Member News & Events



Furlough Scheme Update & Actions from TC Group

The Chancellor this afternoon announced changes to the Government’s furlough scheme, extending it in its current form until the end of July, with additional changes being made for August to October. As with previous announcements, today’s was lacking in solid details, and more information will follow in due course.

However, at this stage, the immediate action you as a business owner need to take is to send a letter to your furloughed staff extending their furlough leave until 31st July.  Our TC HR department can provide you with this extension letter if you have signed up for our COVID-19 HR contract.In addition to the extension of the scheme in its current form, the Chancellor has made some further announcements that will come into effect from 1st August, all of which will require further clarification before you take any action. These are: 

  • Furlough Scheme extended from the end of July until the end of October;
  • Employer contributions – The Government have confirmed that the payment to employees will continue at 80% of normal salary level but have said they will ask businesses to share the cost of this, so there are some question marks over whether business owners will be required to contribute and the level of the contribution;
  • Part-Time Furloughed Employees – This will be employees returning from furlough and working reduced hours and remaining furloughed for the remainder of the week – It is unlikely that the Government will pay the furloughed salary at the current 80% rate and so employer contributions may be required. 

Next steps:

  • Detailed guidance will be released by the end of May and we will send you a summary as soon as we have reviewed it;
  • You will then have 2 full months to review and implement your furlough strategy in line with the latest guidance and our HR team can talk you through your options and advise on the best solution for you;
  • There will be a number of options available to you that will need careful consideration including phased returns to work, reduction in working hours, short-time working, part-time furloughing or even possible redundancies.   

As previously mentioned, the furlough scheme has already changed multiple times and that will continue to happen as the Government has to adapt to the economic needs of the country. The furlough scheme is one of the UK’s main fiscal responses to COVID-19 and will become increasingly complex with each iteration particularly when combined with part-time workers and other return to work obligations that will soon be placed upon business owners. If you haven’t already we would encourage you to speak to our Head of HR Wendy McGarvey whose team of HR experts can support you with a discounted support package that will cover everything you need during this period including return-to-work advice and staff template letters that comply with the latest guidance. 

Honorary Accountants to the Chamber.

www.tc-group.com

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Free Return To Work Consultations

With the announcement, yesterday that the lockdown may be easing we thought it would be useful to give you a few points to consider for a return or staged return to the workplace and offer you a free ‘Back To Work Consultation’ by the HR team at TC Group.


The key points you should be considering as you plan your return to the workplace are:

  • Workplace assessment – can you maintain a 2m physical distance between employees? 
  • Limit any hot desk arrangements and sharing of stationery and equipment; 
  • Look at how you will manage meetings / other interactions ie communal areas; 
  • Consider a deep clean if you have been closed; 
  • Daily sanitisation of phones, computers, desks and door handles with an anti-viral cleaner; 
  • Consider staggering working hours so employees are not all in at the same time; 
  • Ensure there are adequate handwashing facilities and provide hand sanitiser at regular stations; 
  • Decide whether you need to provide additional PPE; 
  • Consider staff concerns re travelling to work on public transport.

You may find you have more requests for flexible working due to employees having children or elderly relatives at home to look after.  Consider these carefully and in line with legislation. 

At this stage, the furlough scheme is currently available until the end of June, although we are aware the Government are being pushed to consider making it more flexible and to also extend it.  As soon as we know more about this we will let you know.

It may be that you need to consider short-time working, layoffs, redundancies or a temporary reduction in hours/salaries for your employees until your business is back up and running fully.  Please remember that all of these are variations to contracts and need to be handled correctly. 

To arrange your full free ‘Back To Work Consultation’ please contact our head of HR Wendy McGarvey or call 0330 088 7111.


Cyber Scam Warning

A few unfortunate clients have contacted us recently to make us aware that they have been victims of cyber scams. As TC clients we wanted to take this opportunity to remind you to be ultra-vigilant at this time to COVID-19-related fraud and cybercrime.

The Government has released guidance on how to protect yourself and your business from attacks, which they refer to as ‘Stop. Challenge. Protect’. 
Full details of the guidance can be found here on the www.gov.uk website.

TC Group

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Financial Support Reminders & Couples Inheritance Tax Thresholds

The Government has today launched two much-anticipated schemes directed at small businesses and the self-employed in response to the Coronavirus crisis.

Bounce Back Loans
As of 9 am today, small businesses can gain access to a new fast-track finance option, known as the Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan. Since the launch of the scheme, this morning we have had lots of interaction with the banks on behalf of our clients and the process appears to be working well.We have covered the scheme in detail elsewhere in previous communications, but the key points you should be aware of at this time are;

  • Loans of £2,000 – £50,000 available up to a maximum of a ¼ of a firm’s annual turnover;
  • Applications made online via a seven-question form;
  • 12 months no interest, fees or repayments;
  • Repay over 6 years, 2.5% interest rate, no early penalty;
  • Can’t apply if already under CBILS;
  • No restriction on the total amount of the facility that may consist of refinancing – whereas with CBILS you can only use 20% of the loan to refinance.

 TC Group can work alongside you to collate all the necessary documentation for your self-certification and should you need support to do so is on hand to help submit it for you. 


Self-Employment Income Support Scheme
HMRC has today begun contacting customers who may be eligible for the Government’s Self-Employment Income Support Scheme. Those who are eligible will be able to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of their average trading profits up to a maximum of £7,500 (equivalent to three months’ profits), paid in a single instalment.Although we cannot claim on your behalf, we can assist you in checking whether you are eligible and when you can make a claim via HMRC’s new online tool.In order to make a claim you will require the following information:

  • Self Assessment Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) – if you do not have this you can find it here;
  • National Insurance number – if you do not remember it, you can find it here;
  • Government Gateway user ID and password – if you do not have a user ID, you can create one when you check your eligibility online;
  • An account number and sort code for the bank account you want the grant paid into (only provide details where a Bacs payment can be accepted).

 While HMRC will calculate the grant, as your agent TC can check the calculation to see if it is correct. Contact your TC Partner on 0330 088 7111 to discuss further.

Couples Inheritance Tax Thresholds
Just as you would regularly review your financial affairs, it is advisable to regularly give your Will a health check to make sure it still works for you and takes advantage of all available tax allowances. Our private client team has been working closely with our clients and their family members to do just that, and in the last few weeks, we have seen a number of clients with out of date Wills who were missing out on significant inheritance tax savings. We wanted to highlight one of these specific areas.From April 2017 the Government introduced the residence nil rate band with a headline of increasing a couples inheritance tax threshold to £1 million by April 2020. This new relief could save a further £140,000 in inheritance tax per couple if they leave their home to their children or grandchildren. However, the rules around this can be complex and in certain circumstances, the relief can be restricted, so it is important that your Will is reviewed to ensure that your family are able to benefit from the extra tax savings available.If you haven’t updated your Will since 2017, we can review and update your Will where necessary to ensure that you are eligible for this additional tax relief.

Please contact privateclients@tc-group.com or call our Private Client Team on 0330 088 7111 to arrange your free consultation.

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Chancellor Announces 100% Government Backed Coronavirus Bounce Back Loans

The Chancellor today announced that small businesses will from 9am on Monday 4th May gain access to a new fast-track finance option, which is being referred to as the Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan. The scheme has been designed to ensure that small businesses who need vital cash injections to keep operating can get finance of up to £50,000 in a matter of days. The key details for your information are as follows; 

  • Loans are expected to be turned around within 24 hours;
  • 100% guaranteed by the Government;
  • No forward eligibility checks;
  • Simple 2 page self-certification form to be completed online;
  • £2,000 – £50,000 available up to a maximum of a ¼ of a firm’s annual turnover;
  • No repayments will be due during the first 12 months;
  • The government will work with lenders to agree a low rate of interest for the remaining period of the loan.

Although this scheme is not available to those businesses already claiming under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), it will provide much needed funds to small businesses who have been adversely affected by the crisis.

According to the guidance a CBILS loan application (if less than £50k) can be transferred to this new scheme in order to provide faster cash delivery.

 TC Group can work alongside you to collate all the necessary documentation for your self-certification and should you need support to do so is on hand to help submit it for you. Contact your TC Partner on 0330 088 7111 to discuss further.

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Changes to the Furlough Scheme – Action Required. Message from TC Accountants.

The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, today announced changes to the Government’s furlough scheme. Most importantly, all previous versions of the Guidance (including guidance released today at 7pm) stated that it was sufficient to notify your staff in writing of the fact that they were being furloughed. The Directive now contradicts that and requires the employees to have agreed to this in writing too. We are hoping the government applies common sense to this and offers some flexibility but if not it is likely that many employers will not be compliant so we would recommend that you take steps to get all employees signed up before you submit your claim via the portal. 

This latest development comes in addition to a number of other important changes: 

  • The scheme has been extended until the end of June; 
  • Employers can now defer the obligation to pay wages until they have been paid under the scheme; 
  • The date for eligibility under the Scheme has been brought forward from 28 February to 19 March but it will only apply to employees whose details have been submitted to HMRC using RTI by that date; 
  • Employees who are eligible for SSP may be furloughed by the employer instead. 

 As a reminder the portal goes live on Monday 20th April but if you don’t have signed letters from the staff agreeing to the furlough, there is a risk that you now won’t be eligible to make a claim. If you haven’t already please speak to our HR team about our COVID-19 support package. This is the 4th significant change in 3 weeks and clearly there will be more to come, which is why we don’t charge a ‘project fee’ for our furlough guidance and support, instead we have designed a discounted support package that will cover everything you need during this period. As always our head of HR Wendy McGarvey and her team will be available for consultations over the weekend and will also be able to provide you with template staff letters to ensure you comply with the latest directive. 

Wills & Estate Planning – Free Consultations
Following our email on Wednesday, we have received a large number of requests from clients about reviewing or updating their Wills in light of COVID-19. As a reminder, our Private Client Team offer a complete end-to-end servicecovering all aspects of estate planning which starts with a well-drafted Will. We are offering all TC clients (and their family members) a free consultation with our Private Client Team to review their affairs. If you would like to take advantage of the consultation please email our Private Client Team on privateclients@tc-group.com, or contact us today on 0330 088 7111

Kind regards

TC Group

www.tc-group.com

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Guidance Released for Government Scheme to Pay 80% of Retained Staff Wages from TC Accountants

After much anticipation, this evening we finally received some clarity on the Government’s Scheme to pay 80% of staff wages (CJRS), and we are now in a position to advise you more fully on your HR strategy.

CJRS, Staff Furloughs and Salary Reductions

Unfortunately, despite lobbying from pressure groups, the furlough scheme only applies to staff that are ’laid off’ and therefore not available to do any work for their employer. It doesn’t provide any flexibility around ‘part-time furloughs’ for employers that are looking to reduce hours worked per person rather than headcount. Government technical update can be found here. Consequently, most businesses will now need a more complex HR solution that includes furloughing some staff and reducing the hours worked of other staff via a consultation process. 

For staff you have chosen to furlough you will need to:

  • Obtain written consent from the staff you have chosen to furlough so that you can begin implementation; 
  • Prepare letters confirming the position to inform them immediately of the situation and your decision. 

For staff who shall continue working, you will need to:

  • Consider the level of wage reduction you will need to implement; 
  • Begin a consultation process preparing the staff for what is to come; 
  • Obtain written consent from the staff and prepare letters confirming the position.
      

Contact the TC team at your earliest possible opportunity if you need any assistance with your HR strategy or delivery. We are anticipating that this process will continue for some time as the legislation develops and there might also be scenarios where staff move in and out of ‘furlough’ depending on the business’ performance. As always, the TC Group will be on hand to support you through this difficult time.

Aid for the Self-Employed

Also announced today was support for the self-employed and it mirrors somewhat the relief for employees. 80% of earnings capped at £2,500 per month. Frustratingly, the support will not be available until June, although it is back-dated to 1 March 2020 and therefore will be paid as a lump sum.

If you qualify, HMRC will contact you and supply a form to complete and once completed will transfer the payments directly to your bank account. 

The key qualifying criteria are:

  • You will need to have completed an income tax return for the business; 
  • Your earnings from the business need to be less than £50,000 per year last year or on average for the last 3 years.  


The amount will be based on average monthly earnings over the past three years.

Contact us immediately if you have not already filed your 2019 tax return, as this is a critical step in gaining the benefits. The return needs to be filed by 23rd April 2020 for you to qualify for this support.

Unfortunately, this scheme does not apply to directors and business owners that pay themselves via a mixture of salary and dividends.

There is more support available to help the self-employed, including VAT deferrals, Universal Credit and the Business Interruption Loan Scheme. More information is already available via our website.

TC Group is here to guide you through this challenging period

Contact us today to discuss the points raised in this email or any other concerns you have as a business owner, about your personal finances, or, as an employer now on 0330 088 7111

Kind regards
TC Group

Coronavirus – if you want to discuss Government funding, HR options, mortgage holidays or tax breaks please contact us now.

Trades Against The Virus Trades against the virus is a construction industry campaign to boost the stocks of food in the nation’s food banks in preparation for the escalating public health crisis. Find out how you can do your part.

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Message from TC: COVID-19 – Your Top Priorities

TC Group remains on hand to help you through the challenges you are currently facing. Below are some of the priority areas we are working on for clients: 

Clarification on the Government Scheme to pay up 80% of staff wages CJRS  – and the implications on your payroll processes

The scheme has been set up by the Government to cover 80% of staff wages; however, this won’t be live for 2-3 weeks, and grants are unlikely to be paid until the end of April.

Further clarification on the scheme is urgently required as there are still lots of unanswered questions (see our CJRS overview here for full details). One of the main questions we are being asked by clients is whether you can effectively ‘part furlough’ employees, so reducing hours worked per employee as an alternative to reducing head count. We believe it is imperative that the legislation addresses this point as this would allow businesses the flexibility they need to continue trading whilst protecting jobs. 

We understand the pressure businesses are under to make a decision on this but we are encouraging all clients to wait for the government clarification later this week and then speak to us so to ensure we can optimise your position within the confines of the guidance/legislation.

Payroll / Furlough Processes

Whilst we don’t yet fully understand the mechanics of the CJRS scheme described above it is clear that this is going to significantly complicate the payroll process for the foreseeable future. The month end (or period end) process will now require a combination of  commercial, legal, HR, tax and financial processes all working in sync to ensure you comply with all of the necessary legislation and more importantly get the money you need to continue trading. We are encouraging all TC clients to talk to us urgently about their payroll processes and wherever possible handing this over to the TC team who can manage this from start to finish and avoid the complications of internal teams or 3rd parties trying to interpret our guidance.

Cancel VAT and other direct debits

VAT payments will be automatically deferred between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020 until April 2021. All UK businesses are eligible, and no applications are required. We understand that HMRC will continue to expect businesses to submit VAT returns, although payment is not required. There is no mention so far about direct debit payments. However, the information available at the time of writing suggests that the payment runs are automatic and therefore, may be problematic.

Accordingly, TC Group advises that clients cancel direct debits with their bank to make sure no payment is taken. Contact us if you need help preparing your next VAT return.

Government funding update – Business Interruption Loans Scheme

12-month interest-free loans have now been available for two days (under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme). The roll-out of the scheme is more challenging than we had hoped, and we understand the frustration that is being experienced by many of those who urgently need the assistance. We are hopeful that the Government will consider the feedback that is starting to emerge and encourage the banks and other institutions to loosen their lending criteria where possible so the funds can more easily reach the clients that need them. As a reminder we are working with multiple clients, brokers and banks and remain on hand to help, so please contact us immediately so we can assist you through this process, we are anticipating significant delays if you don’t act quickly.


Self-employed workers

The Government is expected to extend urgent financial aid to the UK’s five million self-employed workers and freelancers in the coming days. Currently, sole traders can access £94.25 a week in universal credit benefits and defer their payments on account, due on 31 July, until 31 January 2021. Parliament is currently discussing an extension to the coronavirus bill, which may include the introduction of statutory self-employed pay.


If approved, HMRC would subsidise whichever is the lower of £2,917 a month or 80% of a sole trader’s wages using an average from the last three tax years. Statutory self-employed pay would be similar to the coronavirus job retention scheme announced last week.


Owner directors of companies who may take a nominal salary and top this up with dividends may have limited support from CJRS and may not qualify for this support. As soon as more information is released, rest assured we will communicate this with you and the necessary advice will be available from TC Group.


Reminder – Landlords cannot evict commercial tenants

Commercial tenants are now protected from eviction for three months if they cannot pay their rent due to coronavirus. If you need any guidance or support on how to handle this, you can call us now; you should also contact landlords to negotiate payment plans or holidays. 

TC Group is here to guide you through this challenging period

Contact us today to discuss the points raised in this email or any other concerns you have as a business owner, about your personal finances, or, as an employer now on 0330 088 7111.

Kind regards,

TC Group

Coronavirus – if you want to discuss Government funding, HR options, mortgage holidays or tax breaks please contact us now.

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Message for Businesses from our Honorary Accountants, TC: COVID-19 – Three Week Lockdown Announced

As you may be aware, the PM has just announced measures to enforce the social isolation guidance given last week. The measures will last a minimum of three weeks, key points are:

  • From this evening people must stay at home except for shopping for basic necessities, daily exercise, any medical need and travelling to and from work but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home. 
  • Shops selling non-essential goods will also be shut and gatherings in public of more than two people who do not live together prohibited. 
  • If people do not follow the rules police will have the powers to enforce them, including through fines and dispersing gatherings. 

It’s not completely clear what that means for different sectors but it’s likely to mean that businesses, other than essential sectors, must encourage staff to work from home wherever possible – if you need support in this area please contact our IT partners.

While these measures are needed to stop the spread of the virus, they will put more pressure on UK SMEs. It is therefore imperative you contact us immediately so we can help you access the government funding and grants that are available to you. As a reminder, the key things you should be considering are as follows:

This week

Contact us for help accessing government funding – There are 12 month interest-free loans available via the banks (under the Business Interruption Loan Scheme) and other institutions and we can help manage the process from beginning to end. If you haven’t already started this process please contact us immediately so we can assist you, we are anticipating significant delays if you don’t act quickly.

Contact us for help with time to pay arrangements – Businesses and self-employed people with outstanding tax liabilities (excluding VAT), will have the option of paying by instalments online. TC has already helped many clients to obtain extended payment terms.

Contact landlords to negotiate payment plans or holidays – Commercial tenants will now be protected from eviction for three months if they cannot pay their rent due to coronavirus. If you need any guidance or support on how to handle this, you can call us now.

Contact us for help negotiating business rate payment holidays – If your business isn’t eligible for an automatic grant then speak to your local authority to see what flexibility they can offer. Contact us now if you need advice or support on this.

Apply for 3 month personal and corporate mortgage holidays – These are available for residential or Buy to Let mortgages, as well as landlords with affected tenants. Contact your lender now.

Contact your insurance brokers – Find out if your policy covers business interruption, and if so, what the conditions are for eligibility.

Previously Announced Measures Awaiting Further Detail
Government to pay 80% of staff wages – The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) won’t be live for 2-3 weeks, and grants are unlikely to be paid until the end of April. Contact TC, and we can talk you through the options available as they emerge.

Enhanced SSP – To be paid from day 1 of absence and will apply retrospectively from 13 March. Self-employed workers will be able to access universal credit at the same rate. A mechanism for reimbursement is still being developed.

Automatic Measures Already Announced
SBRR – One-off grant of £10,000 to business currently eligible for SBRR or Rural Rate Relief Small Business Rate Relief. You will be contacted by your local authority in early April – you do not need to apply.

Deferred VAT payment – Businesses can defer VAT payments between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020 until April 2021. All UK businesses are eligible, and no applications are required.

Deferred 31 July 2020 Self-employed tax payment – This payment will be deferred until 31 January 2021.

Automatic Measures for Specific Sectors
Businesses in retail, hospitality, and leisure will receive cash grants of up to £25,000 per property, in addition to a business rates holiday until April 2021.  Nursery businesses subject to business rates will also receive immediate support.

Anticipated Measures To Come
We are anticipating extra support for self-employed people, either via further enhancements to the benefits system, or more likely, a scheme that is similar to the CJRS.

TC Group is here to guide you through this challenging period. Contact us today to discuss the points raised in this email or any other concerns you have as a business owner, about your personal finances, or, as an employer now on 0330 088 7111.

TC Client Services
From tomorrow we are closing all of our physical premises which may have a temporary impact on our post handling whilst we adapt our processes, we will be in touch shortly with further details. All other services will continue as normal and most staff have been working at home over the past 2 weeks so we will continue to support you in the normal way via calls, emails and video conferencing.

Kind regards
TC Group

Coronavirus – if you want to discuss government funding, HR options, mortgage holidays or tax breaks please contact us now.

Trades Against The Virus Trades against the virus is a construction industry campaign to boost the stocks of food in the nation’s food banks in preparation for the escalating public health crisis. Find out how you can do your part.

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