SEISS (Self-Employment Income Support Scheme)

This week HMRC have started contacting self-employed customers who HMRC think could be eligible for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), based on the information provided in their 2018 to 2019 tax return. They are inviting customers to use their online checker which will quickly confirm whether they are eligible and will give customers a specific date from which they can make a claim.

How we can help you
1) Ensuring you are aware you may be eligible
2) Helping you to find the details you need using the online eligibility checker on your behalf (or supporting you to use it yourselves)
3) Talking you through why you may or may not be eligible.

As an agent we won’t be able to make a claim on behalf of our clients.
Designing a scheme that enabled agents to apply on behalf of clients would have taken substantially longer to deliver, at a time when speed is the priority. Instead, HMRC have designed the scheme to be as simple as possible for customers to use, and they will calculate the amount a customer is entitled to based on the information they already hold.

How to use the checker
To use the online checker, you or us as your Accountant, on your behalf, will need the Individual’s Unique Taxpayer Reference Number and National Insurance Number. If you are eligible, you will be given a date, between 13 and 18‌‌ May, from which you can apply. This date is assigned randomly to help HMRC manage demand on the service, making sure that everyone who needs to make a claim can do so. You will also be asked to provide your Government Gateway credentials (user ID and password) and check that your bank and contact details are up to date. This is important so that HMRC can remind you by email or text message when it’s your turn to make a claim. If you don’t have Government Gateway credentials, you can set those up simply if you follow HMRC’s guidance and use the SEISS eligibility checker.

There will be no requirement for customers to wait for pins or codes through the post.

Please use the SEISS eligibility checker and get your Government Gateway credentials now if you don’t already have them. This will make applying for the grant quicker and easier when it is your time to apply.

The application process
When the application process goes live on 13‌‌ May, we can continue to support our clients although we cannot complete the claim on your behalf. The application process will show how HMRC has calculated the grant you may be due to receive. You will be able to share this calculation with us. If you, or us, wish to seek a review of this calculation, we can do so on behalf of you as our client. It’s important to note that, according to HMRC, the checker has an extremely high accuracy rate as they use the data you or us has previously provided HMRC with. If you, or us still wish to request a review, HMRC will look at your case from 18‌‌ May and they will explain your eligibility by the end of May.
 
Further information
HMRC’s phone lines will be very busy over the next couple of weeks.

A word about scams
HMRC are aware of an increase in scam emails, calls and texts. Eligible customers will be invited to claim through GOV‌.UK – it is the only service they can use. If someone gets in touch with your claiming to be from HMRC, saying that financial help can be claimed or that a tax refund is owed, and asks you to click on a link or to give information such as your name, credit card or bank details, you should not respond. It is a scam. Suspicious emails claiming to be from HMRC should be reported to them by sending them to phishing@hmrc.gov.uk. Texts should be sent to 60599.

Positive Cash Flows during COVID 19

Ways for businesses to keep a positive Cash Flow During COVID-19

One of the most important ways to keep your business healthy is to ensure positive cash flow. Under normal circumstances, this is not a problem, but due to the Corona crisis, it has become harder for businesses to maintain positive cash flow. For this reason, we have listed 6 ways to make sure there’s more cash coming in than going out.

Before we go down the list, we advise you to take a good look at, or make, your business’ general overview of cash outflow and overheads. On that basis, you can determine if you really need those costs or if you need to negotiate on, for instance, better utility, (cell)phone or internet deals, or better deals with suppliers. Only by taking a good look at your business expenses, you can determine where there are opportunities to improve cash flow.

1. Avoid big discounts

When sales go down, it’s easy to try and ‘solve’ the problem by offering big discounts and hope that sales go up. However, a generous discount doesn’t guarantee that sales will go up – certainly not in a crisis. What it does guarantee, is that profit will go down, which in turn will affect your cash flow negatively. On the other hand: what you could do to positively affect cash flow, is offer a small discount to clients willing to pay immediately instead, or to clients that are thinking of buying a bigger amount of your product or service.

2. Stay on top of receivables

How many outstanding accounts does your company or organisation have? And what is their total value? Chances are that it’s quite a large amount, which is bad for cash flow since it represents money that’s unavailable to you. So, to maintain positive cash flow, you should always manage your receivables closely and put some extra effort into keeping the amount of overdue money as small as possible. Especially during a crisis, every penny is worth the effort.

Especially during a crisis, every penny is worth the effort

3. Use technology to track cash flow

Staying on top of and keeping track of your business’ cash flow is key in maintaining positive cash flow. There are several ways to do this, but we advise you to use accounting software that’s specifically designed to track cash flow. In most cases, this kind of technology also offers real-time insights that’ll help you with budgeting and managing cash flow, as well as keeping an accurate account of what is coming in and going out, expected and projected cash flow, et cetera. In short: investing in the right software allows you to maintain positive cash flow.

4. Get customers to pay faster

Staying on top of and keeping track of your business’ cash flow is key in maintaining positive cash flow. There are several ways to do this, but we advise you to use accounting software that’s specifically designed to track cash flow. In most cases, this kind of technology also offers real-time insights that’ll help you with budgeting and managing cash flow, as well as keeping an accurate account of what is coming in and going out, expected and projected cash flow, et cetera. In short: investing in the right software allows you to maintain positive cash flow.

The goal is to make your monthly cash flow as smooth as possible

5. Negotiate terms with vendors and suppliers

Most businesses focus on keeping accounts receivable as low as possible, but what about maximising the potential of your accounts payable? Especially when you’re not the only business facing a crisis, it can be good to negotiate more advantageous terms or pricing with your vendors and suppliers to improve cash flow. There are several things you can do, like negotiate invoice terms, spread out accounts payable by matching payments to deliverables, or create appropriate terms that sync up with accounts receivable. The goal is to make your monthly cash flow as smooth as possible.

6. Invoice financing

If staying on top of receivables (tip 2) doesn’t pay out, you could consider financing invoices. In that case, a financial services provider pays you the amount per outstanding invoice in advance, so you don’t have to wait on the debtor’s payment. Of course, there are fees to consider, but nevertheless, staying away from cash flow problems and sleepless nights should be worth something.

In the UK almost half of all invoices are paid late, causing businesses cash flow problems

Government support to maintain positive cash flow
Due to coronavirus, the UK government has decided to help businesses manage their cash flow by offering the option to defer all VAT payments (without charging interest or penalties) due between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020.

Direct Debits
If you choose to defer your VAT payment as a result of coronavirus, you should cancel your Direct Debit through your bank as soon as possible so that HMRC will not automatically collect any VAT due. You can cancel online if you’re registered for online banking.

More info

Note: Because of the Coronacrisis, financial support from the government is available to businesses. Do keep in mind that this isn’t always a gift, so you should put aside money to be able to refund it in the future.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

During this time, the government have brought in many ways to access help and support with small businesses.  One is the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

HMRC are hosting a webinar later this week.  Please click below to access the registration details.

https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/UKHMRCED/bulletins/2858066

Please do contact us if you have used this facility with your staff and we complete your payroll for you.

info@bennewith.co.uk

Chancellor unveils new measures to SME loan scheme

The government’s Covid Business Interruption Loan, a funding package, was originally created for firms who were unable to secure regular commercial financing during the economic downturn of the virus.
But now Rishi Sunak has extended CBILS to all viable small and medium business who have faced financial difficulty during the COVID-19 pandemic. The government is also stopping lenders from requesting personal guarantees for loans under £250,000 and making operational changes to speed up lending approvals. Since 23 March, around 1,000 loans worth around £90m have been processed. The number is expected to increase in the coming days and weeks as banks get used to the new system. Rates charged to firms for loans are also expected to be kept as low as possible – given that the Bank of England’s base rate is at a record low of 0.1% and that the state is guaranteeing them. However there will not be a cap on the rates banks can charge. The issue is among those to be discussed when the chancellor holds talks with bank chief executives next week. The chancellor also announced a new measure for bigger companies. The Covid Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme will offer loans of up to £25m to firms with an annual turnover of between £45m and £500m, also 80% guaranteed by the taxpayer. Mr Sunak said: “We are making great progress on getting much-needed support out to businesses to help manage their cashflows during this difficult time – with millions of pounds of loans and finance being provided to hundreds of firms across the country. “And now I am taking further action by extending our generous loan scheme so even more businesses can benefit. We have also listened to the concerns of some larger businesses affected by COVID-19 and are announcing new support so they can benefit too. “This is a national effort and we’ll continue to work with the financial services sector to ensure that the £330 billion of government support, through loans and guarantees, reaches as many businesses in need as possible.” The government is also stopping lenders from requesting personal guarantees for loans under £250,000 and making operational changes to speed up lending approvals. It previously pledged to cover the first twelve months of interest and fees. Adam Marshall, director general of the British Chamber of Commerce, praised the new measures. He said: “We’re pleased that the Chancellor is listening and responding to the real-world concerns posed by firms across the UK who are urgently trying to access financial support. “Improvements to the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan scheme will help firms get access to cash more quickly, and the announcement of a new loan scheme for mid-sized companies closes a significant gap in existing support. “Chambers of Commerce will continue to work with government and the banks to ensure that support reaches businesses at the front line.” From: https://news.sky.com/story/coronavirus-chancellor-rishi-sunak-unveils-new-measures-to-sme-loan-scheme-11967729
     

An Extension for filing your annual accounts

Companies can apply for an immediate and automatic extension on filing their accounts if they think that COVID 19 will cause delays in filing accounts.

You must apply before the filing deadline.

Follow this link:  https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/extensions?_ga=2.234769625.690888286.1585564098-1247673890.1582625672

If you require any assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us:  info@bennewith.co.uk

Self-employed

The Chancellor has announced a new Self-employment Income Support Scheme to support self-employed people who have been adversely affected by COVID-19.

GOV‌.UK has further details about who is eligible for the scheme and how it will work.

Self-employed people do not need to get in touch with HMRC as the scheme isn’t yet open for applications. HMRC will contact eligible customers by the beginning of June, inviting them to apply.

 

Please do get in touch if you need any assistance:  info@bennewith.co.uk

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

The government is committed to doing whatever it takes to support businesses and individuals through the Coronavirus pandemic. On 20 March as part of these efforts the Chancellor announced the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

This funding will be open to all employers with a PAYE payroll scheme that was created and started on or before 28 February 2020, including charities. Employers can apply for grants of 80% of furloughed employees’ (employees on a leave of absence) monthly wage costs, up to £2,500 a month, plus the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions on that wage, provided they keep the worker employed. The scheme will cover the cost of wages backdated to 1 March 2020, if applicable.

HMRC have been working night and day to develop this scheme, and we can now confirm that we have been able to publish further details of the scheme on GOV‌.UK. We are aiming to have the scheme up and running by the end of April 2020. More detailed guidance will be published in due course and please be assured we will advise you when the scheme is open.

HMRC are trying to get the link for the claim under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme up and running for the end of April.

Follow this link for more information:  https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

More information for Employees can be found here:  https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-you-could-be-covered-by-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

Please do get in touch by email if you require any assistance.  info@bennewith.co.uk