Updated: 3rd March 2021
The coronavirus lockdown made it impossible for businesses to trade for much of 2020, and this has continued into 2021 with many businesses still continuing to face an uncertain future as financial distress deepens.
If your business has generated no income since lockdown, what can you do? One of the first steps is to seek professional insolvency help to confirm that the business is still solvent – you could be accused of wrongful trading if you continue to trade when insolvent.
Real Business Rescue are insolvency specialists and can offer reliable unbiased advice if your business has had no revenue since lockdown and is struggling due to coronavirus.
Government-backed coronavirus loans
The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan (CBILS) and the Bounce Back Loan could offer you the funding you need to continue even though you have no business income at this point. You can make a new application under these schemes until 31 March 2021. These schemes will then be replaced by the Recovery Loans Scheme which gives companies of all sizes access to loans between £25,000 - £10m, with the government providing 80% security to the lender.
Invoice financiers and asset based lenders are just two potential sources of emergency finance that could help your business survive. Alternative forms of funding can be more flexible and quicker to access than other loans, but it’s important to ensure you choose the type of finance most suited to your business.
If you have employees, the furlough scheme may have helped you keep them on even if you have no business income. The furlough scheme has been extended until the end of September 2021.
The Chancellor has also allowed businesses and individuals that are negatively affected by coronavirus to defer some tax payments, namely VAT and self-assessment. The deadline for VAT payments due for the period 20th March 2020 to 30th June 2020 is now the end of March 2022, and you may be able to pay by instalments up to this date if you arrange this before 21 June 20221.
If your creditors are pressing you for payment and there’s a chance they might try to wind the business up, you may need to consider taking aversive action, especially if business recovery is likely to be protracted.
Again, it’s essential to obtain professional assistance under these circumstances, not only to protect you from wrongful trading, but also to come to an informed decision on the best options.
One of these options might be to enter company administration, for example, where creditor legal action is stayed for a period of eight weeks. This opens up a number of potential avenues, including formally restructuring your debts under a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA).
Cutting your outgoings can release vital cash that helps your business carry on under these challenging conditions, as can negotiating informally with creditors to reduce repayment levels in the short term.
If one of your creditors is HMRC you may be able negotiate a Time to Pay (TTP) arrangement for tax arrears. Access to their Time to Pay scheme, which is essentially an instalment plan, has widened during the pandemic, and can offer an additional few months to pay your arrears of tax without penalty.
Obtaining advice from licensed insolvency practitioners (IPs) helps businesses that have had little or no business income since lockdown to take the right steps. It protects you from allegations of wrongful trading, and potentially, personal liability.
Real Business Rescue are insolvency experts with extensive experience in all industries. We can clarify your best options and ensure you take the right steps. Please contact one of the team to arrange a same-day consultation free-of-charge – we work from a network of offices nationwide.
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