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Coronavirus financial support timeline: How you can apply and when the schemes end

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The government has created many coronavirus (COVID-19) response measures to help businesses.

Some of these were recently extended in the 2021 Budget, delivered by the chancellor in March.

We’ve written about the budget already here on Sage Advice, and also about its new coronavirus relief measures for businesses.

You should view those blogs in the first instance because they detail additional coronavirus support measures not discussed here because they have no time limits, such as loans and rates relief.

However, it can be difficult to keep track of the numerous coronavirus schemes that do have dates you must meet.

You need to know when you should take action.

To help you, in this article we provide an up-to-date timeline, in order of dates occurring soonest – but going all the way through to 2030. We will continue to update it in the future if and when new coronavirus relief measures are announced.

We also provide brief summaries of each scheme.

Coronavirus relief scheme end dates – at a glance

  • Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS): Claims for the fourth grant are invited from late April 2021 until 31 May 2021. It’s not yet known when applications for the fifth grant will open and close.
  • Coronavirus loan schemes: You can apply for the Recovery Loan Scheme until 31 December 2021.
  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS): Claims must be made by 11.59pm on the 14 day of each month following the payroll the CJRS contributed to (with the exception of August 2021, when it’s the 16th day). Therefore, the final CJRS September 2021 payroll contribution must be claimed by 11.59pm on 14 October 2021.
  • VAT reduced rate for hospitality and tourism: 31 March 2022 is when the full VAT rate must be resumed; 30 September 2021 is when the 12.5% rate can be used.
  • VAT Deferral New Payment Scheme: You must apply for the scheme by 21 June 2021, and 31 March 2022 is potentially the final payment date.
  • Enhanced Time to Pay for Self Assessment taxpayers: January 2022 (although it is no longer possible to apply).
  • Pay As You Grow: As late as November/December 2030.
  • Tax relief for home working expenses: No end date has been mentioned.

Coronavirus relief scheme end dates – in depth

Below, you can find more details on the schemes and their end dates:

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)

Coronavirus loan schemes

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)

VAT reduced rate for hospitality and tourism

VAT Deferral New Payment Scheme

Enhanced Time to Pay for Self Assessment taxpayers

Pay As You Grow

Tax relief for home working expenses

The original Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) ran until the end of October 2020, at which time it had offered two grants. It then was extended twice, at which point a third and fourth grant was announced.

In March 2021, it was extended again – for what will probably be the final time –in the 2021 Budget. This allows for a single fifth grant.

The SEISS allows those who are self-employed and who use the Self Assessment income tax system to claim grants.

These are intended to augment earnings, meaning you can continue to work and still claim.

The third and fourth grants provide 80% of average monthly trading profits, capped at £7,500.

The fourth grant covers the period 1 February 2021 to 30 April 2021.

That fifth grant will be available for the five-month period covering May to September 2021.

Eligibility for the fifth instalment will be based on your decline in turnover because of coronavirus. HMRC will contact you about this. There are two potential tiers available:

  • Decline of 30% of more: In this case, the fifth instalment is the same as with the third and fourth grants. These individuals will continue to be able to claim 80% of their three months’ average trading profits, capped again at £7,500.
  • Decline of less than 30%: These individuals will be able to claim 30% of their three months’ average trading profits, capped at £2,850.

End date

Claims for the third grant opened on 30 November 2020 and closed on 29 January 2021.

Claims for the fourth grant will open from late April 2021 until 31 May 2021.

It’s not yet known when applications will open or close for the fifth grant.

What you need to know or do

The government’s SEISS website contains details of how to apply. For the fourth and fifth grants, and if you haven’t already applied for an SEISS grant, HMRC will be phoning you by mid-April to discuss the matter.

They will write to you first.

As part of the coronavirus relief offerings, the government created several loan schemes to provide guaranteed loans at attractive interest rates.

These have now been closed, in favour of a single loan scheme called the Recovery Loan Scheme.

This lets businesses apply for loans from commercial lenders that are once again 80% guaranteed by the government.

Loans are available for amounts between £25,001 and £10m for term loans and overdrafts, and between £1,000 and £10m for invoice finance and asset finance.

The loans are open to almost every business type except banks, building societies, insurers, and reinsurers (excluding insurance brokers, which can apply).

End date

Loans opened for applications on 6 April 2021, and close on 31 December 2021.

What you need to know or do

To apply for a loan, start by visiting the the British Business Bank website to learn more about the scheme and determine which lenders are accredited as part of it.

If your usual bank isn’t on the list, you can still approach the other lenders.

Note that lenders only have a certain amount of government-guaranteed cash that they’re lending as part of the loan scheme, so it’s often necessary to shop around to find a deal.

One of the earliest coronavirus relief measures for business, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has been extended several times.

Most recently it was extended in the 2021 Budget all the way through to the end of September 2021.

The scheme allows businesses to furlough staff in response to lower demand while being able to claim back a percentage of their usual salary for the furloughed hours/days.

In fact, the latest extension means it’s theoretically possible for some employees to have been furloughed at home continuously for over a year and a half.

Although the CJRS initially only allowed full-time furloughing, this was adjusted in mid-2020 to include part-time work patterns that help fit with business reopening and availability.

Until 30 June 2021, the CJRS will continue to pay 80% of furloughed worker salaries for hours not worked, with businesses continuing to pay the employer National Insurance and minimum mandatory pension contributions.

From July 2021 onwards, businesses are required to contribute to the salary for the furloughed hours. This will be 10% for July 2021, and then 20% in both August and September 2021.

This will be on top of the aforementioned National Insurance and pension contributions.

End date

The final CJRS grant covers payrolls up to 30 September 2021. This is the final date for which employees can be furloughed.

The final claim date for this payroll is 14 October 2021.

What you need to know or do

Bearing in mind the work pattern you agree with the employee must last a minimum of seven calendar days, this means 30 September 2021 should be the final day for a furlough work pattern begun on or before 23 September 2021.

You cannot start a furlough work pattern after this date.

You should then make your final claim before 14 October 2021.

Remember that, to make a claim, you’ll need to provide supporting documentation, such as details of each furloughed employee, or a spreadsheet listing them.

Coronavirus and your business

We’ve gathered information and resources to help navigate this situation, including tools and webinars, to help you understand what financial support is available.

Find out more

As part of the initial coronavirus relief measures, the government reduced the VAT rate classification for certain goods and services within the hospitality and tourism industry.

This meant businesses could apply a reduced 5% rate of VAT to supplies of food and non-alcoholic drinks consumed on their premises, or hot takeaway food/non-alcoholic drink, and to holiday accommodation.

In the 2021 Budget, delivered in March 2021, the government once again extended this measure, and introduced a new temporary rate that will help ease businesses back to the full rate.

End date

31 March 2022 is the date when the full rate of VAT should be applied. Until then the 5% reduced rate can be used.

However, on 30 September 2021, a new 12.5% should be applied and then used until 31 March 2022. At that point, the standard VAT rate should be used.

For flat rate VAT users, the rates are also discounted, as we discuss in our article looking at coronavirus measures in the Budget.

What you need to know or do

If your business is eligible, you’ll most likely already be applying the reduced VAT rate.

You should prepare for the arrival of the 12.5% rate, which might involve updating menus or signage to reflect increased pricing, adjusting receipt printing/invoicing systems, and making changes in your accounting.

And then, subsequently, you should prepare for resumption of the full VAT rate.

If in doubt about how the temporary VAT rates should be applied in your accounting software, speak to your accountant, tax expert or software vendor via its support helpline well ahead of time.

As part of the initial coronavirus relief measures, the government allowed VAT-registered businesses to defer their VAT due for the March to June 2020 period, interest-free.

The payment could be delayed until March 2021 but in the Winter Economy Plan, the chancellor announced this payment can now be spread across the 2021/22 fiscal year.

End date

You have until 21 June 2021 to apply to repay by instalments. Obviously, the later you apply to repay then the fewer repayments you will have, and the higher your instalments will be.

Alternatively, you can pay your VAT deferral amount in full by 31 March 2021.

It’s worth adding that you can also apply for extra help to pay, via the existing Time To Pay scheme, in which case the deadline is 30 June 2021.

This means that you arrange a special and bespoke repayment plan with HMRC.

What you need to know or do

The government has opened the portal for the New Payment Scheme for VAT deferral amounts, by which you can apply to repay by instalments.

Previously, the government allowed people who use Self Assessment to defer any payment due in July 2020 until January 2021.

However, it was then possible to pay this bill, plus January 2021’s tax bill, across 12 months using HMRC’s existing Time To Pay facility.

End date

January 2022 is when you’ll make the final payment, but you needed to have applied before January 2021.

What you need to know or do

You’re too late to apply to use this scheme, but it’s worth once gain mentioning that the Time to Pay scheme is always available as an option if you have trouble paying your tax – albeit at the discretion of HMRC.

Contact HMRC’s Self Assessment Payment Problems helpline and request a Time To Pay plan.

The government announced the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) as part of its initial coronavirus relief measures.

In addition to the extension for applications mentioned above, the government announced it would let businesses switch to interest-only payments for periods of up to six months.

Perhaps more importantly, it also said it was extending its backing of loans for up to 10 years, meaning businesses can choose to repay the loan over that period.

End date

As late as November/December 2030, if you were granted a loan on the application deadline.

What you need to know or do

If you have a BBLS then your lender will already have communicated this to you but, if not, enquire with it.

Note that the use of Pay As You Grow will not affect your business’ credit rating.

Those who were forced to work from home because of coronavirus can claim tax relief for additional household costs for both the 2020/21 and 2021/22 tax years.

Claims such as this have always been possible for home workers, even before the coronavirus outbreak.

In normal years, the tax relief could only be claimed if your employer required you to work from home – if your contract of employment stated that you were home-based, for example.

However, due to the coronavirus disruption, and the temporary move by many businesses to require home working, this relief can be used by those who’ve had to work from home because of the disruption that was brought to their usual workplace.

In addition, for the 2020/21 and 2021/22 tax years tax years, HMRC has made a concession that taxpayers can claim a full year’s relief (52 weeks) even if they were only required to work from home for as little as one day.

In normal years, relief can only be claimed for the actual number of whole weeks worked at home.

Employees who are working from home can claim the actual costs for the dedicated space they use for their work.

Calculating this can be complex.

To simplify the claim process, HMRC has published a working from home value, which it permits workers to use as the costs for working from home without needing to do any calculations or provide evidence of actual costs.

The allowance that can be claimed without further evidence was raised to £6 per week from 6 April 2020, compared to £4 a week in previous years.

If you decide to claim for actual costs, you can claim for the likes of additional costs in your utility bills, household insurance, and phone calls necessitated by home working.

Unfortunately, you can’t claim for things you would be paying in any event, such as mortgage/rent, or for your broadband connection.

Additionally, if you’ve bought equipment specifically to facilitate home working then you may be able to claim them as business expenses in the usual way on your Self Assessment tax return.

You can claim for the home working tax relief in two ways:

  • Using a flat rate of £6 a week from 6 April 2020, which is calculated based on your rate of tax. For example, if you’re a basic rate taxpayer, you can claim 20% of this – £1.20 per week. Claiming this way means you don’t need to provide evidence of the extra costs.
  • For the exact amount of extra costs. But you’ll need to keep the paperwork and submit a Self Assessment claim (such as receipts, bills or contracts).

End date

There is currently no end date for the extension to the scheme to cover forced home-working because of coronavirus.

What you need to know or do

You can claim the relief using your Self Assessment tax return.

If you don’t complete a Self Assessment form – for example, you’re employed full time via PAYE – you can still claim via the government’s website, which launched on 1 October 2020.

This will adjust your tax code, meaning you receive the relief as a reduction in the tax you pay each via PAYE each month.

Conclusion on coronavirus support

The administrative requirements of utilising coronavirus relief schemes can be an additional burden for businesses to contend with. But making note of the dates above in your calendar will help.

Remember to add calendar reminders a few weeks beforehand too, so you have plenty of time to prepare where necessary.

Editor’s note: This article was first published on 2 December 2020 and has been updated for relevance.

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