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UK & US Government Advice

Below, we have pulled together governmental resources for retailers in the United Kingdom and United States. You’ll find country-specific financial support and guidance for retail businesses.

UK Government Advice

Information on UK business support

Find out how the UK government is supporting businesses like yours, with details on all coronavirus financial support schemes and other relief measures.

US Government Advice

Information on US business support

Take a look at this list of US federal and state government relief programs and measures that are available to support your business during this pandemic.

UK Government Advice

Resources for UK employers & employees

Read about the UK government’s advice on employee heath, statutory sick pay, how to limit the spread of the virus in your workplace and more.

UK Government Advice

Information on UK business support

Published: 23rd March 2020 - Updated 8th June 2020

Below, we have detailed how the UK government are supporting retail businesses like yours in the wake of COVID-19.

Up to £330 billion worth of loans will be made available to support UK businesses. Small and medium sized businesses (SME’s) will be able to access loans via the Business Interruption Loan Scheme, whereas larger businesses will be able to access loans backed by the Bank of England.

For SME’s, loans and other types of finance may be available up to £5million. To support you further, the government guarantees 80% of the finance to the lender and pay interest and any fees for the first 12 months.

To alleviate cash flow problems, grants of up to £10,000 will also be made available to around 700,000 businesses that qualify for Small Business Rate Relief.

The government is deferring VAT and Income Tax payments from 20th March 2020, until 30th June 2020. All UK businesses are eligible, and no applications are required as it is an automated offer. If you wish to defer your VAT payment and pay by direct debit, make sure you cancel this with your bank. Further information is available here.

A statutory sick pay relief package for SME’s is available. Read more about the package and how to claim here.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has been in place since March, allowing employers to claim for 80% of employee’s wages (plus any employer National Insurance and pension contributions) if they have had to put them on furlough as a result of COVID-19. The CJRS criteria is changing from 1 July as the government slowly encourages the reopening of certain workplaces. For further information, read the guidance provided here.

The Self Employment Income Support Scheme aims to support individuals who are self-employed or members of a partnership, whose trading profits have been negatively affected by COVID-19. You can access the online service here where you are able to check if you’re eligible for the scheme and make your claim for a grant. The first grant claim must be made on or before 13th July 2020.

The Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) enables SME’s access to finance of up to £50,000 or 25% of their turnover (whichever is lowest), more quickly during the coronavirus outbreak. Read further information on the scheme and check your eligibility here.

Further support for UK retail businesses include:

Receiving a 100% business rates holiday for the next 12 months, regardless of the size of your business.

Being eligible to receive a grant of up to £25,000 if your business has a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000.

Time to Pay arrangements are available to businesses in the event that there are issues with cash flow or paying relevant taxes to HMRC.

As the team at Thomas Westcott have highlighted, it is likely that there will be further announcements on this and we’ll update this page accordingly.

UK Government Advice

Resources for UK employers & employees

Published: 20th March 2020 - Updated 8th June 2020

Below, we have compiled a number of government and other resources to support you, your employees and your business during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Guidance for employers

Find out how to make your workplace COVID-secure
Getting financial help and keeping your business safe
Statutory sick pay
Lay-offs and short-time working
NHS test and trace: workplace guidance

Further resources

Advice for UK HR professionals during COVID-19
UK lay-off and short-time working provisions during COVID-19

Guidance for employees

Staying at home

Statutory sick pay

If you're employed and cannot work due to COVID-19

If you've lost your job due to coronavirus (COVID-19)

If you’re self-employed and getting less work or no work due to COVID-19

Further resources

Coronavirus and your wellbeing
Temporary changes to the Mental Health Act during COVID-19
How working parents can prepare for COVID-19 closures

US Government Advice

Information on US business support

Published: 24th March 2020 – Updated: 26th June 2020

The US government and state governments have been rolling out the country’s COVID-19 plans, relief measures and programs to support those impacted by the virus.

Below, we have listed the Federal Government Relief Programs:

Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act

In response to the growing financial needs of small businesses, the federal government has signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, a $2 billion stimulus package.

We have detailed the specific assistance programs designed for American businesses, including the National Law Review and Paycheck Protection Program, in our dedicated blog.

Small Business Administration

As the impact of COVID-19 is felt more deeply each day by small businesses across the country, the SBA has launched a series of small business debt relief and loan programs. These aid efforts are a reflection of the recent CARES Act and include:

Paycheck Protection Program

Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Loan Advance

SBA Debt Relief

SBA Express Bridge Loans

You can read further information about each program here.

Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service are extending the tax filing deadline from April 15 to July 15, 2020.

This relief is automatic and taxpayers – individuals and corporations – do not need to file any additional forms or call the IRS to qualify. This relief does, however, only apply to federal income returns and tax, and not state tax payments or deposits or payments of any other type of federal tax.

If you can't file by the July 15, 2020 deadline, every individual taxpayer is eligible to request an extension to file their return.

For more information on this IRS filing and payment deadline extension read this, or alternatively visit the Federation of Tax Administrators site for links to each state tax agency’s website.

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This page has been created to provide you with all the support and guidance you need as an online retailer, in the wake of COVID-19. To ensure this page is as useful as it possibly can be, please don't hesitate to let us know what information you’d like to see or any specific concerns you have, so that we can gather the most helpful resources for our community.