COVID-19 Government Schemes
Updates to share with you regards to the following two support initiatives announced by Government recently:
- Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)
- Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS)
Self-Employment Income Support Scheme
If you think you are eligible for this scheme, you could receive a taxable grant up to £7,500. This week HMRC launched an online tool which allows you to check if you can make a claim at the following link: https://www.tax.service.gov.uk/self-employment-support/enter-unique-taxpayer-reference
Just simply enter your Unique Taxpayer Reference number (UTR) and National Insurance number and the tool will provide you with a simple answer: Yes you are eligible, or no you are not. Please note, unfortunately HMRC have confirmed that tax agents and accountants are not able to make claims on our clients’ behalf, unlike the Job Retention Scheme.
If you have an existing GOV.UK or Personal Tax Account you should be able submit your claim through this. The good news is the portal opens on 13th May, however access appears to be staggered giving different categories of tax payers access at different times. Once approved, HMRC anticipate claims will be turned around within 6 working days, with first payments being made from 25th May onwards.
If you don’t already have a Personal Tax Account we recommend that you register for one before the portal opens to allow for a speedier claim process, you can do so through the following link: https://www.gov.uk/personal-tax-account
Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS)
Launched officially on 4th May with almost 70,000 loans, worth £2.1bn, approved on the first day according to Government figures. The Bounce Back Loan Scheme is designed to help individuals and businesses who have been unable, or unwilling, to access the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).
The primary advantages of the BBLS are that:
- It offers a 100% Government backed loan guarantee
- It is interest-free for the first 12 months (the Government pays this)
- It is repayment-free for the first 12 months
- Interest is fixed at 2.5% p.a.
- The lender cannot enforce the loan against “personal” assets [such as the main home, personal vehicle]
As with all borrowing/lending decisions, there are various fundamental issues to consider.
Applicants will not need to meet any affordability requirements however this means that, for loans under £25,000, there will be no protection under the Consumer Credit Act 1974. Find out more here.
The borrower must be able to self-assess and declare to the lender whether:
- it was not already “in difficulty” at 31 December 2019
- it is impacted by coronavirus
- it is trading and derives more than 50% of income from trading
As with all decisions to apply for funding, the borrower will need to consider the risk to the business and, for unincorporated businesses, the risk to personal assets; and whether, in view of the risks, the borrower considers it a sound commercial decision to seek such a loan.
We continue to be available to help support our clients with regards to the above, and other, Government supported schemes. Please contact Andrew or one of the team should you need assistance.
Above all stay safe