Whilst the last few months have been unusual for many businesses, there are key dates that still need to be penned into diaries of business owners to ensure they stay on track and meet financial commitments.
Business is gradually getting back to normal and there is government support available for many businesses that are struggling with the impact of the coronavirus lockdown. Understanding the key dates and what help is out there can help keep firms on track during 2020 whilst uncertainty continues for many.
If you’re a business owner, here are five dates to consider when measuring cash reserves, planning the coming months and seeking support.
1. Corporation Tax payment
With most businesses having December or March tax year ends, the upcoming Corporation Tax payment will be based on earnings before the coronavirus pandemic took hold. As a result, the tax bill may be larger in proportion to current cashflow if capital has been depleted in recent months.
If you work to a December year-end, Corporation Tax payment will be due on October 1 2020, moving to January 1 2021, if your year-end was in March.
2. VAT payment
If your business pays VAT quarterly, like the majority of business in the UK, the next due date is November 7, covering the third quarter. With many businesses expecting to get back to normal working operations over the summer months, it’s important to plan for your next VAT payment when assessing cashflow and capital in the coming months.
The government previously announced that VAT payments due between March and June could be deferred in a bid to help businesses manage cashflow during the worst of the lockdown restrictions. If this is an option that you took, your next VAT payment may be higher than usual if you choose to repay the deferred amount. However, you do have until 31 March 2021 to make this payment.
3. Income Tax payment
On 31 January 2021, income tax payment is due, which may affect business owners taking an income from the business. On this date, the tax liability for income earned during the 2019/20 tax year will be due. As a result, it may be significantly higher than your earnings over the previous 12 months if operations were affected by coronavirus. Some business owners may have found they've dipped into savings allocated to income tax amid stagnant cashflow too. Being aware of the date in January can help build up the sum you need to pay.
If you choose to defer an income tax bill due on 31 July 2020, this will now also be due on 31 January 2021.
For businesses and owners that will struggle to pay the next income tax payment due to the effect of lockdown, there may be an option to discuss a Time to Pay arrangement with HMRC. This doesn’t clear the amount owed but can spread out the cost.
4. Delayed VAT payment
As mentioned above, businesses did have the option to delay making VAT payments amid the coronavirus crisis. If this is an option you took advantage of, the deferred VAT payment must be made by 31 March 2021. At a time when you may have other financial commitments, it’s important to keep this additional payment in mind.
Hopefully, as lockdown restrictions begin to ease, the majority of businesses will be able to get back to ‘normal’ in the coming weeks, setting them on the right track to meet repayments next year.
5. Start of repayments for coronavirus loan schemes
The government introduced several schemes designed to help business during the uncertainty of the pandemic. These included the Coronavirus Interruption Loan Scheme and the Bounce Back Loan Scheme. These offered favourable lending terms to eligible businesses. If you’ve taken advantage of these schemes, it’s important to keep in mind when repayments will need to be made.
The Coronavirus Interruption Loan Scheme provides support to SMEs that lose revenue due to coronavirus. Through the scheme, a lender can provide up to £5 million in the form of term loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance. The lending is backed by the government in order to encourage more lending. The government will make a Business Interruption Payment to cover the first 12 months of interest payments and any lender-levied changes. As a result, interest payments may be due from April 1 2021.
The Bounce Back Loan Scheme gives the lender a full government-backed guarantee against the outstanding capital and interest. Businesses can borrow from £2,000 up to 25% of a business’ turnover, up to a maximum £50,000, over a six-year term. The borrower doesn’t have to make any repayments for the first 12 months, with the government paying the first 12 months of interest payments.
If your business has been affected by the lockdown restrictions, getting to grips with the finances now can help put you on the right path. Don’t delay seeking support if it’s needed. We’re also here to offer advice if your personal finances have been affected by Covid-19, please get in touch if you have any questions.