COVID-19: HMRC Time to Pay arrangements

This article was last updated on 3 March at 16:20.

The uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 has left many reviewing personal and business cashflow forecasts for the coming months.

HMRC has set up a dedicated COVID-19 helpline (0800 024 1222) to assist any business or self-employed individual providing advice, support and tax instalment arrangements.

Lengthy delays have been experienced calling the helpline, it takes approximately one hour to speak with a call handler. If you are looking to discuss a tax liability with HMRC please make sure you have the following information to hand, you will only require the separate references if you are to discuss each separate tax:

  • CT reference number
  • VAT reference number
  • PAYE reference number
  • PAYE accounts office reference number
  • UTR number for self-employed individuals
  • Bank account number and sort code for the tax payment/direct debit.

Instalment arrangements should be agreed in advance of the payment due date(s) in order to avoid late payment penalties, these are separate from interest charges. Ensure all returns are submitted to HMRC prior to the due date and at least 24 hours in advance of your call.

HMRC are very understanding of the circumstances and have agreed for some of our clients to defer tax payments for up to three months and instalment plans of up to 12 months. Their scope for agreeing instalment plans is constantly evolving.

Self-assessment and Time to Pay (TTP) arrangements

If you have not settled your tax liabilities, HMRC will charge interest until the liability is settled in full; the current annual rate of interest is 2.6%. If you do not pay your 2019/20 tax liability, or agree a payment plan with HMRC before 1 April 2021, the 5% late payment penalty (which normally applies to balancing payments due on 31 January but not paid by 28 February) will apply.

Payment plans will be accepted online if the tax due is: less than £30,000, your tax return filings are up to date, you do not have any other payment plans or debts with HMRC, and it is within 60 days of the payment deadline (2019/20 payment deadline, 31 January 2021). Payments are made by monthly direct debit. The applications must be made via your own Government Gateway account.

VAT deferral and TTP arrangements

If you deferred VAT payments during the period of 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020 you can:

  • Settle the liability on or before 31 March 2021
  • Join the VAT deferral new payment scheme using the government online account (the same account used for your quarterly VAT return), to agree the payment term’s for settlement by 31 March 2022. This is an online service which will be available until 21 June 2021. Call HMRC on their support line if you require extra help.

Interest or penalties may apply if you do not:

  • Pay the deferred VAT in full by 31 March 2021
  • Opt into the new payment scheme by 21 June 2021
  • Agree extra help to pay with HMRC by 30 June 2021


PAYE returns should continue to be submitted as normal. We understand that the HMRC COVID-19 helpline may be able to provide a PAYE deferral although all liabilities relating to furlough have to be settled before any payment plan can be agreed. HMRC guidance and advice is ever evolving, but the key message is if you are unable to settle a tax liability on time, contact HMRC before the liability becomes due for payment. Failing to do so will result in penalties in addition to interest payments.

Should you require a payment plan you can contact the Payment Support Service (0300 200 3835) on Monday to Friday between 08:00 and 16:00.

If you have any queries ahead of your call with HMRC or require any assistance please do not hesitate to contact Danielle Ford, your usual haysmacintyre contact or email


Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme update

The Chancellor’s headline announcement from today’s Budget regarding the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) is that it will be extended until September 2021.

Whilst we are awaiting the publication of the updated Treasury Direction, the following details concerning how the CJRS will be applied have been published by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC):

  • The CJRS has been extended until September 2021. As part of the extension, employees will continue to receive 80% of their salary capped up to £2,500 from their employers for hours not worked.
  • The Government will pay up to 80% from now to 30 June 2021 towards an employee’s salary capped up to £2,500.
  • From 1 July 2021, employers will be required to contribute 10% towards hours not worked by employees, so the Government will pay 70% of an employee’s salary capped up to £2,187.50.
  • The employer’s contribution will then be increased to 20% from 1 August 2021 for hours not worked by employees. The Government will pay 60% of an employee’s salary capped up to £1,875.
  • The employer will remain responsible for paying National Insurance and pension contributions.

Who is eligible?

The CJRS will be extended to September 2021 based on the same eligibility criteria as set out in the Chancellor’s last extension announcement on 17 December 2020.


  • All employers with a UK bank account and UK PAYE scheme can claim the grant
  • The Government expects that publicly funded organisations will not use the CJRS
  • Partially public funded organisations may be eligible where their private revenues are disrupted
  • All other requirements apply to employers with no restrictions on the size of the employer


  • Employees must have been registered on an employer’s PAYE payroll by 23:59 on 30 October 2020, and a Real Time Information submission notifying payment for that employee must have been made on or before 30 October 2020
  • Employees can be on any type of employment contract
  • Employers will be able to agree any working arrangements with their employees
  • Employers can continue to claim the grant for the hours their employees are not working (the flexi-furlough scheme)
  • The claim under the flexi-furlough scheme will remain calculated by reference to usual contracted hours less the hours worked

Claims under the CJRS will continue to be made in arrears and through the HMRC portal, which employers will already be familiar with. Please plan ahead to ensure that claims are submitted on time.

Action to be taken where excessive claims have been made

Where an employer has claimed too much CJRS grant and it has not already repaid, the employer must notify HMRC and repay the money by the latest of whichever date applies below:

  • 90 days from receiving the CJRS money you’re not entitled to
  • 90 days from the point circumstances changed so that you were no longer entitled to keep the CJRS grant

Where any overpayments are not repaid, HMRC will charge interest and a penalty as well as repaying the excess CJRS grant once the overpayment has been identified.

It is possible to offset any overpayment against the next online claim. Where the employer has claimed too much but will not submit further claims, they can correct this through the HMRC portal and repay the overstated claim directly.

What if the claim has been understated?

Where the amount claimed has been understated, the claim can be revised within 28 calendar days after the month the claim relates to – unless this falls on a weekend or bank holiday, in which case the deadline is the next business day.

If you wish to discuss the CJRS and/or any other COVID-19 related initiatives please contact your usual haysmacintyre contact or email

Navigating currency markets

GBP – New beginnings or a Brexit hangover? Sterling potentially undervalued

It might seem a little controversial to call the Pound undervalued, having seen its value against the US Dollar rise over 20% since the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, but there are other dynamics to consider. Without getting drawn into the pros and cons, Brexit, as a market risk event at least, is seemingly no longer a factor. Admittedly, the UK-EU agreement is overwhelmingly ‘thin’, and Britain now faces the task of handling post-Brexit trade disruptions, which seem to have had minimal effect on the Pound, but for now, these are non-drivers for Sterling. Volatility measures for the Pound have also calmed in a reflection of increased certainty over the UK’s economic future, with some on course to return to levels not seen since before the Global Financial Crisis.

The bullish case for Sterling in 2021 is underscored by the UK’s vaccination programme, which is undeniably a winner compared to the US and major Eurozone nations. Virus headlines dominate the G10 FX space, and with good reason – those economies have been decimated by lockdown measures. The UK is on course to have most people vaccinated by the summer, meaning a reopening of the economy and greater growth prospects for H2 this year. One caveat to mention is virus mutations, which may leave the Pound vulnerable if new coronavirus strains reduce the efficacy of UK vaccines.

Looking longer-term, Sterling is heavily undervalued when considering market positioning and historical conditions. In the post-referendum world, investors were largely underweight Sterling, but we’ve seen that shift to a small, but not overcrowded, overweight position since the start of the year. At the time of writing, the Pound is trading almost 13.75% below the Sterling-Dollar 20-year average and around 11.5% below the Sterling-Euro 20-year average; an additional case can be made for mean-reversion in 2021.

EUR – Laggard under Lagarde and political turbulence

Put simply, a poor pandemic response means the Eurozone’s economy will struggle to get off the ground in 2021. Looking back to December 2020, the consensus call of a collection of economists cited in a Bloomberg article, was for a bullish Euro view of around $1.25, based on vaccine optimism. Fast-forward to March 2021, and it’s hard to escape the wave of Eurozone-negative sentiment across mainstream media. Europe’s vaccine woes dominate G10 FX news and will do for the foreseeable future as it has widespread implications for 2021 Eurozone growth. Market participants are expected to shed a little of their Euro positioning in the coming months but could plough back into the common currency in Q3/Q4, pending better global growth conditions.

Looking more holistically, Europe could be facing renewed existential concerns in the coming year, with several political events in play that could benefit the Eurosceptic cause. Elections are pending in France and Germany, the bloc’s two largest economies, while Italy remains a concern. Former European Central Bank Chief, Mario Draghi, faces the unenviable task of turning Italy’s fortunes around but will be aided by the EU’s new fiscal weapon, the Recovery and Resilience Facility – designed to hand out grants and low-interest loans to help the EU’s 27 members recover from the pandemic.

USD – Normalising global relations, runaway stock market, too much stimulus?

While the outlook could be GBP-bullish, EUR-bearish, at least for the first half of 2021, the US Dollar’s valuation path is more open to interpretation. Markets went into a full-blown risk rally following Joe Biden’s Presidential election victory, with the dynamic of stocks higher, Dollar lower firmly in play. Arguably, the rally has room to continue, despite equities hovering around record highs, although it would be short-sighted to suggest that this dynamic can continue ad infinitum. Turning to global politics, the new administration has strongly suggested it will try and diffuse Trump-era political tensions, despite indicating the broad continuation of nationalistic trade policies. Domestically, the Biden administration has made it clear that it will do everything to support the pandemic recovery, having passed a $1.9tn fiscal relief package through the House of Representatives.

Looking at Commodity Futures Trading Commission data, Dollar positioning is already at historically bearish levels in a post-Global Financial Crisis era; however, the case for Dollar appreciation rests on more than a rebalancing of portfolios. Another massive dose of fiscal stimulus is expected to help spur the US economy back to growth conditions, quicker than the EU, especially if virus worries subside by the end of Q2. In this scenario, the Federal Reserve will move away from ultra-easy monetary conditions; a gradual tightening of policy may add to the Dollar’s attractiveness in the latter months of 2021.

The cap on Dollar strength depends on us revisiting an old adversary – the global growth climate. Assuming most major economies are well on the way to recovering from the pandemic in Q3/Q4, it could be a strong case for a shift out of G10 towards the Emerging Markets. In particular, China’s economy is set to keep outgrowing the US; without relying on supporting a massive deficit, the yield advantage on offer will prove a strong headwind for the Greenback.

VAT: reverse charge for building and construction services

From 1 March 2021, under new rules, the VAT domestic reverse charge mechanism will apply to building and construction services.

With only several weeks left until the implementation date, it is vital that businesses within the industry familiarise themselves with this measure which could have a significant impact on their future cash flow and reporting obligations.

HMRC previously published the final legislation which was initially expected to come into effect from 1 October 2019, further to the Government confirming its intention to introduce a domestic reverse charge for the construction sector back in the Autumn Budget of 2017.

Since then, however, the changes have been delayed in light of industry concerns over businesses’ lack of preparedness and the COVID-19 pandemic. There is always the possibility of further delays due to COVID-19, but at the time of writing the intention is for these new rules to come into force from 1 March 2021.

Which supplies will it apply to?

The new rules will relate to supplies made at the standard rate and reduced rate of VAT where payments are required to be reported through the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS). Importantly, unlike the CIS scheme, which excludes costs incurred on materials from the calculation, the reverse charge will apply to the entire service if the provision of materials is part of it.

Therefore, the system will apply to most supplies between sub-contractors and contractors. Supplies made to ‘end users’ and to intermediaries connected with end users are excluded from the new rules. End users are final customers who won’t be making onward supplies of the building and construction services they are receiving. For instance, developers who have bought a building for construction, landlords letting out property and tenants renting property, all qualify as end users.

How it works

The domestic reverse charge for the building and construction industry works in the same way as similar charges which were brought in to prevent fraud within the telecommunications industry.

The mechanism, an accounting procedure, removes the obligation for the seller to charge VAT on its supply to the customer, collect it and then remit it to HMRC. Instead the customer is required to self-account for the VAT due on the supply they receive and recover that amount as input tax on the same VAT return, subject to the usual VAT recovery rules.

Practical example:

A practical example to consider is one of a sub-contractor providing services covered under the CIS to a contractor converting a commercial building into residential flats for a developer landlord. All the parties are registered for VAT. The value of the services being supplied by the sub-contractor to the contractor comes to the value of £5,000.

Under the current rules, the sub-contractor will raise an invoice to the contractor for £5,000 plus VAT of £1,000. The contractor will be able to recover this £1,000 in Box 4 of their VAT return (subject to their usual input VAT recovery position).

However, from 1 March 2021 when the new rules come into play, the sub-contractor will no longer need to charge the VAT on the supply to the contractor. The contractor will therefore receive an invoice for £5,000 and would then need to account for £1,000 in Box 1 of their VAT return as an Output VAT charge, and reclaim the same £1,000 in Box 4 of their VAT return (subject to their usual input VAT recovery position).

On the basis that the developer landlord notifies the contractor of its end-user status, the contractor will not be required to use the reverse charge accounting method for its onward supply of services to them and would just charge the developer VAT as they do at present.


The new rules are likely to lead to difficulties for suppliers because they will need to identify whether the supplies fall within the meaning of construction services for CIS. They can do this by consulting HMRC’s guidance on the CIS for contractors and subcontractors.

Moreover, unlike supplies made in the telecommunications industry where the supplies are always standard rated, within the building and construction industry there can be a combination of zero-rated, reduced rated and standard rated supplies being made. It could be common practice for invoices to therefore be raised with some supplies being subject to the domestic reverse charge and some not.

Recognising the potential difficulties suppliers would face having to determine if their supplies are being made to end users or not and therefore excluded from the reverse charge, an amendment has been made to the original legislation which puts the onus firmly on the end users and intermediary suppliers. The new rules require that they inform suppliers of their end user or intermediary status in writing. Failure to do so will mean that the reverse charge (as the new default position of accounting for domestic supplies of CIS services) will need to be applied.

Next Steps

HMRC have released some helpful guidance on the new rules so we would advise businesses who are likely to be impacted by these changes to ensure that they are up to speed with this guidance and to begin considering the implications ahead of their introduction.

Creative sector tax relief

Cancelled productions

The good news is that the cancellation of a theatrical production prior to its opening to the public does not necessarily render it ineligible for tax relief. Helpfully, many of the criteria set out in the tax legislation are based on ‘intention’ rather than the final reality, including that which determines whether the higher touring rate can be claimed. It will be important that records of noted intentions are kept by the production company, in order to substantiate a later claim.

Some key pieces of evidence of intention include:

  • Confirmation of a ‘green light’. If  production was no longer speculative and had been given the firm go ahead prior to being abandoned, then it is likely to be possible to make a claim for much of the expenditure incurred before cancellation, provided all other relevant conditions are met.
  • A firm intention for an exhibition to be open to the public (whether free or paid entry), or evidence that a theatrical production’s performances were to be put on live in front of paying members of the public (or for educational purposes)?
  • Demonstrable evidence of planning a tour of the production. Depending on the intended touring schedule, it may be possible to claim the higher rate of relief.

Re-scheduled productions

Many productions have been postponed (perhaps indefinitely) rather than formally cancelled, which should not alter the eligibility for a TTR claim. If the theatrical production had not yet opened, then this may simply delay some of the expenditure and therefore some of the relief (if it will fall in a later financial period), although a claim should still be made for the costs incurred to date.

If a theatrical production was already open to the public, and therefore in the ‘running phase’ (the costs of which do not normally contribute to repayable tax credits) then there will likely be costs involved in its temporary closure, and in due course, costs of getting it back up and running again (eg new rehearsals). The TTR legislation allows for ‘exceptional running costs’ to be treated as core expenditure, and thus contribute to those all important repayable tax credits. We, therefore, recommend that good records are kept of such expenditure in order to substantiate a claim.

Adapted productions

Perhaps the most complicated situation for an organisation to find itself in is one where a theatrical production has neither been cancelled nor postponed. Instead, the format has been adapted to ensure it can still reach as much of its intended audience as possible, but without the need for them to be physically present, such as live streaming or the making of a recording.

As mentioned above, provided the original intention was for the performances to be in front of a live (physically present) paying audience, the production should still qualify for relief, provided all other relevant conditions are met. The complications arise when determining what expenditure can qualify.

HMRC have indicated, and subsequently issued guidance, that where the intention has changed from putting on live performances to an exclusively digital format, they will consider that the production in its original format has been abandoned, with all expenditure incurred after this change in intention being ineligible as it now relates to a ‘new’ production with no intention of live performances.

We do not necessarily agree with HMRC’s interpretation of the TTR legislation, which does not explicitly cover a change of intention. Given that very few production companies felt they had a choice in the matter of abandoning the live performances, we believe they have taken a rather strict approach. In our opinion, it is the original intention that is most important and determines whether a production qualifies for TTR. We do however agree that any costs relating to the live streaming or recording itself (or making significant changes to the production to enable it to work in these formats) would not qualify. We do believe there is more flexibility in the legislation than HMRC have indicated and that the normally qualifying production costs (eg rehearsals, set, costumes etc) should still qualify, even if incurred after the decision to abandon any live performances.

Productions which have been developed from the outset for live streaming or recording, with no live audience present, will unfortunately not qualify for TTR. This is because the legislation leaves no room for interpretation of a ‘live performance’, which must be “to an audience before whom the performers are actually present.”

Another option, which is likely to become more common as theatres begin to reopen, is having a physically present (but socially distanced) audience in addition to a virtual audience via live stream or recording. This could end up being a rather grey area for TTR purposes. As well as the original intention being key, what needs to be established is whether the making of a recording is the ‘main object, or one of the main objects, of the company’s activities in relation to the production’. We do not think it would be too difficult to argue that the live audience has always been the main object, with live streaming simply a ‘side effect’ of the times, but HMRC have not indicated where they would draw the line and every case will need to be viewed on its own merits.

COVID-19 related receipts and expenses

Where activities in the ‘production phase’ have continued, it is likely that additional costs have been incurred to minimise the health risks to those involved. For example, enhanced cleaning of rehearsal spaces, protective equipment etc. These can be included in the claim along with all other rehearsal costs or other production phase expenditure. However, where these are incurred during the running phase, these must be treated as ordinary running costs and will not qualify as core expenditure.

Some insurance companies have paid out claims relating to lost revenue. Whilst this income will need to be brought into account when calculating the tax credits, it does not alter the eligibility of the production or exhibition, and provided the income does not exceed the expenditure, should not impact on the value of the tax credits either.

The takeaway from all of the above guidance is that there must be flexibility in the rules for relief claims. The legislation was written pre-COVID-19 and could not have foreseen the adaptations required by the industry during the pandemic. It appears that HMRC has started to consider some of these changes in their technical guidance, however, these views are not legally binding. As such, our view is that each performance or exhibition needs to be reviewed for its own merits and considered in light of the existing legislation and its original intention. If you would like to discuss potential claims with us, then please do get in touch and we can assist you with maximising your claim.

Working from home allowances for partners

There is a similar allowance that can be claimed by the self-employed and therefore applies to partners in partnerships.

The allowance is intended to cover the additional costs of running your household when working from home, such as water, heat, and light. It also includes an apportionment of rent, mortgage interest, council tax, insurance, etc. The basis of the claim can either be actual expenditure incurred or the simplified flat-rate scheme.

Actual expenditure

Determining the actual costs of working from home is not a straightforward calculation.  Various factors need to be considered including the hours worked, the length of time it was used for, and the amount of space used – for example, if a spare room is used for eight hours a day across nine months, and the room takes up one tenth of the size of the house, then all these factors will be needed to calculate the proportion of additional costs available to claim.

Partners will need to carefully consider claims made relating to business use. Claiming that a room, in particular a garden office, was used exclusively for business purposes could impact on Capital Gains Tax (CGT) when the property is sold, as private residence relief may no longer be applicable. Records will need to be retained for at least six years, perhaps longer if a CGT claim is involved. Exclusive use may cause problems with council tax (ie do business rates apply?) and home insurance policies.

Flat-rate scheme

The simplified scheme depends on the number of hours worked during a calendar month, which may vary depending on holidays, sickness, part-time hours, and other non-working periods.

Partners who are required to keep timesheets may find these useful in determining the hours worked to support a claim.

Depending on the hours worked, the amounts that can be claimed are as follows:

Hours worked in a calendar month Monthly deduction
25-50 £10
51-100 £18
101 or more £26

Thus, the maximum claim would be £312 per partner, generating tax and National Insurance relief of around £146 for additional rate taxpayers and £131 for partners paying higher rates of tax.

The flat-rate scheme is not available if the partnership includes a limited company as one of its members.

How to administer the claim

Each claim should be assessed independently, and the rates claimed will vary depending on each partner.

Partners could submit an expense claim for costs incurred and be reimbursed by the partnership; the cost would then be a deduction against profits within the partnership accounts.

If costs are not reimbursed, claims could be included as an adjustment to the partnership’s tax return. The relevant claim for each partner should be set against their own profit share rather than split equally across the partnership.

Partners should not make claims independently through their personal tax returns as this could lead to an enquiry if HMRC cannot reconcile the profit share on the partnership return to that reported individually.

What else can be claimed

Any extra assets bought for use at home, such as chairs, desks, and computer and printing equipment could be available for capital allowance claims.

Telephone line rental and call charges, either landline or mobile, and internet costs are not included within the working from home allowance. The business element of these could therefore be claimed separately. However, with the expanded use of computer-based phone calls through Skype or Teams, and video-conferencing apps like Zoom, the actual business-apportioned cost of these may be limited.

Which option to choose

Each partnership will need to decide for itself.

Actual expenditure may be higher claim than the flat-rate scheme but will be more complicated to administer, and detailed records will need to be kept justifying the calculations used.

The flat-rate scheme may result in a lower claim but is much easier to administer and claims could be based on record-keeping through timesheets that might already be available.

Financial governance and strategy after COVID-19

Like so many others, I am writing this article sitting at home in my new ’office‘, still adjusting to the remote working life. No doubt we have all spent more time in virtual meetings than we ever imagined and suddenly we all feel more familiar with the likes of Zoom and Microsoft Teams. Embracing these new technologies has not only been vital in getting through the pandemic so far, but it has created new possibilities for future governance. We have seen rapid decision-making in response to the pandemic; new technologies facilitated the change in governance and allowed board meetings to take place virtually. We have also seen an opening for more frequent communication between Trustees and staff as the sector has come together to navigate the pandemic.

One aspect of the pandemic that is likely to continue indefinitely is remote working. The implications of working from home are wide ranging for staff, volunteers and beneficiaries, as well as Trustee boards. Charities should consider whether it is necessary for all staff to be based locally, or if there is an opportunity to better serve beneficiaries with support staff in different parts of the country. Remote working and utilising cloud-based systems will allow charities to access a greater range of staff which can help bring fresh perspectives and experiences to guide the charity through the uncertain times ahead.

From a leadership perspective, the ability to find diverse talent for Trustee positions has never been greater. The same way that staff working remotely may be an opportunity to serve beneficiaries, it also provides ample opportunity for leadership to widen their pool of Trustees and increase diversity on boards. Trustees will no longer be limited by geographical location, and it may encourage those who do not have the time to travel and attend meetings in person to volunteer. Opening opportunities to a greater breadth of individuals is important for governance, as it will bring new skills, processes and behaviours to the boards. The Governance Code has highlighted the importance of a diverse board for years, with the need for different perspectives and voices around the table, and I know from my own experience of governance reviews that this is one of the more challenging benchmarks to meet. Beyond the Governance Code, there has also been increased public scrutiny on boards that do not reflect the diverse communities they serve, and so reputation is also at risk on this matter.

Charities have shifted their traditional service delivery for beneficiaries as well, from opening new online service and telephone support lines to implementing social distancing measures. This will increase the reach of the charity as the beneficiary base grows, demonstrating the public benefit of the voluntary sector further. When these shifts are implemented, a review of the overall working behaviours should be undertaken to assess where savings could be made such as reduced rental costs if office space can be condensed (or removed altogether), and how these savings could be used to better support the charitable objectives.

The pandemic has shaken us all into a new way of thinking, and it has highlighted the need for planning ahead where the worst case is more likely than previously thought. Risk management must become an ongoing process and more than a cursory review of the risk register and being seen as a ‘ticking the box’ exercise. Charities should ask themselves whether their risk management process was fit for purpose before the pandemic and take on board learnings from the past year. Risk management should account for the financial sustainability of the charity and become a helpful tool to steer the charity in stepping forward. It will remain the responsibility of the board to set the strategic direction of the charity and how to ensure financial sustainability, but there’s plenty of opportunity for input from staff and as well as the Trustees, and perhaps providing for wider scope for feedback on risk strategy would be useful for some organisations.

We’ve finally seen the ‘end of the tunnel’ as vaccines are approved at breakneck speed, but there remains so much uncertainty in the charity sector, even after we move past the urgent danger of the pandemic. Cashflow planning will remain crucial for charities to continue to survive, and with potential future austerity, charities must establish a culture of strong governance to transition into the next economic phase, whatever that may be. Trustees must have the right information available to make decisions, set strategy for 2021 and respond to any new legislation or budgetary limits imposed. Prudent and fastidious financial oversight, including a thorough understanding of the financial health and position of your organisation and an airtight risk management process, are some of the most important measures charities can take to ensure their longevity in the long term.

Charities have played a significant role throughout the pandemic, supporting more people than ever, and it is clear that the voluntary sector has helped to lessen the impacts of the biggest crisis this decade. While charities will certainly face obstacles to maintain momentum as we move into recovery, the particular attention on the charitable sector is both an extraordinary opportunity to expand charitable activities, and a risk for those with weak governance structures and oversight.

Preparing for a successful statutory audit

1. Communication with your auditors

Regular and clear communication with your auditors before, during and after the audit process will help it run smoothly and effectively.

Ensure that you have been provided with a deliverables list in advance of the audit. This will cover a significant amount of the initial documentation required by the audit team. Compiling this information upfront will enable the team to ‘hit the ground running’ during the scheduled audit fieldwork and help to reduce the time spent by you collating information during this time. Providing the audit team with a list of key individuals/contacts to whom certain queries should be directed to, as well as details of their availability during the audit will also be of assistance.

The earlier your team is able to prepare balance sheet reconciliations and finalise the draft year-end numbers, the better. This will put you in a strong position to identify any anomalies early on and allow good time to obtain accounting advice if necessary.

2. Remote auditing

Cloud-based data analytics and file-sharing software are now commonplace, and not only provides a secure platform for sharing audit deliverables, but also helps to facilitate the remote auditing process. Our software of choice, Inflo, enables us to request, and you to upload, audit documentation – avoiding the transmission of confidential information via email.

Only named individuals are provided access to this software to ensure that the information remains ringfenced and secure. If used to its full capabilities, the software also enables the audit team to select transaction samples based on our risk assessment, these can be sent to you in advance of the audit fieldwork to expedite the process.

The engagement team will discuss file-sharing options with you on your planning call, and the possibility of integrating your data to utilise Inflo’s full capability.

3. Timetable and service provider liaison

We will agree a timetable for the audit with you. It is important to notify any third-party service providers of the relevant deadlines, including:

  • Bookkeepers
  • Payroll providers
  • Corporation tax compliance advisors
  • Fund administrators

This will ensure that they will be ready to provide any documentation required for the audit and help prevent delays. Note: where haysmacintyre also provide these services there is no need to communicate these deadlines as we will do this internally on your behalf. 

4. COVID-19 implications

The impact of COVID-19 has varied across our client base. What has been consistent is the level of monitoring required and the financial statements. As we continue to deal with the fallout of COVID-19, your directors/members will need to consider the impact on the financial statements from a financial and disclosure perspective. We have listed below key areas of consideration:

  • Going concern implications
  • Impairment of investments
  • Allowance for potential irrecoverable debt
  • Fair value measurements of financial instruments, eg options
  • Onerous lease contracts

Management are required to carry out an assessment to ascertain whether the entity is a going concern. The assessment should consider all relevant information about the future which is at least, but not limited to, 12 months from the date the financial statements are approved. This should include detailed budgets and cash flow forecasts.

The assessment as to whether an entity is a going concern takes into account events that occur after the end of the reporting period. For entities that are affected by COVID-19, it will be necessary for management to consider the appropriateness of preparing financial statements on a going concern basis. Where management are aware of material uncertainties that may cast doubts on the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern, the entity should make full disclosure of the material uncertainties within the financial statements. Having such an assessment prepared in readiness for the audit will help to inform the auditor’s consideration of the going concern basis.

If you require further guidance on the preparation of the assessment for going concern or how COVID-19 may impact your entity’s activities, please speak to your engagement partner or manager.

Having these recommendations in mind and starting preparation before the audit process begins will ensure you are in a favourable position for the upcoming audit. We look forward to working with you in the coming months.

COVID-19: Assistance for the self-employed

This article was last updated on 5 November at 13:20.

Self-employed people have been hit hard financially by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Government has announced an unprecedented package of assistance for business, employees, and for the self-employed whose business has been adversely affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme: HMRC checks eligibility of businesses which have ceased trading

The intention to continue to trade was one of the eligibility criteria for the first and second SEISS grants. HMRC has published guidance on the notification requirements for businesses which received one of the first two grants, and have since stopped trading and has contacted some businesses. Businesses which continue to trade will also need to respond to HMRC’s request, and may need to provide evidence that they are still trading. In order to avoid penalties, those who received the grant before 22 July 2020 must inform HMRC on or before 20 November 2020, and those who received the grant on or after 22 July 2020 must inform HMRC within 90 days of receiving the grant.

Third and Fourth SEISS Grants

The second Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant, which closed for applications on 19 October, was announced as the final assistance grant for the self-employed.

In the Winter Economy Plan, delivered on 24 September 2020, the Chancellor announced that a third SEISS grant will be available to cover 20% of average monthly profits for three months, for those who were eligible for the first and second SEISS grants. This will be capped at £1,875 per taxpayer. On 22 October, the Chancellor announced further changes to the scheme, increasing the amount of profits covered by the third and fourth self-employed grants from 20% to 40%, meaning the maximum grant will increase from £1,875 to £3,750. We await details of the opening date and process for applications. Following the announcement of the second lockdown in England from 5 November, the Government has announced that the SEISS grant will increase to 80% for November 2020 to January 2021 and that the claims window will open towards the end of November, rather than in December as previously planned. There are no changes to the eligibility criteria. Self employed individuals and partnerships must:

  • Have been previously eligible for the SEISS first and second grant (although they do not have to have claimed the previous grants)
  • Declare that they intend to continue to trade and either:
    • Are currently actively trading but are impacted by reduced demand due to COVID-19
    • Were previously trading but are temporarily unable to do so due to COVID-19.

As SEISS grants are calculated over three months, the uplift for November to 80%, along with the 40% level of trading profits for December and January, increases the total level of the third grant to 55% of trading profits. The maximum grant will increase to £5,160.

A fourth SIESS grant will be made available for the three months to cover February to April 2021. Further details are to follow.

Tax Payment Deferral

The Chancellor announced a 12-month extension to the ‘Time to Pay’ facility: tax payments on account (POA), deferred from 31 July 2020, and all tax payments due on 31 January 2021 will not need to be paid until January 2022. This applies to the following:

  • Second POA 2019/20
  • Balancing payment 2019/20
  • Capital Gains Tax 2019/20 (if not paid under 30-day rule)
  • First POA 2020/21

Taxpayers will have to apply for Time to Pay to spread the tax due over 12 monthly instalments to January 2022. Where the total tax due is less than £30,000 the application for Time to Pay will be agreed automatically on completion of an online form. However, if the tax due exceeds £30,000, or the taxpayer needs longer to pay, HMRC’s telephone service will still be available to agree a bespoke payment plan.

Second SEISS Grant

On 29 May, the Chancellor announced plans to extend the SEISS for those people whose trade continues to be, or is newly, adversely affected by COVID-19. Eligible self-employed people will be able to claim a second and final SEISS grant in August; this will be a taxable grant worth 70% of their average monthly trading profits for three months, paid out in a single instalment and capped at £6,570 in total.

The eligibility criteria for the second grant will be the same as for the first grant. People do not need to have claimed the first grant to claim the second grant: for example, their business may have been adversely affected by COVID-19 more recently.

Claims for the first SEISS grant (see below), which opened on 13‌‌ May, must be made no later than 13‌‌ July. Eligible self-employed people must make a claim before that date to receive the first SEISS grant (a taxable grant of 80% of their average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering three months’ worth of profits, and capped at £7,500 in total). So far, we’ve seen over 2.3 million claims worth £6.8 billion.

First SEISS Grant

Taxable grants of 80% of taxable profits, averaged over the last three years, will be paid to the self-employed and partners with taxable profits of up to £50k per year. Only those who traded in 2018-19 and 2019-20 and intend to continue to trade in 2020-21, are already registered for Self Assessment and have submitted a 2018-19 tax return will qualify. HMRC is now contacting eligible taxpayers. The online claim service will be available from 13 May, and it is intended that successful claimants will receive payments within six working days.

Claims must be made by the taxpayer through their Government Gateway account. It will not be possible for agents/accountants to make the claims, so if you don’t already have a Government Gateway account, set one up now.

An online eligibility tool is now available, which can be used by taxpayers and their agents by inputting the taxpayer’s UTR and National Insurance Number.

The self-employed can continue to work, where they can, and still benefit from the scheme.

Other assistance for the self-employed previously announced includes:

  • Self Assessment Income Tax payments on account due 31 July 2020 are deferred until 31 January 2021 – this should ease cashflow
  • Self Assessment Income Tax POA: it may be possible to request a refund of some of all of the POA for your 2019-20 tax liability (paid on 31 January 2020), if your income has reduced significantly in the current year
  • VAT payments due before the end of June 2020 are deferred
  • Time to Pay arrangements are available for all taxes, including PAYE and VAT
  • Business Rates relief and cash grants
  • The Job Retention Scheme, if you employ others
  • Business Interruption Loan Scheme
  • The self-employed don’t qualify for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) but instead may qualify for Universal Credit or the Employment Support Allowance

If you have any queries or require any assistance with this, please do not hesitate to contact Katharine Arthur, your usual haysmacintyre contact or email

COVID-19: Corporate summary page

This article was last updated on 5 November at 13:45.

This is haysmacintyre’s dedicated page for corporates on the range of financial, tax and accounting measures being introduced to combat COVID-19 together with our related thoughts and insights on helping businesses with their cash flow and compliance requirements.

We know what impact a recession, new technology, and the current pandemic could have on your business and we can help you make the most of the challenges, as well as the opportunities, that lie ahead. This page will cover matters relating to employees, funding, taxes and HMRC, reporting, governance, as well as additional topics to help you address any concerns you may have.

With the numerous measurements introduced we have created a flow chart summarising the measurements available to companies. Please see here.

Please visit this page regularly as new content will be produced that considers the latest updates and new initiatives.

If you wish to discuss any of the COVID-19 related initiatives or changes please contact your usual haysmacintyre contact or email

Matters relating to: EMPLOYEES

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and Job Support Scheme (JSS)

The Government introduced the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) to provide financial support to allow businesses and organisations to continue to pay salaries to those employees that would have otherwise been laid off or made redundant as a result of COVID-19. Following the announcement of a second lockdown in England for the period 5 November to 2 December, the CJRS did not close on 31 October 2020, as previously planned. It will instead continue until March 2021. More information on the latest update of the CJRS can be found here.

The introduction of the Job Support Scheme has therefore been delayed.

Extension to the Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) regime for SMEs

Temporary changes are being made to SSP regulations as part of the Government’s response to helping businesses during this period of disruption. Further details are here. HMRC’s online SSP calculator is available for employers to work out statutory sick pay for employees here.

HMRC have updated their guidance for employers in assessing an employee’s fitness to work for SSP purposes. The guidance now states “if your employee has been self-isolating for more than 7 days because of COVID-19, they can obtain an isolation note from NHS 111 as proof of this if you require it.”

The ICAEW has released useful guidance on the COVID-19 measures introduced for SSP and how employers can recover SSP. The guidance is here.

Share options as an alternative to furloughing

Some businesses might be finding that they need their staff now more than ever. Research and development companies for example, may not have the opportunity to reduce headcount but might still want to reduce their staff costs. For other businesses, it will not be appropriate to furlough management and senior staff who are in decision making roles. There could be an opportunity to consider implementing a share option scheme for certain employees, as an alternative to paying increased salaries. This would reduce the cash burn in the business and will also retain and motivate staff as well as align them to the company’s objectives. More details can be found here.

Furloughed staff as existing EMI option holders

There was a concern that furloughed staff failed to meet the working time requirements of the Enterprise Management Incentive (EMI) legislation (thereby potentially rendering their EMI option as no longer qualifying). HMRC have now advised that furloughed employees will now be entitled to retain the benefits of the EMI scheme.

New legislation will be introduced (as part of the Finance Act 2020) that temporarily relaxes the EMI working requirement condition. The new clause provides that a disqualifying event does not occur in relation to an individual as a result of the individual taking leave, being furloughed or working reduced hours because of COVID-19. It relates to such a reduction in working time during the period from 19 March 2020 to 5 April 2021 (which can be extended by a treasury order until 5 April 2022 if required).

Overall this means those EMI option holders that were furloughed continue to retain their option as a qualifying EMI option.

Explanatory notes to the new clause is here.

Other share schemes and interaction with furlough grant payments.

The ICAEW has published useful commentary on this area, following guidance issued by HMRC on 11 June. The ICAEW’s commentary is here.

Expenses and benefits

HMRC’s guidance has been updated on how to treat certain expenses and benefits provided to employees during COVID-19 to include information about paying travel and subsistence expenses to an employee travelling to a temporary workplace. HMRC’s guidance is here.


Matters relating to: FUNDING

Future Fund – Support for innovative businesses and start-ups

On 20 April the Government announced a £1.25 billion support package for UK businesses driving innovation and development targeted at high growth companies and start-ups to ensure they are protected and can continue to develop new innovative products through the crisis.

As part of that package the Future Fund was introduced: a £500 million (convertible) loan scheme for high growth companies. The funding will be backed by both the Government and the private sector. The fund will provide eligible UK-based companies with between £125,000 and £5 million in funding from the Government, with private investors at least matching the Government’s initial commitment of up to £250 million. The government’s initial guidance is here. Details of eligibility criteria and fund operation, including in-depth FAQs is available on the British Business Bank Website (see here). The scheme documentation (of which most terms and clauses are non-negotiable) are available here.

EIS/SEIS and Future Fund

The Government has published an amendment to the Finance Act 2020 which advises that the repayment or conversion of any future fund loans will not result in any clawback of (S)EIS reliefs under the ‘receipt of value rules’ which should preserve existing income tax relief claimed. However, the legislation does not go as far as to consider any shares acquired through the conversion of a Future Fund Convertible Loan Note to be a qualifying holding for EIS purposes, which could mean that any investor holding such shares in a personal capacity in the future could be prohibited from making further EIS-compliant investments in a company. Explanatory notes to the new clause is here.

As previously announced the actual Future Fund investment (being a convertible loan) does not itself qualify for (S)EIS.

Extending eligibility for the Future Fund

HM Treasury has announced changes to the Future Fund scheme’s eligibility criteria, which mean that UK companies who have participated in highly selective accelerator programmes and were required, as part of that programme, to have parent companies outside of the UK, will now be able to apply for investment.

Innovate UK

The second part of the £1.25 billion support package is £750 million of grants and loans as targeted support for SMEs that focus on R&D. This funding will be via Innovate UK’s grant and loan scheme by extending that scheme. Innovate UK will accelerate up to £200 million of grant and loan payments for its 2,500 existing Innovate UK customers on an opt-in basis. An extra £550 million will also be made available to increase support for existing customers and £175,000 of support will be offered to around 1,200 firms not currently in receipt of Innovate UK funding. The first payments were expected to be made by mid-May.

Details of the announcement are here.

Business interruption loans

For smaller businesses: Bounce Back Loans (BBL) is a new small business fast-track finance scheme with a 100% government guarantee. Qualifying businesses can borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 (and no more than 25% of turnover). The loans will be repayment and interest free for the first 12 months. Applications are intended to be short and simple via an online form with the cash to be received in days. To facilitate the quick application process there should be no forward-looking tests of business viability and no complex eligibility criteria. The announcement is here. The scheme launched on 4 May. The BBL runs alongside the other COVID-19 loan schemes. We expect further announcements, especially regarding the criteria on eligibility. At present there is no definition of small business and it is not known whether any sectors do not qualify.

For SMEs: the British Business Bank (BBB) together with 40+ lending providers are providing a range of financial options enabling a SME (turnover of less than £45m) to borrow up to £5m, with the first 12 months being interest-free and the loan being 80% backed by a government guarantee under the CBILS. Further details of CBILS are here. Improvements to the scheme were announced on 2 April, which include substantially limiting the lender’s right to request (demand!) personal guarantees. Lenders can no longer request personal guarantees for loans under £250,000 and for loans over £250,000, personal guarantees will be limited to just 20% of any amount outstanding on the CBILS lending after any other recoveries from business assets. The scheme went live on 23 March and the BBB strongly recommends that the business’s current lender (assuming they are also a provider) is approached online. Current providers are here. On 27 April the Government announced that they were taking additional steps to ensure that lenders have the confidence they need to process finance applications quickly. This includes removing the per lender portfolio cap for the government guarantee and changing the viability tests so that all banks will need to assess is whether a business was viable pre COVID-19. Following this announcement the FCA issued this statement. The BBB has also issued a useful FAQs webpage here.

CBILS – R&D Health Warning: both the SME R&D tax relief scheme and CBILS are classified as Notified State Aid (NSA). There are specific rules that affect R&D claims in that an R&D project may only have one source of NSA. Therefore, an R&D project that is funded (even partly) by CBILS will be ineligible for the SME R&D tax relief scheme (although remains eligible for the R&D expenditure credit scheme – but that is less generous). On this area HMRC issued the following:

“The Government has notified CBILS as a State aid under the European Commission’s new Temporary Framework for COVID-19. The measure is a fully notified aid, so the restriction on receipt of other State aid (s1138(1)(a) CTA 2009) potentially applies, if the CBILS relates specifically to the company’s R&D expenditure [on a project] rather than being intended more generally to support the company. This will depend on the facts.”

This is a helpful clarification from HMRC in that they will accept that a claim under the SME scheme is unaffected if the CBILS was used for general business purposes/support. However if the application relates directly to R&D spend (or part of) the project(s) will fail to qualify.

Companies should revisit the statements made of their CBILS application as well as monitor/record how the CBILS money is being spent to demonstrate it was used for general purposes.

For larger businesses: on 2 April the CLBILS was announced, which is a scheme for larger businesses. On 16 April the CLBILS was extended to encompass all larger viable businesses (the annual turnover of more than £45 million – the upper cap of £500 million was removed). All firms with a turnover exceeding £45 million are able to apply for up to £25 million of finance, increasing to £50 million of finance for firms with a turnover of more than £250 million. The finance will be lent at a commercial rate of interest. Similar to the CBILS, the Government provides the lender with an 80% guarantee. As with CBILS, the CLBILS is managed by the British Business Bank (BBB) wand operated by accredited lenders. Further details are on the BBB website here. The Government’s latest announcement is here.

For other larger businesses (investment grade companies):  the Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF) announced as part of the £330bn package and launched collectively by HM Treasury and the Bank of England to provide additional help to firms to bridge COVID-19 related disruption to their cash flows. The CCFF operates via the borrower issuing commercial paper. This scheme is available for applications. Further details, as published by the Bank of England, are here.

Mortgage payment holidays

Additional financial support for business owners and the self-employed has come in the form of a three-month mortgage holiday for homeowners struggling to make repayments due to the effects of COVID-19. This also includes buy-to-let mortgages. While a number of lenders had already announced repayment holidays, the Government’s latest announcement means now all lenders will have to honour the three-month time frame. Anyone struggling with repayments is advised to contact their lender directly.


Matters relating to: TAXES AND HMRC


No business is required to pay VAT from 20 March 2020 to 30 June 2020. HMRC have confirmed that the VAT deferral scheme ended on 30 June and have issued guidance on what businesses now need to do (including setting up previously cancelled direct debits). HMRC’s announcement is here.

Our analysis of the VAT aspects relating to COVID-19 including bad debt relief and other VAT measures and considerations are here.

Deferring payment of taxes

HMRC has set up a dedicated COVID-19 helpline (0800 024 1222) to help those in need to discuss and agree a bespoke TTP arrangement. It is understood that HMRC’s approach is an open willingness to allow businesses to defer tax payments. What is key is communicating with HMRC prior to the tax due date and that the business remains compliant with all its tax filing deadlines. Early action on this is highly recommended. Current experience is that HMRC are taking a light touch on the information they require before agreeing to a payment plan. Further details are here.


We understand that the HMRC Coronavirus helpline can provide a short term PAYE deferral. They have also mentioned that if a business is in receipt of a CJRS claim at least 50% of the Income Tax and National Insurance Contributions liability must be paid before they can discuss a TTP arrangement.

Should you require a payment plan you can contact the Payment Support Service (0300 200 3835) Monday to Friday between 08:00 and 16:00.

HMRC guidance and advice is ever evolving, but the key message is if you are unable to settle a tax liability on time, contact HMRC before the liability becomes due for payment. Falling to do so will result in penalties in addition to interest payments.

Quarterly payment regime

As a result of the financial downturn many companies may have now overpaid their quarterly payments to date and may become eligible to request a repayment from HMRC – further details are here.

Early Corporation Tax repayment

HMRC have updated their guidance covering situations where a company seeks repayment of tax before a return has been filed. This may arise be where a business knows that it has suffered (or is anticipated to suffer) large losses in a subsequent accounting period due to COVID-19. HMRC’s revised guidance is here and for companies that pay their tax by quarterly instalments, the guidance is here.

This is a welcome change and follows representations made by the ICAEW’s Tax Faculty.

Self-assessment Income Tax payments

For the self-employed, self-assessment Income Tax payments due on 31 July 2020 are to be deferred until 31 January 2021. This means both the 31 July 2020 and 31 January 2021 payments become due on 31 January 2021. This is automatic with no application required. No interest will be charged during the deferral period. HMRC also updated its guidance (on 25 March) to make it clear that the deferral of self-assessment Income Tax payments applies to all self-assessment tax payers, not just the self-employed.


Other assistance for the self-employed is available here.

Business rates

Have you received your business rates grant? For details on the changes to business rates, please see here.

Stamp Duty

In April’s edition of HMRC’s Stamp Taxes newsletter, HMRC explained how to get the share register updated without a physically stamped document. HMRC adopted temporary measures for dealing with Stamp Duty which allows share registers to be updated by a registrar without a physically stamped document. No post should be sent to the Birmingham Stamp Office. Instead, an electronic copy of relevant forms and related documents should be emailed to Once the notification and payment (if applicable) of Stamp Duty has been checked, HMRC will email a letter. HMRC’s letter should then be presented to the relevant registrar (or Companies House) together with the instrument of transfer which now permits them to update the share register. HMRC also advises that where an instrument of transfer has previously been posted to the Stamp Office that document should be resubmitted by email using the new process as the instrument of transfer will not be dealt with until the COVID-19 measures end.

HMRC also announced temporary measures to deal with the stamping of Stock Transfer Forms (see here) and the payment of Stamp Duty during the crisis. See here.


The proposed changes have been deferred until April 2021. Further details are here.


We are also considering other ways to help businesses generate cash. One possibility is shortening current accounting periods to accelerate claims for reliefs under the R&D tax schemes as well as claims to carry back current year tax losses. This action should be considered over the coming months.



Accounting for government COVID-19 support measures

In these unprecedented times, accounting for government grants or governmental assistance by other means has come sharply into focus as the Government has been making unprecedented levels of assistance available. Further details about the support measures available are here.

Reporting obligations and governance

As COVID-19 continues to spread with deepening effects on the economy and restrictions to daily life, entities with 2019 and early 2020 year ends must consider the effects on their activities and how these are reflected in their financial statements. The impacts must also be considered for the practicalities of the reporting and auditing process and planned for accordingly. Our initial thoughts on these effects and implications can be found here.

Risk management

It is a priority for all organisations to reduce immediate and long-term impact. COVID-19 is now on everyone’s risk mitigation strategies. Some emerging risks are difficult to foresee and the impact on organisations cannot be judged. Further details for key actions that require consideration in the current climate are here.

Insolvency Laws – Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act

The Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act (the Act) received Royal Assent on 25 June. This law introduces temporary amendments to insolvency law (and company law) to help businesses navigate and address the challenges imposed by COVID-19. The law is here and accompanying explanatory notes are here. On 28 March the Government announced measures to relax insolvency laws, including the temporary suspension of the ’wrongful trading’ provisions for company directors so they can keep their businesses going without the threat of personal liability. These temporary provisions are retrospective from 1 March 2020. They also announced that changes would be made to enable UK companies undergoing a rescue or restructure process to continue trading, giving them breathing space that could help them avoid insolvency. The Act now introduces those changes (as well as others).

Company Law changes and Companies House filing deadlines

Our analysis of the Company Law changes pursuant to the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act are here. This includes legislation to ensure AGMs required by law can be carried out safely, consistent with the restrictions in place to address the spread of COVID-19. Companies will temporarily be extended greater flexibilities, including holding AGMs online or postponing the meetings.

From 25 March, corporates are able to apply for a three month extension to filing their accounts. Further details here.

Listed entities

The FCA has requested a delay, by listed entities (but not AIM companies), on their forthcoming announcements of preliminary financial accounts.

Gender Pay Gap

Deadlines for this year’s reporting (2019/2020) have now been suspended and there will be no expectation on employers to report their date. Further information is here.

Fraudulent Activities

It has been widely reported that cases of fraud or fraudulent attempts have substantially increased during the crisis. Fraudsters are taking advantage of this emergency and change of working environment measures to defraud organisations. We set out here our fraud awareness and preventative measures that organisations need to consider during these uncertain times.




COVID-19 is a global crisis, and businesses need to access local knowledge from around the world to manage their operations. haysmacintyre is the south UK member of MSI Global Alliance, an association of independent but like-minded legal and accounting firms with over 260 member firms in more than 100 countries. MSI has established a dedicated COVID-19 webpage to share the articles of our fellow member firms, committed to helping international businesses navigate these uncertain times. The website is here. If you are interested in the COVID-19 measures introduced by a particular country and cannot find any details on the MSI dedicated page please email

Business Continuity

For our thoughts on the practical steps to Business Continuity please see this article (prepared by Natasha Frangos, Partner, haysmacintyre in collaboration with Shalini Khemka, Founder, E2E).


Businesses that have cover for pandemics and government-ordered closure or unspecified notifiable disease and government-ordered closure should be covered. Insurance policies differ significantly, so businesses are encouraged to check the terms and conditions of their specific policy and contact their providers. Unfortunately, it is expected that most businesses are unlikely to be covered, as standard business interruption insurance policies are dependent on damage to property and will exclude pandemic. Further details here.

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