These daily updates from the BID Team focus on the key questions businesses are asking us, and provide updates on the issues affecting all businesses. I’m writing a separate update about the support for the self-employed but wanted to get the news about the new government website to you first, as it’s a great source of information. I know the news that Chichester District Council have gone live with their grant application system will have been – I’m going to say “frustrating” (as everything else will get blocked by spam filters). Any observations I make now will either sound annoying or patronising, so I’m not going to say anything except that I’ll let you know as soon as ADC is ready to go with their system. And then go and swear in my kitchen. New Government Business Support Website I’m really happy to keep sending out the daily updates, and hope you’re finding them useful. However, with so much new and tweaked information coming out every day, there’s a danger I’ll miss something that’s relevant to all of you, or sector-specific advice that’s hidden in the mounds of text. The good news is that the government has now set up a dedicated website to access information about the support available to businesses. It’s really clear, and separates information on the different schemes out, rather than being in one big document that you have to trawl through, trying to spot changes. You can link to the site from here, and I really recommend you take a look: https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/ Business & Financial Forecasting Resource Now Available For anyone who hasn’t already got one, I’ve created a spreadsheet to help you forecast your financial situation for the next few months – this is now available to download from the BID’s Resources page You’ll also find some guidance notes to refer to. It’s not perfect, and I’m bound to have missed some payments that are relevant to your particular circumstances, but I hope it’s a helpful tool to enable you to get a clear picture of your finances over the next few months. Business Rates “holiday” extended to Estate agents, lettings agencies and bingo halls for 2020-21 financial year. This hasn’t made it to all of the government online publications yet, but this information is sourced from The Treasury which must make it true. “Estate agents, lettings agencies and bingo halls that have closed as a result of Covid-19 measures to restrict the spread of the virus will be now be exempted from business rates in 2020-21.” If your business is eligible for this extended business rates “holiday”, my thinking is that, if the same system is applied as for Leisure, Hospitality and Retail sectors, then ADC Business Rates will identify eligible businesses and you will be re-billed, with a zero balance. However, I have asked ADC for confirmation, and I will let you know as soon as I hear any specific information about these sectors' business rates. SUPPORT WITH TAX ISSUES In case you’re not aware, the government is now offering “Support for businesses through deferring VAT and Income Tax payments”.
Valued Added Tax (VAT) payments have been deferred for 3 months.
If you’re self-employed, Income Tax payments due in July 2020 under the Self-Assessment system may be deferred until January 2021.
Deferring VAT payments For VAT, the deferral will apply from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020. My understanding is that you still have to submit the return, but you won’t have to make the payment at this time. Who is all eligible? All UK businesses are eligible. How to access the scheme This is an automatic offer, and you do not need to do anything – it will be applied automatically. Businesses will not need to make a VAT payment during this period. Taxpayers will be given until the end of the 2020 to 2021 tax year to pay any liabilities that have accumulated during the deferral period. VAT refunds and reclaims will be paid by the government as normal. IMPORTANT: If you normally pay your VAT bill by direct debit, you should cancel your direct debit with your bank if you are unable to pay. Please make sure you do this as soon as possible before the direct debit is set to leave your account so that HMRC do not attempt to automatically collect on receipt of your VAT return. Deferring Income Tax payments: Self Employed For Income Tax Self-Assessment, payments due on the 31 July 2020 may be deferred until 31 January 2021. Eligibility If you are self-employed, you are eligible. How to access the scheme You don’t need to do anything - this is an automatic offer with no applications required. No penalties or interest for late payment will be charged if you defer payment until January 2021. HMRC: Time to Pay HMRC have also scaled up their Time to Pay offer to all firms and individuals who are in temporary financial distress as a result of COVID-19 and have outstanding tax liabilities. If you are having difficulties and know you’re not going to be able to pay a tax bill, and it’s still going to be a problem with the VAT and Income Tax support detailed above, you should call the HMRC dedicated helpline: 0800 0159 559. Have ADC got up to date contact information for you? Make sure ADC Business Rates have the most up to date, quickest means of contacting you by registering for the online service. If you can’t register for an online account, please be aware that ADC is receiving a huge number of calls every day, and you will need to be patient if your only option is to telephone them. We’ve written detailed instructions to help you – click this link for details and I would be more than happy to talk you through the steps if you get stuck. My number is 07917 692690. Try to be patient if the system seems slow – it could be that lots of businesses are trying to register at the same time. How can I access the Government Loan? This is now available to businesses through their banks. You’ll find a full list of providers here: https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme-cbils/accredited-lenders/ If you have carefully considered the implications, and want to apply for a loan, the recommendation is to contact your bank through their online services to see how they can help you. There is one really important thing to point out. On the British Bank's website, it says that "If the lender can offer finance on normal commercial terms without the need to make use of the scheme, they will do so." That suggests that the six months interest free government backed loan will not be the first option you are presented with by your lender. Please check all terms really, really carefully in light of your business’s circumstances. We’ll continue to update our website with information that affects your business, and alert you to anything new through our social media platforms. If you haven’t already, please start following us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bognorregisBID/ Even though Clair and I are working from home, you can still contact us by email: email@example.com, by phone: 07917 692690 or through Zoom meeting software. The software is free to download and works across a wide range of platforms – phones, tablets, PC’s, Macs. If you’d like a virtual face to face, please invite: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kindest regards, Heather
Heather Allen, BR BID Co-Ordinator