What can directors do if they have to temporarily close their business?
You need to think about how your business insurance will work if you temporarily close due to an outbreak of the virus. The government confirmed on 17 March 2020 that the direction they’ve given to business is sufficient to claim under a Business Interruption Policy.
- Check with your insurance provider or broker whether you have Business Interruption cover under your commercial insurance policy
- If you have it, you will need to check whether you have an extension for “notifiable diseases” – then check whether coronavirus is covered.
What can tenants and landlords do as the March quarter for rent approaches?
Most tenants have rental deposits lodged with their landlord, and in the event of non-payment the landlord legally has the right to take from the rental deposit under the rental deposit deed and ask the tenant to make it good. Tenants should prepare a detailed cash flow and talk to their landlord.
Landlords need to think clearly about what to do – if they wrongfully prevent or restrict an occupier or its customers accessing the property in the absence of receiving a rental payment, they may find themselves open to a legal claim and/or an aggrieved occupier.
- Keep up to date – monitor the situation day to day, keep up with the latest guidelines and share them with tenants and employees
- Communication – talk to occupiers about the risk and about cleanliness and hygiene
- Assessing the risk – conduct risk assessments, consider specific site factors, physical characteristics, its use and its occupiers
- Enhanced security – establish stricter security for occupiers, employees and visitors and reduce social contact
- Remote working – recommend to occupiers that their employees work from home
- Enhanced cleaning – clean communal areas and manage waste disposal and frequently clean those areas which are at risk of spreading the virus – door handles, taps, lifts, stair rails, etc.
- Supply chain – consider any disruption to any supply chain
- Have a contingency plan – management teams could meet more regularly to review continuity plans and update contingency plans
Corporate taxation refunds
You should consider looking to change your year-end if the effect of the virus causes losses and this can accelerate tax repayments.
What updates has the chancellor given on VAT?
- All VAT payments due between 20 March and 30 June 2020 can be deferred
- This includes the VAT return payments due for the periods ended 29 February, 31 March and 30 April 2020 and any VAT Payments on account due in that period
- No application is required
- The VAT due to HMRC will be payable by 30 April 2021 with no interest or penalties
- VAT Returns should be completed and submitted as normal
Any VAT refunds will still be paid by HMRC.
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