Support, help and advice
ATN Partnership has created a COVID-19 Finance Team which will act as the central hub for our wider team and clients for information, guidance and advice.
Our aim is to be able to quickly and effectively help businesses access the COVID-19 measures that they are eligible for.
As you will appreciate the situation is constantly evolving and there is always a delay between any government announcing measures and enacting the legislation that they require to implement their plans.
There is then a further delay as the processes are thought through, the relevant public bodies who will be responsible for administration are identified and the exact mechanisms and criteria of the various schemes are finalised.
What is clear is that the Government is throwing a huge amount of money at this and that businesses are going to be faced with a number of issues over the coming weeks and months.
We have summarised below some practical points and suggestions to help businesses get through the next few weeks but please do contact us so we can talk to you about your business. This page will be updated regularly as new measures are announced and as we get more clarity on how to access the support available.
As a side note, we want to update this information as quickly as possible so whilst the information is accurate, you may spot the odd typo or spelling mistake - no need to contact us as our proof reader will delight in letting us know!
You should immediately check your insurance to see if you have cover for pandemic and/or government ordered closure. Most businesses are unlikely to be covered as standard business interruption policies are dependent on damage to property and will usually exclude pandemics.
The various measures announced by the Government relate to payment deadlines, not filing deadlines. You should continue to meet all statutory filing dealines for VAT Returns, RTI, CIS, Corporation Tax, annual accounts and Confirmation Statements.
Penalties can and will be enforced for late filing. Regulators have extremely limited powers not to collect and nothing has been announced to enhance these.
You can apply for extensions in some circumstances but must do this before the filing deadline. Usually you will need to be able to tell HMRC the amount of any liability so the computations must be up to date.
Remember that annual accounts are due 9 months after the year end.
You can review the full years tax calendar here but please contact us if you have any concerns about meeting your filing deadlines.
Your Bank - it wants to help
This should be your first port of call because it is extremely likely that they will be in a position to help much earlier than the various public sector bodies. They will also have business continuity structures in place so should be able to weather the impact of things like staff shortages better than most.
Even if you don’t have a relationship with your bank, find out what they are going to offer and how you go about accessing it.
We are aware of two banks that are planning to waive arrangement fees and provide short term emergency loans to small businesses.
Practical help will be such things as:
- Loan repayment holidays
- Overdraft extensions
- Short term loans
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)
This programme is very similar to the Enterprise Finance Guarantee scheme (EFG) (read our EFG blog here) whereby the Government will guarantee 80% of the outstanding balance.
In addition the Government will pay the first 12 months interest, lender-levied fees and there is no guarantee fee.
Please note that this guarantee protects the bank, not the borrower. The borrower remains liable for the full outstanding balance.
The maximum value of any facility under the scheme is now £5 million (originally £1.2m). Repayment terms are up to six years for term loans and asset finance and up to three years for overdrafts and invoice finance facilities.
The programme is provided by the British Business Bank which operates through a number of what are referred to as ‘participating providers’ or ‘accredited lenders’ a list of which can be found on the British Business Bank website.
It includes all the high street banks such as Barclays, HSBC, NatWest, Metro, Lloyds, RBS, Santander. There are 22 participating partners in our region (broadly South East/London).
Borrowers need to approach the lenders not the British Business Bank.
The Government has now stated that all businesses that are affected by COVID-19 should be offered loans under the scheme and not standard commercial overdrafts and loans.
Crucially lenders are now banned from asking for personal guarantees on loans below £250,000. This measure is retrospective.To be eligible for the scheme your business must:
- Be UK based
- Have less than £500m in annual turnover
- Have a proposition that the bank considers would be commercially viable if it were not for the current pandemic
- Have been adversely impacted by COVID-19 (this is a self certify)
All businesses are eligible except:
- Further education bodies that are grant funded
- State funded primary and secondary schools
- Insurers and reinsurers (insurance brokers are eligible)
Please note that this is a loan and not a grant.
You will need to approach this the same way as you would approach any borrowing request and need to provide a business plan, management accounts, cashflow forecast and historic accounts.
For more guidance or if you need us to help with your application, contact us.
As you will appreciate the situation is constantly evolving but to speak to our specialist team please contact ATN on 01474 326224. Alternatively, visit the website; tweet @atnpartnership or email email@example.com