Updated: 7th June 2021
The challenges of dealing with the coronavirus pandemic and complying with new trading regulations have made it difficult for SMEs that trade with the EU to operate effectively. The new paperwork requirements and additional costs in relation to EU trade have led to the introduction of a new fund aimed at helping SMEs.
The SME Brexit Support Fund helps small and medium sized enterprises that solely import from and export to the European Union. New trade regulations, changed rules of origin, and new VAT rules, created significant problems in January 2021 as businesses struggled to understand and fulfil their obligations.
So how does the fund work, and are you eligible for this additional support?
The £20 million fund supports SMEs that trade solely with the European Union. Eligible businesses can apply for a grant of up to £2,000 to help them with the cost of undergoing training and/or securing professional advice on the new regulations.
There are two different types of grant available under the SME Brexit Support Fund:
Grant for training
This money can be used to pay for training on the following, from any suitably qualified external training provider (costs of in-house training are not covered by the scheme):
Grant for professional advice
The grant for professional advice enables SMEs to fund the cost of receiving professional advice, so that businesses can meet the new requirements on customs, excise, VAT, and safety/security declarations.
The maximum grant available under the scheme is £2,000. This can be split between the two types of support available, or used up entirely on either external training or professional advice.
You may be eligible for a grant if your SME meets the following conditions:
Additionally, the expenditure for training or professional advice on which the grant application is based must have been made on or before 11th February 2021 – this is when the £20 million funding was announced.
If a grant is offered, the business needs to provide documentary evidence of this expenditure when the payment is claimed - this must be within two months of the offer, or by 31st August 2021 at the latest.
The funding is administered on behalf of HMRC by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), and applications should be made online. The grant scheme will remain open for applications until either 30th June 2021 or the date on which the £20 million funding has been used up.
You’ll need to register on the grant website, create an account, and provide some basic information, such as your Companies House registration number, VAT number, or UTR (Unique Taxpayers Reference) number. Your account will then be verified and you’ll receive your login details via email.
You can then start your application. You’ll also need to provide details of the training provider/professional advisor you’re going to use, along with the respective quotes and details of training content/type of advice you’re seeking.
HMRC will conduct due diligence checks on your application, and if it’s successful, they’ll send out a grant offer letter by email.
If your application is granted, to claim the grant you’ll need to provide proof of payment along with your claim form. This should be in the form of a VAT invoice and a redacted bank statement clearly showing the expenditure.
You should upload this evidence to the dedicated portal on the grant website, and once the documentation is reviewed and accepted, payment should be made within 30 days of the claim.
If you would like more advice and guidance on the SME Brexit Support Fund, please get in touch with our expert team to arrange a free, same-day consultation. Real Business Rescue operates an extensive network of offices throughout the UK, so you’re never far away from professional support.
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