As a bookkeeping practice we are used to working very closely with our clients, who often rely on us to keep them informed about topical news and updates regarding tax and accounts.   With the barrage of recent updates being issued from the government during the COVID-19 crisis we are having to respond quickly to support our clients and keep them up to date.

This week our focus has been on claiming furlough grants.  The HMRC portal became live on Monday allowing us to submit furlough claims on behalf of our clients. Our payroll team have been working tirelessly behind the scenes over the past month ensuring we are up to speed with the daily edicts issued by government about the furlough scheme. Smoke has been flying from tapping fingers on calculators late into the evening as our team work out complex furlough calculations. We have been amazed at the variety of scenarios presented to us by our clients and we have been inundated with questions such as:

  • Is holiday accrued when an employee is on furlough?
  • Are bank holidays taken during the furlough period paid at 80%?
  • Can commissions and bonuses be included in the gross furlough calculation?
  • How do we calculate a furlough claim for zero hours workers?
  • Can directors be furloughed?

We are pleased to report that for once HMRC appeared to have got their act together and provided us with a portal that worked well and without too many glitches. That, along with the diligent preparations made by our team, lead to trouble-free uploading of data to the portal.  We now all wait on tenterhooks to see if the grants are paid out within the 6 days promised by HMRC.

On Friday we aired another of our live Zoom presentations. These are proving to be a popular way of communicating with our clients and business colleagues.  There is always plenty of lively discussion and, amongst other things, we looked at the self-employment Income Support Scheme.  Although applications for the self-employment grant will not be available until mid-May, there are still preparations that can be made.  The scheme will allow self-employed individuals and members of a partnership to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of their trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 a month. We will be discussing this in more depth in future blogs.

We‘ve been shouting from the rooftops about the grants available to small business for some time now, but there are still some business owners who are unaware they can make a claim for either £10,000 or £25,000. Wealden District Council is reporting that many businesses it believes could be eligible for the grant still haven’t applied yet.  I can’t shout this loudly enough, there is available for businesses in the following sectors:

Cash grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses

  • The Retail and Hospitality Grant Scheme provides businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a cash grant of up to £25,000 per property.
  • Businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of £15,000 and under will receive a grant of £10,000.
  • Businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of between £15,000 and £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000.

Cash Grants for businesses that pay little or no business rates

  • The government will provide additional Small Business Grant Scheme funding for local authorities to support small businesses that already pay little or no business rates because of small business rate relief (SBBR), rural rate relief (RRR) and tapered relief.
  • This will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to eligible businesses to help meet their ongoing business costs.

Please, if you haven’t done so yet log on to your local authority website and complete the application form. It’s quick and easy and may result in a cash pay out that could help your business survive this crisis.

As always, we are here to help and are pleased to invite local businesses to join us for our weekly Zoom discussions and updates. If this is of interest to you please forward your contact details to claire@team4bookkeeping.co.uk.