COVID-19 Support for businesses

There is support available for your business

We understand it’s a worrying time for many businesses and as an EPOS provider to hospitality and retail businesses, we understand that we are all at the front line in these challenging times. 

How Goodtill can help

We are available if you want to chat through your concerns, but also we have few options that might help.  

Click & Collect,  Web Orders and Deliveries via our platform

In 2018 we launched an online ordering system for Click & Collect (soon to be called GoodEats), web orders and deliveries. This is a browser based tool that will enable you to fulfil various online orders in the event of potential lock downs or concerns with your customers. It can take contactless transactions and enable you to maintain business. This platform will enable businesses to continue to trade with customers who have otherwise been advised to stay at home.

As a gesture of goodwill in these challenging times, we are going to waive all web ordering platform fees and even pay the Stripe transaction fees on your behalf for your first/next £1000 worth of transactions. We hope this will help to get you started or give a much needed boost.

For more about Click & Collect (soon to be GoodEats), please visit here.

For a quick DEMO video, please visit here.

Online clinics

We’ll be holding “online clinics” to help answer any questions you have. These will be held as online meetings, with a small group of clients.  Goodtill will be making an online Click & Collect (soon to be GoodEats) help video available shortly. We will also be providing an online Click & Collect clinic at some point next week to answer your queries.  Please keep an eye out on social media @goodtill.

Business as usual at Goodtill

The team at Goodtill are planning for all eventualities, poised and ready for action:

  • We’re following the government guidelines and doing everything we can to mitigate the risk.
  • Our team is working remotely and any meetings have been moved online. It’s important that we work around you.

The health and wellbeing of our team, our clients, and our loved ones is our top priority.

Advice if you’re worried about the financial effect of Coronavirus

There is support and advice available if you’re concerned about how the effects of the virus could impact your business. Here are a few things you can do. 

1. Stay informed

It’s important to keep up-to-date with the Government guidance on COVID-19.

  • Follow the advice on the website and keep it bookmarked.
  • Being informed will help you make the right decisions.

2. Check your insurance cover

Now is a good time to make sure you have the right insurance cover in place.

  • Check if your business insurance includes business interruption for public health closures, and infectious diseases.
  • Make sure you also have loss of income cover and health insurance in place for you and your employees.

3. Focus on what you can control

Keeping costs under control will help your business weather the storm more effectively. Here are a few things to consider:
  • Can you get a break clause or rent-free period in your lease?
  • Could you reduce your employment costs?
  • Watch stock orders very carefully and consider that you may need less stock to resell.
  • Can you offer to deliver to your customers, if they can’t visit you?
  • Can you sell online instead of face to face?
  • Review your Xero profit and loss, or your bank statements for unnecessary costs that you can cut now.
  • Look at cancellation clauses and break clauses on any monthly subscriptions
4. Check government support available

Support available from the government

The Chancellor has introduced £12 billion worth of measures to support the NHS and businesses during the Coronavirus pandemic. The following initiatives are being put in place, so it’s worth looking at which ones you could benefit from. 

Statutory Sick Pay to be reimbursed: The Government has confirmed that if employees have to self-isolate, they will reimburse you (as the employer) for statutory sick pay for up to 2 weeks, as an employer, at £94.25 per week. As long as you have less than 250 employees. Statutory sick pay is available from day 1, instead of day 4. 

Sick Pay for self-employed: If you’re self-employed, you can claim employment and support allowance from day one. This is also claimable from day 1 instead of day 8. 

Funding support: The Government has promised £7bn funding for small businesses and workers in the UK via the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme. This will be via Government backed bank funding, and the finer details are still being agreed, but funding is expected to be up to £1.2 million per business. 

£3,000 grant for small business: We are still waiting for details on this one, but grants should be available for businesses with a rateable value below £26,000.  

Business rates suspended: Rates suspended for 1 year for shops, cinemas, restaurants and music venues in England with a rateable value of £51,000 or less. 

£500m “hardship fund” for local authorities: The Government has launched a £500m “hardship fund” to be given to local authorities in England to help vulnerable people in their areas. We are following this up to see how you can access this support.

HMRC time to pay arrangements relaxed and extended: HMRC have launched a new number for to call to discuss outstanding tax liabilities due to COVID-19. The helpline number is 0800 0159 559 – and is an addition to other HMRC phone contact numbers. The helpline is open from Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm, and Saturday 8am to 4pm (excluding bank holidays).

From our friends at Square Mile

If you’re planning on applying for the loan scheme, Square Mile suggests that you are prepared by putting together the following:

  • An up to date cash flow forecast.
  • A draft of your borrowing proposal, detailing the impact COVID-19 has had on your business and what funds are required and why, giving a compelling case.

In the first instance, you could approach your current bank or provider via their website, a full list of the accredited lenders can be found here. You could also consider approaching other lenders if your bank is unable to access the finance you need. Should this be the case, please do let Square Mile know and we will do our best to reach out to alternative lending providers who may be able to satisfy the capital needed.

It is also worth pointing out that if you have an R&D tax credit claim to be completed then we would recommend filing it as soon as possible. It is likely that the timelines for repayments will be extended significantly as businesses face cash flow challenges and with several other repayment schemes being adopted by HMRC.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme all UK employers will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis.

  • HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month per employee.
  • Eligibility: All UK businesses are eligible.
  • How to access the scheme – You will need to:
  • Designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers,’ and notify your employees of this change – changing the status of employees remains subject to existing employment law and, depending on the employment contract, may be subject to negotiation.
  • Submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings through a new online portal (HMRC will set out further details on the information required).

HMRC are working urgently to set up a system for reimbursement, however it is not expected to be available until 30 April 2020 and so companies may wish to secure other methods of financing until then if necessary.

Note that furloughed workers are those who remain on the payroll at 31 March but are unable to work due to the Coronavirus outbreak. Therefore, the staff do not necessarily need to be working to get the grant.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme: The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme will be delivered by the British Business Bank and is due to launch later this week. The scheme is designed to support smaller businesses (SMEs) who don’t meet a lender’s normal lending requirements for a fully commercial loan or other facility, but who are considered viable in the longer-term.

To be eligible for a facility under CBILS, your business must:

  • Be UK based in its business activity with annual turnover or no more than £45m
  • Have a borrowing proposal which, were it not for the COVID-19 pandemic, would be considered viable by the lender, and for which the lender believes the provision of finance will enable your business to trade out of any short-to-medium term difficulty.

The eligibility check list can be found here.

We have seen some of the main banks provide updates today explaining that they have their own challenges in terms of interpreting the government announcements and implementing procedures. They advise that they expect to have the products fully up and running in the next day or so.

Deferring VAT and Income Tax payments

VAT deferral: HMRC will allow you to defer Value Added Tax (VAT) payments for 3 months. The deferral period will apply from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020.

All UK businesses registered for VAT are eligible. This is an automatic offer with no applications required. Businesses will not need to make a VAT payment during this period. Taxpayers will be given until the end of the 2020-21 tax year to pay any liabilities that have accumulated during the deferral period. VAT refunds and reclaims will be paid by the government as normal.

Income tax deferral: Income Tax payments due in July 2020 (typically relating to the second ‘payment on account’ relating to the 2019/20 tax year) under the Self-Assessment system, will be deferred to January 2021.

Support for businesses paying tax: Time to Pay service: All businesses in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service.

These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities. You are eligible if your business pays tax to the UK government and has outstanding tax liabilities.

You can call on 0800 0159 559 to arrange a payment plan. You should be ready to discuss why the time to pay service is required. If you would like us to arrange this on your behalf, we can help providing we have the necessary agent authorisation in place.

Insurance: Businesses that have cover for both pandemics and government-ordered closure should be covered, as the government and insurance industry confirmed on 17 March 2020 that advice to avoid pubs, theatres etc is sufficient to make a claim as long as all other terms and conditions are met.

Insurance policies differ significantly, so businesses are encouraged to check the terms and conditions of their specific policy and contact their providers. Most businesses are unlikely to be covered, as standard business interruption insurance policies are dependent on damage to property and will exclude pandemics.

If you’d like to chat anything through, please get in touch with your main contact at Goodtill.

Stay safe.

Goodtill

Source/credit: Square Mile Accounting (enquiriessquaremileaccounting.co.uk)

Last updated: 24/3/2020