Weekly Digest – 3 February 2021

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

UK On Track to Vaccinate All Adults by End of August

The UK has passed the 10 million-mark for the number of coronavirus vaccine doses administered, amid hopes that all adults could have received the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of August.

Around 3 million people between 65 and 69 years old will start to be sent letters, meaning that some areas may be able to offer vaccines to those below 70 years old before 15 February 2021 – when the four most vulnerable groups should have been covered.

UK to Join Asia Pacific Free Trade Pact CPTPP

The UK government is forging new partnerships that will bring massive economic benefits for the people of Britain.

The government has announced that it is applying to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), one of the world’s largest free-trade pact made up of 11 developed and emerging economies in the Asia Pacific. These include Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.

UK to Create New Subsidy Control System

The Business Secretary has set out plans for a new UK-wide subsidy control system that empowers local authorities and devolved administrations. The new system will be a clear departure from inflexible and bureaucratic EU state aid regime, and tailored to better support start-ups, small businesses, and new industries. At the same time, it will help protect against wasteful spending.

The government has committed to consulting closely with the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, so that all 4 parts of the UK can take advantage of the greater flexibility afforded by leaving the EU. The consultation will run for a minimum of 8 weeks, and the government will bring forward primary legislation based on the outcomes of the consultation.

Ongoing COVID-19 Business Support From the Government

After almost a year of lockdowns and COVID-19 restrictions, many firms in the UK are still in need of business support to stay afloat. Below is a comprehensive list of government support programmes that are available to your small business.

Bounce Back Loan Scheme

Deadline: 31 March 2021

  • Loans of between £2,000 and £50,000, up to 25% of turnover
  • The government guarantees 100% of the loan with no fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months. After 12 months the interest rate will be 2.5% a year
  • You can now apply for a top-up if you initially didn’t borrow the full amount available

More information can be found here.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)

Deadline: 31 March 2021

  • Offers access to loans of up to £5m
  • 80% of the loan is guaranteed by the government.
  • Government pays interest and any fees for the first 12 months
  • Available for businesses with annual turnover of up to £45m

More information can be found here.

Business Rates Holiday

Deadline: 6 April 2021

Businesses in the retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors will not have to pay business rates for the 2020-2021 tax year.

More information can be found here.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Deadline: 30 April 2021

  • 80% of employees’ monthly salary covered for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500
  • Employers will have flexibility to use the scheme for employees for any amount of time or shift pattern, furloughing employees on either a full-time or part-time basis
  • No employer contribution for hours not worked, employers only have to cover National Insurance and employer pension contributions

More information can be found here.

New Deadlines for Job Retention Scheme 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

Corporation tax filing extension

Deadline: Apply for the extension before your normal filing deadline

You can apply for a three-month corporation tax extension to the deadline of filing your accounts, as long as your deadline falls between 27 June 2020 to 5 April 2021.

More information can be found here.

Kickstart Scheme grant

Deadline: Not specified

  • Provides funding to create new job placements for 16 to 24-year-olds on Universal Credit
  • Covers 100% of the National Minimum Wage (or the National Living Wage) for 25 hours a week for a total of six months
  • Also covers National Insurance contributions
  • Employers can spread the start date of the job placements until the end of December 2021

More information can be found here.

Self-employed Income Support Scheme

Deadline: Fourth round yet to be announced

  • The fourth round of SEISS which will cover February-April 2021 is yet to be announced
  • The third round was calculated at 80% of three months’ average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment and capped at £7,500

More information can be found here.

Statutory Sick Pay refund

Deadline: Not specified

  • Companies with fewer than 250 employees can apply for a full refund for staff who take statutory sick leave due to Covid-19
  • You must set up PAYE in your business by 28 February 2020

More information can be found here.

Top-up grant for retail, hospitality and leisure

Deadline: Not specified

  • A one-off top-up grant has been allocated for the struggling retail, hospitality, and leisure industries
  • The grant is available to rateable businesses:
    – Small businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 and under will receive £4,000
    – Medium businesses with a rateable value of between £15,000 and £51,000 will get £6,000

More information can be found here.

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

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.

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.

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.

3 Ways Busy Entrepreneurs Can Save Time

As a small business ourselves, we understand how hectic your day-to-day operations can get. Given there will never be more than 24 hours in a day, we’ll share some effective tips to help you accomplish more and save time to do the things you love.

As a business leader, one of the key skills you need to learn is delegation. Small business owners tend to think that no one can do the job as well as they can.

However, wearing too many hats may mean something important could fall through the cracks. So learn which ones to delegate based on your employees’ skills and focus on the core aspects of your business.

Use the power of technology

In the modern business landscape, cloud-based systems and apps are your bestfriends. When used properly, they can simplify and streamline processes, helping you get the job done with ease. Research on the best tools that can automate repetitive tasks and have more time in your hands.

Outsourcing is a more cost-effective approach to expanding your team compared to hiring an in-house staff. When you outsource non-core yet essential tasks, you’re allowing yourself to focus on what you do best, like growing your business.

If you want to learn more about how our advisors can help ease your burden, get in touch with us today!

Get in touch

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