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Where Taxpayers and Advisers Meet
COVID-19 / Coronavirus 17 March 2020 Tax Measures Update for Businesses etc.
18/03/2020, by Lee Sharpe, Tax News - Budgets and Autumn Statements
Rating: 1.5/5 from 2 people

A package of enhanced measures to deal with COVID-19 / Coronavirus was announced by Government on 17 March 2020 including the 12 month postponement of IR35

The Chancellor yesterday announced a range of further measures, in addition to those mentioned less than a week previously in his 11 March Budget Statement: 

  • Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme will increase funding available to each business from £1.2 million to £5 million. Businesses can access the first 6 months of that finance interest free, as Government will cover the first 6 months of interest payments; the Government stands as guarantor to up to 80% of the value of the loan. Further details are to be announced soon, to alleviate concerns that the mechanics of the loan funding will be made available too late for many small businesses. Assistance to secure debts of large businesses has also been enhanced.
  • Ensuring mortgage lenders will agree to provide payment holidays of up to 3 months (although interest will still accrue)
  • Confirmation that the Government's advice to avoid pubs, clubs and theatres, etc., is sufficient for businesses to claim where they have appropriate business interrruption cover
  • Business Rates-related measures:
    • Business Rates Retail Discount to be further increased to 100% for 2020/21 (all retail businesses)
    • Its scope to be increased to all leisure and hospitality sectors for 2020/21
    • Increase from original £3,000 to £10,000 cash grant, to each business eligible for Small Business Rate Relief or Rual Rate Relief (i.e., rateable values up to £15,000 - as most of these businesses would not have benefited from the further reductions in business rates mentioned above)
    • Further £25,000 grants to retail, hospitality and leisure busineses operating from smaller premises with a rateable value over £15,000 (SBRR) but below £51,000

These measures are in addition to, or further enhance, those announced in the 11 March Budget, covering:

  • Enhanced Time to Pay support for tax bills
  • Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) 
  • Easements to Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and Universal Credit

IR35 Roll-Out to Private Sector Postponed to April 2021

Separately, Steve Barclay, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, announced to Parliament that:

"The government is postponing the reforms to the off-payroll working rules, IR35, from 6 April 2020 to 6 April 2021...This is a deferral, not a cancellation, and the government remains committed to reintroducing this policy."

About The Author

Lee is TaxationWeb's Articles & News Editor and writes for TaxationWeb. He is a Chartered Tax Adviser with experience of advising individuals and owner-managed businesses over a broad spectrum of tax matters.
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