Q. I have heard that grants are available from the Council for small businesses. Do I qualify?

A. Only if you benefit from the small business rates relief or rural business rates relief. Check your annual rates bill to see if you benefit from either. If you work from home or if you work from a serviced office, or another property where the landlord pays the rates then you will not benefit from these grants.

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Q. How do I claim my Small Business Grant or Grant for those in the Hotel, Leisure and Hospitality sector?

A. You do not need to take any action. The Councils know who meet these criteria and will contact you. You do not need to contact them. West Berks Council website is very good and updated regularly https://info.westberks.gov.uk/coronavirus-business

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Q. When will I receive my Grant?

A. As yet we do not know the answer to that as the Government and Councils are still putting in place the necessary systems to achieve this.

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Q. Do I have to pay this quarter’s VAT?

A. VAT returns must continue to be submitted on time or penalties may apply but no VAT payments will be necessary for any liabilities falling due between now and 30 June 2020. The deferment is automatic and does not need to be applied for however, HMRC advise that if you pay your VAT by direct debit you should cancel this prior to your payment date. There will be no penalties or interest payable but the VAT liability will need to be paid by 31 March 2021.

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Q. Do I have to pay my self-assessment liability in July 2020?

A. No. Self-assessment liabilities for July 2020 have all been deferred although you can still pay it in July if you wish.

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Q. I am struggling to pay my PAYE and Corporation tax liabilities. Is there any help from the Government for this?

A. Yes you should ring the HMRC Coronavirus Helpline 0800 015 9559 and ask for a Time to Pay arrangement. You will need your tax reference and bank details. The lines open at 8am and these may be the best time to call as they get very busy during the day.

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Q. If my staff are sick with Coronavirus or self-isolating do I need to ask them for a fitness note?

A. No, but if you require evidence for your own records ask them to get an isolation note from NHS 111 online.

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Q. Can I furlough one employee, but not another in the same role.

A. Certainly if you have no work for one of them

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Q. Can I partially furlough a member of staff by reducing their hours?

A. No, it only applies where you have no work for the individual. It’s an all or nothing claim. They are either working or they are not. If they are doing any work then they cannot be furloughed.

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Q. I am the sole director of a company. Can I furlough myself?

A. This is a developing area but our understanding is that if a director is actively participating in the business then no as the guidelines clearly state that furloughing is only available where the individual is doing no work.

However, as office holders, directors have certain legal responsibilities outside of any duties that may arise from their contract of employment (a contract may be written, verbal or implied). Our understanding is that a director can be furloughed if he has effectively put the company into a dormant state undertaking no employment contract duties and is only performing his statutory duties as an office holder eg bookkeeping, filing company accounts, VAT returns etc

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Q. I take a small salary and make up my pay with dividends. Can I base the furlough calculation including dividends?

A.  No, sadly it’s just based on salary.

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Q. If I am furloughed can I still take dividends?

A.  Yes you can, the two are unrelated

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Q. I am a director and shareholder of a company. Am I eligible to claim under the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)?

A. Sadly no. You are an employee of the company, not self-employed and not eligible for assistance under SEISS

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