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

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Editor’s note: This article has been updated in light of new support available to businesses following national lockdowns coming into force across the UK.

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

The latest support that’s been unveiled is in light of new lockdown restrictions that have been imposed in England, and across the rest of the UK.

New top-up grants are aimed at retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England, while companies in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will have access to additional funding for business support. More details are below.

It can be difficult to keep track of the numerous coronavirus schemes and when you need to take action.

To help you, in this article we provide a timeline, in order of dates occurring soonest – but going all the way through to 2030.

We also provide brief summaries of each scheme.

Coronavirus relief scheme end dates – at a glance

  • Top-up grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses: This support was announced on 5 January 2021. While this is aimed at businesses in England, there’s additional support available to businesses in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. No end date has been revealed yet.
  • Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS): Claims for the third grant from the extended scheme are invited from 30 November 2020 to 29 January 2021. It’s not yet known when applications for the fourth grant will open and close.
  • Coronavirus loan schemes: 31 March 2021 (final application date).
  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Extended (CJRS): 30 April 2021 (this is when the scheme ends for furloughing of employees; the final claim date is not yet known).
  • VAT reduced rate for hospitality and tourism: 31 March 2021.
  • VAT Deferral New Payment Scheme: 31 March 2022.
  • Job Retention Bonus: The original Job Retention Bonus scheme has been cancelled. The government says a new bonus system will be announced, and it will presumably follow the end of the CJRS on 30 April 2021.
  • Enhanced Time to Pay for Self Assessment taxpayers: January 2022 (apply before January 2021).
  • 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:

Top-up grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)

Coronavirus loan schemes

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Extended (CJRS)

VAT reduced rate for hospitality and tourism

VAT Deferral New Payment Scheme

Job Retention Bonus

Enhanced Time to Pay for Self Assessment taxpayers

Pay As You Grow

Tax relief for home working expenses

The government announced that retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England will have access to top-up cash grants in light of new lockdown restrictions, which came into force on 5 January 2021.

The grants will be distributed as follows:

  • £4,000 for businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or under
  • £6,000 for businesses with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
  • £9,000 for businesses with a rateable value of over £51,0007.

Businesses in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will have access to separate funding. Central government is providing additional funding for the devolved administrations to offer additional business support.

Meanwhile, to support those businesses that aren’t eligible for the top-up grants but have been affected by the national lockdown restrictions, an additional £594m is being made available to Local Authorities and the devolved administrations. Those businesses should apply to their Local Authorities to gain access to this support.

End date

The final claim date for the top-up grants hasn’t been announced yet. The same goes for businesses not eligible for the grants but that can access funds from the additional support pot.

What you need to know or do

Contact your Local Authority to find out if your business is eligible for the top-up grants or the additional financial support.

The original Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) ran until the end of October 2020.

It was unexpectedly extended on 22 October 2020, in a scheme referred to as the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme Grant Extension.

It was revised again in October and November 2020 as part of new measures intended to provide cover during the nationwide second lockdown.

The SEISS extension allows those who are self-employed and who use the Self Assessment income tax system to claim two additional grants, lasting three months each and running consecutively.

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

The third grant provides 80% of average monthly trading profits, capped at £7,500. It covers the period 1 October 2020 to 31 January 2021.

The fourth grant amount hasn’t yet been announced but will cover the period 1 February 2021 to 30 April 2021.

End date

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

It’s not yet known when applications will open or close for the fourth (February 2021 to April 2021) grant.

What you need to know or do

The government’s SEISS website contains details of how to apply.

If you haven’t claimed for a SEISS grant before (but are eligible for the grant), you’ll need to provide your Self Assessment Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR), your National Insurance number, and have a Government Gateway user ID and password.

Setting up a Government Gateway ID can take some time because you have to undergo identity checks. This could be several days if you have to undergo an in-person check at a Post Office. You should budget time for this.

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

As part of the Winter Economy Plan, among a host of other measures (see Pay As You Grow, below), the loan application periods were extended and the potential to top-up existing loans to the full permissible amount was added.

End date

31 March 2021 is the date when applications for the coronavirus loans close, following an extension announced by the chancellor on 17 December 2020.

What you need to know or do

To apply for any of the loans, enquire with your existing lenders, assuming they’re accredited as part of the loan scheme.

If not, you might need to approach other lenders.

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

One of the earlier coronavirus relief measures for business, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) concludes on 30 April 2021, after being extended several times.

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.

Initially, it only allowed full-time furloughing. But the second phase also introduced the potential for part-time furlough work patterns.

The latter months of the second phase also required businesses to contribute increasing amounts to the furlough payments.

For the period November 2020 to January 2021, you can claim 80% of furloughed salaries and need to contribute only employer National Insurance and minimum auto-enrolment pension contributions.

In January 2021, the amount of the grant will be reviewed by the government, and businesses may be invited to contribute to the 80%, as they did in August, September and October 2020.

End date

30 April 2021. This is the final date for which employees can be furloughed.

The final claim date for the CJRS has not yet been made public. We’ll update this blog when it’s known.

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 April 2021 should be the final day for a furlough work pattern begun on or before 24 April 2021.

You cannot start a furlough work pattern after this date.

You should then make your final claim before the deadline yet to be announced by the government.

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 Winter Economy Plan, the government extended the deadline for this measure.

End date

31 March 2021.

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 deadline, which might involve updating menus or signage to reflect increased pricing, adjusting receipt printing/invoicing systems, and making changes in your accounting.

If in doubt about how the temporary VAT rate classification should be reverted 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.

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

End date

31 March 2022, although you’ll need to apply before this date.

What you need to know or do

HMRC says it will create a website for applications in early 2021. Check its guidance page for updates.

At that point, you may need to set up a new direct debit to make the payments, as directed.

If you made use of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (JRS; see above) to furlough employees, the government originally said businesses could claim a £1,000 one-off bonus for each employee who works continuously for you between November 2020 and January 2021.

This has now been cancelled, with the government advising that it will “redeploy a retention incentive at the right time”.

The original bonus scheme had three key rules that may or may not be carried forward to the new bonus scheme:

  • You couldn’t have started redundancy procedures with the employee.
  • Employees needed to have been earning an average of at least £520 in each month between certain months before the bonus could be claimed.
  • You needed to have reported all payments made to the employee for the above months before the bonus claim to HMRC through a Full Payment Submission, via the Real Time Information (RTI) system.

End date

The dates for the new bonus are unknown, but it’s likely to follow the end of the CJRS.

What you need to know or do

The government will announce details of a website where you can claim closer to the date above. We’ll update this blog when we know more.

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

However, it’s now 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’ll need to apply before January 2021.

What you need to know or do

Contact HMRC’s Self Assessment Payment Problems helpline and request a Time To Pay plan, as per the Winter Economy Plan announcement.

Do this as soon as possible so the scheme can be set up in time.

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 is letting businesses switch to interest-only payments for periods of up to six months.

Perhaps more importantly, it’s also 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 are granted a loan on the application deadline.

What you need to know or do

As mentioned earlier, to apply for a BBLS, you should initially enquire with your existing lenders, assuming they’re accredited as part of the scheme. If they’re not, you’ll need to approach other lenders.

If you wish to extend the loan for the 10-year period, contact the lender to discuss this.

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.

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 now 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 tax year 2020/21 only, 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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