We will keep you updated about support for UK businesses during the recent Coronavirus outbreak. We want to ensure you get a balanced view of developments, safeguard your business and maintain a "business as usual" outlook.
Use our calculator to find out which Government Business support programmes your business could be eligible for
Limited Company (Director)
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
Self Employment Income Protection Scheme
3 Month Mortgage Holiday
Statutory Sick Pay
Business Rates Holiday
Retail Cash Grant - £25k
Small Business Cash Grant - £10k
HMRC Time to Pay Service
Income Tax Deferral
Commercial Eviction Protection
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans
Day to day support
Amazon voucher if with us for > 12 months
The UK Government has announced a range of measures and grants to ensure there is minimal disruption to small businesses during this time.
Several UK banks have also stepped in to provide working capital support and reduced fee borrowing to ensure that SME's have access to capital.
The HMRC Time to Pay System can help businesses facing short-term cash flow issues. Companies that need to access this system can find government advice here. A dedicated helpline has also been launched so businesses in financial distress with outstanding tax liabilities can get help fast on 0800 015 9559.
The government has also announced a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, to allow small businesses to apply for a loan of up to £5 million, with the government covering up to 80% of any losses with no fees.
The Government has announced the £330 billion will be made available and if more is needed then it will be provided. These loans will be interest free for 6 months.
The government has also announced a £10,000 cash grant for the country’s 700,000 smallest businesses which it increased from an initial £3,000.
The government has also announced it will temporarily increase the Business Rates retail discount in England to 100% for 2020-21 for properties below £51,000 rateable value. Businesses in the hospitality and leisure industry will also be eligible for up to a £25,000 grant.
Some banks have begun to make dedicated funds available for firms experiencing coronavirus-related hardship. For example, NatWest bank have announced £5bn of Working Capital Support for business that will see disruption. Lloyds Banking Group has announced £2bn of arrangement fee free finance available to support small businesses and Barclays have highlighted their 12-month capital repayment holidays and its £14bn SME lending fund. You can find more at CBI
Refunds will be given for businesses and employers that are required to access Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)s.
The Government has announced that individuals experiencing difficulty with making mortgage repayments will have a 3 month mortgage repayment holiday to provide breathing space.
You can contact the Government Business Support Helpline using the numbers below:
Everyday we'll provide you with a brief update of how things are developing with the current coronavirus outbreak and how this may impact you as a contractor, small business or self employed individual.
You can check here for the latest COVID-19 statistics on cases
Whilst there's clear winners like Ocado and Zoom with the current Covid-19 outbreak, others are seeing a range of volatility. Apart from Bear Grylls.
Generally there a range of provisions within contracts between you and your customers or suppliers depending on the industry and type of work.
We'd advise that you review these contracts to check if any of the provisions or clauses below have been covered.
The government will be making a range of provisions to ensure that small businesses and self employed individuals have sufficient cover in the extent of any serious economic disruption.
You may already have cover though depending on the type of insurance you may have taken out.
A typical business insurance policy is designed to cover standard risks in and around the workplace. Given the events of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is unlikely that a standard business insurance policy will cover these events. However, given the impacts on small businesses the government is making funding and grants available to businesses impacted by Covid-19.
A small number of businesses could have cover in place that may have clauses for business interruption that includes notifiable diseases, however this type of extension is unlikely to be included in a standard policy. Typical commercial insurance policies will provide cover for a variety of risks like theft or losses from fire or floods and may have temporary provisions following these types of events.
In some cases, there could be provisions within your insurance around your workplace if these premises have been contaminated and you are no longer able to work there, but this is not very common.
If you have purchased business interruption insurance then this generally covers you for loss of income during periods when you cannot carry out your usual business due to an unexpected event. This type of insurance aims to compensate you for any shortfalls in profits/ increased costs of running your business if such an event happens.
Business interruption insurance will cover you for damage caused by a named peril (i.e. fire, flood, storm or general breakdown of equipment). Some policies may include cover if employees are unable to access the business (i.e. the building being cordoned off due to terrorism, fire or structural integrity of the building). This is known as 'restricted access' cover or 'non-damage business interruption'. This is typically an add on to a policy.
As a contractor, freelancer or self employed individual it is unlikely that you will have purchases this type of insurance but you should check if this was included/ bundled into your insurance.
The Association of British Insurers say the following:
"Insurance for business interruption resulting from Covid-19 is likely to be rare. Businesses who are concerned about the impacts of Covid-19 should check the scope of their cover, and check with their insurance adviser or broker. Standard business insurance policies are designed and priced to cover standard risks and are therefore unlikely to provide cover for the effects of global pandemics like Covid-19."
Private medical insurance will not cover you for testing of Covid-19.
Private medical insurance providers are unclear about the coverage for patients currently but you can find information for a few insurers below:
It really is important to stay on top of your accounting processes, reporting and deadlines as it will give you the visibility you need to steer your business through this challenging time.
If this situation prevents you from filing accounts and/or returns to Companies House or HMRC on time, it's best to notify the relevant people as early as possible.
We'll advise on what you can do to stay on track and keep ahead.
Keep track of all your receipts and business expenses during the next few months. We are unsure if there will be changes to allowable expenses, but you should keep a record of all additional business expenses incurred due to the pandemic. Forma will help you account for these and claim tax relief when the government provides further guidance.
There are a several ways you can improve cashflow within your business, but naturally, you should also be cautious of completely pulling back on all of your payments.
Financial circumstances will differ significantly from person to person, but it might be wise to pull back on discretionary spend for a while. Whether it's a decision to skip your morning Venti Soy Quadruple Shot Latte with No Foam or pass on that luxury lunch baguette, try to feel good about making a positive and responsible decision, rather than feeling like you've denied yourself something you normally have. This situation won't last forever.
It's likely that you will be working at home for a while and this alone has the potential to reduce expenditure if you're not paying for travel and subsistence. However, you should look at your monthly subscriptions and weigh-up what's essential and what's not.
Most importantly though, as mentioned above, if you're self employed you should speak to your customers regularly to help ensure you are paid you in full and on time.
Even in tough times, it's highly advisable to set aside tax liabilities as they accrue - tax debt can be a slippery slope and often hard to recover from. Make sure your accountant is on top of your tax calculations so you know exactly how much money you should have in reserve to cover tax bills.
We're fast approaching the end of the current 2019/2020 tax year, so our advice is to ask your accountant to prepare and file your self assessment return as quickly as possible. Amounts won't be due until the end of January 2021, but the sooner you know with 100% confidence how much this will be, the better.
You should still ensure that you file your company accounts on time. If leniency around corporation tax payments is required, HMRC will be more likely to help if you have conformed with preparation and filing deadlines.
We recommend meeting filing deadlines wherever you can, but if unprecedented circumstances prevent you from doing so, here are two links you can follow for guidance:
Several countries are now opting to close their borders and transport operators are now operating at up to an 80% reduction in their service and will be limiting the number of passengers on services.
If you have any current trips planned then these are likely to be disrupted until at least 31st March but this is likely to continue on longer.
The FCO are continuously publishing travel changes as the situation develops. You can find the FCO travel advice here.
Most trade fairs and conferences have been postponed or cancelled in the near future. The organisers of the events will provide their own updates on refunds. We would strongly advise against travelling to other countries given current Government advice, different quarantine measures in place and significant disruptions to travel services. You will also likely invalidate any travel insurance by going against Government advice.
The London underground will now start operating at a reduced "Saturday and Sunday" service. This is largely aimed to help medical workers get to work.
Given that all workers are being asked to work from home, you may no longer need your TFL/ London Underground season pass. You can claim a refund (there is also a £5 admin fee) if any of the following are true:
You are able to request refunds on rail tickets depending on how long is left on them, who you bought them from. This is subject to an administration charge of up to £10 and you can find the season ticket terms and conditions here.
Refunds are based on whether you went against Government advice at the time. If you travelled to a country that the government had advised against then this would've voided your insurance policy. Read our coronavirus business travel advice here.
In response to the coronavirus pandemic, on Tuesday 17th March 2020 Chief Treasury Secretary Steve Barclay announced that the IR35 tax reforms would be pushed back by one year, less than a week after the controversial measures were confirmed in the Budget.
The government has announced a last-minute postponement to the implementation of the Off-Payroll Tax to the private sector in light of the recent Covid-19 outbreak, with the legislation now due to be reintroduced in April 2021.
The decision was taken following significant pressure from contractors and campaigners who warned that the inevitable loss of work due to the virus for contractors deemed ‘inside IR35’ and effectively forced into ‘zero rights employment’ would prove catastrophic.
“This is a deferral in response to the ongoing spread of Covid-19 to help businesses and individuals,” announced Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Steve Barclay MP.
“This is a deferral and not a cancellation, and the Government remains committed to reintroducing this policy to ensure people working like employees but through their own limited company pay broadly the same amount of tax as those employed directly.”
Forma is here to help guide and support you through this dramatic change to IR35 private sector implementation. Please get in touch with us to arrange a free consultation call to discuss your limited company accounting and tax planning options.
There are a range of great online tools to ensure you maintain productivity, client collaboration and general business planning from home.
We'll provide our recommendations below and ways to continue to advertise and promote your services.
Now could be a great opportuity to either add functionality to your current website to sell your products/ services online or you may want to launch a website with this functionality.
If you don't know how to code and want to be able to take payments online quickly, then we highly recommend the SOS guide to selling online. This highly accessible guide will walk you through the steps of building a Shopify store and different activities you could offer online.
Read more here.
Covers a variety of business topics around product innovation, technology, services and ideas. From interstellar colonization and bioengineering to tales of true and fascinating financial crime there are a load of interesting topics but some of our favourite videos include: Why all fast food chains look the same today, the marketing backstab that shook big beer, the fake heiress that scammed New York's elite and why Krispy Kreme failed in Australia.
Business casual examines the rise (and sometimes the fall) of large companies and larger than life entrepreneurs and business tycoon's. Their updates are sporadic but well worth a watch everytime they bring something new out.
You've probably seen John Oliver pop up all over the internet as a quick 30 second video on Facebook but his show goes to great lengths to uncover corporate wrongdoing in hilarious ways.
Polymatter analyze a range of large businesses out there and disects their strategy, business model or general rise to the brand they are today. We've enjoyed their videos on How Ikea became Sweden's national brand, how Singapore sanitized gambling and Huawei - the big picture.
Vox provide explainers on a range of topics designed to teach viewers about different cultures, controversial topics and general science questions. There are some interesting videos on how robot writers could change the internet, how ads follow you around on the internet and how India runs the world's largest election.
We wanted to reiterate what you need to know and do if you believe you may have coronavirus.
Stay at home if you have either:
Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.
You do not need to contact 111 to tell them you're staying at home.
Testing for coronavirus is not needed if you're staying at home
Antibiotics do not help as they do not work against viruses.
There have been reports that you should avoid ibuprofen and instead take paracetamol to help combat the infection. It is believed anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen and neurofen could be a factor in aggravating the infection.
We get it, everyone is saying the same thing. The ways to safeguard the health of you and those around you are simple though:
You can find more information and frequent updates from the list of contacts below which we will continue to update as things progress.
We will aim to keep you updated around everything happening with coronavirus in the UK and around the world that could impact your business.
Whether it's how to start your business, getting accounting support, switching accountant or setting up a Virtual Office, we're here to help.