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  • Good morning.

  • I hope you can all hear me.

  • Okay, this is Claire Barris.

  • I'm the personal finance editor at the F.

  • C.

  • This is a bit of a brave new world for us this morning.

  • I'm coming at you from my living room in Hackney in central London.

  • Thio deliver the first of what we hope will be a useful Siri's Ferretti leaders cooled Claire Barrettes Business Clinic.

  • Now, the reason that I, as the personal finance editor doing this because lots of readers of FT Money section lied in the FT obviously run their own businesses on dhe.

  • I'm being inundated with messages from readers who are concerned that the government support packages for businesses this time are not recognizing all of the entrepreneurs and small businesses in Britain on dhe, though, hopefully today's session which Aiken get your questions interactively through my iPad, I'll be ableto respond live to a lot of your concerns.

  • And if it's a question that I don't know the answer to that still like you to ask it because that would really help to inform the FTC future coverage off this highly, highly important area.

  • So I'll start off by saying in summary over the weekend.

  • I have had literally hundreds of e mails, both to my personal email address.

  • Claire Door Barracks at ft dot com.

  • Onto the money in box money at ft dot com From readers who are absolutely in a quandary about what they're going to do with their businesses, many, many people do not qualify for the self employed package of measures which the government put out on Thursday because they are the owner directors off a limited company.

  • Where is the government support packages aimed squarely that sold traders who have very simplistic tax returns.

  • So I'm going to start off by talking about some of the questions that have come in on that and responding to those as we wait for more to come in.

  • Now, if you want to put a question to me, if you're watching this article on ft dot com, you can just put a question in the comment.

  • Feel below the line on one of the FBI's video seeing magically make that appear on my iPad.

  • Well, if you're watching on the YouTube channel, you can put a comment below the line they're on.

  • The same thing will happen if I don't get to all of your comments.

  • I think we're gonna do a fairly regular video of this, so we will gets the next time, and I will read them all later on.

  • So don't be dismayed.

  • So the biggest question is, why are limited companies left out of the self employed help package?

  • Now there's been a huge amount of anger expressed to me from readers who say I have got to have a limited company set up with my accountant because if I didn't have that, I wouldn't be able to get work.

  • Now.

  • That's particularly the case or created professionals who work within the UK film and TV industry.

  • They've been telling me that all of the major media companies won't help take them onto their central supplier's list unless they are a limited company.

  • If they were trying to do it in their own writers of some trader, that wouldn't be allowed because big companies are concerned about tax rules on governing off people working.

  • They're I R.

  • 35 on fairness between agency star and in house starts.

  • So lots of people wanting that message to get out lots of people saying that they're writing to their MPs, say people who run the misted companies are rich on.

  • We need to be helped to.

  • So we have lots of readers working in film and TV who are saying I'm not gonna get any help from the self employed scheme because it's concentrated on soul traders.

  • So what can I do now?

  • One off the sources of help that you could consider if you are in that situation is whether you could furlough yourself under the other government scheme for jobs interruption.

  • This is the one that applies to P a y n e employees, because most people, when they set up a limited company, will receive a nominal sum normally around seven or £800 a month, Um, through P a y e to themselves as a director, and then they will receive the bulk of their income.

  • But Roxy is variable as a taxable dividend now, although you won't be able to claim under the self employed scheme, it is possible, the Treasury say, for sole owner directors to applying toe furlough themselves through the job's protection scheme, and then they would receive 80% of the P A y e element of their income threw for three months.

  • But the catch toe that, as many readers have also noticed, is that if you Furlow yourself on P A y e in, technically you're not supposed to be doing any work.

  • Now again, the Treasury have said owner directors can still continue to perform their statutory and administrative obligations as company directors.

  • And here's the but so long as that is all they are doing now.

  • You don't need me to point out how unfair that seems, in contrast to the self employed help scheme where those who have a trading profit of up to £50,000 per year can claim income assistance.

  • But at the same time, the self employed are still allowed to try and get work.

  • So that is a big difference between the sea schemes doesn't quite even out now.

  • I had a really great comment over the weekend from a WhatsApp group that I joined for the directors of limited companies, who, as you can imagine all banding together to try and love you, the government, to better support their needs and together out in the media about why people who are running limited companies needs to be understood.

  • Now, Colin um says This issue is a century question of fairness, the employed and the self employed of being compensated for the loss of potential loss of income through force, redundancy or loss of work by the government that those running limited companies are not.

  • Why, simply because our regular income is recorded as dividends and not p A y e, but our income is only recorded this way because of decisions made by the government.

  • None of us have engineered a situation where we need financial assistance from the government, nor one where we're told by our accountants that we should be paid in this manner.

  • I think calling the loss of people will agree with you.

  • You also makes the point that it's an issue he feels of perception.

  • If you have a limited company, people might think that you're quite a wealthy person.

  • I certainly never some comments by the chancellor about the self employed who were left out of his scheme at an average income, maybe as high as £200,000 per year, which again many readers have been objecting to and taking if you with and politically could be seen to be too much to be bailing out people who have a lot of money.

  • But the reality is, is that lots of people who are running small businesses are telling me that they don't have a lot of money.

  • A big problem for lots of you has been negotiating with landlords about rent bills that do working out how the p a way the furlough system could work for your own star, because businesses are gonna have to fund that themselves from now until they can claim back.

  • The money formation will see until May, and Colin adds that it's not that people with limited companies asking to be treated differently from anyone else they just want the same level of security.

  • And he notes that the income support available through both screams for the self employed and for P A y E workers is capped 2.5 £1000.

  • So lots of limited company owners can't understand why they wouldn't be able to apply for support through that.

  • Another anomaly that Chris, who has emailed in its pointed out, says, Why is it that people employed in a company do not have a cap on their incomes the same as the self employment Well, Chris is a very valid point.

  • The terms of the scheme that were released on Thursday by the chancellor waggle recently complete doesn't Sleep said that the self employed protection scheme can only be applied for if people have a trading profit averaged over the last three years less than £50,000 per year.

  • Now, if you were somebody who was being paid a salary and you wanted to be furloughed on the P A y E scream, there's no cap on your income.

  • The only cap on base games is to limit the payouts at two in the hole £1000 for a month.

  • So, unsurprisingly, lots of FC readers some who are only very marginally over that 50,000 castle for the self employed.

  • One lady got in touch with me on SAS.

  • States say that she averages £55,000 trading profit over the last three years.

  • She's a single mother with three Children, doesn't know what she's going to do to survive financially from now on.

  • We also have a comment here from ardent Ramona and someone who I recognized from the FT Comment field he says.

  • I can't understand why there is a disparity between P.

  • A.

  • Y E and self employed for this safety net.

  • Why is there a limit on the earnings of self employed people?

  • A tool?

  • They will feel the income stopped immediately.

  • And then what?

  • Where is The employee is protected by an employer and has no considerations over equipment they may have bought etcetera.

  • We have no such protection.

  • Well, selling equipment, unfortunately, has been mentioned in a few emails that I've had from.

  • People were desperately looking for ways to get their cash flow going so that they can survive for the coming weeks and months.

  • And another problem that people have been talking to me about is how they will keep businesses going when they don't have very high levels of cash.

  • I've got an email here from Ian Street, who says he is self employed, a sole trader working as a landscape gardener.

  • He's been building up his business 25 years.

  • He's built up savings going into his retirement.

  • He's dismayed that the government has got nothing to offer himself employed other than statutory payments.

  • I have a mortgage, he says.

  • Alone, the 80 and tax bills and all other living costs expenses the same as everyone else.

  • However, I'm now being treated differently to most other working people.

  • Now I'm going to read out some links wth e end of this video Thio The government helped websites, and so a new HMRC tax help line number that's been set up because, of course, one of the main avenues open to businesses who were looking to manage their cash flow is deferring tax payments, which is something that the government has offered with both time to pay on tax bills on dhe, deferring the next lot of the 80 receipts a CZ well as information on the grants, which I can see on here.

  • People are asking for the email address for the government porcelain, which I will I should have gone on here, and I'm briefly readout.

  • It's www dot business support dot gov dot UK.

  • On that is in the link, the main link for this YouTube video on the FTC YouTube channel on.

  • I just read out the HMRC Corona virus tax help line for those who wish to differ tax bills.

  • This is a new number they've brought out in the last few days, which will have much more chance being answered because they've been putting lots more people on.

  • So the help lines that HMRC tax number is over 800 0241222 Or read that out again.

  • 0 800 0 to 4 12 22 And again that website and that number could be found in the ft video description.

  • So I'm just gonna look through the latest comments that we've got.

  • We have been sent in the question from Emma, who is newly self employed.

  • Unfortunately, Emma, you are in another one of the groups that's fallen between the cracks of this self employment scheme ever says.

  • I'm just about to submit my first tax return.

  • So that's where the 2019 20 tax year, as I've just started out as a freelance hairdresser.

  • The irony is, Emma is that people like me and never been in more need of your service is, but obviously because of social distancing, I'm having so puts up with my roots, but ever says I've applied for universal credit.

  • Is there anything else I'm entitled to?

  • As I still got bills to pay, there's no other way of income.

  • Well, unfortunately, this is a situation that many new freelancers who have been contacting us over the weekend find that they are in.

  • Even though they have a full year of tax receipts from the tax year.

  • That's just about to end.

  • This won't be counted by which you see that self employment help scheme the tax year that you must have a return in four.

  • If you haven't done it, you can do one in the next few weeks is 2018 to 19.

  • That's the crucial year they will also look.

  • ATT payments from the two tax years before that workout.

  • Average trading profit over that three year period.

  • If you are a sole trader retraining profits of less than £50,000 a year on average, it will qualify for the self employed scheme, which will be worked out as an average of 80% of your profits for three months made in one payment, which would be backdated until June.

  • Now it's not open CEO.

  • Apply it that scream hmrc contacting people who are eligible in the coming days.

  • But bear in mind that the money won't be received until early June 3 earliest, which again is something that is very much worrying readers.

  • So how can Emma and others look at other sources of income?

  • Well, lots of backs on the credit card companies and the mortgage lenders, all saying that they will offer periods of for parents to people like you ever who are affected by the grain of iris.

  • And, of course, most people who don't have savings over £16,000 will be able to claim something on universal credit.

  • Well, there isn't very much, unfortunately, the Wait times thio claiming that and register for our very high unless you apply for emergency payment rate that anything from universal credit for five weeks.

  • But I hope that needed me.

  • This information is nevertheless useful.

  • I have another question here, coming in from Boris Nomics.

  • You ask if employees have put on a zero hours contracts.

  • What help can they get?

  • Well, course.

  • That's a really good question.

  • That trees of it is is that if you're a zero hours contract, your employer is allowed to further you under the government's jobs protection scheme for P A.

  • Y E includes.

  • But what they do is take your average earnings for the month of February is the figure that they will furlough 80% of your pay.

  • But there is a capture because your employer has to be the one who applies to use that love than you.

  • And I've been getting reports from many readers that not every single employer wants to furlough the staff on dhe.

  • Certainly, they can't be forced e, which is one of the weaknesses within the system.

  • There are clearly concerns for small businesses that they will have to meet the costs of paying those 8% of salaries for the next few months until they claim the money back from HMRC.

  • That could be one of the things that's pretty not, um, right.

  • I'll go on so that the next question over Jean great name over, Jean says.

  • I don't understand why this is being framed as a creative industries phenomenon.

  • Surely there are lots more owner directors outside this industry who are facing the same issue.

  • For example, the tech industry building's maintenance, consulting, fitness, retail, et cetera, except over jean your entirely rights.

  • It's not just the creative industries.

  • The problem for the created industries is particularly acute because so Many of them have been forced into working in this way through using limited companies, which is my the ft write the story this morning, particularly looking at how people working in film and TV a very fearful for their future.

  • But anybody who operates suit Mrs Company is, of course, being the same effects we covered this more generally in FT.

  • Money.

  • Wait.

  • Can we also heard from lots of people who run limited companies because of the protection that being a limited trader involves.

  • For example, if you're a builder or a new electrician's or a plumber, you must have a limited company rather be some trader in case there's any possibility of the negligence claim in future.

  • I have one email from a plumber over the return date.

  • Have it all my iPad, unfortunately saying, I am there to people in times of emergency.

  • Why is the state not there for me when I'm having an emergency of my income?

  • Very, very bad points?

  • Obviously, we continue to report on on all of these issues in the coming weeks.

  • I have another comment here from Greece and 53 after dot com leader who says my wife coin's a small speech therapy practice makes me treating young Children in person or in schools.

  • Her work has completely dried up.

  • Very sorry to hear that her nine employees have been furloughed.

  • The two owners of the business played paid themselves a small P a y E salary £7000 per year on dhe used dividends.

  • As advised by reputable accountant, this scheme has been in place for four years, and they're each make around 35,000 income a year.

  • Fascinated in your article, The onus of businesses can get no personal help from the government at this stage.

  • Hey says they cannot furlough as they have to fulfill directors responsibilities.

  • Well, the advice from the Treasury is you can furlough Adam, fulfill your administrative in statutory obligations as a director, but you can't do anything else on Then, she says she cannot came claim for lost income, but she has been paid by dividends.

  • Well, this is the sticking point.

  • You won't be able to claim for any money that you've had three dividends to fuel the owner director of a limited company.

  • But it is possible, through the furloughing scheme to employ to get 80% of the P A y salary that you pad now.

  • Of course, the way that the accounting practices work is that most people are only paying themselves about seven or £800 a month through P A.

  • Y e.

  • And, of course, 80% of that for three months is not going to be very much money.

  • So it's completely understandable.

  • Why, say, many readers are absolutely terrified about the future prospects for their businesses.

  • So we're also getting lots of suggestions by ft dot com of what else?

  • The government could be doing assistance it could be considering on A lot of people are saying that rather than starting these nobody intention but very complicated schemes from scratch, should the government be looking at a simpler solution my universal income.

  • So instead of trying to manage benefits system, self employed scheme P a y e scheme, good universal income be an easier and quicker way of getting people the money they need.

  • S O F t look calm, read a process says typical UK bureaucracy, red tape and costs creating winners and losers.

  • America is simply giving everyone 1200 U S dollar checks if they've been registered with the tax authorities since 2018.

  • It will be a lot cheaper if every British adult gets £1000 coma.

  • A bit like universal income.

  • This UK method is risking anarchy when the losers to this giveaway have empty bellies.

  • Even entrepreneurs who are making annual losses get zero.

  • Are they know on working enough?

  • Well, thank you very much for your points processed.

  • Have another comment coming in from David Rose, who's commenting on YouTube.

  • He says, I've been self employed since 1996 and I have submitted my accounts up to 2019.

  • In May 2019 I went down the limited company room with my wife.

  • We get tax that source.

  • We do not pay ourselves three p a p a y e r me not entitled to any scheme.

  • Well, they would.

  • I think the question for you and your counter will relate to your 2018 19 tax return.

  • Now you say that that was at the point where you went into a limited company structure.

  • So if you're still working as a self employed person, which is one of the conditions of HMRC screen, it's possible that they will that um at your previous accounts and work out the average of those.

  • Obviously, the people you have changed denomination.

  • It's very difficult.

  • I spoke to somebody else yesterday who was saying to me that they had a limited company, but they still had, um, some income coming through the previous arrangement.

  • This is a really, really difficult area because obviously you have a partial tax year that have a self employment, and that's for the crucial year that that they're looking for safe.

  • I would have to say that you would have to get professional advice on that.

  • I'm afraid.

  • Another question coming in from you, Chief Tom Bombs asked.

  • Why can't hmrc total difference between a small business company director taking dividends?

  • There's income and somebody else receiving dividends?

  • As a shareholder of a large corporation such as BP?

  • Now this is a really interesting point, torm and thank you for raising it.

  • So one of the reasons that's being given by experts from why it's too difficult for a self employed seem to look at income from dividends on dhe.

  • Look at replacing some of the director's income that they've lost through the destruction from the virus is because on the standard UK tax return, you just have one sort that says income dividend income from UK companies.

  • And that obviously could include the dividend income that you got from shares.

  • While that lasts till they well know that shares from dividend income from shares across the board around the threat nearly £4 million worth of dividends Castle canceled last week.

  • Elaine, with the dividends that you get from your own company, it's all just one figure.

  • It's mixed together now.

  • One solution that's been touted by other directors is looking at the self assessment forms, which people submit if they want to apply for a mortgage, for example, they have to fill in a special form, breaking down the sources of their dividend income on so that the mortgage lender could make a decision about where their money is coming from and what kind of credit risk they're going to be in the future.

  • So some people are saying, Could we not use things forms?