UNITED KINGDOM GOVERNMENT RELIEF

Coronavirus (COVID‑19) support is available to employers and the self-employed, including sole traders and limited company directors. You may be eligible for loans, tax relief and cash grants, whether your business is open or closed.

Use this business support finder to see what support is available for you and your business.

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Pay VAT deferred due to coronavirus (COVID-19)

Find out how to pay VAT payments deferred between 20 March and 30 June 2020. You can pay now or join the VAT deferral new payment scheme.

If you deferred VAT payments due between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020 and still have payments to make, you can:

  • pay the deferred VAT in full, on or before 31 March 2021
  • join the VAT deferral new payment scheme – the online service is open between 23 February 2021 and 21 June 2021
  • contact HMRC on Telephone: 0800 024 1222 by 30 June 2021 if you need extra help to pay

You may be charged interest or a penalty if you do not:

  • pay the deferred VAT in full by 31 March 2021
  • opt into the new payment scheme by 21 June 2021
  • agree extra help to pay with HMRC by 30 June 2021

Pay your deferred VAT in full

You can pay your deferred VAT in full by 31 March 2021.

You do not need to contact HMRC.

Join the VAT deferral new payment scheme

The VAT deferral new payment scheme is open from 23 February 2021 up to and including 21 June 2021.

If you’re on the VAT Annual Accounting Scheme or the VAT Payment on Account Scheme, you can join the scheme from 10 March 2021.

The new scheme lets you:

  • pay your deferred VAT in equal instalments, interest free
  • choose the number of instalments, from 2 to 11 (depending on when you join)

Instalment options available to you

The month you decide to join the scheme will determine the maximum number of instalments that are available to you. If you join the scheme in March, you’ll be able to pay your deferred VAT in 11 instalments or fewer.

The following table sets out the monthly joining deadlines (to allow for Direct Debit processing) and the corresponding number of maximum instalments (including the first payment):

If you join by Number of instalments available to you
19 March 2021 11
21 April 2021 10
19 May 2021 9
21 June 2021 8

How to join

Before joining, you must:

  • create your own Government Gateway account (if you do not already have one)
  • submit any outstanding VAT returns from the last 4 years – otherwise you’ll not be able to join the scheme
  • correct errors on your VAT returns as soon as possible
  • make sure you know how much you owe, including the amount you originally deferred and how much you may have already paid

To use the online service, you must:

  • join the scheme yourself, your agent cannot do this for you
  • still have deferred VAT to pay
  • be up to date with your VAT returns
  • join by 21 June 2021
  • pay the first instalment when you join
  • pay your instalments by Direct Debit (if you want to use the scheme but cannot pay by Direct Debit, there’s an alternative entry route for you)

Join the scheme now

If you join the scheme, you can still have a Time to Pay arrangement for other HMRC debts and outstanding tax.

If you cannot use the online service

There may be circumstances where you cannot use the online service, for example if you:

  • do not have a UK bank account
  • cannot pay by Direct Debit
  • have dual signatories on your account

If you want to join the new payment scheme, but cannot use the online service, contact the COVID-19 helpline on Telephone: 0800 024 1222. An adviser will help you join.

Correcting errors on VAT returns for the VAT deferral period

The VAT deferral period covered accounting periods for:

  • February 2020
  • March 2020
  • April 2020
  • May 2020 – for payment on account customers and certain non-standard tax periods only, in addition to the above periods

If you notice an error on a VAT return which relates to a period covered by the scheme, you should:

  1. Fill in form VAT652.
  2. Send it to the VAT Error Correction Team.

Deferring extra payments resulting from error corrections

If you want to defer extra payments resulting from error corrections, contact the COVID-19 helpline (Telephone: 0800 024 1222) after both of the following have happened:

  • HMRC have processed your error correction
  • you’ve received a statement of account confirming the balance

You can then either:

  • include the payments in your deferred balance and pay in full by 31 March 2021
  • include the payments in your deferred balance and join the new payment scheme while it is open
  • contact HMRC if you need more help to pay on Telephone: 0800 024 1222

You cannot include extra payments after you’ve joined the scheme. Any error correction relating to the deferral period that is notified to HMRC after 31 March 2021, cannot be deferred.

You may be contacted by HMRC if we’ve carried out a VAT compliance check and found that extra payments are due for the deferral period. You must also contact our COVID-19 helpline (Telephone: 0800 024 1222) if you want to defer these payments.

If you’re not able to pay your deferred VAT

If you’re still unable to pay and need more time, find out what to do if you cannot pay your tax bill on time.

To find what other support is available, use the Get help and support for your business guide.

 

 


Check if you’re eligible for the coronavirus Additional Restrictions Grant

The Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) supports businesses that are not covered by other grant schemes or where additional funding is needed.

The Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) provides local councils with grant funding to support closed businesses that do not directly pay business rates as well as businesses that do not have to close but which are impacted. In addition, larger grants can be given than those made through LRSG (Closed).

Local councils can determine which businesses to target and determine the amount of funding from the ARG.

Eligibility

Local councils have the freedom to determine the eligibility criteria for these grants. However, we expect the funding to help those businesses which – while not legally forced to close – are nonetheless severely impacted by the restrictions.

This could include:

  • businesses which supply the retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors
  • businesses in the tourism and events sectors
  • business required to close but which do not pay business rates

Businesses excluded from the fund

You cannot get funding if:

  • your business is in administration, insolvent or has been struck off the Companies House register
  • you have exceeded the permitted subsidy limit

You must notify your local council if your situation changes and you no longer meet the eligibility criteria, for example, if you become insolvent.

Subsidy allowance

The new domestic subsidy allowance for the COVID-19 business support grants took effect on 4 March 2021. Applications made prior to that date are subject to the previous rules.

This scheme is covered by 3 subsidy allowances:

  • Small Amounts of Financial Assistance Allowance – you’re allowed up to £335,000 (subject to exchange rates) over any period of 3 years
  • COVID-19 Business Grant Allowance – you’re allowed up to £1,600,000
  • COVID-19 Business Grant Special Allowance – if you have reached your limits under the Small Amounts of Financial Assistance Allowance and COVID-19 Business Grant Allowance, you may be able to access a further allowance of funding under these scheme rules of up to £9,000,000, provided certain conditions are met

Grants under these 3 allowances can be combined for a potential total allowance of up to £10,935,000 (subject to exchange rates).

How to apply

Visit your local council’s website to find out how to apply.

Check if you’re eligible for the coronavirus Local Restrictions Support Grant (for open businesses)

The Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG (Open)) supports businesses that have been severely impacted due to temporary local restrictions.

Businesses that have not had to close but which have been severely impacted due to local Tier 2 or Tier 3 restrictions may be eligible for LRSG (Open).

Eligible businesses may be entitled to a cash grant from their local council for each 14 day period under local restrictions.

Local councils have the discretion to provide grant funding for businesses under this scheme. They will use their discretion in identifying the right businesses to receive this funding, based on their application process.

Application deadline

The deadline to apply for the LRSG (Open) scheme is 31 March 2021.

Eligibility

Your business may be eligible if it:

  • is based in England
  • is in an area subject to Tier 2 or Tier 3 local restrictions since 1 August 2020 and has been severely impacted because of the local restrictions
  • was established before the introduction of Tier 2 or Tier 3 restrictions
  • has not had to close but has been impacted by local restrictions

Local councils have the freedom to determine the precise eligibility criteria for these grants. However, we expect the funding to be targeted at hospitality, hotel, bed & breakfast and leisure businesses.

Businesses excluded from the fund

You cannot get funding if:

  • your business was established after the introduction of Tier 2 or Tier 3 restrictions in your local council area
  • your business is in administration, insolvent or has been struck off the Companies House register
  • you have exceeded the permitted subsidy limit

You must notify your local council if your situation changes and you no longer meet the eligibility criteria. For example, you become insolvent.

Subsidy allowance

The new domestic subsidy allowance for the COVID-19 business support grants took effect on 4 March 2021. Applications made prior to that date are subject to the previous rules.

This scheme is covered by 3 subsidy allowances:

  • Small Amounts of Financial Assistance Allowance – you’re allowed up to £335,000 (subject to exchange rates) over any period of 3 years
  • COVID-19 Business Grant Allowance – you’re allowed up to £1,600,000
  • COVID-19 Business Grant Special Allowance – if you have reached your limits under the Small Amounts of Financial Assistance Allowance and COVID-19 Business Grant Allowance, you may be able to access a further allowance of funding under these scheme rules of up to £9,000,000, provided certain conditions are met

Grants under these 3 allowances can be combined for a potential total allowance of up to £10,935,000 (subject to exchange rates).

What you get

Local councils are best placed to determine local needs for supporting recovery. They will exercise their local knowledge and discretion relevant to their economic need to provide grant funding.

The grant will be based on the rateable value of the property on the date of the start of the local restrictions. We anticipate local councils will provide funding under the following tiers, unless there is a local need to deviate.

If your business has a property with a rateable value of £15,000 or less, you may be eligible for a cash grant of up to £467 for each 14 day period.

If your business has a property with a rateable value over £15,000 and less than £51,000, you may be eligible for a cash grant of up to £700 for each 14 day period.

If your business has a property with a rateable value of £51,000 or above, you may be eligible for a cash grant of up to £1,050 for each 14 day period.

In the event of national restrictions being introduced, LRSG (Open) will cease to apply, as relevant businesses will receive funding from either the:

How to apply

Visit your local council’s website to find out how to apply.

Published 12 November 2020
Last updated 8 March 2021

Collection

Kickstart Scheme

The Kickstart Scheme provides funding to employers to create job placements for 16 to 24 year olds on Universal Credit.

The Kickstart Scheme provides funding to create new job placements for 16 to 24 year olds on Universal Credit who are at risk of long term unemployment. Employers of all sizes can apply for funding which covers:

Employers can spread the start date of the job placements up until the end of December 2021.

Further funding is available for training and support so that young people on the scheme can get a job in the future.

The Kickstart Scheme has changed.

You no longer need a minimum of 30 job placements to apply directly for a grant.

You can now apply for a Kickstart Scheme grant by either:

  • applying online yourself
  • applying through a Kickstart gateway who is already working with the Kickstart Scheme

Guidance about the Kickstart Scheme

Contact information

If you need help with the Kickstart Scheme process or you want to add more job placements or employers to your grant agreement, you can contact:

  • your local employer contact if you are located in a specific region
  • the national employer contact if you are located across several regions

Kickstart Scheme promotional material

If you are a supporter of the Kickstart Scheme, you can show your engagement by sharing the promotional material in your online and internal communications.

Kickstart Scheme terms and conditions

If you want to read the terms and conditions for employers and Kickstart gateways you can find them on the Kickstart Scheme terms and conditions page.

Published 2 September 2020
Last updated 25 January 2021

If you cannot pay your tax bill on time

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What to do

You must arrange to pay your tax bill with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) if you either:

  • miss a payment
  • know you cannot pay on time

If you pay a tax bill late you must pay interest on the amount you owe until it’s paid off. You can avoid penalties by arranging a payment plan with HMRC before the tax is due – or by 1 April for Self Assessment.

If you owe Self Assessment tax and your bill is less than £30,000 you may be able to pay in monthly instalments.

For any other bills or problems paying, you must contact HMRC to discuss your options. How you contact HMRC depends on what you need to pay.

This guide is also available in Welsh (Cymraeg).

If you cannot pay because of coronavirus (COVID-19)

You may be able to pay your Self Assessment tax in monthly instalments. This includes any delayed (deferred) ‘payments on account’ that were due in July 2020, if you did not pay them at the time.

If you’re getting or planning to apply for Bereavement Support Payment, Maternity Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance, contact HMRC before applying to pay your tax bill in instalments. Your benefits payments might be affected if you change how you pay your Self Assessment.

Contact the HMRC coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline if you cannot pay any other tax bills because of coronavirus.

If you’re self-employed

If your business has been affected by coronavirus (COVID-19), you may be able to claim a grant through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

If you cannot pay your Self Assessment tax bill

You can set up a payment plan online to spread the cost of your latest Self Assessment bill if:

  • you owe £30,000 or less
  • you do not have any other payment plans or debts with HMRC
  • your tax returns are up to date
  • it’s less than 60 days after the payment deadline

You do not need to contact HMRC if you set up a payment plan.

Call the Self Assessment helpline if you’re not eligible for a payment plan or cannot use the online service.

Self Assessment Payment Helpline
Telephone: 0300 200 3822
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm (closed on bank holidays)
Find out about call charges

If you cannot pay other taxes

You might be able to set up a Time to Pay Arrangement with HMRC if you’re unable to pay any other taxes in full. This lets you spread the cost of your tax bill by paying what you owe in instalments.

How you do this depends on whether you’ve received a payment demand.

If you’ve received a payment demand, like a tax bill or a letter threatening you with legal action, call the HMRC office that sent you the letter.

If you’ve not received a bill or letter, call the Payment Support Service (PSS).

Payment Support Service
Telephone: 0300 200 3835
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm (closed on bank holidays)
Find out about call charges

Nominated partners in business partnerships can negotiate a Time to Pay Arrangement with HMRC on behalf of the partnership or individual partners.


Apply for a coronavirus Bounce Back Loan

The Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) enables smaller businesses to access finance more quickly during the coronavirus outbreak.

The scheme helps small and medium-sized businesses to borrow between £2,000 and up to 25% of their turnover. The maximum loan available is £50,000.

The government guarantees 100% of the loan and there won’t be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months. After 12 months the interest rate will be 2.5% a year.

The scheme is open to applications until 31 March 2021.

If you already have a Bounce Back Loan but borrowed less than you were entitled to, you can top up your existing loan to your maximum amount. You must request the top-up by 31 March 2021.

If you need a larger loan, you may be entitled to other government support.

Eligibility

You can apply for a loan if your business:

  • is based in the UK
  • was established before 1 March 2020
  • has been adversely impacted by the coronavirus

If your business was classed as a business in difficulty on 31 December 2019 you’ll need to confirm that you’re complying with additional state aid restrictions.

Who cannot apply

Businesses from any sector can apply, except:

  • banks, insurers and reinsurers (but not insurance brokers)
  • public-sector bodies
  • state-funded primary and secondary schools

If you’re already claiming funding

You cannot apply if you’re already claiming under:

If you’ve already received a loan of up to £50,000 under one of these schemes you can transfer it into the Bounce Back Loan scheme. You have until 31 March 2021 to arrange this with your lender.

How long the loan is for

The length of the loan is 6 years, but you can repay early without paying a fee. No repayments will be due during the first 12 months.

Before your first repayment is due, your lender will contact you about further options to:

  • extend the term of your loan to 10 years
  • move to interest-only repayments for a period of 6 months (you can use this option up to 3 times)
  • pause your repayments for a period of 6 months (you can use this option once)

How to apply

There are 29 lenders participating in the scheme including many of the main retail banks. You should approach a suitable lender yourself via the lender’s website.

The lender will ask you to fill in a short online application form and self-declare that you are eligible.

The lender will decide whether to offer you a loan or another type of finance and you’ll be responsible for repaying 100% of the amount borrowed.

Find a lender

If the lender turns you down

If one lender turns you down, you can apply to other lenders in the scheme.

You may want to consider using a broker to find the right type of finance for your needs, or do your own research using the British Business Bank’s finance guide.

Find out how other businesses have used Bounce Back Loans.


Apply for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) provides financial support to smaller businesses affected by coronavirus (COVID-19).

The scheme helps small and medium-sized businesses to access loans and other kinds of finance up to £5 million.

The government guarantees 80% of the finance to the lender and pays interest and any fees for the first 12 months.

The scheme is open until 31 March 2021.

If you’re a larger business, you may be entitled to other government support.

Eligibility

You can apply for a loan if your business:

  • is based in the UK
  • has an annual turnover of up to £45 million

You need to show that your business:

  • would be viable were it not for the pandemic
  • has been adversely impacted by the coronavirus

If you want to borrow £30,000 or more, you also need to confirm that your business wasn’t classed as a business in difficulty on 31 December 2019.

Who cannot apply

Businesses from any sector can apply, except:

  • banks, insurers and reinsurers (but not insurance brokers)
  • public-sector bodies
  • state-funded primary and secondary schools

How long the loan is for

The maximum length of the facility depends on the type of finance you apply for and will be:

  • up to 3 years for overdrafts and invoice finance facilities
  • up to 6 years, for loans and asset finance facilities

How to apply

There are 117 lenders participating in the scheme including all the main retail banks. You should approach a suitable lender yourself via the lender’s website.

You’ll need to tell the lender:

  • the amount you’d like to borrow
  • what the money is for
  • how long you’d like to pay it back

Supporting documents

You’ll need to provide documents that show you can afford to repay the loan.

These may include:

  • management accounts
  • cash flow forecast
  • business plan
  • historic accounts
  • details of assets

The documents required will vary from lender to lender and depend on how much you’re asking for. If you’re asking your existing lender for a small loan, the process may be automated and not require all of the documents.

The lender will check that the loan is:

  • for a suitable business purpose
  • affordable for you
  • the right type of finance for your needs

The lender will decide whether to offer you a loan or another type of finance and you’ll be responsible for repaying 100% of the amount borrowed.

Find a lender

If the lender turns you down

If one lender turns you down, you can apply to other lenders in the scheme.

You may want to consider using a broker to find the right type of finance for your needs, or do your own research using the British Business Bank’s finance guide.


Find out what help you might be able to get from your council if you or your business is affected by coronavirus (COVID-19).

You might be able to get:

  • money to help with living costs
  • help getting food and other essentials
  • support for your business
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