A new study by Simply Business, the small business insurance provider, has found that the cost of Covid-19 to UK SMEs has almost doubled from £69bn estimated a year ago, to £126.6bn now. A year on from the first national lockdown, the new report reveals that SMEs have lost an average of £15,673 in earnings.
Couple this with the new trading rules businesses must adhere to since Britain left the EU trading bloc, and this makes for a challenging path ahead. Here’s the latest on the new support schemes that are available to help small businesses get back on their feet.
Coronavirus Restart Grant
Available from 1 April 2021, this scheme provides a one-off grant to support businesses in non-essential sectors to re–open safely once restrictions are lifted on 12 April. Shops can apply for a grant of up to £6,000, and those in hospitality and leisure can receive up to £18,000. This replaces the monthly Local Restrictions Support Grants, which are due to end on 31 March.
You can check if you are eligible for the Coronavirus Restart Grant here.
Brexit Support Fund
This fund is available to help small businesses comply with the new rules when trading with the EU and includes training staff in new customs and VAT processes. From mid-March, small businesses can apply for grants of up to £2,000.
Self-Assessment late payment penalty
The 5% late payment penalty for Self-Assessment tax submissions not received by 31 January has been postponed until 1 April 2021. Taxpayers who missed the payment deadline will not incur the penalty if the tax bill is paid or a payment plan is arranged before 1 April 2021. Interest will still be charged by HMRC, however.
Deferred VAT – new payment schemes
HMRC has recently announced three payment choices for businesses who chose to defer VAT payments between 20 March and 30 June 2020. They are:
- 31 March 2021 – pay the deferred VAT in full
- 21 June 2021 – join the new VAT deferral payment scheme. Here you can pay the amount in interest-free instalments and choose how many instalments to pay over (between 2 and 11)
- 30 June 2021 – agree an alternative arrangement by contacting HMRC
There could be penalties for any businesses that fail to choose one of these options by their deadlines. For more information and to apply, visit HMRC.
Remember, any payment schemes that you agree, grants that you secure, or changes to trading that you anticipate – good or bad – as we emerge from the pandemic can all be entered into CaFE to give you an unparalleled view of how it will affect your cashflow.