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As we all prepare for another lockdown period, we have reviewed support available for small businesses. 

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) 

To help avoid job losses, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) will continue to pay 80% of your employees’ salaries for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500 a month. Although it was originally due to close on 31 October 2020, it has now been extended until 30 April 2021. 
 
You'll only pay employer National Insurance Contributions (NICs) and pension contributions. 
 
You can put your team on full-time furlough, but you also have the option of a flexible furlough. If you’ve made employees redundant since 23 September, you can rehire and furlough them.This content will only be shown when viewing the full post. Click on this text to edit it. 
 

Local Restrictions Support Grant 

If your business was required to close before the national lockdown or was seriously affected during the coronavirus restrictions there is funding available through the Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG), which can be claimed retrospectively. Because this is a grant, the money doesn’t have to be paid back, although it will need to be included in your tax return. 
 
To qualify, you will be paying business rates on your premises, but local councils can also offer discretionary grants to businesses that don’t pay business rates. Depending on the rateable value of your premises you could claim between £1,334 and £3,000 per month. 
 
The government says that while businesses can use the money as they like, it expects that many businesses will use the grants to cover high fixed property-related costs. 
 
Where national restrictions apply, other grants are available. 
 

Top-up grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses 

On 5 January additional one-off top up grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses were introduced. Depending on the rateable value of your property you could claim between £4,000 and £9,000. 
 

If your business isn’t covered by other grants 

Local authorities can give discretionary funding to businesses that aren’t eligible for other grants. This could include, for example, support for retail, hospitality, and leisure businesses or those that have to close but don’t pay business rates. 
 

Bounce Back Loan Scheme for small businesses 

The Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) has been extended until 31 March 2021. It provides loans between £2,000 and £50,000 and the government will give accredited lenders a guarantee for the loans they make. 
 
There won’t be any fees or interest for the first year and you won’t have to repay anything towards your Bounce Back Loan for the first 12 months. After that you will currently pay 2.5% interest for the remaining period of the loan. 
 
Loans can now be repaid over 10 years, rather than six years, and you can take a payment holiday lasting six months, although you must have made six payments to use this option. 
 
If your haven’t yet claimed the maximum 25% of turnover (sales income) or £50,000 you are likely to be able to top up your Bounce Back Loan. 
 
The deadline for applying for a Bounce Back Loan is now the end of March 2021. 

Coronavirus Future Fund 

The Future Fund offers convertible loans of between £125,000 and £5million to UK-based innovative companies that are facing financial hardship. This is intended for businesses that rely on equity investment, which have already raised at least £250,000 from third-party investors in the last five years. 
 

Business rates in the 2020/21 tax year 

The government is temporarily cancelling business rates for retail, leisure and hospitality businesses affected by the pandemic in England for the 2020/21 tax year. 
 
Nurseries in England will also have a year’s break from paying business rates. 
 

Commercial rent payments 

Protection from eviction for commercial tenants who can’t pay their rent during the pandemic has been extended until March 2021. 
 

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme 

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) is for viable small businesses as well as larger organisations with a turnover of up to £45million. It covers loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance of up to £5million for up to 10 years. The government will guarantee up to 80% of losses, and there aren’t any initial loan charges. Interest payments will be covered for the first 12 months. 
 
You now have until the end of March 2021 to apply for the CBILS. 
 

Statutory sick pay refunds 

If you have fewer than 250 employees you can receive a full refund for 14 days of statutory sick pay per employee with coronavirus, or who is self-isolating or shielding. 
 

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme 

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) provides grants to support self-employed people whose businesses have been affected by coronavirus. 
 
The third grant is for the period November 2020 to January 2021 and will pay 80% of your average trading profits for three months, up to a cap of £7,500. You must make your claim for this period by 29 January 2021. 
 
Details of a final grant for the period from February to April 2021 haven’t yet been confirmed. 
 

Deferring Income Tax and VAT if you’re self-employed 

You might already have delayed payments due in 2020. Now anyone who needs to pay up to £30,000 in tax by 31 January 2021 can make payments in instalments and delay the final payment until 31 January 2022. You will be charged interest for the outstanding balance from 1 February 2021. You will need to use HMRC’s Time to Pay service online. 
 
If you deferred your VAT payments between March and June 2020 you will now be able to make interest-free payments over the 2021/22 tax year, rather than paying in full by March 2021. 
 

Personal support 

If you’re self-employed there are a number of benefits you can apply for, including Universal Credit and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) for people with disabilities of health conditions that affect how much they can work. 
 
You can also apply for payment holidays for loans, credits cards, and mortgages until 31 March 2021. All payment holidays will end by 31 July 2021. 
 
If you would like any help to review your business finances and possible financial support available, please get in touch. 
Tagged as: Covid-19, furlough, HMRC, tax, VAT
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