Weekly Digest – 27 January 2021

Welcome back to our Weekly Digest. Read on for the latest updates and some ideas to help us all move forward.

Vaccine Minister Confident of Supplies Amid Production Delays

Although supplies of vaccines are “tight”, Nadhim Zahawi said the vaccination programme was still on track to deliver a first dose to 15 million of the most vulnerable by mid-February and to offer all adults their first dose by autumn.

UK Unemployment Hits 5-year High, But Government Support Eases Pain

The unemployment rate in the UK reached its highest level in 5 years in the three months to November, but the wage subsidy scheme kept joblessness lower than in other countries. According to the Office for National Statistics, unemployment rose to 5% over the period, up from 3.8% a year earlier.

Closed Businesses Lockdown Payment

Starting 5 January 2021, businesses that have been required to close due to the national COVID-19 restrictions can claim the Closed Businesses Lockdown Payment.

Eligible businesses may be entitled to a one-off cash grant of up to £9,000 from their local council. The grant will be based on the rateable value of the property on the first full day of restrictions.

  • If your business has a property with a rateable value of £15,000 or less, you may be eligible for a one-off cash grant of £4,000.
  • If your business has a property with a rateable value over £15,000 and less than £51,000, you may be eligible for a one-off cash grant of £6,000.
  • If your business has a property with a rateable value of £51,000 or above, you may be eligible for a one-off cash grant of £9,000.

Further details can be found here. You may also get in touch with us if you have any questions or concerns.

Did you defer your VAT last year?

Due to COVID-19, last year it was possible for businesses to defer their VAT payments between 20 March and 30 June 2020 to help cashflow. This was a welcome relief for many businesses, but the time has now come to pay that VAT.

HMRC’s guidance says there are three options:

  • pay the deferred VAT in full on or before 31 March 2021
  • opt in to the VAT deferral new payment scheme when it launches in 2021
  • contact HMRC if you need more help to pay

To access the new payment scheme, businesses must opt into it – this process will be launched soon.

The new payment scheme means businesses can make up to 11 smaller monthly instalments interest free. All instalments must be paid by the end of March 2022.

Now is the time to plan ahead. Get in touch with us if you’d like a cashflow forecast to plan your repayments.

For more information about the new scheme, check out the gov.uk website for guidance.

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) Extended Until April 2021

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will run until the end of April. The government will set out further details on the fourth SEISS grant, which will cover February to April 2021.

In the meantime, you can watch a video about how to claim the third grant, or ask us if you have any questions.

£4.6 Billion in New Lockdown Grants

Businesses in the retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors are to receive a one-off grant worth up to £9,000 per property to help businesses through to the Spring. A £594 million discretionary fund was also made available to support other impacted businesses.

This follows the Prime Minister’s announcement that these businesses will be closed until at least February half-term in order to help control the virus. The one-off top-ups will be granted to closed businesses as follows:

  • £4,000 for businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or under
  • £6,000 for businesses with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
  • £9,000 for businesses with a rateable value of over £51,000

The grant is expected to benefit over 600,000 business properties across the UK. More details can be found here or you can contact us if you have any questions or require assistance.

Government Loan Schemes Extended

Further extension of all the Government’s current coronavirus business loan schemes have been announced in December. This means applications for Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) and Coronavirus Future Fund have all been extended to 31st March 2020.

Flick us a message if you need our expert assistance on your applications and so we can help you evaluate your options.

Hospitality and Tourism VAT Extension

The reduced rate of VAT (5%) that was previously introduced will still be applicable to food and non-alcoholic beverages from pubs, bars, cafes, and restaurants, accommodation, and attractions in the UK until 31st March 2021.

COVID-19 Business Support Finder

COVID-19 support is available to employers and the self-employed. Use this tool to see which loans, tax relief, and cash grants are available for you and your business.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: New Deadlines for Claims

Use this list of monthly deadlines to help you submit before it’s too late.

15 February 2021– Final date to submit claims for January 2021 by 11:59pm
15 March 2021– Final date to submit claims for February 2021 by 11:59pm
14 April 2021– Final date to submit claims for March 2021 by 11:59pm
14 May 2021– Final date to submit claims for April 2021 by 11:59pm

Brexit Update – Moving Goods Between the UK and the EU: Getting an EORI Number

From 1 January 2021, you need an EORI number in order to move goods between the UK and the EU. An EU EORI number is needed if your business will be making custom declarations of getting a customs decision in the EU.

If you already have an EORI number, check if it starts with GB. If not, you need to apply for a new one.

Here are the requirements you need for your application:

  • VAT number and effective date of registration – these are on your VAT registration certificate
  • National Insurance number – if you’re an individual or a sole trader
  • Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR)
  • Business start date and Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code – these are in the Companies House register
  • Government Gateway user ID and password

More information can be found here. Alternatively, you may get in touch with us so we can assist you on your concerns.

5 Tips to Simplify Your Small Business’ Accounting

If you run a small business, a big-business accounting system may not be the best choice for you. It would be better to simplify your accounting and concentrate on actionable metrics. This is especially true if you are the only one managing your business.

Below are some of the ways you can streamline your small business accounting system:

  • Track your inventory using dedicated inventory management software. Online inventory management software allows you to see your stock levels in real-time, understand your product margins and make better decisions. Choose a system that integrates with your accounting system to save even more admin time.
  • Automate your invoicing. Cloud-based accounting systems now allow you to email invoices from your accounting system and can even connect to tools like Stripe and PayPal so your customers can pay online. If you make it easier to pay you, chances are you’ll get paid faster!
  • Pay your bills when they’re due. Late payment fees can be steep and paying upfront eliminates the need to track your bills in the accounting system.
  • Don’t use your business accounts for personal expenses. Always be diligent about which card you swipe. Your business transactions must be accounted for, so keeping your personal and business affairs separate can save you from hassles in the long run. Plus, your accountant and bookkeeper will thank you!
  • Automate your payroll. Setting up your payroll so it’s automatic, or outsourcing to an experienced team, will save you time and money.

Finally, don’t hesitate to seek help from an advisor to help you stay on top of your finances. We are experts in small business accounting and can provide training for you and your in-house team. Drop us a message today so we can discuss how we can help you.

Get in touch

Contact us if you have any questions or want to discuss the next steps for your business.