we would expect, HMRC are being lenient with these requests currently. Please contact us to discuss your position with tax liabilities and the potential approach with HMRC.

If you do have any queries on any of these areas or need further support with any of them, please do get in touch. Further details will be sent out to you as and when we have it.

Andrew Baggott
Managing Partner