Businesses to be given an additional 3 months to file accounts
A joint initiative between the government and Companies House means that businesses will from today be able to apply for an additional 3 months to file accounts. The move is designed to help companies avoid penalties as they deal with the impact of COVID-19. As part of the agreed measures, those citing issues around COVID-19 will be automatically and immediately granted an extension. Applications can be made through a fast-tracked online system which will take just 15 minutes to complete.
HMRC to manage job retention scheme
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced that the Government will pay the wages of employees unable to work due to the coronavirus pandemic, paying 80% of the salary of staff retained by their employer up to £2,500 a month. The move, which covers gross pay, will be backdated to the start of March and last for three months. Mr Sunak said the coronavirus job retention scheme, which will be run by HMRC, would be extend the “if necessary”.
Mr Sunak also announced that VAT payments will be deferred until the end of June, while self-assessment income tax payments for July 2020 are to be deferred for six months. The Universal Credit standard allowance for the next 12 months has been increased by £1,000 a year, as has the Working Tax Credit basic element. The Chancellor said HMRC is working to ensure the first grants are available within weeks, with businesses able to apply for relief from Monday
Small firms set to see £250k loans
Banks are set to pledge interest-free loans of up to £250,000 for small businesses, with it reported that Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s emergency coronavirus loans will initially take the form of overdrafts that could be available within 48 hours. The Mail on Sunday says SMEs will be able to borrow a quarter of a million pounds from one of 40 lenders without having to secure the loan against assets.
Small firms will be able to apply for loans of up to £5m under the Government’s business interruption loans programme, but these are expected to take longer to arrange and may need to be secured against assets.
Chancellor under pressure to save the self-employed
The Chancellor Rishi Sunak is under further pressure to help self-employed people since Boris Johnson’s crackdown as many fear the new restrictions will prevent them from earning an income. Mr Sunak has already been accused of leaving the self-employed behind with the support measures he introduced last week. The Times reports that Mr Sunak is expected to announce measures at the end of the week as officials work to overcome significant “technical barriers”.