Business meeting

New Grants To Boost Recovery Of Small Businesses

Thousands of smaller businesses in England are set to benefit from £20 million of new government funding to help them recover from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, the Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government has announced.

Small and medium sized businesses will have access to grants of between £1,000 – £5,000 to help them access new technology and other equipment as well as professional, legal, financial or other advice to help them get back on track.

The support will be fully funded by the Government with no obligation for businesses to contribute financially and the support will be fully funded by the government from the England European Regional Development Fund and distributed through local enterprise partnerships (LEP) Growth Hubs, embedded in local areas across England.

LEPs are voluntary partnerships between local authorities and businesses, set up in 2011 by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to help determine local economic priorities and lead economic growth and job creation within the local area.

Activities supported through the £20 million can include:

  • One-to-many events providing guidance to respond to coronavirus,
  • Grants (£1,000 – £5,000) to help businesses access specialist professional advice such as HR, accountants, legal, financial, IT and digital, and to purchase minor equipment to adapt or adopt new technology in order to continue to deliver business activity or diversify.

We will provide further details on how to apply for these grants in due course.

Watch this space!

Please see:

pregnant lady with heart

Did your pregnancy affect your claim?

Ask HMRC to verify you had a new child which affected your eligibility for the self-employed income support scheme. 

If you are self-employed or a member of a partnership, and having a new child affected the trading profits or total income you reported for the tax year 2018 to 2019, use the HMRC form to ask them to verify that you had a new child.

If you are already eligible for the grant based on your 2016 to 2017, 2017 to 2018 and 2018 to 2019 Self-Assessment tax returns, how HMRC will work out your grant amount will not be affected.

If you are not already eligible you can ask HMRC to check if you had a new child which either:

  • affected your trading profits or total income you reported for the tax year 2018 to 2019
  • meant you did not submit a Self-Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018 to 2019

For this scheme having a new child is any of the following:

  • being pregnant
  • giving birth (including a stillbirth after more than 24 weeks of pregnancy) and the 26 weeks after giving birth
  • caring for a child within 12 months of birth if you have parental responsibility
  • caring for a child within 12 months of adoption placement

You must have been self-employed in the tax year 2017 to 2018 and have submitted your Self-Assessment tax return on or before 23 April 2020.

You must also meet all other eligibility criteria.

Hand with iPhone

What is the job retention scheme bonus?

Employers will be able to claim a one-off payment of £1,000 for every employee they have previously received a grant for under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), and who remains continuously employed through to the end of January 2021.

To be eligible, the employee must have received earnings in November, December and January, and must have been paid an average of at least £520 per month, and a total of at least £1,560 across the three months.

As the employer, you will be able to claim the bonus after you have filed PAYE information for January 2021, and the bonus will be paid from February 2021. More detailed guidance, including how you can claim the bonus online, will be available by the end of September.

What you need to do now 

If you intend to claim the Job Retention Bonus you must:

  • ensure all your employee records are up to date
  • accurately report employees’ details and wages on the Full Payment Submission (FPS) through the Real Time Information (RTI) reporting system
  • make sure all of your CJRS claims have been accurately submitted and you have told HMRC about any changes needed (for example if you have received too much or too little).

Reminder of changes to CJRS

From 1 August 2020 CJRS continues to provide grants for furloughed employees but no longer funds employers’ National Insurance (NI) and pension contributions. You now have to make these payments from your own resources for all employees, whether furloughed or not. HMRC guidance has been updated to reflect these changes.

Making sure your data is right

It is important that you provide the data HMRC need to process your claim. Payment of your grant may be at risk or delayed if you submit a claim that is incomplete or incorrect. HMRC may be in touch to request employee data if it’s missing from your previous claims.

National Insurance numbers

You need to provide a National Insurance number (NINO) for all employees as part of your CJRS claim. The only exception is in the very limited circumstances where an employee genuinely does not have a NINO, for example if they are under 16 years old.

If you are claiming for an employee whose NINO you do not currently know, you can check their number by searching GOV.UK for ‘Check a National Insurance Number using basic PAYE Tools’.

HMRC can no longer accept claims for fewer than 100 employees by phone where you do not have all employee NINO’s unless the employees you are claiming for genuinely do not have these.

Claimed too much in error?

If you have claimed too much for a CJRS grant and have not repaid it, you must notify HMRC and repay the money by the latest of whichever date applies below:

  • 90 days after receiving the CJRS money you’re not entitled to
  • 90 days from when circumstances changed so that you were no longer entitled to keep the CJRS grant
  • 20 October 2020 if you received CJRS money you are not entitled to or if your circumstances changed on or before 22 July.

Eat out to help out scheme

Claim Money Back Through Eat Out To Help Out Scheme

The Government has announced details on how to claim the reimbursement for discounts given to diners with the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme.

Please talk to us if you need help with your claim and record keeping. 

Who can claim?

If you have registered your establishment for the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme and offered scheme discounts to diners on Mondays to Wednesdays between 3 and 31 August, you can:

  • claim back the discount given on food and non-alcoholic drinks
  • submit weekly claims for August until 30 September

You must make the claim ONLINE yourself. You cannot ask us to do it for you. We can help you calculate the claim if you want us to.

You must enter accurate details for all the establishments you’re claiming for before submitting your claim. If you need to amend information later your payment may be delayed.

When you can claim

You can make a claim after 7 days from the date of your registration. You can only claim for scheme discounts you offered on or after the date you registered.

What you will need

You will need the records you’ve kept for each day you have used the scheme, including the:

  • total number of diners (covers) who have used the scheme, including children
  • total amount of discount you’ve given
  • period you’re claiming for

If you are making a claim for more than one establishment, you will need to have the:

  • records for each establishment
  • overall total value of the claim for all establishments ready before you claim

How to claim

You must enter accurate details for all the establishments you’re claiming for and check your claim carefully before submitting.

If you claim too much, HMRC will not be able to correct this until 14 August.

If you claim too little, HMRC will not be able to correct this until 21 August.

You can make up to 5 claims before 30 September. You cannot claim after that.

When you sign into the service you must choose the periods that you are claiming for, from:

  • 3 to 5 August
  • 10 to 12 August
  • 17 to 19 August
  • 24 to 26 August
  • 31 August

You’ll also need to enter the total number of covers and claim value for each establishment that has offered the scheme discount.

Records you must keep

To show the link between the number of diners who got the discount and the total value of scheme discount being claimed for in each claim period, for each day, all you must keep is a record of the:

  • total number of diners who have used the scheme discount in your establishment
  • total value of all eat in food and non-alcoholic drink sold where the scheme discounts were given
  • total value of scheme discounts you’ve given and claimed for

If you are using the scheme for more than one establishment, you must keep these records for each.

HMRC may ask for your records relating to the scheme. You should keep records:

  • in a format that suits your business
  • with your other business records

Once you have claimed, you will get a claim reference number. HMRC will then check your claim is correct and pay the claim amount by BACs into the bank account you gave when you registered, within 5 working days.

Paying tax

You will still need to pay VAT based on the full amount of your customer’s bill before the scheme discount is applied. This amount needs to be reflected in the correct VAT return for the period the transaction took place.

If your point of sale system does not allow you to account for VAT accurately under this scheme, you can manually adjust your VAT account after the sale.

If you cannot include the adjustment in the period the transaction took place, you should estimate the VAT and you must account for any difference in your next VAT return.

The payment you receive will be treated as taxable income.

If you need to make a correction

If you need to correct any information given during registration or to a claim, you will need to contact HMRC. There is a dedicated helpline for this scheme: 0300 322 9429.

For further information or assistance with the claim please contact us.


a Van and a car

Is your van actually a car? – The answer may surprise you.

“Should I buy a car or a van” is a question we frequently get asked at 1 Accounts. Our recommendation is usually van. This is because you can claim back the VAT and the taxable benefit in kind is usually much less than a car (unless electric).

As the benefits of buying a van outweigh the benefits of buying a car, It is important that your van is actually classified as a van. In our opinion HMRC have been fairly “woolly” over the definition. In most cases if the vehicle is capable of transporting goods and has a 1 tonne pay load it has been treated as a van.; regardless of if there are seats behind the driver.

HMRC have a published list of what they determine to be a car or a van. You will see in some cases that the pack purchased can affect the classification:  However due to the developments in the recent Coca-cola case these classifications may come under scrutiny from HMRC. 

The coca-cola case

Coca-cola provided their employees with vehicles based on a panel van design, however these vehicles had a second row of seats behind the driver. Employees could use them for both personal and work purposes. Coca-cola argued that these vehicles were vans. HMRC said they were cars.

The first tier tribunal determined that because the vehicles were multi-purpose they couldn’t be considered a van. Therefore by default they had to fall into the ‘car’ bracket and should be taxed accordingly.


Your van could be classed as a car if:

  • It has a row of seats behind the driver
  • It has a dule purpose eg. It can carry goods and passengers

If you van has these things you will seriously need to consider if it is used as a van or a car. We believe that now it has come to light, HMRC will be looking more closely at the classifications and will be taking a much harsher approach than before.

The judgement as you can see from this link is extensive and has tax implications for both Tax and VAT.

We recommend that you review your fleet and make the necessary adjustments now.

speech bubble "how to network remotely"

How to network when you can’t network in person

Small to medium-sized businesses have to go the extra mile to stand out from competitors, particularly when those competitors can afford the best advertising campaigns. In the past we could compensate with networking, by attending conferences, trade fairs, or local groups. Now those options have gone, how can you compete with bigger businesses?

In many ways, the principles of virtual networking and prospecting are the same, but unlike a crowded coffee break, you have to work harder to strike up a conversation. Online you need to build up small talk, such as likes and shares, over a longer period of time.

The best place to network depends on who you need to talk to. People tend to use LinkedIn to sell professional services, but if your target market is people and businesses in your area, you should be able to find Facebook groups covering the parts of the country that you would like to sell to. Instagram and Twitter can be more difficult to network on, so we’ve focussed on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Get your profile right

Use a photo that shows your face clearly, or if you’re very shy, something innocuous. In person we all build rapport by talking to faces, whether we’re good at reading body language or not. When people interact with posts and comments, they’re building a rapport with your photo, so pick an image that you’re comfortable with as your work persona and you’ll attract the kind of people you want to work with.

You should also have a look at your profile as other people will see it and think about what it says to potential clients.

Follow any group administrator rules

When you know who you’d like to interact with and where, you can find and join as many groups as possible on LinkedIn and Facebook. The first rule for any social media platform is to make sure you follow the rules of any group you join. If a group states that you aren’t allowed to advertise your business, be careful about how your posts might appear. You could leave a bad impression if you get told off or banned by group administrators!

It’s still worth joining groups so you can see your competitors, find out what your potential clients are interested in and contact those that you’d like to work with.

Be visible

Whichever platforms you use, it’s best to post regularly. Not posting on a social media platform is worse than being a wallflower at an in-person event, because no one can see you at all virtually.

On LinkedIn and Facebook, the usual advice is that it’s better for your visibility if you write a new post on your own newsfeed, but to build relationships with potential clients, you need to be more generous. Sharing, liking and commenting on the posts of people you’d like to network with helps their visibility at the same time as introducing you to their circle.

Comment sections are a great way to network with people that you aren’t already connected with. They’re a little like small talk in the queue for refreshments, except that you don’t need to find your business cards while holding a coffee. Having had a discussion, it’s much easier to send a message to talk further.

Show them that you’re worth talking to

Since you can’t usually post traditional adverts in virtual groups, being helpful is a more subtle way of advertising your expertise. People won’t read a long explanation and you don’t want to give your expertise away for free, so a brief answer followed by “if you need more help, please contact me” is enough.

Remember to specify how they should contact you, so it’s as easy as possible for them to follow up. If they have to stop and think “did they mean email or private messaging?”, they’re less likely to follow through.

Look for mutual contacts

All of the main social media channels allow you to see friends of friends, or second connections, if those people have opted in. 15 years ago someone might have hesitated to ask a contact to introduce them to a new contact virtually, but it’s normal now that so many businesses use social media platforms for marketing and networking.

Return favours and share goodwill

Offline it can be difficult to make introductions unless the two people you think could work together are in the same room. The beauty of online networking is that it takes seconds to tag someone in a comment and say “this person could help you”. It may seem a small gesture at the time, but every little introduction is a step on the way to success for you and anyone that joins your network.

Business bounce back loan - boy on trampoline

Business Bounce Back Loans

Business Bounce Back Loans – what are they and should you apply for one?

Since the scheme launched in May 2020 (just 3 months ago), more than 860,000 bounce back loans have been issued. This means that thousands of small businesses who are struggling due to the coronavirus have applied for and received financial help; help of which will hopefully get them through this turbulent time. So what are bounce back loans? Here is what you need to know about them including a list of questions to help you decide whether you should apply for one.

Business Bounce Back Loans

While there has been a lot of financial support being dished out due to the impact of the Coronavirus, there are small businesses that can’t access this funding quickly enough; self-employed people who don’t qualify for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, and limited company directors who have fallen through the cracks.

For these businesses and individuals, the ones who aren’t covered by other schemes, bounce back loans are a saving grace.

So what are bounce banks loans?

Bounce back loans are 100% government-backed loans which include the following:

  • Loan amount from £2,000-£50,000 or 25% of your annual turnover (whichever is lower)
  • No interest charged in the first 12 months (the Government covers the first year)
  • No repayments needed in the first 12 months
  • After 12 months, all banks charge a fixed 2.5% interest rate/year
  • 6-year loan with no early repayment charges
  • Straightforward application and quick access to funds

Obviously, your business will always remain responsible for the repayment of the whole debt amount, but bounce back loans will provide you with significant support over the next 12 months.

Should I apply?

To help you decide whether you should apply for a bounce back loan, here are some questions for you to consider. If your answer is yes to a number of these questions then you are eligible to receive support.

  • Am I a UK-based business that has been impacted by Covid-19?
  • Was my business established before 1 March 2020?
  • Is this the only support that I am applying for (with the exception of personal support)?
  • Do I need financial help in addition to the self-employment income support grant and universal credit?
  • Do I need to repay existing finance, i.e. lenders?
  • Do I need help to pay investments or working capital for the business – including bills, running costs and wages?
  • Do I need capital immediately (within 24 hours)?

Things to note

If you would like to apply for a bounce back loan, all you have to do is contact a bank directly and fill in a short online application. You will need details of your annual turnover, your account number, the amount you wish to borrow, a copy of your tax return, and proof that your business has been negatively impacted by Covid-19.

In terms of repayments, there are no interest or repayments in the first year but after those 12 months, you will need to make 60 repayments of the amount borrowed. Unlike a personal loan, however, you won’t have fixed payments. Each month, you’ll repay 1/60th of the capital plus the interest that has accumulated that month. This means that the amount you owe will decrease over time and in turn, your repayment amount will decrease too.

If you would like to know more about the Business Bounce Back Loans book in a no-obligation free meeting TODAY!