Weekly update - 17 October 2020



London moves to Tier 2: High


London has moved into the second level of Lockdown from Saturday 17 October.


This means on top of restrictions in alert level medium, the public should follow social distancing rules, work from home where they can effectively do so, and avoid public transport by making fewer journeys wherever possible.


People must not socialise with anybody outside of their household or support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place, such as the pub.


Businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a Covid-secure manner, other than those that remain closed in law.


The duration of each tier lockdown varies upon the alert level in the region, for tier 2 the restrictions will be under constant review. This means rules could be subject to change at any time, moving up to tier 3 or down to tier one.


London Mayor Sadiq Khan said this move into alert level high will include all 33 councils across London to prevent any confusion among Londoners who may work in one area and live in the next.


With the stricter lockdowns in the north of the country it looks possible that we could have a further national lockdown at some stage.


Whilst many businesses are now better set up for home working this is still a very worrying development.


If you are stressed about the situation and want to talk things through then call me.


If you want to discuss how your business can cope then I am here to help you.




If you are a self employed person and have not yet made your claim for the second grant from HMRC time is running out. The latest date to claim is 18 October 2020.


Log onto the HMRC claim portal to make the claim. We cannot do this for you but can hand hold you through the process if you wish.


Working from home expenses


From 6 April 2020, employers have been able to pay employees up to £6 a week tax-free to cover additional costs if they have had to work from home. Prior to 6 April 2020 the amount was £4 per week. Employees who have not received the working from home expenses payment direct from their employer can apply to receive the tax relief from HMRC.


Eligible taxpayers can claim tax relief based on the rate at which they pay tax.


For example, if an employed worker pays the 20% basic rate of tax and claims tax relief on £6 a week, they would receive £1.20 a week in tax relief (20% of £6 a week) while higher rate taxpayers would the receive £2.40 a week (40% of £6 a week).


Over the course of the year, this could mean taxpayers can reduce the tax they pay by £62.40 or £124.80 respectively.


Employees do not need to provide evidence to show their bills have increased unless they are applying for tax relief on costs above the £6 per week flat rate, in which evidence of the increased costs may be required.


HMRC is encouraging individuals claiming tax relief for working from home to apply directly via the portal. Agents will not be able to use the new service to apply for the relief on a client’s behalf, which HMRC says is to ensure individuals receive 100% of the tax relief that is due.


Once the application has been approved, the online portal will adjust an individual’s tax code for the 2020 to 2021 tax year. The employee will receive the tax relief directly through their salary and will continue to receive the adjustment until March 2021.


HMRC is also reminding employed workers, for example healthcare workers and care home staff, that they can also claim tax relief on work-related expenses, including cleaning their work uniforms.


Employees who clean, replace or repair uniform or tools, or pay fees and subscriptions for their work can apply online directly to HMRC and see instantly if they are eligible for tax relief on work expenses.


Please advise all of your staff working from home of this opportunity. Directors can also make the claim. Taxpayers may have to set up a Government Gateway account to make the claim online.


HMRC working from home claim portal.


Are you an Ex-pat living in the EU? If so your UK bank account is likely to be closed soon


If you, or anyone you know, is an ex-pat living abroad in the EU then your UK bank account is likely to be shut by your bank. This has the potential to cause problems with receiving state and private pensions or rental income.


The reason is that with the UK moving out of the EU the rules on bank account owners has changed.


This is going to cause problems with no easy option available. See the article from Moneysavingexpert for more details. There are also many articles online that talk about this.


Tax returns


Did you know there are less than 15 weeks to get your 2020 tax return submitted. Many of our clients leave their returns to January for some reason. This creates problems for us as there is a significant amount of work that we have to complete in a short amount of time.


Please let us have your tax return information as soon as possible if you have not already done so. W will be adding a surcharge for completing returns where ethe information is not provided until after 1 January 2021.


Are you trading insolvently?


With the current crisis many businesses have closed or significantly reduced their level of income. For some businesses they are trading but are not making profits. If the level of reserves is low then, especially for limited companies, there is a requirement that, where trading, no debts are incurred which it is not likely that they will be paid.


If a company is insolvent and it continues to trade then the directors are personally liable for the debts incurred if they knew, or should have known, that the company was insolvent.


 Therefore it is essential that any company director seriously considers, in the current climate, whether they are trading solvently or insolvently.


If you are not sure then speak to us as soon as possible as it could impact you directly in your pocket.


In order to determine whether you can continue trading I consider it essential that you have some form of cash flow forecast or summary. I have been pushing every business since lockdown to have some plan or forecast. It is still not too late to get moving with this. See other parts of this newsletter about how we can help you.


If you want to go it alone then please do so. The only thing you should not be doing is burying your head in the sand and do nothing. 


Do you have bad debts that you cannot recover?


Sometimes customers do not pay you for the work you have done. This could be because they just do not have the money but also sometimes they are just being difficult or do not want to pay for the service they have received.


If you have debtors in the later category then we have access to debt recovery solicitors who will fight your case. They will look at the situation and give you an independent opinion as to whether the debt can be recovered. They are on a no win no fee basis and will only reject where the is no case for the amount to be paid or the debtor is insolvent. The service is provided through capitalize.com.


If you are having difficulty in recovering amounts owed to you then talk to us to see if we can advise you. If it does not go well can refer you to recover the amounts due to your business.



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2 new great FREE offerings for clients if you use online bookkeeping.


Fluidly lite - 90-day cashflow forecasting updated in real-time and fully automated. It shows what's going on in your business on a day-to-day basis, from the cash going into the cash going out, and everything in between. If you are interested in a demonstration please let me know.


We have held our first online demonstration of the product which went very well. Our client thought that it was a great tool that could help him when looking at scenario planning for taking on more staff or purchasing a piece of equipment.


Reducer - Analyses your accounting data to find out where you can reduce your business costs. If you decide to switch suppliers Reducer will work with you directly to complete the process. Your own procurement professionals but not costing you a penny! E-mails about the scheme have been sent out. If you want to join then please get in contact.


We are very excited to be offering you the opportunity to use these pieces of software for free. However, both software offers only work with online bookkeeping systems so if you are not using Xero or Quick Books now is a good time to look at changing. Contact Simon for more details.



The team at Stewart & Partners is working from home during the crisis although we do very occasionally visit the office if needed. All post is being forwarded onto us from the office.


Don’t forget to access our dedicated Covid 19 hub for all new announcements and far more detailed information.




The CJRS continues in October but with changes to the amounts that can be claimed.


From 1 October the government will pay 60% of wages up to a cap of £1875.00 per employee but employers will be required to pay 80% of the normal salary together with the related ER NICs and pension contributions.


There is a new scheme starting on 1 November (JSS).


CJRS – Paperwork


As previously advised all supporting paperwork relating to furlough must be kept until at least October 2025 in case HMRC wishes to review it.


Bounce Back loans


A list of banks currently offering the BB loans is available on the British Business Bank web site.


Bounce back loan applications cannot be made after 30 November 2020.





The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) is still running for loans above £50,000. A Business can only have either a BB loan or a CBILS loan but not both. If you need a loan over £50,000 CBILS is the way to go.


If you already have a BB loan and need more funds you can apply for a CBILS loan as long as the new loan is used, in part, to repay the BB loan.


Again, planning for the repayment for the loan is essential and we can help with preparing cashflows and budgets if needed.


CBILS loan applications cannot be made after 30 November 2020.



Accounting for grants and loans


If you need help with your bookkeeping for the various loans and grants please contact us for advice on how to record these.





Here are a few links which may be of help:


Coronavirus support for business from outside government - List of public bodies, organisations and charities that have produced additional resources that may be useful to employers and employees.  


Stewart & Partners outgoings timeline spreadsheet – a spreadsheet to record upcoming payments


Government 10 guides to working safely during CV19


Stewart & Partners UK Covid 19 business guidance and resources - http://clientresources.co.uk/ - a 3rd party web site with good advice and resources that Stewart & Partners link to.


Hertfordshire Growth Hub - www.hertsgrowthhub.com – support for existing businesses.


Enterprise Nation - www.enterprisenation.com – Small business support, free to join.


HMRC Skills toolkit - theskillstoolkit.campaign.gov.uk/ - free online courses to learn new digital and numeracy skills.


CIPD – CV19 Returning to the workplace - https://www.cipd.co.uk/knowledge/fundamentals/emp-law/employees/workplace-guide-returning-after-coronavirus - How to plan a return to work.


CJRS: Step by step guide for employers


How to set up a direct debit for VAT returns - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/vat-instruction-to-your-bank-or-building-society-to-pay-by-direct-debit-vatc9


Zoom tips for home working https://blog.zoom.us/working-from-home-tips-to-meet-like-a-pro/?utm_source=website&utm_medium=postattendee&utm_campaign=WFHQ1FY21&zcid=3710


How to change your zoom background -  https://www.loom.com/share/269c91301db747c18eed82cdc2f615bd


Online Client meeting


We continue to hold weekly online meetings that all clients are entitled to attend. The meetings are a drop in opportunity for clients to come online and ask any questions they may have. If there are any updates on the current situation these will also be discussed.


There is no obligation to attend but you may hear something you would otherwise have missed. You may also receive support or ideas from other clients.


The next meeting will be next Wednesday morning. Details as follows:


Date and Time:  Wednesday 21 October 2020, 11.00 am


Meeting URL: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83879726978  


Meeting ID: 838 7972 6978


Invites will also be sent out separately.



Contact us


The best way to contact us is by e-mail but I am accepting calls on 07738 242299. The office phone is not being monitored so any messages left will not be dealt with.


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Feedback from clients is important. It would help me to know that this weekly e-mail is being appreciated.


Also if you have any queries join us for the meeting on Wednesday.




We are still looking for referrals from you. If you know anyone requires support or help then please ask them to get in touch.



Don’t forget we put out at least one and on some days two articles on social media. Follow us on:


Twitter: @StewartPtnrs

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Stewart-Partners-780549322295593/ 

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/simonalever and also   www.linkedin.com/company/stewart-partners-chartered-accountants



This e-mail is written by Stewart & Partners for our clients and direct contacts but we are happy for you to pass it onto any of your contacts. The information is based upon our understanding of the current situation but we can accept no responsibility for any action or inaction in respect of the content.



Kinetic Business Centre, Theobald Street
Elstree, Herts, WD6 4PJ
Contact Us: mail@stewartpartners.co.uk | Call: 07738 242299


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