COVID-19 – what’s important to you and your business

Along with concern for your loved ones, your team and your patients, financial worries may be causing you stress during the COVID-19 pandemic. The government has reiterated its commitment to supporting businesses and individuals, but with so much occupying your thoughts at this time, maybe some of the detail has been lost.

Here’s some measure that could help your practice: 

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

All UK employers can access this and it will allow you to continue to pay part of the salary of any “furloughed worker”. A furloughed worker is one who is NOT doing any work in or for your business.

If someone at your practice is a furloughed worker, HMRC will reimburse 80% of the wage costs of up to a cap of £2,500 gross, per worker, per month. This measure will run for a three-month period, backdated to 1 March. HMRC are setting up a system for employers to claim this help as a matter of urgency. In the meantime, notify all designated furloughed workers. Changing the status of an employee must comply with employment law and you’ll have to consult their contract.

Lenders, tenants, landlords and loans

If you are worried about meeting mortgage repayments, you may be entitled to a three-month mortgage holiday. This is also available if you are a landlord and your tenants are experiencing financial difficulties because of COVID-19. Contact your mortgage lender to discuss this. If you are a renter, legislation will be brought forward to protect you from eviction for three months.

With regards to loans and credit cards, your lender(s) may have already been in contact, to set out how they will be proceeding in the months ahead, but if you are concerned, contact your lender

For small businesses

If you think profits are going to take a hit, get organised. Contact a specialist dental accountant and go through the books. Only when you know exactly where you are with your figures, and you’ve accessed impartial advice can you move forward. 

The government has announced measures to help small businesses. Relevant to the dental sector are:

  • Small business grant funding for all businesses in receipt of small business rate relief/rural rate relief (this will be automatic).
  • A Business Interruption Loan Scheme to support viable businesses that may need to access finance. Talk with your lender first. 
  • HMRC has a Time To Pay Scheme if you are concerned about not being able to make tax repayments. You can call them on tel: 0800 0159 559.

Other positive things you can do involves getting the input of your dental team to share the load; their support is fundamental now. Similarly, do all you can to maintain relationships with your patients, using text/social media/website/letters or phone calls, depending on what would work best.

Look at what is not a core product/service and cut this out (maybe just for the time being) and look at extending payment terms with suppliers – they will all be in the same boat as you are, so they will be keen to keep your business.

Support for the self-employed

The dental workforce comprises of many self-employed individuals. For income tax self-assessment, payments due on 31 July will be automatically deferred until 31 January 2021. In this deferral period there will be no penalties/interest for late payment. Also, self-employed people will be able to access Universal Credit at a rate equivalent to Statutory Sick Pay for employees, currently £94.25 per week.

These may be unprecedented times but if you reach out to those who can offer dental-specific guidance, you will ease some of the stress. Figurit are specialist dental accountants and we can listen to your concerns, taking your individual and business’ circumstances into consideration, to give you a bespoke, flexible, practical and positive plan of action. We can work with you to steer your practice through these unchartered waters to dry land and to the brighter times that hopefully lie ahead for all of us.

For more information call Figurit on 020 7376 9333.

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