COVID-19 Business rates and HMRC information

COVID-19 Business rates and HMRC information

2nd May 2020

On 2 May the government announced a 5% top-up to local business grant schemes in the form of a discretionary fund. The purpose of the fund is to accommodate certain small businesses previously outside the scope of the business grant funds scheme. We are awaiting further detailed guidance from government. Please don’t call us about this scheme yet as we will not be able to provide any specific advice. We expect this information to become available in the next few days and will be updating this message accordingly.


UPDATE 24th April 

the Government has provided guidance for local authorities setting out details of the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF), providing clarification of whether grants are subject to tax.

For more information click here


UPDATE 2nd April

Expanded retail business rate discount

There has been an update to the guidance on the operation of expanded retail discount 2020 to 2021 coronavirus response, announced at Budget 2020.

The update is in relation to the government’s assessment that the expanded retail discount is not a state aid, and that local authorities should therefore award relief to all eligible properties.

Click here

UPDATE 25th March

Expanded retail business rate discount

This guidance has been updated on 2nd April see above.


Nursery schools business rate holiday

  • Nurseries in England do not have to pay business rates for the 2020-21 tax year.


Business VAT Deferral

  • Support for businesses by deferring Valued Added Tax (VAT) payments for 3 months


Business extension period to file accounts during COVID-19

  • Businesses are being given an additional 3 months to file accounts with Companies House to help companies avoid penalties as they deal with the impact of COVID-19


Time to Pay – scheme to help all businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service.


Income Tax Deferral – Income Tax payments due in July 2020 for the self employed under the Self-Assessment system will be deferred to January 2021


UPDATE 23rd March 

Further announcements of support for business announced by the Chancellor on Friday 20th March include:

  • VAT payments due between now and the end of June will be deferred. No VAT registered business will have to make a VAT payment normally due with their VAT return to HMRC in that period. Income tax payments due in July 2020 under the Self Assessment system will be deferred to January 2021


UPDATE 20th March

Support for businesses that pay little or no business rates

The government will provide additional funding for local authorities to support small businesses that already pay little or no business rates because of small business rate relief (SBBR). This will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to businesses currently eligible for SBRR or rural rate relief, to help meet their ongoing business costs.


If your business is eligible for SBRR or rural rate relief, you will be contacted by your local authority. You do not need to apply. Funding for the scheme will be provided to local authorities by government in early April and guidance for local authorities on the scheme will be provided shortly.


UPDATE 19th March

HMRC tax helpline for businesses affected


UPDATE 12th March

In the Budget (11 March 2020) the Chancellor announced a number of measures to help businesses to cope with the effects of the coronavirus outbreak, including:

  • Business rates– 100% discount for retail, leisure and hospitality sectors for properties valued under £51,000 and a £5,000 Business Rates discount for pubs with a rateable value below £100,000 in England for one year from 1 April 2020.
  • Businesses and self-employed– individuals in financial distress and with outstanding tax liabilities will be able to access support to agree a bespoke Time to Pay arrangement. HMRC has agreed to waive late payment penalties and interest where a business experiences administrative difficulties due to COVID-19.  Businesses need to contact HMRC to access this.