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Welcome to Avraam Associates

Avraam Associates are a firm of accountants who pride themselves on giving your business the time and effort it deserves. Blending traditional values with a modern approach, we pride ourselves on the ability to provide your business with personal, forward looking advice, based on your unique requirements. At Avraam Associates, our aim is to help you focus on important business decisions, by simplifying compliance and proactively interacting with you on day to day finance matters.

CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) ADVICE & GUIDANCE

The UK’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) now face unprecedented challenges.

At Avraam Associates we are committed to providing our clients with guidance and support throughout this period of extreme uncertainty.

The UK Government’s response to coronavirus (COVID-19), announced in the Chancellor’s Budget Speech and subsequent briefings, includes measures to protect businesses from the economic impact.

These include a package of measures to support businesses including:

• a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
• deferring VAT and Income Tax payments
• a Statutory Sick Pay relief package for SMEs
• a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses in England
• small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
• grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
• the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank
• a new lending facility from the Bank of England to help support liquidity among larger firms, helping them bridge coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through loans
• the HMRC Time To Pay Scheme

For the latest updates and guidelines from the Government, please visit the GOV.UK website. Here are some useful links:

COVID-19: guidance for employees, employers and businesses

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19

Government support for businesses

For the latest information on the measures announced by the Government to support businesses please refer to the following websites which are updated regularly:

(Updated on 24 March 2020)

https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-support/

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses

Winter Economy Plan

The Chancellor announced a number of further measures on 24 September 2020, including a new Job Support Scheme which will provide support to businesses for some workers’ wages from November following the end of the government’s current furlough scheme on 31 October 2020.

Full details of the Winter Economy Plan can be found at:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/921059/CCS207_CCS0920237970-001_Winter_Economy_Plan_Web_Accessible.pdf

These include a new Job Support Scheme to cover up to 22% of worker pay for six months, extensions to the current Self-Employment Income Support Scheme and loan schemes, VAT and self-assessment deferrals, and a continuation of the reduced VAT rate for the hospitality and tourism sectors.

Job support scheme

Starting from November, the government’s new Job Support Scheme will cover up to 22% of pay for workers in “viable” jobs for the next six months and will replace the current Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme which is due to end on the 31 October 2020. Sunak told MPs the scheme will give businesses that face depressed winter demand the option of keeping employees in a job on shorter hours rather than making them redundant.

Workers would need to work at least a third of their normal hours to qualify.

Employers will pay staff for the hours they work but for the hours they don’t work, the government and the employer will each cover one-third of the lost pay.

The government’s contribution will be capped at £697.92 per month.

Anyone employed as of 24 September 2020 is eligible, and all small and medium-sized businesses can apply, although larger businesses can only use the scheme if their turnover has fallen during the pandemic.

Employers do not have to have used the furlough scheme previously. Large employers are not expected to have been making capital distributions, such as dividend payments or share buybacks while claiming the grant.

Employers retaining furloughed staff on shorter hours can claim both the Job Support Scheme and the Job Retention Bonus of £1,000 per employee, which will be available in February 2021. 

SEISS extension

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will also be extended from November 2020 to April 2021. 

The extension will be in the form of two taxable grants.

The first grant covers businesses affected after 1 November 2020, covering 20% of average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering three months’ worth of profits and capped at £1,875.

More details on the second grant will follow.

VAT support and deferral

To support struggling businesses with cash flow, the Chancellor announced that he will give businesses that deferred VAT due in March to June 2020 the option to spread their payments in 11 equal, interest-free instalments over the financial year 2021/22, rather than pay in full at the end of March 2021.

All businesses that took advantage of the VAT deferral can use the new payment scheme.

Businesses will need to opt-in, but all are eligible.

The temporary VAT reduced rate of 5% for hospitality and tourism will now be extended until 31 March 2021. 

Self-Assessment Tax deferral

Self-assessment taxpayers will also be given more time to pay taxes due in January 2021 which follows on from the self-assessment deferral provided in July 2020.

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. 

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.

https://www.gov.uk/difficulties-paying-hmrc

State Backed Loan Scheme repayment and application extensions

The deadline for new applications to the government’s state-backed loan schemes will be extended until 30 November 2020, and the government is starting work on a new guarantee loan programme to begin in January.

A  Pay As You Grow initiative to help companies repay state-backed business loans has also been announced.

The government will give all businesses that borrowed under the Bounce Back Loan Scheme the option to repay their loan over a period of up to ten years instead of the original six years, thereby reducing their average monthly repayments on the loan by almost half. 

UK businesses will also have the option to move temporarily to interest-only payments for periods of up to six months (an option which they can use up to three times), or to pause their repayments entirely for up to six months (an option they can use once and only after having made six payments). 

The government will also allow Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme lenders to extend the term of a loan up to ten years.

Budget scrapped

In light of the need for the additional support measures outlined above, the Treasury has confirmed that a planned mid-November Budget has been shelved. However, there will be a November Autumn Statement and financial forecast.

The government is expected to revert to a March Budget and Finance Bill pattern, although this is yet to be officially confirmed.

For further information please visit:

(Updated 24 September 2020)

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

(Updated on 13 May 2020)

The government has extended the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to 31 October 2020 and announced the introduction of part time furlough flexibility from 1 July 2020.

Rumours of the government winding down its contribution to the scheme from 80% of workers’ current salaries (up to £2,500) down to 60% proved unfounded.

Instead, the government will wind down its contribution through a ‘return to work transition’.

From 1 July 2020 onwards, furloughed workers will be able to return to work part-time with employers asked to pay a percentage towards the salaries of their furloughed staff.

The Chancellor also confirmed that part-time working will only be permitted for employers “currently using” the scheme.

More specific details around the implementation of the new phase of the scheme will be made available by the end of May.

Updated details can be found via the links below and includes specific guidance for directors and office holders:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/884664/Coronavirus_Job_Retention_Scheme_step_by_step_guide_for_employers.pdf

Government support for employees and the self-employed

(Updated on 26 March 2020)

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme(SEISS)

https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/self-employment-income-support-scheme/

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-guidance-for-employees

HMRC Tax helpline to support businesses

HMRC has a set up a phone helpline to support businesses and self-employed people concerned about not being able to pay their tax due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

Up to 2,000 experienced call handlers are available to support businesses and individuals when needed. If you run a business or are self-employed and are concerned about paying your tax due to coronavirus, you can call the following helpline on 0800 0159 559.

For more information, please check the HMRC website here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/tax-helpline-to-support-businesses-affected-by-coronavirus-covid-19.

Government launches small business loan scheme up to a maximum of £50,000

(Updated 28 April 2020)

Small businesses will be eligible for new loans worth up to £50,000 backed by a 100 per cent government guarantee.

Businesses can apply for a minimum of £2,000 up to a maximum of £50,000, or 25% of business turnover, with the government paying the interest for the first 12 months.

No repayments will be due during the first 12 months.

They can apply from the existing network of accredited lenders using a two-page standard online form with no forward-looking business viability tests or eligibility criteria.

The scheme will open from 9am next Monday (4 May 2020), and according to the Chancellor, most loans will be paid within 24 hours of approval.

Please click on the link below for the Government press release on the scheme:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/small-businesses-boosted-by-bounce-back-loans

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) – GOVERNMENT OVERHAUL ANNOUNCED

(Updated on 3 April 2020)

For loans over £250,000, personal guarantees will be limited to just 20% of any amount outstanding on the CBILS lending after any other recoveries from business assets.

Lenders were already prohibited from asking business owners to put their house on the line, but today’s changes will provide further reassurance regarding personal assets during this difficult time.

In the first instance, businesses should approach their own provider – ideally via the lender’s website. They may also consider approaching other lenders if they are unable to access the finance they need.

The government update on the scheme can be found via the link below:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/chancellor-strengthens-support-on-offer-for-business-as-first-government-backed-loans-reach-firms-in-need

The Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, will enable businesses to apply for a loan of up to £5 million, with the Government covering up to 80% of any losses with no fees.

Businesses can access the first 12 months of that finance interest free, as Government will cover 12 months of interest payments.

Please see the link below for details of how to access the scheme:

https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme-cbils/for-businesses-and-advisors/

ACAS – for more detailed advice on employer responsibilities and best practice:

https://www.acas.org.uk/coronavirus

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