Monthly Archives: May 2020

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Are you self-employed or running a small limited company? Have you applied for a grant from the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme?

One of the government support schemes is the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) which is a scheme to provide financial assistance in the form of a grant to those that are self-employed or members of partnerships that have been adversely affected by Covid-19.

If you are self-employed, in a partnership or have a small limited company and think you may be eligible for support through SEISS, we would appreciate it if you could take a minute to complete our short survey.
The survey contains just 3 quick questions and your participation will help us understand whether the self employed are getting the support they need through the scheme.

Please click here to participate in the survey:

The survey is open until 12pm on Thursday 21st May 2020.

Your feedback will be used to identify and escalate the biggest issues for the self-employed to the government.

I do hope you will be able to take a moment to participate.

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Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme set to launch

Employers will be able to make claims through the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme from 26 May.

For more information click here

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UK200Group stress tests government’s self-employed SEISS portal

The Martlet Partnership alongside members of the UK200Group have helped HMRC stress test their online Self Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) portal.

The portal, which went live today, the 13th May, was built and tested in record time, and allows self-employed workers to claim a grant of up to £7,500.

Andrew Jackson, Head of Corporate Tax at Fiander Tovell and Chair of the Tax Panel of the UK200Group comments:

“Members of the UK200Group support thousands of self-employed businesses. From today the SEISS portal allows the self-employed to access up to £7,500 in order to help ensure that their business survives the Covid19 lockdown.”

“While there will be 5,000 HMRC staff manning phone lines, plus webchat, it was important for us to identify and address as many potential issues as possible. This is because the portal has been designed for the claimant to use, rather than their accountant. It was therefore essential that it is both simple and intuitive to use, and we were extremely pleased to be able to help the HMRC in testing the portal.”

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Poll of SMEs on their Biggest Challenges Following an Easing of the Lockdown Restrictions

Following the announcement by the government of a gradual easing of the lockdown restrictions on Sunday 10th May, we conducted a poll of SMEs. The poll was conducted over 24 hours on Monday 11th & Tuesday 12th May 2020.

Below are the results.

Health & Safety Ranked Top concern for businesses emerging from lockdown

Cash Flow comes second, Client Confidence third

Health and safety is the most pressing concern among businesses emerging from lockdown according to the latest poll we have undertaken together with other members of the UK’s leading legal and accounting membership group, the UK200Group.

The survey of 550 SME clients shows 276 are concerned about health and safety, 249 about cash flow and 223 about getting clients to buy.

What this poll shows us is that it’s the uncertainty of reopening a business, with all the related complexities that it entails, that businesses are worried about now. They are confident about how to get their basic operations back up and running, but need clarity about how they should be protecting employees and customers, and getting customers to buy from them. It is also important to note that while the extension to furlough funding is plainly welcome, the longer businesses remain closed the higher the chance of them not surviving.”

Whilst the government has provided useful guidance, the onus on businesses and employers is significantly increased. 

SMEs have indicated through this poll that they need more guidance about how it will impact them and how they will be measured. This ranges from using PPE to managing social distancing in environments that were not designed for pandemics.

The survey also shows that while wrongful trading provisions have been temporarily suspended, the practical aspects of the challenge to manage cashflow remain, as does the imperative to keep customers happy, maintain furloughed and retained staff morale and being fair to suppliers, including agreeing stage payments to them if required. 

Businesses are also weighing up the issues involved in seeking legal redress when not being paid for services, and the need to consider protective claims through the Courts, as and when they reopen.

The poll results are helping us to look at the different ways that we can help our clients.  We will be developing more content and tools to support you on the issues highlighted in the coming weeks and months.

In the meantime, please do get in touch if we can help in any way.

David Macdonald BA FCA
Managing Partner
The Martlet Partnership LLP
T: +44 (0) 1903 600555

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Beware of scam emails pretending to be HMRC

HRMC are genuinely sending out far more emails to taxpayers and businesses at the moment for a variety of reasons.

However, we are aware that a large number or scam emails are being generated.

HMRC have issued guidance as to the subjects about which they are sending emails and also how to recognise fraudulent communications.

We are giving the link provided by HMRC to a very useful document they have prepared.

In particular, we would draw your attention to paragraphs 2.1 and 2.2.

Please be very aware of any communication you receive that is genuinely from HMRC or purport to be from that organisation before replying and we hope you find this guidance helpful.

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Planning for the Future: A practical checklist to help SMEs prepare for returning to work post lockdown

As we enter into a new ‘stage’ of the coronavirus world, we have produced a helpful checklist to help you prepare your business for the ‘post lockdown’ era.

This checklist is a useful reminder of the key things that need to be in place if you are going to get your business functioning efficiently and effectively; looking after your people and your customers and moving your business forward.

Our checklist has been structured around the four pillars of business organisation:

  • Operations & technology
  • Finance & resourcing
  • People
  • Marketing & communications

Please find our checklist below:

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Self-Employment Income Support Scheme “SEISS”

HMRC have begun to contact and release information on who may be eligible for the Government’s Self – Employment Support Scheme (SEISS).

Frustratingly, HMRC have stated that we cannot make the claim for you and you must make the claim yourself. However, we wish to reassure you are not on your own and we will be supporting you as required to complete these claims.

HMRC have released an online eligibility checker to understand your position. If you are eligible it will then provide you with a date that you will be able to submit your claim. If it states you are not eligible, please contact us, we can review your position further and if we disagree we can apply to HMRC for your case to be reviewed.

In preparation to make an online claim for those that qualify, you will need to activate a government gateway with HMRC.  Please be aware that these are personal accounts, so we will not hold your USERID or password. To be able to verify yourself with the Government, please have your passport and NI number to hand and keep your USERID and password safe. We would urge you to complete these accounts as soon as possible so your claims are not delayed.

To check your eligibility and to create a gateway account, please click on the following link:

As a reminder, to be eligible to this taxable grant, you must meet all of these conditions:

• you have traded as self-employed in 2019/20 and are still trading in 2020/21 (or would be trading if it were not for the business disruption caused by COVID-19)

• you expect to continue to trade in 2020/21

• you receive more than half of your taxable income from self-employment, even if you also hold an employed position

• you are registered with HMRC as self-employed and submitted a tax return for the tax year 2018/19

• your average annual taxable profits for the three years to 2018/19 are less than £50,000, or your taxable profits for 2018/19 are less than £50,000

• you have lost trading profits due to coronavirus

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Top-up to local business grant funds scheme

A discretionary fund has been set up to accommodate certain small businesses previously outside the scope of the business grant funds scheme.

The Business Secretary Alok Sharma and Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, Simon Clarke spoke to local authorities in England to set out that up to £617 million would be made available.

This is an additional 5% uplift to the £12.33 billion funding previously announced for the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants Fund (RHLGF), so up to £617 million. We will confirm the exact amount for each local authority next week.

This additional fund is aimed at small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs. We are asking local authorities to prioritise businesses in shared spaces, regular market traders, small charity properties that would meet the criteria for Small Business Rates Relief, and bed and breakfasts that pay council tax rather than business rates. But local authorities may choose to make payments to other businesses based on local economic need. The allocation of funding will be at the discretion of local authorities.

Businesses must be small, under 50 employees, and they must also be able to demonstrate that they have seen a significant drop of income due to Coronavirus restriction measures.

There will be three levels of grant payments. The maximum will be £25,000. There will also be grants of £10,000. Local authorities will have discretion to make payments of any amount under £10,000. It will be for councils to adapt this approach to local circumstances.

Further guidance for local authorities will be set out shortly.

As of 27 April, over £7.5 billion has been paid out to over 614,000 business properties via the SBGF and RHLGF schemes. This is over 61% of the grant funding allocated to local authorities.

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The a​nnouncement on Monday that a further extension to the funding available to SMEs would become available with effect from next Monday 4 May is extremely welcome.

Loans of up to £50,000 will become available and will be backed 100% by the Government unlike the CBILS loan scheme which is backed by Government up to 80% but which many companies have not been able to access.

On the face of it, these loans will be easy to access and will come on stream from next Monday. However, it may not be the Panacea that everybody is hoping for. If your company is deemed to be “an undertaking in difficulty”, you will not be eligible. Any undertaking less than three years old is not “an undertaking in difficulty” but any business that is older and that has negative reserves, even if it has been trading profitably and in the most recent times, will not be eligible. 

Part of the problem is that companies in the United Kingdom have very low share capital but are often backed with monies put in by the owner managers. We are looking to see if there is any way that loans from shareholders to companies can be taken into the definition of capital so as to make a lot more companies eligible for these loans but unfortunately, it appears that this new loan is subject to EU rules and therefore it may not be possible to get the terms and conditions altered.

We will continue to look at making representations to Government to ease the position for our clients.

If you are thinking about making an application for a “Bounce Back” loan, please see the text below. It is fairly hard to digest but basically if your reserves are negative, you are unlikely to qualify. If you want any help in interpreting this legislation, then please do not hesitate to call us. We do not however want clients to waste time applying for loans that they are not going to get!

“Please note that one exception is that any undertaking less than three years old is not considered to be an undertaking in difficulty.

What is an undertaking in difficulty?

Undertakings in difficulty as defined under the State Aid rules should not be supported, in accordance with Article 3.3(d) of the ERDF Regulation (EU) No 1301/2013.

The definition under State Aid rules that should be used when assessing whether an undertaking constitutes and undertaking in difficulty is set out in the General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER), No 651/2014 . Article 2 para 18:

“‘undertaking in difficulty’ means an undertaking in respect of which at least one of the following circumstances occurs:

(a) In the case of a limited liability company (other than an SME that has been in existence for less than three years or, for the purposes of eligibility for risk finance aid, an SME within 7 years from its first commercial sale that qualifies for risk finance investments following due diligence by the selected financial intermediary), where more than half of its subscribed share capital has disappeared as a result of accumulated losses. This is the case when deduction of accumulated losses from reserves (and all other elements generally considered as part of the own funds of the company) leads to a negative cumulative amount that exceeds half of the subscribed share capital. For the purposes of this provision, ‘limited liability company’ refers in particular to the types of company mentioned in Annex I of Directive 2013/34/EU (1) and ‘share capital’ includes, where relevant, any share premium.

(b) In the case of a company where at least some members have unlimited liability for the debt of the company (other than an SME that has been in existence for less than three years or, for the purposes of eligibility for risk finance aid, an SME within 7 years from its first commercial sale that qualifies for risk finance investments following due diligence by the selected financial intermediary), where more than half of its capital as shown in the company accounts has disappeared as a result of accumulated losses. For the purposes of this provision, ‘a company where at least some members have unlimited liability for the debt of the company ‘refers in particular to the types of company mentioned in Annex II of Directive 2013/34/EU.

(c) Where the undertaking is subject to collective insolvency proceedings or fulfils the criteria under its domestic law for being placed in collective insolvency proceedings at the request of its creditors.

(d) Where the undertaking has received rescue aid and has not yet reimbursed the loan or terminated the guarantee, or has received restructuring aid and is still subject to a restructuring plan

e) In the case of an undertaking that is not an SME, where, for the past two years:

1.    the undertaking’s book debt to equity ratio has been greater than 7,5 and

2.    the undertaking’s EBITDA interest coverage ratio has been below 1,0.’

N.B. All parts of the test must be applied (as appropriate) in order to determine whether an organisation is an undertaking in difficulty.”

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Letter to the Government

The Martlet Partnership’s voice to Government in conjunction with our UK200 Group colleagues, we are making representations on your behalf as our clients to Government to help everybody through this difficult time. Please see below the letter that went to the Prime Minister last Friday. The same letter has also been sent to the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Business Secretary.

Contact Us

The Martlet Partnership LLP
Martlet House
E1 Yeoman Gate
Yeoman Way
West Sussex
BN13 3QZ

Tel.: +44 (0) 1903 600555
Fax.: +44 (0) 1903 600828