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Tourism and hospitality VAT cut

Support for businesses paying tax

VAT deferral

Delaying import duty payments

Deferral of Self-Assessment payment

Business rates relief

Small Business Bonus Scheme

Relaxation of planning enforcement

Support for business water bills

Filing accounts with Companies House

Insolvency law amendments

Gender pay gap reporting

IR35 delay

Guidance for UK businesses trading internationally

Tourism and hospitality VAT cut

The government made an announcement on 8 July 2020 allowing VAT registered businesses to apply a temporary 5% reduced rate of VAT to certain supplies relating to:

  • hospitality
  • hotel and holiday accommodation
  • admissions to certain attractions

The temporary reduced rate will apply to supplies that are made between 15 July 2020 and 12 January 2021.

More information can be found here.

Support for businesses paying tax

All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service. These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities.

You can access this support now, here.

More information can be found here.

VAT deferral

UK VAT-registered businesses will not need to make VAT payments normally due with VAT returns due between March 20, 2020 and June 30, 2020. Taxpayers will be given until March 31, 2021 to pay any liabilities that have accumulated during the deferral period. VAT refunds and reclaims will be paid by the government as normal.

This is an automatic offer with no applications required.

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.

More information can be found here.

Delaying import duty payments

HMRC have released guidance on how to request an extension to the payment period for import duty/import VAT payments. Deferment is not automatic and requires immediate action. HMRC’s have confirmed that contact lines will be staffed over the bank holiday weekend to deal with requests:

Duty deferment account holders - Duty deferment account holders who are experiencing severe financial difficulty as a result of Covid-19 and who are unable to make payment of deferred customs duties and import VAT due on April 15, 2020 can contact HMRC for approval to enter into an extended period to make full or partial payment, without having their guarantee called upon or their deferment account suspended. The account holder should contact the Duty Deferment Office 03000 594243 or by email cdoenquiries@hmrc.gov.uk or the COVID-19 helpline on 0800 024 1222. Account holders will be asked to provide an explanation of how Covid-19 has impacted their business finances and cash flow.

Duty Deferment account holders will be able to use their accounts during the extended payment period agreed unless they default on a subsequent payment in that period, in which case HMRC may consider suspending their account. The outstanding payment will not affect their duty deferment limit so they will not need to increase their guarantee to cover the outstanding payment. Where HMRC agree to an extended payment period, interest will not be charged on the outstanding payments provided they are paid in full by the agreed date.

Deferral of Self-Assessment payment

The Self- Assessment payment on account, that is ordinarily due to be paid to HMRC by July 31, 2020 may now be deferred until January 2021. No penalties or interest for late payment will be charged if you defer payment of your July 2020 payment on account until January 2021.

If you are due to make a self- assessment payment on account on July 31, 2020 then you are eligible for the deferment. The deferment is optional and any persons still able to pay their second self-assessment payment on account on July 31, 2020 should still do so.

This is an automatic offer with no applications required.

More information can be found here.

Business rates relief

All non-domestic properties in Scotland will get a 1.6% rates relief. This relief effectively reverses the change in poundage for 2020-21.

You do not need to apply for this relief as it will be applied to your bill by your local council.

More information can be found here.

Retail, hospitality and tourism

All businesses in the retail, hospitality and tourism sectors will be eligible for one year’s 100% non-domestic rates relief from April 1, 2020.

You do not need to apply for this, it will be automatically applied when your rates bill is raised.

More information can be found here.

Aviation industry

Scottish airports will get 100% rates relief for a year, as will organisations providing handling services for scheduled passenger flights at Scottish airports.

More information and details on eligibility can be found here.

Small Business Bonus Scheme

You can get non-domestic rates relief through the Small Business Bonus Scheme if:

  • the combined rateable value of all your business premises is £35,000 or less
  • and, the rateable value of individual premises is £18,000 or less

Based on the total (cumulative) rateable value of all your non-domestic premises, the following relief is available:

  • total rateable value up to £15,000 - 100% relief (no rates payable) on each individual property
  • total rateable value of £15,001 to £35,000 - 25% relief on each individual property with a rateable value of £18,000 or less

You can apply for the Small Business Bonus Scheme through your local council by completing an application form.

Aberdeen City application form here.

Aberdeenshire application form here.

More information can be found here.

Relaxation of planning enforcement

Planning authorities should not seek to undertake planning enforcement action which would result in unnecessarily restricting public houses and restaurants providing takeaway services on a temporary basis during the current exceptional circumstances.

More information can be found here.

Support for business water bills

The Water Industry Commission for Scotland (WICS) has announced a scheme that will provide at least £50 million of support to businesses and organisations across Scotland.

Unmetered and smaller businesses are eligible for a 60% deferral of their wholesale fixed charges backdated to 24 March 2020. The scheme also allows those business customers who prepaid water and sewerage charges to their licensed providers to request a refund. Smaller customers receiving a refund are also eligible to apply for a deferral of their fixed wholesale charges.

Business customers should contact their licensed provider who can apply for the scheme on their behalf.

More information can be found here.

Filing accounts with Companies House

Businesses will be given an additional three months to file accounts with Companies House to help companies avoid penalties as they deal with the impact of COVID-19.

Companies should cite COVID-19 or Health matters as the grounds for their application.

The application form is available here.

More information can be found here.

Insolvency law amendments

The UK Government will amend insolvency law and temporarily suspend wrongful trading provisions to give companies and company directors breathing space and keep trading while they explore options for rescue.

The government will introduce legislation to ensure those companies required by law to hold Annual General Meetings (AGMs) will be able to do so safely, consistent with the restrictions on movement and gatherings introduced to address the spread of coronavirus.

More information can be found here.

Gender pay gap reporting

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the Government Equalities Office (GEO) and the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) have suspended enforcement of the gender pay gap deadlines for this reporting year (2019/20).

The decision means there will be no expectation of employers to report their data.

More information can be found here.

IR35 delay

Reforms to off-payroll working rules, known as IR35, have been delayed by 12 months as part of the government’s Covid-19 economic response package.

The rules will now come into effect on April 6, 2021 instead of April 6 this year.

More information can be found here.

Guidance for UK businesses trading internationally

Support for UK businesses trading internationally

This advice is for UK businesses that export or deliver goods and services abroad and have been impacted by the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). It includes:

  • DIT support for UK business trading internationally
  • financial support for business trading internationally

DIT can support businesses by:

  • providing assistance with customs authorities to ensure smooth clearance of their products
  • offering advice on intellectual property and other issues with business continuity

More information can be found here.

International business travel

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office offers the latest advice about travelling abroad, including the latest information on coronavirus (COVID-19), safety and security, entry requirements and travel warnings.

More information can be found here.