MTS Accountants, Belfast

NEWS & RESOURCES

Coronavirus/Covid19 Update 24/03/2020

Our Business Operations

With effect from today our offices will not be manned.  All staff are working from home.  We are still able to receive and respond to emails and telephone contact details are available from our answering service.

If you need to see us please phone or email in advance so that we can arrange a date and time.  Please also contact us in advance if you need to leave in books or records for preparing VAT returns or preparing accounts and tax returns.  We want to keep your affairs as up to date as possible in these uncertain times.

Latest Information

We will attempt to keep you up to date on the latest developments as they affect you and your businesses and have included below the latest packages announced by the Government.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

  • All businesses are eligible.
  • Initially open for 3 months but may extended.
  • Can be backdated until 1 March.
  • Employers will have to designate employees as furloughed and letters should be issued advising them of this.  To be eligible for the subsidy, when on furlough, an employee can not undertake work for or on behalf of the organisation.
  • Submit information to HMRC about the furloughed employees and their earnings through a new online portal (which is not currently active).
  • HMRC will then reimburse 80% of wages up to a maximum of £2,500pm, plus the associated NI contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions.  Commissions and bonuses are not included.  The employer can choose to fund the difference but does not have to.
  • Mechanisms for reimbursement are not in place yet and currently it is expected that the first repayments under the scheme will not be made until the end of April so there could still be cash flow issues in the short term.
  • Employees must have been on PAYE Payroll on 28 February 2020 and can be on any type of contract including full time employees, part time employees and employees on flexible or zero-hour contracts.
  • Minimum furlough period is 3 weeks and only one claim can be submitted at least every 3 weeks.
  • If you would like to discuss furloughing employees please contact us or for further information please visit the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme guidance at gov.uk.

VAT Deferral

  • All businesses are eligible.
  • No application necessary.
  • No VAT to be paid until after 30 June.
  • VAT returns must still be filed by the normal filing date and Direct Debit must be cancelled.  This can be done through your HMRC online portal or by contacting your bank.  It is important to remember to reinstate Direct Debits for future VAT payments.
  • Deferred liability to be paid by end of 20/21 tax year.
  • For further information please visit the VAT Deferral guidance at gov.uk.

Deferral of Payments on Account – Personal Tax

  • The payment on account that would have been due for payment on 31 July 2020 has been deferred until January 2021.
  • Automatic – no application necessary.
  • No penalties or interest for late payments will accrue.

SSP Support

  • Applies to businesses with less than 250 employees.
  • Government will refund 2 weeks SSP for employees off sick due to Coronavirus.
  • Employees do not need to provide medical evidence to be included in the scheme.
  • Mechanisms for repayments is not yet in place.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan

  • Open to businesses with turnover of less than £45m.
  • First 12 months of finance is interest free.
  • Further details on the scheme and of lenders can be found on the British Business Bank website.

NI Business Grants

  • 2 grants are available.
  • £10,000 grant to all businesses who are eligible for Small Business Rate Relief.
  • £25,000 grant to businesses in hospitality, tourism and retail with a rateable value of £15,000 – £51,000.
  • Registration for the Small Business Grant Scheme is now open and can be made via the Department of Economy website.

Rates Holiday for Businesses

  • 3 months rates holiday for all business rate payers.
  • No rates charged for April, May and June 2020 – this automatically reduces the annual rates bill for business rates payers by 25%.  This amount does not need to be paid back.

Further information and updates on the above measures can be found at Gov.uk

Universal Credit

  • Self-employed can access UC at a rate of SSP if they have to stop work due to Coronavirus.
  • Guidance on applying for Universal Credit can be found at NI Direct.

We will continue to update this information as and when more details are released.