In response to the ongoing COVID-19 situation, we at Harmer Slater are doing everything possible within our business to ensure the continuity of our service delivery to all our clients while prioritising the safety of our team, clients and their families.
Our thoughts are with everyone who is being affected by the Coronavirus, either directly or indirectly. We want to reassure you that our business is, as far as practicable, open as usual. We have taken the following measures in this regard:
- Our offices remain open at this stage with a skeleton-staff to receive phone calls and to deal with inbound and outbound posts. This means that phone calls may take slightly longer to answer but be assured that your phone calls will be answered.
- The vast majority of our team will be working from home; we have the technology and systems to work remotely while ensuring the security of your data.
- We have cancelled all face to face meetings with clients until the situation improves; we will be holding virtual meetings (MS Teams/ Skype/Zoom) with clients/team henceforth.
- We have adopted measures regarding any team members who may feel ill or may otherwise be at risk.
- We will encourage you to continue to use electronic means to communicate with us as much as possible – we are able to accept scanned documents by email and via our client portal on our website. Please speak to your usual contact at Harmer Slater to arrange portal access.
- Should any of our team be unable to work for whatever reason, we will reallocate resources to deal with their work to ensure we meet deadlines as far as practicable.
- We will keep you informed should our Covid-19 response change.
COVID-19: support for businesses
The Chancellor has set out a package of temporary, timely and targeted measures to support businesses and employers to plan and respond to the disruption caused by the COVID-19 crisis. This includes:
- a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
- deferring VAT payments from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020
- a Statutory Sick Pay relief package for SMEs
- a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England
- For Income Tax Self-Assessment, payments due on the 31 July 2020 will be deferred until the 31 January 2021
- small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
- grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
- the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank
- a new lending facility from the Bank of England to help support liquidity among larger firms, helping them bridge coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through loans
- the HMRC Time To Pay Scheme
Detailed guidance is available from https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses#contents.
Please speak to your usual contact at Harmer Slater should you need help with any of the measures.
COVID-19: other support
In addition, please note the following other support which were already in place before the outbreak of this crisis that may be very helpful:
- If it becomes apparent that a company’s accounts cannot be filed on time due to the impact of Covid-19, an application can be made to the Registrar to extend the filing deadline. This application must be made before the existing filing deadline. Details on how the application can be made is available from gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-more-time-to-le-your-companys-accounts. We will be happy to support you to make any such application.
- HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) have confirmed that the proposed changes to IR35, which were due to take place with effect from 6 April 2020, have now been pushed back to 2021.
- You’ll be able to register for a new service if you or someone you care for is extremely vulnerable to coronavirus and needs support. For example, with getting essential supplies. The service will be ready over the week beginning 23 March 2020. You’ll be able to register from https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-extremely-vulnerable.
Finally, please support us at every opportunity in appreciating the commitment and hard work that our team are putting in to continue to service the needs of all our clients under these unprecedented circumstances.