Monthly Archives: January 2021

3rd SEISS Grant Closing This Week

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The third self-employed income support scheme (SEISS) grant application closes this Friday, 29th January 2021.

The claim covers businesses and individuals who have had a new or continuing impact from coronavirus between 1st November 2020 – 29th January 2021 and is paid in a lump sum of up to a maximum £7,500 to cover the three months. You have to have been eligible under the original criteria to apply for this and you apply through your government gateway in the same way as before. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with your usual Drummond Laurie Contact if you have any queries relating to the above.

 

Scottish Wedding Industry Fund

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A £25 million fund to support the wedding sector and its supply chain will open to applications on Thursday 28th January 2021

This new fund aims to provide support to businesses whose main income comes from the wedding and civil partnerships industry, which has been significantly impacted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The fund offers a fixed grant amount based on turnover. The funding tiers are:

  • A £5,000 grant for businesses with a pre-COVID-19 turnover between £10,000 and £49,999
  • A £10,000 grant for businesses with a pre-COVID-19 turnover between £50,000 and £99,999
  • A £15,000 grant for businesses with a pre-COVID-19 turnover between £100,000 – £249,999
  • A £25,000 grant for businesses with a pre-COVID-19 turnover of more than £250,000

Applications will be appraised in the order they are received until the full fund has been allocated.

There is no fixed closing date for this fund – it will close when the full fund has been allocated.

All the detail, can be found here COVID Wedding Fund Jan2021

It is expected to be very popular, we are advising our clients to apply for this promptly when it goes live on Thursday 28th January.

Applications should all be made via the Scottish Government website here Business Support

Business Adaption Fund / Business Resilience Fund

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As you may know the Scottish Government this month announced further support for businesses facing closure due to the current lock down, many of these grants however are geared towards businesses within the retail, hospitality & leisure industries.

However, we just wanted to make you aware of an update which has been posted onto the Falkirk Council website with details of a new Business Adaption Fund and a Business Resilience Fund.

The Business Adaption Fund essentially offers support for businesses that will have to incur significant additional costs to re-open their business and to keep the public safe through the COVID-19 pandemic, examples given are the purchase of screens or PPE etc.

The second fund, the Business Resilience Fund, provides financial assistance to help businesses meet their new business objectives. It can support plant, equipment and machinery expenditure (including IT), property expansion or improvements, exhibiting at a national trade show or the costs of developing innovative products or processes. The fund can provide up to 50% of eligible costs, up to a maximum contribution of £10,000.

With both funds unfortunately you can only claim for new expenditure, and not items already purchased to date.

Unfortunately there are no further details on these two funds on the Scottish Government or other council websites as of yet, so we don’t have much more information on how successful any applications might be.   Falkirk council have confirmed that these funds are open to all industries as long as you have a lease in place within the Falkirk area.

Applications are now open, and further details can be found using the following link:

https://www.falkirk.gov.uk/covid19/business-grants.aspx?fbclid=IwAR2ZNSKUkhaDafDlOhLVCGHUpu0byXK6wUdr_XZrQywEFJiLd70N98SRLd0#strategicframeworkbusinessfund

If you have any question’s then please do not hesitate to get in touch with your usual Drummond Laurie contact or call us on 01324 441250

 

Self-Assessment Time to Pay Arrangements

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Further provisions to help those within self-assessment settle tax liabilities (including your July 2020 and January 2021 payments) are now available.

These enhancements to the ‘Time to pay’ scheme will allow many within self-assessment to apply online to spread their tax bill over a further 12 months from 31 January 2021.

The taxpayer must meet the following requirements:

  • Their outstanding Self-Assessment tax bill must be between £32 and £30,000
  • All their tax returns should be up to date with no outstanding tax returns
  • They must not have other personal tax debts outside of self-assessment.
  • They must not have other HMRC payment plans set up in their own name.
  • The payment plan must be set up no later than 60 days after the due date of the tax

This service allows the tax to be paid via direct debit over a period of up to 12 months. Whilst this protects the taxpayer from late payment penalties, it is important to note that interest will still be applied to any outstanding balance from 1st February 2021. From 07/04/20, the interest rate applied is 2.6% of the outstanding tax bill.

Unfortunately, this is not something that agents can do on your behalf. The taxpayer must apply for the Time to Pay scheme using their own government gateway account. With this in mind if you do not already have a government gateway account, and you wish to set up a time to pay arrangement, you should register for this now. This can be done using the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/log-in-register-hmrc-online-services/register

If your self-assessment debts are over £30,000, or you need longer than 12 months to pay your debt in full, you may still be able to set up a Time to Pay arrangement by calling the Self-Assessment Payment Helpline on 0300 200 3822.

Further guidance is available can be found using the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/pay-self-assessment-tax-bill/pay-in-instalments

Happy New Year!

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Happy New Year and best wishes for 2021 to all clients and friends of Drummond Laurie.  Let’s hope that the year ahead helps us to forget the horrors and challenges that we all experienced over the last 12 months.

As we entered 2020, the biggest challenge of our generation was facing the UK economy in negotiating our exit from the EU, and hopefully agreeing a basis whereby we could continue to have tariff free access to the Single Market.  The words COVID and Furlough were not yet part of our vocabulary and the idea that the Government would pay people to stay at home whilst most of the country was placed in “hibernation” would have been seen as fanciful.  How quickly things changed early in 2020!

Very few of our clients would have been unaffected as the COVID pandemic took a firm hold on the country.  Supply chains were tested, routes to market were restricted and in some instances closed, whilst even getting staff into the workplace was a challenge for long periods.  The budgets set at the start of the year were very hastily being revised.  The Government reacted extremely quickly with various support measures which undoubtedly helped to save many businesses and preserve employment for millions of workers.

As we now enter 2021, it’s sad to say that the position seems worse than ever with the new strain of the virus spreading rapidly and the country largely in a form of lockdown once again.  The main Government support measure (the Furlough scheme) has been extended until the end of April, and it would be a brave pundit who would forecast that it will end then.  However, there is a positive development, and it is a very big positive, in the shape of the various vaccines which were developed in record time and which are now beginning to be rolled out to the population at large.  Our hopes now rest on the effectiveness of these vaccines and we should be thankful for the ingenuity of the scientists who have made this possible, many of whom are based here in the UK.  We should also acknowledge the achievement of the Government in reaching a trade deal with the EU in a relatively short 11 month period, the more so as this was done with all of the COVID restrictions in place.  When we consider that the EU trade deal with Canada, which is a small fraction of the size of the UK/EU deal, took 10 years to reach, it shows what is possible when there is a will and when deadlines are set and adhered to.  Of course, to all importers and exporters the good news is that there will be no tariffs added to the prices of goods and services traded between both trading partners.

So how do we plan ahead for the year which lies in front of us?  With so many unknowns, budget setting is an even more difficult task than it would normally be.  Every business should be clear on what its fixed cost base is and, therefore, what its breakeven level of income is. Given the constraints in place in your sector, is it viable to achieve this breakeven level?  Are there alternative income streams which you could access to supplement your core income?  Are there opportunities to improve your working capital management through improved cash collections, more efficient stock holding, negotiating different terms with suppliers, etc?   It’s likely that you will have had closer contact with your bank over the last 9 months and this should be maintained in the year ahead.  Where there is the possibility that you may need to approach your bank for further support it is hugely beneficial if they are at least broadly familiar with your position, rather than starting from scratch when the “pressure is on”.

In the same vein, it is vital that your management information is both accurate and relevant as well as being available on a timely basis.  As we have noted in previous messages, the management information which you produce is not a “box ticking” exercise; rather, it should be providing you with the data and KPI’s with which you base your decisions around.  If your current management information is not providing you with what you require to make these crucial decisions please feel free to get in touch with your Drummond Laurie contact and they will advise you in this area.  It is very likely that you will need to remain agile as the year unfolds, both in terms of business planning and continuing to access the Government support packages, and you can be assured that we will be on hand to assist in these areas whenever required along with all other business matters.

I’ve mentioned the Government support packages a couple of times in this message and we are all aware of the extent of this support.  We should also be aware that at some stage in the future, this support will need to be paid for by the taxpayers.  There has been much speculation in the media on what forms this will take and it is likely that the Chancellor will make this a bit clearer to us when he delivers his budget, hopefully in the spring time.  We won’t speculate further here on what measures he may choose to take, however, when the time arrives we will be in touch again to explain what any changes in taxes are likely to mean to you and to your business.

In the meantime, everyone at Drummond Laurie wishes you, your families and your teams good health and happiness in the year ahead.

Best wishes

David Wheeler

 

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