Companies to receive 3-month extension period to file accounts during COVID-19
As of 25 March 2020, businesses will be able to apply for a 3-month extension for filing their accounts.
This joint initiative between the government and Companies House will mean businesses can prioritise managing the impact of Coronavirus.
As part of the agreed measures, while companies will still have to apply for the 3-month extension to be granted, those citing issues around COVID-19 will be automatically and immediately granted an extension. Applications can be made through a fast-tracked online system which will take just 15 minutes to complete.
Applying for an extension:
For VAT, the deferral will apply from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020.
All UK businesses are eligible.
This is an automatic offer with no applications required. Businesses will not need to make a VAT payment during this period. Taxpayers will be given until the end of the 2020 to 2021 tax year to pay any liabilities that have accumulated during the deferral period. VAT refunds and reclaims will be paid by the government as normal.
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.
Vehicle MOT extension
From 30 March 2020, MOT due dates for cars, motorcycles and light vans will be extended by 6 months. This is being introduced to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.
There is separate guidance about what to do if your MOT due date is up to and including 29 March 2020. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-mots-for-cars-vans-and-motorcycles-due-before-30-march-2020
There are different temporary rules for MOT tests for lorries, buses and trailers.
Help for larger businesses - Purchase of company debt
The Bank of England will buy short term debt from larger companies under the new COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility.
There is detailed guidance on the facility on the Bank of England's website, https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/markets/market-notices/2020/ccff-market-notice-march-2020
The new law, likely to come into force very shortly, extends all eviction notice periods from two to three months. The law also allows the government to extend the three month notice period to six months if it chooses.
See also details on commercial tenants https://www.gov.uk/government/news/extra-protection-for-businesses-with-ban-on-evictions-for-commercial-tenants-who-miss-rent-payments
Nursery businesses, estate agents, lettings agencies and bingo halls
There is a business rates holiday for nurseries in England for 2020/21.
A property that is:
- occupied by providers on Ofsted's Early Years Register; and
- wholly or mainly used for the provision of the Early Years Foundation Stage,
will qualify for relief.
The relief will be given automatically by the relevant local authority; ie the business does not need to make a claim. Detailed guidance for local authorities on the business rates holiday can be found on GOV.UK.
This has been extended to include estate agents, lettings agencies and bingo halls https://www.gov.uk/government/news/covid-19-estate-agents-lettings-agencies-and-bingo-halls-to-pay-no-business-rates-this-coming-financial-year
Claiming Universal Credit
People are able to claim Universal Credit, providing they meet the usual criteria.
The following changes related to COVID-19 have been made to Universal Credit:
- from 19 March 2020, all requirements to attend the Job Centre in person are suspended; and
- from 6 April 2020:
- the standard allowance will be increased by £20 per week; and
- the requirements of the Minimum Income Floor will be temporarily relaxed.
By way of an example, from 6 April 2020, a single Universal Credit claimant aged 25 or over will be entitled to a standard allowance of £409.89 per month.
Support for rent costs is paid through Universal Credit. From April, the government are increasing Local Housing Allowance rates to the 30th percentile of market rents.
A new claim for Universal Credit may be made https://www.gov.uk/apply-universal-credit
Existing claimants should report a change in their circumstances through their online journal, https://www.gov.uk/sign-in-universal-credit