Business owners: Financial guidance (COVID-19)

If you run your own business, there are a number of measures available to help you throughout this period.

If you employ fewer than 250 people, Government will refund the cost of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for up to 14 days. As a director you can also pay yourself SSP for two weeks if you need to self-isolate, subject to meeting the minimum payroll requirement for SSP.

If you have been utilising the government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme because you have been forced to close temporarily or because there is insufficient work for your employees that places them at risk of redundancy, you have until 31 July to submit claims for furlough pay relating to the period up to 30 June.

From 1 July onwards the parameters of the scheme change. Thereafter, employers are required to contribute to the cost of furloughed staff, the amount increasing incrementally month by month until the scheme closes on 31 October 2020. Find out more about the level of contributions you will need to make.

The scheme also introduces flexibility, such that employees can work part-time and the previous requirement for employees to be furloughed for a minimum of 3 weeks at a time has been removed. As before, you will need to submit details of furloughed employees to HMRC through its online portal.

If you have business interruption insurance that includes cover for either pandemics or government-ordered closures, you should be able to make a claim on your policy. The government and insurance industry confirmed on 17 March 2020 that the advice given to avoid pubs, theatres and so on is sufficient to make a claim, providing all other terms and conditions are met. Insurance policies vary greatly so you should check your policy and contact your provider.

To assist with short-term cash flow, loans are available through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and the Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan Scheme. Loans are available from all the major banks and will be interest free for the first 12 months.

VAT payments are automatically being deferred, meaning businesses will not need to make their VAT payment until the end of June 2020. You will then have until the end of the 2020-21 tax year to settle any liabilities that have accumulated during the deferral period. VAT refunds and reclaims will be paid by government as usual.

If your businesses has an outstanding tax bill HMRC’s Time to Pay scheme can enable you to delay payment. Contact HMRC’s dedicated Coronavirus Helpline on 0800 0159 559.

Further advice on debt is available from the Business Debtline on 0800 197 6026.

This page was updated on 16 June 2020.