COVID-19: Government support tracker

27th March 2020

This tracker covers measures announced by the government to support individuals and businesses, as we get through COVID-19.

Measures are being announced and this tracker is updated on a daily basis.

The Corona Virus bill gives the government emergency powers to deal with the crisis in any way it needs. The bill includes some SSP measures. Further tax legislation enabling the other measures is being announced on a daily basis.

At a glance

Announcements cover the following topics:

Overview of the measures

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

See Employer guide to the Job Retention Scheme

Statutory Self-Employment Pay Scheme 

The chancellor announced new measures on 26 March 2020. These replace the measures that were included in the Coronavirus Bill.

See Statutory Self-Employment Pay Scheme

Deferring VAT and Income Tax payments


A payment deferral applies from 20 March 2020 to 30 June 2020 for VAT registered business.

This is a deferral of tax and not an exemption: effectively, this is a fast way to provide business with emergency funding.

See COVID-19 VAT deferral 

Income Tax

The self employed may defer payment of their self assessment payments on account due on the 31 July 2020.

We note that businesses may still make claims to reduce payments on account: if you know that your profits for the current or next tax year are down,.

IR35 & off-payroll working

See IR35 changes postponed

 Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)

The government said that it will bring forward legislation to allow small and medium-sized businesses and employers to reclaim SSP paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19. The eligibility criteria for the scheme will be as follows:

Key essentials for employers

The government will work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible. Existing systems are not designed to facilitate employer refunds for SSP.

IR35: Off-payroll working & SSP

Self-employed and low earners

Sick Pay

Business Rates

Small business rates scheme

Business Rates: Expanded Retail Discount

See Business Rates Expanded Retail Discount

Support for nursery businesses that pay business rates

You are eligible for the business rates holiday if:

Cash grants

Cash grants are available to support businesses during the COVID-19 crisis.

See Cash grants for small business, retail, hospitality and leisure.

 SMEs: Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

The scheme became available from 23 March 2020. Details of the first set of lenders providing access to the scheme can be found here. Terms are being set by individual lenders.

More details will be announced in the coming days. Businesses are advised to approach their existing lender and to apply through the lender's own website in the first instance. They can then try other lenders if their own lender cannot help.

 Larger business: COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility

Further details, including on how to access this funding will follow in the coming days, and the scheme will be available from the week commencing 23 March.

 Business taxes: Time to Pay

If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to COVID-19, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 024 1222.  Phone number updated 26/03/2020.

See COVID-19: Time to Pay


Standard business interruption policies are unlikely to cover a pandemic. You need to check your policy wording and contact your insurer.

 Hardship Fund: Social housing and homeless


Other immediate changes applicable for direct and indirect taxes

Statutory Residence Test (SRT)

HMRC consider that the circumstances are 'exceptional'.

See COVID-19: Statutory Residence Test

HMRC late payment interest rate cut

HMRC interest rates for late payments will be revised after the Bank of England interest rate reduction to 0.1%.

These changes will come into effect on:

Repayment interest rates remain unchanged. Added 20/3/2020

The rate for underpayments of quarterly instalments is reduced to 1.25% from 23 March 2020. Added 24/03/2020.

Landlords & Tenants

Private or social accommodation. 

Commercial tenants


A three month filing extension was announced from 25 March 2020.

See Companies House: apply for more time to file

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