Old Mill Updates

COVID-19: Practical guidance for our rural and farming clients #9

This is the ninth weekly update for our rural clients during COVID-19. Over this short time, we have seen more financial change than most have ever experienced, even as this update is being written, the Government have announced a support package for dairy farmers.

And, while most of the Government’s new support schemes are now set up and running there is still much to report on their implementation and implications to farming and rural businesses for now and in the future.

We will continue to provide you with regular financial updates, advice, and business strategy.  Our aim is to help you achieve your ambitions, whether they be financial, business or for your family.

7th May 2020

New fund announced to support dairy farmers

England’s dairy farmers will now be able to access up to £10,000 each to help them overcome the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. This announcement from the Government is in recognition of the continuing financial difficulties dairy farmers are facing through excess milk, falling prices, and reduced demand from the hospitality sector.

To be eligible to access this fund, dairy farmers will have to demonstrate they have lost more than 25% of their income over April and May due to COVID-19 disruptions. Initial Government details state that eligible farmers will be able to cover 70% of their lost income up to £10,000 for those qualifying months.

The Government will provide further details on how to access this hardship fund in due course and we will keep you updated when this happens.

Bounce Back Loan Scheme now open

This Government support scheme for small businesses has now opened and is available through a number of accredited lenders across the UK. For more information visit the gov website here

The main high street banks have Bounce Back Loan application pages on their websites now.  Applications can be accessed here.

Key points:

  • Businesses can apply for the loans worth 25% of their turnover, up to a maximum of £50,000
  • The Government will pay the interest for the first 12 months
  • Loans will be 100% guaranteed
  • We are told there will be no forward-looking tests of business viability and no complex eligibility criteria. All that will be required is the completion of a quick, standard form
  • For most businesses, loans should arrive within a matter of days.

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme claims service will be open on 13 May

From last Monday (4 May) HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) began contacting customers who may be eligible for the Government’s Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

Those who are eligible will be able to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of their trading profits up to a maximum of £7,500 (equivalent to three months’ profits), paid in a single instalment.

The eligibility checker for the scheme is currently online here. To access the checker you will need:

  • Your Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) – your UTR can be found on the top right hand corner of any recent HMRC paperwork you have received
  • Your National Insurance Number – your NI Number can be found on your payslips, P60 or letters about tax, pensions and benefits.

Once the online check is complete, eligible customers will be given a date when they can submit their claim.

The claims service will open on 13 May and is being delivered ahead of the original timetable. Once a claim has been submitted, the applicant will be told straight away if their grant is approved.  HMRC will pay the money into bank accounts within 6 working days.

HMRC has also stated that self-employed individuals can’t ask their accountant to submit a claim on their behalf but, if you need help sourcing your personal details or assistance with preparing and reviewing a claim please do contact us.

As a final point, unfortunately we anticipate that a number of those who think they should be eligible to claim will be disappointed because of the very specific criteria, particularly relating to rental income and tax allowances  which HMRC has placed on the scheme. Again, we are happy to help with any queries on this.

The impact of coronavirus on those in care

The news has been full of reports of the impact of coronavirus on care homes and their residents, with many of our rural clients contacting us with concerns about their relatives who are in need of care. Here we have detailed the need-to-knows when dealing with care options during COVID-19.

Old Mill rural ‘Virtual Breakfast’ Q&A

Last week we welcomed Director and Rural Accountant Neil Cox, onto our rural ‘Virtual Breakfast’ Q&A to discuss the relevant issues of the week. We also had the opportunity to open up the conversation and chat about the role of a rural accountant and how finance and specialist agricultural knowledge is so important in the success of a farming business.

You can watch the recorded version of the breakfast here. We also provide timelines to relevant topics so that you can skip to the points that interest you the most.

Please note: Due to this Friday being a Bank Holiday there will be no ‘Virtual Breakfast’ on this week but we will recommence on Friday 15 May and hope you will join us then. 

For more information, or if you have any questions about any of the above, please contact your Old Mill adviser or email enquiries@om.uk.