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A round up of the latest news and updates on the measures introduced by Government to support businesses during the Coronavirus outbreak, as well as practical solutions that can help businesses during these uncertain times.   As new measures are now being announced less frequently, we have now moved to a weekly summary, unless anything significant is announced.  You can still find the latest information on our central Covid-19 Information Hub, which is regularly updated. 



UPDATE - August 2020

  • Job Retention scheme bonus – employers that have previously made claims for furloughed workers will be eligible for a grant of £1,000 for every worker that is continuously employed up to 31 January 2021.  Further details of the claim process are expected in September, but the main condition announced so far is that the employee must have been paid an average of at least £520 a month between 1 November 2020 and 31 January 2021.  Our blog contains more details, and more information can be found within the HMRC guidance here.


UPDATE - 03 June

  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme updates
    On 29 May Rishi Sunak announced a series of changes to the furlough scheme designed to get the country back to work.  The key change announced was that, from 1 July 2020, employees will be able to do some work whilst on furlough, on a part time basis.  This is a welcome change as it will allow businesses to utilise staff part time, whilst still benefiting from furlough grants.  Our blog has been updated for the latest changes, which will make the scheme even more complex from July onwards.  Additional details are expected to be announced 12 June, but we set out the below key points known so far:

    • From 1 July the scheme will allow part-time working, but staff must have been furloughed by 10 June to be eligible.  The scheme will close on 30 June to new furloughed employees. 

    • Claims for the period to 30 June will need to be made by 31 July. 

    • From 1 July, claim periods will no longer be able to overlap months.   

    • From 1 August, the furlough scheme will no longer cover employers NIC or pension contributions. 

    • From September, employers will be asked to contribute at least 10% to furloughed wages, with 70% covered by the grant. 

    • From October, employers will be asked to contribute at least 20% to furloughed wages, with 60% covered by the grant. 

    • The scheme will end on 31 October.

      We are expecting the claim process to become even more complicated and recommend that employers start to consider how they might utilise their staff on a part time basis. 

  • Furlough and Time to Pay Arrangements (interaction)
    Although no official guidance has been issued, we have seen that HMRC have changed their approach to employers arranging a Time To Pay in respect of PAYE, where the employer has received a grant under the CJRS.  In such cases, we understand HMRC are asking employers to pay over at least the PAYE covered by the furlough grant, and only the excess PAYE due can be deferred under a TTP.  We have updated our guidance on this, and any clients wishing to arrange a TTP should get in touch with us if they are unsure how this will impact them. 
  • Update – Self-employed Income Support Scheme extended
    The Chancellor has announced the scheme has now been extended for those individuals whose trade continues to be, or is newly, adversely affected by COVID-19.

    The scheme currently allows eligible self-employed individuals or members of a partnership to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months’ worth of profits, and capped at £7,500 in total. If you are eligible and want to claim the first grant you must make your claim before 13 July 2020.

    The extension will allow those eligible to claim for a second and final taxable grant in August 2020. The final grant will be worth 70% of average monthly trading profits, again paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months’ worth of profits, and capped at £6,570 in total. 

    The online service for the second and final grant is not yet available, HM Revenue and Customs will update the guidance to confirm when the claim portal will be open.

    There has also been a confirmation of the interaction between SSP and furlough. If SSP is “due to be paid” the employee cannot be furloughed until a period of incapacity for work has ended. 

Innovate UK / UK Research and Innovation new grants and loans

  • £210m of new grants and loans for Innovative Businesses – grants and loans for 1,200 businesses of all sizes seeking to fund an innovative project or activities. There are expected to be various ‘Calls’ from Innovate UK and when they are launched the application process is expected to take around one-month.

    Businesses that currently claim R&D tax reliefs are likely to have projects or activities that would likely make them suitable for this support. 

  • £200m of brought forward payments for grants and loans for in progress Innovate UK projects
    Innovate UK representatives have been in touch with their existing 2,500 ‘customers’. Three-month deferrals to existing projects have also already been offered. 

  • £210m of continuity loans 
    SMEs and third sector organisations whose existing Innovate UK projects are at risk due to the impact of Covid-19. 

    • Loans between £250k and £1.6m (available until 31 December 2020 or until all of the funds are allocated).

    • Details can be found here

  • Business advice and support
    Support for 6,000 innovative SMEs in the form of up to five days of specialist growth adviser support from the European Enterprise Network.  Details can be found here 

UK Research and Innovation’s call for short-term innovative projects relating to Covid-19
Projects of up to 18-months long that mitigate the health, social, economic, cultural and environmental impacts of the Covid-19 outbreak Companies can receive funding of 80% for projects aimed at furthering ‘the understanding of, and response to, the Covid-19 pandemic and its impacts.’

Details for how to apply can be found here

Small Business Support Top-up Grants

Local councils have made a range of new top-up grants and loans available to small businesses in response to the COVID-19 situation.  Our separate blog provides details of what grants and loans are available and how to claim 

Sheffield Growth Hub’s ‘Re-start to growth’

'A free support initiative where you will have access to experienced and skilled experts to help assess, plan and restart your business through an agreed programme of intensive support.  This support comprises two full days with an experienced business consultant. Further details can be found online.

Additional Grants

There are a number of smaller support grants available to businesses, including a £5k Salesforce / Enterprise Nation grant for small businesses. Our colleagues at FCS Associates, Sheffield, have provided an excellent summary of grant options available.

Future Fund open is open for applications 

Further details have now emerged of the Governments Coronavirus Future Fund scheme. The scheme provides government loans from £125,000 to £5 million, subject to at least equal match funding from private investors to eligible businesses. 

The main eligibility criteria is that the business must a UK incorporated company and has raised at least £250,000 in equity investment from third-party investors in the last 5 years 

Unlike a typical bank loan, the interest is not payable on a monthly basis and instead will accrue until the loan converts. At this point, the interest and capital will either be repaid or may be converted into equity. 

The scheme is open for applications until the end of September 2020

Covid19 Loans/Grants - State Aid information

HMRC have confirmed that Bounce Back Loans (BBL), Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) are all Notified State Aid schemes. 

In addition to these, Innovate UK Continuity Grants and Loans plus Fast start grants are also Notified State Aid schemes including any paid under Temporary framework or General Block Exemption Regulations. This may affect companies who make Research & Development Tax relief claims if the loan/grant relates specifically to the company’s expenditure incurred on an R&D project, but not if it is providing general support for the company. Contact our R&D Radius team if further information is needed.  

As the government’s ‘Future Fund’ constitutes commercial loans, they therefore do not form part of any Notified State Aid implications. 

UPDATE - 20 May

  • SSP through COVID-19
    The online service you’ll use to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay will be available from 26 May 2020, for more information please follow the link to HMRC guidance.

UPDATE - 13 May

  • Furlough scheme extended
    The Chancellor announced on 12th May that the scheme will be extended to 31 October, bringing a degree of certainty to many employers that have used the scheme to protect jobs.

This is good and welcome news for our clients, and also for the c7.5m workers on furlough, and the c1m businesses that have used the scheme (according to Government statistics).

Although changes are expected to the amount of grant that can be claimed from August, currently there is no detail on this, and in the interim, the grant will remain at 80% of wages, capped at £2,500 per month.

It is also anticipated that, from August, those on furlough will have more flexibility to do some work for their employers, but we will update our summary once we know more. 

  • Self-employed Income Support Scheme
    Further guidance has emerged and HMRC are now contacting taxpayers who may be eligible for the SEISS - this is great news for the self-employed. The online application service has been brought forward and is live from today, however the service is being made available on a staged basis between today and 18 May with payments expected to be made from 25 May or within 6 working days of successful applications if later.  We recommend checking your eligibility for the scheme as soon as possible and please get in touch with Steven Strawther if you have any queries.
  • Back to work guidance
    The Government has issued guidance for 8 different working environments on how to get back to work safely during the Covid-19 pandemic.  For those aiming to get back to work, we recommend considering how this guidance applies to you.
  • CBILS update
    We have currently helped to raise millions of pounds worth of funding under the CBILS scheme. In certain cases, our involvement has helped funding to be increased by 50%-75% higher than initially indicated by the lender.  The message from lenders remains the same - to look at claiming sooner rather than later and to seek support from an adviser where appropriate, to ensure that funding is received without undue delay.

UPDATE - 4 May

  • Furlough update – We’ve been busy filing preparing and submitting furlough grant claims for our clients over the past week.  If you are doing these claims yourself, we would like to share the following with you?
    • Calculations – we have found that there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to the calculations, as they all have bespoke elements depending on the nature of the employer, whether wages are fixed or varied, and whether employees have basic hours.
    • Annual payroll – those individuals who are on annual payrolls (i.e. Directors paid once per year) can only claim under the scheme if they had an RTI for the 19/20 tax year that was submitted on or before 19th March 2020. Those Directors on an annual payroll whose pay was processed at the end of March 2020 will miss out.
    • Be prepared – the HMRC portal does not calculate the grant for you, but just allows users to manually insert the claim. The portal also times out after a period (we are informed 30 minutes), so employers should get all the information ready before accessing.
    • Refunds – our clients are receiving refunds in around 5 working days, in line with target of 4-6 days. If you have made a claim and haven’t received a refund after 10 days you should contact HMRC.

Any employers that are having difficulties making a claim, or would like Shorts to do this for you, get in touch with our Covid-19 Job Retention Scheme team.

For full details of the scheme, see our FAQ blog.

  • Support for company Directors
    Although nothing has yet been announced, there are rumblings in the press that Rishi Sunak is looking into a scheme to support Directors of limited companies that pay themselves by way of dividend (rather than salary). To date, these individuals have, generally, received only a small amount of support from the Covid-19 measures, due to how they are paid. As soon as we know more, we will be in touch with our clients.

  • Summary of Covid-19 measures announced across the Globe
    As many of our readers will be aware, Shorts are part of Praxity, a Global Alliance of like-minded accountancy firms. Our friends at Praxity have summarised the different Covid-19 business support measures announced by Countries around the World. If you have operations overseas, or are considering overseas operations in the future, we can coordinate advice from across the Globe.
  • Bounce Back Scheme
    Some of the UKs smaller businesses could benefit from 100% guarantees on loans of up to £50,000 under the new 'Bounce Back Scheme'.   
    This is undoubtedly good news for the UKs smaller businesses, offering a lifeline, in particular, to many of the retail and hospitality businesses that have been forced to close their doors under the lockdown restrictions.

  • Business Grants – £617m of additional grants to be released by local authorities to small businesses
    The government have announced additional funding to help small business (with fewer than 50 employees) with fixed property costs (such as rent) which have experienced a drop in income due to the Covid-19 restriction measures. Three grants of (1) up to £10k, (2) £10k or (3) £25k will be provided by local authorities and will cover businesses that are not subject to Business Rates. Priority will be given to businesses operating in shared spaces, market traders and bed and breakfast (that pay Council Tax instead of Business Rates).

Details will be announced by local authorities in due course (check the links below) and initial information about the grants can be found on the government website.

  • Business Grants for Properties - £10k and £25k - update
    The government have noted that only 61% of the funding allocated to local authorities for these grants have been paid out by local authorities, meaning there are a number of businesses still either waiting for their payments or are yet to apply. If your business’s property/properties are subject to Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR), Rural Rates Relief (RRR) or operate in the Service, Leisure or Hospitality sectors, your business may be eligible for a grant of £10k or £25k. We advise that businesses which haven’t looked into this do so now.  For more details visit our blog.

  • Innovate UK – detail of £550m of new funding

Following the announcement by the government of additional funding for Innovative businesses, details of the new grants or loans are not yet released but they expected to be soon. Further information can be found on the government website. When the grants or loans are released details will be here.



  • £25,000 loans with 100% government guarantees.

  • CBILS Funding to support innovative businesses
    A new Future Fund to support the UK’s innovative businesses currently affected by Covid-19 was announced last week. Some businesses have been unable to access other government business support programmes, such as CBILS, because they are either pre-revenue or pre-profit and typically rely on equity investment. The scheme will deliver an initial commitment of £250m of new government funding which will be unlocked by private investment on a match funded basis.
    The intention is that this will be launched in May. Details on how to apply are to be announced shortly.

  • Further accredited lenders introduced under the CIBLS.  See full list



  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme extended to 30 June and portal has gone live – The Chancellor has announced an extension of the scheme to 30 June, in response to the Lockdown measures being extended.  This is welcome news as it provides a degree of certainty for those businesses with employees on furlough. 

The portal to make the claim has gone live today (20th April) and the first claims have been processed.  The key message on this is that the portal does not allow claims to be saved, and employers must have all details ready before making the claim.     

Guidance has been published by HMRC to help calculate the grant available, which highlights that there are a significant level of nuances to consider when making the claims.  There is also a smaller Step by Step guide published by HMRC.  This also confirms a few of the queries regarding the interaction with holiday pay.  See our blog here for details.   

We have contacted our clients separately to check whether they require any support from Shorts in processing the claims. If you have not received an email in respect of this, or would like our support, please email the Covid-19 JRS team at covid-jrs@shorts.uk.com  

  • Support for Start-ups and Innovative Businesses –  

The Government has released plans to support start-ups businesses in the form of matched investment to the combined value of £500m via the new ‘Future Fund' for businesses previously in receipt of private equity investment

The Future Fund offers loans of between £125,000 and £5m per business to assist with working capital and will launch mid- May. The state-backed loans will be convertible to equity in the event of the loans not being repaid within three years and are conditional of the business having received at least £250,000 of private sector investment over the previous five years, and provided that private sector investors are willing to match the value. 

Additionally, Innovate UK will be providing £750m of funding to Research and Development focused SMEs via grants and loans. This support will comprise £550m of offered support for existing Innovate UK supported businesses. An additional £175,000 will be offered to around 1,200 businesses not currently in receipt of Innovare UK funding. Whilst £200m of already committed grant and loan payments from Innovate UK will be, on an opt-in basis for businesses, accelerated to existing Innovate UK customers. Details can be found on the government website.

Digital and tech businesses are the businesses most likely to benefit from this new support. 

  • Businesses Producing PPE –  

Both Sheffield Business Response Group and the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) have launched appeals for manufacturing and technology businesses that may be able to switch production activities to make Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) for the NHS. 

Meanwhile, we are delighted to hear how a number of our clients are already manufacturing PPE equipment, taking an innovative approach to their existing manufacturing processes. 

  • Grants received –  

We are pleased to hear that a number of businesses either benefiting from Small Business Rates Relief and/or operate in the Leisure, Hospitality and Service sectors have already received their £10k or £25k grants from their respective local authorities. Claims are still being processed and we advise all applicable businesses which haven’t claimed to do so now. Further details can be found in our blog


  • Furlough / Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – GO LIVE DATE 20 APRIL
    Late on Thursday 9th April, HMRC announced more detail of how the CJRS claim process will work:
    • The claim portal will open on 20th April, with first payments being due on 30 April.
    • Future claims will be paid in around 4-6 days
    • Employers will be able to access the system using their current government gateway login
    • The first claim can include furlough costs backdated to 1 March.
    • HMRC will expect claims to be made around the same time as payrolls are run, but not more than 14 days before.
    • File-only agents and payroll bureaus will not be able to access the service
    • Tax agents authorised to act for PAYE matters will be able to file claims on behalf of their clients  

Further guidance on how to use the system is expected this week, but the key message to employers is to check they can access their government gateway, and ensure their adviser has HMRC agent authorisation. We will be writing to clients individually asking whether they wish for us to process claims on their behalf, and we have updated our guidance.
The Government have also issued a useful video on the key points relating to the CJRS.

  • Sheffield Businesses Council Tenants – Deferral of Rent and Service Charges to 30 June 2020
    Sheffield City Council are allowing businesses that rent retail or office space from the Council to defer rent and service charge payments until 30 June 2020.

    Businesses are required to contact the council at the following email address should they wish to apply for this discretionary deferral: propertyservices@sheffield.gov.uk.  Applications will be considered in respect of a business’s current circumstances (including whether it has been required to close by Government) and further information can be found through this link

    This is in addition to the Council’s suspension of arrears enforcement action for an initial 3 month period.
  • Grants for business properties 
    We are seeing these grants being paid to our clients, but for those that have not yet done so, we are strongly encouraging businesses benefitting from Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR) or Rural Rates Relief (RRR), or for businesses paying Business Rates on properties in the Hospitality, Leisure and Service sectors, to register with their local authorities as soon as possible so as to obtain the £10,000 and £25,000 grants that are now available to them. Details and links to the online forms for the various authorities can be found in our blog:

  • Self-employed income support scheme
    Some changes were announced to this, and we have updated our guidance.


  • Furlough / Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme [FURTHER DETAILS ANNOUNCED] – Further details were announced by Government over the weekend, including:
    • The online portal to make the claim is still not yet open – expected end of April.
    • Directors can be included in the scheme, but only if they do no work for the company other than performing their statutory duties.  If any services are provided, or revenue generating work is undertaken, then the furlough grant cannot be claimed.  The grant will only be based on salary, so will have limited benefit to many Shareholder Directors. 
    • The guidance says the employer “should make your claim using the amounts in your payroll” and “if appropriate, worker’s wages should be reduced to 80% of their salary within your payroll before they are paid”.  We take this to mean that employees should be paid through the payroll “as normal”, but subject to a reduced amount if applicable.  The grant is then made separately. 
    • Employees can be furloughed multiple times, but each separate instance must be for a minimum period of 3 consecutive weeks.  The guidance does indicate that employees can work for another employer whilst on furlough, and still benefit from the scheme.
    • The guidance indicates that an employee can be furloughed from the date they had no work to perform (the date they are notified is not important).  This means that if the decision is taken from 31 March that an employee will be placed on furlough from 6 April, the relevant period starts on 6 April.  It is not entirely clear if this is intended to apply the other way around, but we take this to mean that, if an employee is sent home with no work on 31 March, but is not notified they are on furlough until 6 April, the grant can be claimed from 31 March
    • The employer must get confirmation of furlough status in writing and retain evidence of this for 5 years (indicating perhaps HMRC will have a 5-year window to “enquire” into claims).
    • Employees on National Minimum Wage can benefit from the furlough grant.  Paying these individuals 80% of wages does not breach NMW regulations, as the individual is doing no work. 
    • Overtime is now specifically mentioned in the guidance, and it indicates that the grant can include regular payments made to employees, including past overtime.  It is not yet clear what this means. 

We have updated our FAQs and the Gov guidance can be found here



  • CBILS update – further changes to the scheme have been announced, which should encourage lenders to be more forthcoming.  Our message is that these loans may start to become easier to obtain, so businesses wishing to take advantage should get in touch with their current lender. We are however hearing of applications failing where small business owners are applying for finance without seeking any advice. Lenders are dealing with an unprecedented volume of applications. The general advice in the lending market is to lean on your advisors before submitting in order that the application is robust and easy to process, leading to a quicker decision with the best chance of success. We are here to help!

The changes for the CBILS announced today include:

    • Smaller businesses who would have previously met the requirements for a commercial facility (and therefore not met the criteria for CBILS), are now eligible for CBILS
    • More accredited lenders are to be introduced to the scheme
    • No guarantees required for loans valued < £250,000 from all lenders
    • Loans with a value > £250,000, personal guarantees limited to a maximum of 20% of any amount outstanding after other recoveries from business assets
    • The conditions for businesses to have already been rejected for a loan before applying have been removed
  • Managing cash – We have put together our suggestions for businesses to help manage cash during these uncertain times.  See our blog on monitoring Cashflow.
  • Pensions auto-enrolment and Job Retention Scheme – we have updated our JRS FAQ for our latest understanding of how pensions auto-enrolment contributions will work alongside the Job Retention Scheme (furloughed workers).  Our understanding is that the Government will only cover the pension contribution if the employee has not opted out.
  • Relaxation of Making Tax Digital for VAT requirements – it is a requirement under the new Making Tax Digital processes that where data used in preparing the VAT return is transferred from one piece of software to another this should be via digital links, not a manual transfer.  To allow businesses to establish a method for doing so HMRC had permitted manual transfer of data to be utilised until 31 March 2020.  This ‘soft landing period’ has now been extended to 31 March 2021.


  • Central Hub – we have pulled all our resources together into one central “Hub”, which can be accessed here.  We also continue to include regular daily updates here.

  • Directors and furlough JRS – although no official guidance has been released, it has been reported that limited company directors, even if they're the only employee, can be placed on furlough.  However, this would only cover salary, and not dividends. Technically the Director could not do any work for the business, although we understand that they can continue to perform their statutory director's duties.


  • VAT & Income Tax deferral (clarifications) - Some clarifications have been issued by Government in respect of VAT and Income Tax deferral:
    • VAT – It has been confirmed that no interest or penalties will be charged on deferred VAT payments (previously there was some ambiguity here), and that Taxpayers will have until 31 March 2021 to settle the deferred payments.  This is a welcome clarification, and businesses should consider taking advantage of this deferral.  Those wishing to take advantage of this support measure should cancel their Direct Debit mandates.    
    • Income Tax –   Previously it was indicated that only tax payments on account from self-employed profits could be deferred from 31 July 2020 to 31 January 2021.  However, it has been clarified that ANY income tax payments on account due 31 July 2020 can be deferred to 31 January 2021 with no interest or penalties.  Again, those wishing to take advantage of this support measure should cancel their Direct Debit mandates.

We have updated our VAT deferral summary 

  • Wrongful trading - The Government has announced wrongful trading laws are to be suspended to protect directors who pay staff and suppliers during the Covid-19 pandemic.  

  • Company owners and JRS – We have had lots of questions from director/shareholders to confirm whether they can be “furloughed” and benefit from the 80% wage grant.  As we understand things currently, it may be possible for Directors to be furloughed, although only salary would qualify, and not dividends. 

  • CBILS – The big four banks have now agreed that businesses applying for loans (as part of the CBILS) under the value of £250,000 will no longer need to give personal guarantees.

UPDATE - 26 March

  • CBILS – We are seeing that some banks are asking for a Personal Guarantee before CBILS funding is being made available, although there is increasing public pressure to remove such guarantees and standardise the packages across the banking sector. The message here is to act quickly! Cash from the Job Retention Scheme is currently not expected to be circulated until the middle of May; therefore, there may be a real requirement for cash now and businesses need to understand their short term cash position quickly and present their application to the bank in the best possible way. We have produced a list of FAQs with additional details on the scheme, but you can speak to a member of our Genus team or Corporate Finance team for help.

  • Estate agents – Estate agents, letting agents and Bingo Halls that have had to close due to the Covid-19 outbreak will be eligible for a 100% discount for Business Rates for the 2020-21 period.  Local Councils will coordinate, raising new assessments (and refunding payments already made).  See more information.  

  • Accounts filing extension– As of 25th March 2020 Companies will be able to apply for a 3-month extension to file their company accounts. Normally an automatic fine would be placed on any company that filed their accounts late with Companies House, although this will not apply, providing the extension is applied for in advance. - See more information.   We recommend that companies continue to file their accounts as normal throughout this process as failing to do so may have a detrimental impact on their credit ratings and ability to apply for additional finance if required.
  • Self-employedsee our latest updates on the support available.

  • Statutory Sick PaySee our FAQs guide.

UPDATE - 25 March

  • VAT deferral - HMRC has updated its COVID-19 VAT guidance to say: “Customers who normally pay by direct debit should cancel their direct debit with their bank if they are unable to pay. Please do so in sufficient time so that HMRC do not attempt to automatically collect on receipt of your VAT return.” – see our guidance.

UPDATE – 24 March

  • Statutory self-employment pay -The Government is pushing through a statutory instrument that will likely see the self-employed have their earnings topped up to 80% of their average net monthly declared earnings over the last 3 years with a ceiling of £2,917 per month - more details
  • Commercial Rent Holidays and Government Support – Current legislation going through Parliament is set to give security to businesses struggling to cover commercial rent during the Covid-19 pandemic. The paper is set to make it impossible for commercial landlords to evict tenants who have missed rent payments for the next 3 months (to June 2020) with scope to increase this duration if deemed necessary.

    It is hoped that tenants and landlords can come to voluntary agreements over rent during this period, but the new legislation will be there to protect businesses. The Government is aware of the stress this could put on landlords cashflow and are said to be in contact with these businesses; this is expected to feed into mortgage breaks for landlords with their specific banks/financial institutions.  More detail is expected in due course. - See current information available

  •  Practical tip for all Shorts Fee Protection subscribers - Clients who have subscribed to our Professional Fee Protection service, which covers professional fees in the event of an HMRC investigation, also have unlimited access to a legal support helpline. The team are fully briefed to support legal questions related to COVID-19 and help guide you through this difficult period.

    Please contact Steven Strawther for more information.

UPDATE – 23 March (Updates over the weekend and from Friday 20th) 

  • Coronavirus Job Retention scheme - Backdated to 1 March, all UK businesses are eligible for grant of up to 80% of an employee’s wage (up to £2,500 per month) where designated as “furloughed worker” (not laid off).   

Employers will need to notify employees of this change, and this remains subject to employment law and, depending on the employment contract, subject to negotiation.   

Businesses will need to submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings through a new online portal (details tbc). 

See our FAQs for more details on the Coronavirus Job Retention scheme

Job Retention Scheme FAQs

  • VAT and Self-Assessment deferral - Any VAT payments due between 20 March and 30 June can deferred (with Taxpayers having to the end of the 2020/21 Tax year to pay).   

For self-employed individuals, Self-Assessment payments on account due 31 July 2020 can be deferred until 31 January 2021. 

There is no claim required to benefit from either of these options – the deferral is automatic (where desired).  However, interest will still be charged if payments are not made.     

  • CBILS – This will now be interest free for 12 months (up from the initial six months, as first announced). Further guidance from the British Business Bank on how CBILS will be delivered has been announcedAccredited lenders list provided and finance terms for the various facilities provided.  


  • IR35 delayed – changes to the IR35 rules, due to come into force from April 2020, have been postponed for a year due to the outbreak.   
  • CBILS - Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) to be made available to businesses totalling £330 billion. Loans of between £1.2m - £5m to be made interest free for the first months. 
  • Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) Refund - Businesses with less than 250 employees can reclaim SSP paid for up to 2 weeks sickness absence due to Coronavirus.  A rebate scheme is in development, but employers should keep a log of employees who are sick due to Coronavirus.  - See more information
  • HMRC Time to Pay (TTP)- The staff at HMRC designated to TTP arrangements have been increased in light of the Coronavirus.  A TTP allows businesses to make a formal arrangement with HMRC for tax payments to be spread over a longer period of time than they would otherwise be due HMRC announced “If you have missed a tax payment or you might miss your next payment due to COVID-19, please call HMRC’s dedicated helpline: 0800 0159 559

Support for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Businesses 

  • Business rates holiday in England for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Businesses: 
  • Pay no business rates in the 2020/21 period where business premises are used as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues; those used for assembly and leisure; and hotels, guest & boarding premises and self-catering accommodation - See further details and a more extensive list of categories. 
  • This holiday will be applied automatically for the 2020/21 Council Tax period and no action is required by applicable businesses. 

Cash grants in England for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure businesses 

  • £10,000 grant per property for businesses in these sectors for properties with a rateable value of below £15,000 or a £25,000 grant per property for businesses in these sectors for properties with a rateable value of between £15,000-£51,000. 
  • Applicable where business premises are used as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues; those used for assembly and leisure; and hotels, guest & boarding premises and self-catering accommodation - See here further details and a more extensive list of categories.
  • Local authorities will write to each applicable business to notify them of their eligibility. At present, 23/03/2020, local authorities are yet to release guidance or details of timeframe with regards to the payments but this is expected soon. 

One-off grant for businesses in England that pay little or no business rates 

  • £10,000 additional grant for businesses that already receive Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR) or Rural Rate Relief (RRR). 
  • Local authorities will write to each applicable business to notify them of their eligibility. At present (23/03/2020) local authorities are yet to release guidance or details of timeframe with regards to the payments but this is expected soon. 




Please do get in touch with your normal Shorts contact to talk things through, or one of our Covid-19 support coordinators (David Robinson, Scott Burkinshaw or Martin Dean). 

Please be assured that we are ready to help.

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David Robinson

As a Tax Partner, I advise clients on all aspects of UK tax, ranging from business taxes, transactions and private client matters, helping to achieve the objectives and aspirations of businesses and their owners.

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