News COVID-19: measures for UK businesses HMRC publishes guidance on the fifth SEISS grant Full details of the fifth Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant, including a new turnover test which determines the level of the grant, have now been published by HMRC. Questions remain over re-opening, say business groups Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he expects the final stage of England's coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown roadmap to go ahead on 19 July. Furlough scheme starts to wind down The government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) begins winding down from 1 July. Business groups press for further support after lockdown easing delayed The four-week delay to the easing of lockdown in England has prompted business groups to call for further government support for businesses. Bounce Back Loan repayments due for many small businesses Many small businesses will soon be required to begin repaying loans taken out under the government's Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS). Fifth SEISS grant will be open to claims from late July The fifth Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant covering May 2021 to September 2021 will open to claims from late July, HMRC has confirmed. HMRC sets out penalty regime for SEISS abuse The fourth Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant is now live and HMRC has set out the penalties for abuse. HMRC contacting claimants for fourth self-employed grant HMRC has confirmed it will be contacting potential claimants for the fourth Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant this month. Start of new tax year ushers in raft of fiscal changes The 6 April start of the new tax year sees important fiscal and business changes come into effect, including the introduction of the new coronavirus (COVID-19) Recovery Loan Scheme (RLS). Payment deadline looming for self assessment taxpayers Self assessment taxpayers must pay any outstanding tax liabilities in full or set up an online payment plan for the 2019/20 financial year by 1 April to avoid incurring penalty charges. Business rates relief extended with £1.5 billion fund The government is to extend business rates relief with a £1.5 billion fund targeted at those businesses unable to benefit from the current coronavirus (COVID-19) support. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (JRS) Budget 2021 announced a further extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to 30 September 2021. Business rates Budget 2021 announced a continuation of 100% business rates relief. Scotland and Wales have also made business rates relief announcements. Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) Budget 2021 confirmed details of the fourth Self-Employed Income Support Grant and announced the fifth and final grant. Restart Grants Budget 2021 announced the introduction of Restart Grants. Coronavirus loan schemes Budget 2021 announced the introduction of a new government-guaranteed Recovery Loan Scheme. Clarity needed on taxation of COVID test costs, says ICAEW Guidance published by HMRC states that employers and employees will not be liable for any income tax or national insurance contributions (NICs) on the costs of the test. Borrowers of Bounce Back loans given six more months for repayments Businesses that took out government-backed Bounce Back loans to get through the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic will now have greater flexibility to repay their loans, the government has announced. HMRC waives self assessment penalties for a month Self assessment taxpayers will not be fined for late online returns if they file by 28 February, HMRC has said. Chancellor unveils £4.6 billion lockdown grant package Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a new £4.6 billion package of grants to support businesses through the latest national lockdown. Chancellor extends furlough scheme until end of April 2021 Chancellor Rishi Sunak has extended the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) until the end of April 2021. Chancellor extends furlough scheme to end of March Chancellor Rishi Sunak has extended the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) until the end of March 2021. Furlough scheme extended and changed for new lockdown The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has been extended until December 2020. Chancellor increases financial support for businesses affected by COVID restrictions On 22 October Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced increases to the coronavirus (COVID-19) financial support measures first outlined in the Winter Economy Plan. Job Support Scheme expanded for local lockdowns The government's Job Support Scheme (JSS) will be expanded to protect jobs and support businesses required to close their doors due to local lockdowns. Lockdown grants welcome but more support needed, say business groups The government's announcement of new cash grants for businesses affected by local lockdowns has been welcomed by business groups. Second round of grants for the self-employed opens The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) has opened for applications for the second and final grant. ICAEW warns taxpayers have 90 days to notify HMRC of overclaimed COVID-19 grants The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) has warned taxpayers that they have 90 days to notify HMRC of overclaimed coronavirus (COVID-19) grants. Ensure interaction between VAT and Eat Out to Help Out is understood, ICAEW urges The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) has urged businesses to ensure that they understand the interaction between VAT and the government's Eat Out to Help Out scheme. FSB calls for further help for employers as furlough wind-down begins The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has called for the government to provide further help to employers as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) begins to be wound down. More firms to benefit from CBILS following changes to loan rules Changes to state aid rules mean that more small businesses can benefit from the government's Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS). Mixed picture for retail sector, CBI finds Retail sales were broadly flat in the year to July despite three months of sharp declines, according to the monthly Distributive Trades Survey published by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI). Public warned to watch out for top coronavirus scams Fraudsters are exploiting people's financial concerns during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, UK Finance has warned. NIESR calls for furlough scheme to be kept open The National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) has called for the government to keep the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) open for longer. Committee suggests many have 'fallen through gaps in support schemes' The Treasury Select Committee has found that over a million people have 'fallen through the gaps' of the government's coronavirus (COVID-19) support schemes. Fifth of small firms expect poor performance in next three months, data suggests Data published by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has suggested that a fifth of small businesses expect their performance to be 'much worse' over the next three months as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown. UK economy 'still stuck in first gear' The UK's economy is 'still stuck in first gear', with many businesses operating at half their pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) capacity, according to the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC). FRC urges companies to provide high-quality disclosures on impact of coronavirus The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has urged companies to provide more detailed disclosures on the impact the coronavirus (COVID-19) has had on their firm. Claims deadline approaching for first phase of furlough scheme Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) claims for periods ending on or before 30 June 2020 must be made by 31 July 2020, HMRC has reminded employers. Lockdown has 'negatively impacted young people's labour market outcomes' The coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown has negatively affected young people's labour market outcomes, according to a report published by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS). Business groups cautious on easing of lockdown restrictions Businesses groups have given a cautious response to the easing of lockdown restrictions in England announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson last week. Coronavirus borrowing now over £46 billion UK businesses have now borrowed over £46 billion through the government-backed schemes that are helping firms during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, according to the latest figures from the Treasury. Homeworking creates new opportunities for cyber criminals, research finds The rise in homeworking caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has created new vulnerabilities for criminals to exploit, according to research from cyber experts CyberCube and insurance broker Aon. Welsh government to reduce LTT rate Following the reduction in the rate of residential Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT), the Welsh government has announced that it will reduce the rate of Land Transaction Tax (LTT). Scottish government to reduce LBTT rate The Scottish government will reduce the rate of Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) following a similar reduction to the rate of residential Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in the recent Summer Economic Update. HMRC scraps benefit-in-kind charge on coronavirus tests The government has scrapped plans to get workers to pay income tax on coronavirus (COVID-19) testing kits purchased by their employer. Business groups react to Summer Economic Update Business groups, including the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) have reacted to Chancellor Rishi Sunak's Summer Economic Update. Chancellor announces Job Retention Bonus in Summer Economic Update On 8 July Chancellor Rishi Sunak delivered a Summer Economic Update, which outlined measures designed to boost the UK economy following the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown. Chancellor to deliver Summer Economic Update Chancellor Rishi Sunak will deliver the Summer Economic Update today, in which he will announce measures to help boost the UK economy following the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown. VAT cut on PPE extended The Treasury has extended the temporary scrapping of VAT on personal protective equipment (PPE) until the end of October. Private sector off-payroll reforms given go ahead for April 2021 The introduction of off-payroll rules to the private sector will go ahead as planned next April after an attempt to delay them again failed in the House of Commons. LITRG urges self-employed to check eligibility for SEISS The Low Incomes Tax Reform Group (LITRG) has urged self-employed individuals to check their eligibility for the first round of the government's coronavirus (COVID-19) Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant. FSB finds late payment crisis has worsened during coronavirus lockdown The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has found that the UK's late payment crisis has worsened during the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown. Furlough scheme now covering 9.3 million workers The number of workers now furloughed under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has risen to 9.3 million, according to the latest figures from the Treasury. Business warned about rise in impersonation fraud Businesses have been told to stay vigilant against the rise in impersonation fraud during the coronavirus pandemic, by trade credit insurer Atradius. Job retention scheme closing to new entrants HMRC is reminding businesses that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) will close to new entrants on 30 June. Overseas VAT claims subject to COVID delays VAT claims submitted under the Overseas Refund Scheme will be subject to delays due to changes in HMRC's working practices during the COVID-19 pandemic, the tax authority has stated. IoD urges government to support jobs and investment after coronavirus lockdown The Institute of Directors (IoD) has called on the government to act to support jobs and investment once the coronavirus lockdown ends. Government-backed coronavirus lending now over £40 billion Over £40 billion has now been borrowed through government-backed schemes designed to help businesses get through the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, according to the latest figures from the Treasury. Government urged to consider emergency VAT reduction The government has again been urged to consider an emergency VAT reduction in order to help businesses once the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown ends. UK public calls for greater transparency on tax avoidance and evasion According to an annual survey carried out by Fair Tax Mark, the UK public is using the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown to take 'decisive action' against tax avoidance practices. Businesses urged to reinstate VAT direct debits Business have been reminded to reinstate their direct debit mandates before the deferral of VAT payments due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) comes to an end on 30 June. HMRC updates CJRS guidance for employers On 12 June, HMRC updated its guidance for employers who have furloughed employees under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). HMRC updates guidance for self-employed coronavirus scheme HMRC has updated its guidance regarding the eligibility of businesses for the two Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grants. MPs call for VAT reduction to help firms affected by coronavirus MPs have urged the government to reduce VAT for firms in the tourism sector in order to help them recover from the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown. LITRG warns self-employed that SEISS is taxable The Low Incomes Tax Reform Group (LITRG) has warned self-employed individuals that the government's coronavirus (COVID-19) Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) is taxable. Government extends furlough scheme for parents on statutory leave The government has extended the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) for parents on statutory maternity and paternity leave. £35 billion loaned to businesses through coronavirus schemes Business loans through government-backed coronavirus support schemes have reached almost £35 billion, according to the latest figures published by the Treasury. Business debt 'will slow economic recovery' from coronavirus pandemic, IoD warns The Institute of Directors (IoD) has warned that business debt will hinder the economic recovery from the coronavirus (COVID-19) unless steps are taken to make the burden more manageable. Deadline looming for new entrants to Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme HMRC has reminded employers who intend to furlough an employee for the first time that the deadline to do so is approaching fast. HMRC delays VAT reverse charge on construction services HMRC has announced a five-month delay to the introduction of the domestic VAT reverse charge for construction services, due to the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the sector. One in five highly skilled freelancers face business closure to COVID-19 A fifth of highly skilled freelances face having to close their business due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, according to research from the University of Edinburgh Business School. Strong economic recovery likely, but not certain A strong economic recovery following the coronavirus pandemic is likely although many risks and uncertainties remain, according to a report from Oxford Economics. Over £31 billion borrowed through coronavirus schemes Over £31 billion has been borrowed through the government-backed schemes that are providing business support during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, according to the latest figures from the Treasury. Manufacturers call for coronavirus support The coronavirus crisis has left many manufacturers on a cliff edge and in need of government intervention, Make UK has warned. Chancellor announces changes to Job Retention Scheme Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced changes to the government's Job Retention Scheme (JRS), which will be slowly wound down over the next few months. IPSE gives cautious welcome to extension of self-employed scheme The government's decision to extend COVID-19 support for self-employed workers has met with a cautious welcome from the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE). Research shows 5.2 million people have fallen victim to scams during coronavirus crisis Research carried out by insurer Canada Life has revealed that 5.2 million people in the UK have fallen victim to scams during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme goes live On 26 May, HMRC opened up its Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) rebate claim service. Government publishes revised Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme legislation The government recently published revised legislation on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). Survey suggests one in ten firms cannot implement coronavirus guidance safely A survey carried out by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has suggested that one in ten UK businesses feel they cannot implement government coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance safely. IPSE urges government to extend self-employed support scheme The government is being urged to extend its coronavirus (COVID-19) Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) for as long as self-employed individuals require it. Future Fund launches to give start-ups coronavirus support The government has launched its Future Fund package, which aims to support start-up businesses not eligible for other coronavirus (COVID-19) rescue measures. Government set to launch Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme The government is set to launch an online service to allow employers to recover the Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) payments they have made to their employees during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Loan size increased to £200 million under large business interruption scheme The government is extending the maximum loan size available through the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) from £50 million to £200 million. BCC survey suggests firms ready for gradual reopening of UK economy The latest Coronavirus Business Impact Tracker survey carried out by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has suggested that UK businesses are ready for a gradual reopening of the UK economy and will 'embrace the new normal'. One million apply to self-employed grant scheme in 48 hours A million self-employed workers whose income has been hit by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic made 440,000 applications for government grants during the first 48 hours of the scheme being open. Close to £15 billion lent through government's coronavirus schemes Almost £15 billion has now been borrowed through government-backed schemes designed to help businesses get through the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, according to the latest figures from the Treasury. Chancellor extends Job Retention Scheme until October Chancellor Rishi Sunak has extended the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (JRS) until the end of October. Self-employed grant scheme to open to applications Self-employed workers whose income has been hit by the coronavirus crisis can apply for grants from the government from 13 May. HMRC extends tax appeal deadline due to pandemic HMRC has granted taxpayers extra time to appeal its decisions or penalties where the usual 30-day deadline cannot be met due to the coronavirus pandemic. Business groups need more guidance and financial support for return to work Business groups are asking for more guidance and continued financial support after Prime Minister Boris Johnson began easing the coronavirus lockdown. UK Finance warns firms over Bounce Back loan repayments Trade body UK Finance has warned small businesses to consider their ability to repay a Bounce Back loan before taking one out. Chancellor outlines Winter Economy Plan A new emergency jobs scheme will be introduced to protect jobs during the coronavirus (COVID-19) downturn this winter, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced. HMRC publishes guidance on claiming Job Retention Bonus HMRC recently published guidance on the eligibility requirements for the Job Retention Bonus. HMRC begins contacting individuals eligible for coronavirus income support scheme HMRC has started to contact individuals who may be eligible for its coronavirus (COVID-19) Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS). Over 110,000 businesses apply for Bounce Back loans on day one More than 110,000 small businesses applied for a Bounce Back loan on 4 May, the first day the scheme was available. Government changes ISA rules to help individuals affected by coronavirus The government has altered the Lifetime ISA rules to help those adversely affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Business leaders eager for lockdown to ease, says IoD According to the Institute of Directors (IoD), business leaders are eager for information on how and when the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown will ease as fears grow over the long-term outlook for the UK economy. Lenders relax evidence requirements for business interruption loan scheme applications The UK's seven largest small business lenders have relaxed their evidence requirements for applications to the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS). CIPD urges government to make Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme more flexible The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has urged the government to modify the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and make it more flexible so that furloughed employees are allowed to carry out work on reduced hours for their existing employer where possible. Government launches small business micro loan scheme As part of the government's measures to mitigate the economic damage caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a micro loan scheme for small businesses. FSB urges government to increase 80% guarantee on coronavirus business loans The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has urged the government to increase its 80% guarantee on emergency coronavirus (COVID-19) business interruption loans. Government launches support finder tool for businesses The UK government has launched a new online platform to help businesses access financial support during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. SMEs access £2.8 billion through business interruption loan scheme The UK's small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have accessed £2.8 billion in funding through the government's Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), according to data published by UK Finance. BCC finds significant number of UK businesses have furloughed employees A survey conducted by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has found that over 70% of responding businesses have furloughed a proportion of their workforce. Recovery advice scheme launched for small businesses A government-backed scheme to offer free online advice to help small businesses bounce back from the coronavirus (COVID-19) has been launched. Coronavirus pandemic 'has already cost SMEs £277,000 each', research suggests Research carried out by online marketplace Fiverr has suggested that the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has already cost UK small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) £277,893 each. Government unveils support package for innovative businesses affected by coronavirus The government has unveiled a billion pound support package for innovative businesses affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19). Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme goes live as it is extended to end of June The government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme went live on 20 April after Chancellor Rishi Sunak extended it until the end of June. Pensions regulator issues auto-enrolment guidance for pandemic The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has issued guidance covering automatic enrolment and employer contributions during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Government widens eligibility for job retention scheme The government has widened the eligibility criteria for furloughed employees who need to access the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme by pushing back a key date. HMRC releases guidance on coronavirus Self-employment Income Support Scheme HMRC has released guidance on the coronavirus (COVID-19) Self-employment Income Support Scheme. Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme set to launch on 20 April The government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will launch on 20 April, according to HMRC. Chancellor announces financial aid package for charities On 8 April, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a £750 million package to help charities struggling during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Firms struggling to access emergency coronavirus loans UK businesses are struggling to access emergency loans provided by the government's coronavirus (COVID-19) business interruption loan schemes, according to a survey conducted by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC). UK economic output reduces to 31% as result of coronavirus lockdown Research published by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) has revealed that UK economic output has reduced to 31% as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown. Chancellor announces changes to Business Interruption Loan Scheme On 3 April, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced changes to the COVID-19 Business Interruption Loan Scheme following criticism that businesses have struggled to access loans. Majority of UK firms have less than three months' cash reserves A significant number of UK firms face the prospect of running out of cash within three months, according to a survey carried out by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC). Government publishes details on coronavirus grant schemes for small businesses The government has published details on the COVID-19 support schemes for small businesses and retailers. Directors on PAYE can furlough under job retention scheme Company directors who receive salaries through Pay as You Earn (PAYE) are eligible for furlough under the government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Government relaxes insolvency rules during coronavirus pandemic The government has relaxed the insolvency regulations during the COVID-19 pandemic in order to give restructuring businesses time to continue trading. Bank of England announces £100 billion stimulus package for UK economy The Bank of England has unveiled a £100 billion stimulus package to help boost the UK economy following the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. HMRC publishes guidance on recognising genuine government contact HMRC has published guidance on recognising genuine contact from the tax authority during the COVID-19 pandemic. HMRC urges businesses using VAT deferral to cancel direct debits Businesses that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and are seeking to make use of the VAT deferral have been urged to cancel their direct debits 'as soon as they can'. Chancellor unveils help for self-employed workers On the 26 March, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a scheme to help self-employed workers who have been hit by the COVID-19 crisis. Government and financial regulators tell banks to keep lending British banks must keep lending to businesses through the coronavirus crisis to ensure viable companies do not fail, the government and financial regulators have urged. UK facing 'worst recession in modern history' The UK economy is facing its 'worst recession in modern history'. COVID-19 Business Measures - job retention and tax deferrals We set out a summary of the salary support and tax deferral schemes that were announced on 20 March 2020. Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme goes live The government's Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme went live for applications from today (23 March). Information for businesses and employers The Chancellor has set out a package of temporary, timely and targeted measures to support public services, people and businesses through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19.