Back in March we sent out our very first COVID update. This partly in response to the fact a lot of accountants either had their head in the sand about it, or saw COVID as a money-making opportunity rather than a potential humanitarian crisis. 👎
We also knew a lot of people don't have an accountant and could fall through the cracks without at least a nudge in the right direction.
7 months and 24 updates later, we think it's appropriate to 'call time' on these updates, in favour of working more closely with those clients who are still able to take advantage of the remaining support.
If you aren't part of Team Penguin and you feel let down by your current accountant, it would be good to have a chat about whether we'll be a better fit for what's to come as the country tries to repair itself after COVID. Book a call here. 👍
From the beginning, I promised this update wasn't the start of a 'sales funnel' or some other ploy to get your data. And it still isn't. I'll only send out further updates if there's anything new (because who knows what's next!!) which is likely to affect the majority of businesses.
Otherwise, we'll be contacting affected clients directly as and when more information is available, for example, the £1,000 furlough bonus in January, or when the Catering VAT scheme ends.
So, whilst this is the end of the beginning, it's certainly not the beginning of the end - if you thought 2020 was hairy, 2021 could make it look like the warm-up. As govt support for jobs finishes in January and lots of industries are already on their knees, we may see mass redundancies which are only currently being deferred.
This will be combined with the inevitable tax rises. For context, the furlough scheme alone costs the same, per month, as running the NHS. 😯
For now then, let's leave you with a summary of key things to watch for over the next six months:
Kick-start Scheme is a Let-Down
Remember when Rishi said he wanted "all businesses, large or small" to benefit from this scheme, which pays the first few months' wages for 16-24yr olds who are at risk of long-term unemployment.
Turns out, it'll only apply to businesses who are looking to take on THIRTY or more employees! 😭 That's pretty much EVERY small business out of the game, then.
There is the opportunity for businesses to 'club together' to make the threshold, and I'm keen to see if e.g. local chambers of commerce act as a 'hub', but overall it seems like a scheme which will benefit Tesco, Amazon et al but not the smallest of firms who could also have created a job for someone.
To recap - for September, the govt will cover 70% of the employee's gross wages, and 60% in October. Employers will still need to pay their staff at least 80%, AND also pay Pension and National Insurance as usual.
Don't forget, the scheme is flexible so you can bring someone back part-time if you have the work available, and claim furlough for the rest of the time.
At the moment there are no plans to extend the scheme - we'll contact clients directly if this changes.
Remember in January, there will be a £1,000 bonus available to furloughed staff who are still employed by the business, subject to various conditions.
SEISS Phase 2
We've talked about the criteria for this in earlier updates...the key thing to remember is if you are eligible to claim, the DEADLINE IS 19th OCTOBER.
If you're self-employed but not sure if you are eligible, give me a call ASAP.