Make most of ‘Time to Pay’, businesses urged

The North West’s business owners are being urged to act swiftly and make the most of government support to help manage cashflow and trading challenges as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

Tax experts at North West-based accountancy and business advisory firm MHA Moore and Smalley, say owner-managed businesses should be speaking with HMRC as soon as possible about deferring tax payments and accessing other support.

The firm gained experience of helping businesses negotiate with HMRC to delay PAYE, National Insurance and VAT payments during the financial crisis a decade ago and believe the scheme could offer a vital lifeline.

Tony Medcalf, tax partner at MHA Moore and Smalley, said: “It’s absolutely critical that small and medium-sized businesses engage with HMRC as soon as possible, rather than waiting to see how they will be affected.

“When HMRC launched Time to Pay following the 2008 banking crisis, they were a lot more accommodating than many businesses thought they would be, and we were able to help many businesses negotiate later payments.

“Business owners should now be seeking professional advice on negotiating with HMRC to agree their tax deferment and repayment plans.”

Tony added: “This is very tricky situation for businesses to be in, but there will also be opportunities when this is over. Businesses need to go on a war footing immediately and make sure they take advantage of all the support available to be able to come out the other side.”

Among the support measures government has made available for business, are government-backed guaranteed loans at “attractive rates”, with a £330bn pot available to firms which need money to pay rent, suppliers, staff or purchase stock. SMEs can borrow up to £5m with no interest due in first six months.

Retail, leisure and hospitality companies will be exempt from business rates for a whole year, and firms in this sector with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000 will be given a cash grant of up to £25,000.

Small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief. Government has also launched a new lending facility with the Bank of England to support larger companies.

MHA Moore and Small has launched a dedicated Coronavirus Planning and Guidance hub to bring together information about all the support available to businesses.