CHANGES TO THE BOUNCE BACK LOAN AND CORONAVIRUS BUSINESS INTERRUPTION LOAN SCHEMES

The Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) has provided support to many UK-based small businesses. Loans are between £2,000 and £50,000, capped at 25% of turnover, with a 100% government guarantee to the lender. The borrower does not have to make any repayments for the first 12 months, with the government covering the first 12 months’ interest payments. Under a Pay as you Grow scheme businesses will have options to:

  • repay their loan over a period of up to ten years
  • move temporarily to interest-only payments for periods of up to six months (an option which they can use up to three times)
  • pause their repayments entirely for up to six months (an option they can use once and only after having made six payments).

CORONAVIRUS BUSINESS INTERRUPTION LOAN SCHEME

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme provides loan facilities to UK-based businesses with turnover under £45 million. The scheme provides loans of up to £5 million with an 80% government guarantee to the lender. The government does not charge businesses for this guarantee and also covers the first 12 months of interest payments and fees.

The government has announced that as part of the Winter Economy Plan it intends to allow CBILS lenders to extend the term of a loan up to ten years.

The government is also extending the CBILS and BBLS to 30 November 2020 for new applications.

Applications for the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme and the Future Fund will also be extended.

VAT DEFERRAL AND ENHANCED TIME TO PAY FOR SELF ASSESSMENT

Over half a million businesses deferred VAT payments, which were due in March to June 2020, with these payments becoming due at the end of March 2021.

As part of the Winter Economy Plan the government has now announced the option for such businesses to spread their payments over the financial year 2021/22. Businesses will be able to choose to make 11 equal instalments over 2021/22. All businesses which took advantage of the VAT deferral can use the spreading scheme. Businesses will need to opt in and HMRC will put in place an opt-in process in early 2021.

ENHANCED TIME TO PAY FOR SELF ASSESSMENT TAXPAYERS

Taxpayers were able to defer the income tax self assessment payment on account for 2019/20, due by 31 July 2020, to 31 January 2021. There are also other amounts due on 31 January 2021 – a balancing payment for the 2019/20 tax year and the first payment on account for the 2020/21 tax year.

Taxpayers with up to £30,000 of self assessment liabilities due will be able to use HMRC’s self-service Time to Pay facility to secure a plan to pay over an additional 12 months. This means that self assessment liabilities due in July 2020, and those due in January 2021, will not need to be paid in full until January 2022. Any self assessment taxpayer not able to pay their tax bill on time, including those who cannot use the online service, can continue to use HMRC’s Time to Pay self assessment helpline to agree a payment plan.

GOVERNMENT LAUNCH JOB SUPPORT SCHEME

A new Job Support Scheme will be introduced from ‌‌1‌‌ November 2020 to protect jobs where businesses are facing lower demand over the winter months due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

Under the scheme, which will run for six months, the government will contribute towards the wages of employees who are working fewer than normal hours due to decreased demand.

You will continue to pay the wages for the hours your staff work. For the hours not worked, you and the government will each pay one third of their usual wages (capped at £697.92 per month). You will need to meet your share of the pay for unworked hours and all your National Insurance contributions and statutory pension contributions, from your own funds. This means that employees will receive at least two thirds of their usual wages for the hours not worked.

To be eligible, employees must:

  • be registered on your PAYE payroll on or before 23 September 2020. This means a Real Time Information (RTI) submission notifying payment in respect of that employee must have been made to HMRC on or before 23 September 2020
  • work at least 33% of their usual hours. The government will consider whether to increase this minimum hours threshold after the first three months of the scheme.

The Job Support Scheme will be open to employers across the UK even if you have not previously applied under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) which closes on 3‌1‌‌ ‌‌October 2020.

The Job Support Scheme will start from 1‌‌ November 2020 and you will be able to claim in December 2020. Grants will be paid on a monthly basis.

The scheme will operate in addition to the Job Retention Bonus. You and your employees can benefit from both schemes in order to help protect viable jobs.