Further National Restrictions January 2021

As you will be aware further national restrictions were announced on Monday night which come into force of law today.  Given the spiralling cases nationwide we hope all our clients are staying safe and well.

Clients in Devon and other areas have gone from Tier 2 to 3  and now effectively Tier 5 in a few weeks and must consider the new restrictions.

The full government guidance .

Work from home

The restrictions strengthen the existing work from home advice with the threat of fines and that you should only leave home for essential purposes.  Non-essential retail can only operate as click and collect, pubs and restaurants must close, but non-alcohol takeaway is allowed.  Schools. Leisure, gyms, hair salons and many other businesses must stay closed until February, and it looks likely to extend beyond that date.

Employees must work from home where that is reasonably practical.

We recommend you ensure your business is operating within the guidelines, and consider  using furlough if the shutdown means there is no work for employees.  Speak to our payroll department for furlough guidance.

Employers should ensure they agree with their employees how the guidelines will be followed.  Employers may also have staff with childcare issues due to schools closing, furlough can be used here, speak to us and we can refer for employment law help if needed.

Financial Support

For the period from the end of the last national “lockdown” in early December until today businesses that were affected may be able to apply for local restrictions (open) grants and should contact their local council.

On Tuesday a new one-off rates based grant was announces for retail , hospitality and leisure that must close due

Businesses in those sectors with a rateable value of £15,000 or under can receive up to £4,000, those up to £51,000 can receive £6,000, and those with a rateable value over £51,000 can receive up to £9,000.  These new grants may be in addition to other grants for closed/open businesses from local council. Speak to your local council if you are not contacted about these grants, but allow some time for it to roll out. 

If you are self-employed , are eligible and haven’t claimed the 3rd SEISS grant you may now consider it necessary and you have until 29 January 2021. A fourth grant is due to follow.

Bounce back loans remain open until 31 March 2021, we suggest it may be prudent to claim the maximum, as it can be repaid interest free within a year.  Long delays mean you should apply as soon as possible.

All tax payments can be delayed by agreement with HMRC.

Our office and service

Some of our staff need to be in office, and all of our staff will continue to be working and can be contacted on their normal email and direct line.  We still aim to complete all clients tax returns this month for the 31 January 2021 deadline.  If you need to drop off signed tax returns these can be posted through the letter box, but we will accept an email declaration, ask us for an email declaration to sign and return.

If you need to drop physical records off these can be left inside the door of the Paignton office during normal hours, we suggest dropping them and then ringing reception to say they are there (remember the Newton office is permanently closed). 

Because of the lockdown we have had to make the difficult decision to avoid having face to face meetings in the office until we see a relaxation in the current guidelines.  As such any meetings will have to take place via zoom or telephone and as much as we appreciate the inconvenience this causes with our clients we hope you understand our reasons for making this decision.