A breakdown of the key features of government schemes relevant to publishers.
- HMRC have created a dedicated COVID-19 helpline regarding tax issues: 0800 0159 559
- For broader information you can call the Business Support Helpline: 0300 456 3565
- BEIS have created a page with key COVID-19 related business information, which can be found here.
Self-Employed Income Support Scheme
This scheme will allow self-employed people facing financial difficulties to receive 80% of their monthly wages, covered by the Government. This will be calculated using average monthly profits over last three financial years and support will be capped at £2,500 per month. This new scheme will initially last three months and will be available from “the beginning of June” due to the complexity of the system, however it will be backdated until March. In the interim, self-employed workers will be able to apply for universal credit or access local council emergency funds.
The eligibility requirements for this scheme are as follows:
- It is only for workers who receive the majority of their income from self-employment.
- It will be available for people with trading profits of up to £50,000 or an average trading profit of less than £50,000 from 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19.
- Workers must be already self-employed and have filed a tax return for 2018-19. The Chancellor confirmed that the deadline for completing tax returns has been extended for four weeks from today.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
Any business will be eligible for this retention scheme, which will cover 80% of employees wages up to £2,500 p/m. Employees will be kept on the company payroll even if they are not working. This will also cover backdated wages to March 1. The Chancellor has announced that this scheme will run for at least 3 months and will be extended if necessary. More information can be accessed through HMRC and the first payments are expected by the end of April.
VAT deferred until June
VAT payments for the next quarter have been deferred, meaning businesses will not have to pay VAT from now until the end of June. Businesses will have until the end of the Tax Year to repay. The deferral will apply from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020.
Tax deferral through Time to Pay service
There is a provision for businesses to defer tax, with each individual case being considered on a case-by-case basis. For more information you can call the HMRC COVID-19 helpline. (0800 0159 559)
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme:
This is a temporary loan scheme, designed to support SMEs (turnover under £45m) with access to bank lending and overdrafts. The government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan. The Government will pay the first 12 months of interest payments.
You are eligible if:
· Your business is UK based, with a turnover of no more than £45m p/a
· Your business meets other British Business Bank eligibility criteria
The scheme commenced from 23 March 2020 - some FAQs for SMEs.
COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility
A new Covid-19 Corporate Financing Facility is being set up, the Bank of England will buy short term debt from larger companies, designed to help with short-term funding squeeze. It will also support corporate finance markets overall and ease the supply of credit to all firms. The scheme will launch on March 23, and further details have been published by the BoE.
Business rates have been abolished for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses, or those who qualify for small business rate relief. PPA has pushed DCMS and HMT to extend this to cover publishers and events businesses.
CMA Covid-19 Taskforce
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has launched a new taskforce to tackle the issues brought up by Covid-19. So far much of what they have announced surrounds food and critical medical production (both through relaxing competition law to allow for more efficient production and preventing price gouging) and other emergency measures. If there are concerns or issues you would like PPA to raise, please let me know.
3 month extension to file accounts with Companies House
Any business that has been impacted by the pandemic can apply for a 3 month extension for filing their accounts. Companies will still need to apply for the extension, but citing issues around COVID-19 will automatically and immediately grant the extension. More information can be found here.
Gender pay gap reporting suspended
The EHRC has decided to suspend enforcement of the gender pay gap deadlines for this reporting year (2019/20).