Omicron Business Support Available

James Rigato - Restaurant

13th January, 2022, Melanie Harriss

In response to restrictions imposed, the government have announced Omicron Business Support available to firms in the UK.

Omicron Business Support: Local Authority Grants

The first in a package of Omicron business support is for firms in the hospitality, leisure and accommodation sectors, many of which have seen a decline in footfall and increased cancellations due to the Omicron variant. These businesses are able to apply for one-off grants of up to £6,000 per premises depending on rateable value, via their local authority.

Further funds are also being given to local councils to support other businesses impacted by Omicron, such as those that supply the hospitality and leisure sectors as well as personal care services, these will be administered as Additional Restrictions Grants by local authorities.

Businesses eligible for Local Authority Grants are those that offer in-person services, where the main service and activity takes place in a fixed rate-paying premises, in the hospitality, leisure and accommodation sectors.

This includes businesses whose main function is providing a venue for the consumption and sale of food and drink, those that provide facilities linked to recreation and entertainment, as well as businesses whose main premise is used for holiday accommodation.

In the areas that our offices cover, these can be applied for with , , and

Omicron Business Support: Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme

Further Omicron business support comes with the reintroduction of the for coronavirus-related absences for small and medium-sized employers.

Businesses could be eligible for support if they employed fewer than 250 employees on 30 November 2021, and have paid Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) to employees for coronavirus-related sickness absences.

Up to two weeks SSP can be claimed, if employees have been paid at the relevant standard weekly rate of £96.35, for any eligible periods of coronavirus-related sickness from 21 December 2021. This is a new claims period.

Businesses could claim to cover the costs for up to two weeks of SSP for an employee who takes time off because of coronavirus, regardless of whether they have claimed for that employee under the previous scheme.

Omicron Business Support: Culture Recovery Fund

Additional Omicron business support is a further £30 million of funding being made available through the Culture Recovery Fund. These grants support cultural organisations that have been affected by the Covid-19 crisis to stay afloat, providing them with support to ensure that they can survive and stay open.

The funding is accessed via .

Omicron Business Support: Time to Pay

HMRC still has its arrangement in place. This can be accessed if you are facing difficulty in making a tax payment; you can make an arrangement to pay what you owe in affordable instalments.

In order to access this support you need to contact HMRC, as arrangements are made on a case-by-case basis.

Related articles:

Why employers should consider an apprenticeship scheme

Bethany Little: Part of Stephenson Smart Apprenticeship Scheme

6th January, 2022, Melanie Harriss

If your business is struggling to recruit, offering an apprenticeship or traineeship scheme might be the answer and could make someone’s New Year!

Part of the government’s to help the UK economy recover from the covid pandemic includes support for employers to take on trainees.

There are different schemes available:

Kickstart Scheme

The , which has recently been extended to March 2022, aims to create 6-month job placements for young people who are currently on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment. The job placements are aimed at supporting the participants to develop the skills and experience they need to find permanent work after completing the scheme.

For each Kickstart job, the government will cover the cost of 25 hours a week at the relevant National Minimum Wage in addition to pension and National Insurance contributions for a period of 6 month. Employers will also receive £1,500 per placement to cover set-up costs and provide wraparound support for the young person.

Traineeship scheme

Traineeships are skills development programme for people of all ages that includes a work experience placement and gets people ready for employment or an apprenticeship.

Traineeships can last from 6 weeks up to 1 year and may include individual support in various methods of securing employment.

Employers who provide opportunities through a registered traineeship can use the scheme to recruit new talent into the business or help develop the skills of exiting employees. A business can also benefit from an employer incentive of £1,000 when a work experience placement of over 70 hours has been completed. This incentive can be claimed for up to 10 learners per region and employers can decide how to use the money.

Apprenticeship scheme

Apprenticeships employ people to do a real job while studying for a formal qualification – usually for one day a week either at a college or training centre. By the end of an apprenticeship, most people have gained the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in their chosen career.

There are two ways of accessing government funding to support an apprenticeship.

If an organisation’s wage bill is £3 million per annum or more, the organisation will pay a levy of 0.5% of the wage bill. Levy paying employers get a £15,000 allowance per annum to offset against the amount they have to pay.

If an organisation’s wage bill is under £3 million, you don’t have to pay the levy. Instead, the employer agrees a payment schedule with a registered training provider and pays 5% towards the cost of the apprenticeship training to them directly. The government will pay the remaining 95%.

At Stephenson Smart we believe in nurturing talent within our organisation and have an active apprenticeship scheme. We currently have 24 trainees working across our six offices.

One of our youngest trainees is Bethany Little, who is based at our office.

Bethany came to Stephenson Smart straight from high school to embark on her accountancy career.

“I came for a week’s work experience while I was at school and really enjoyed it. I am now studying for a joint ACA/CTA qualification which will mean that I will not only be a chartered accountant but also a chartered tax advisor at the end of it.”

One of our newest trainees is Deborah Robinson, who is based at our office.

Deborah, who grew up in Stevenage, moved over to train in accounting after a successful career in the equestrian industry running a riding school. Deborah said:

“I came to a bit of a crossroads and thought it would be good to try something else and after spending so long working outside an office with a roof over my head seemed quite appealing! I’m really enjoying it and everyone has been lovely and supportive, so I’m looking forward to learning and progressing.”

After successfully completing her AAT qualification, Deborah has now started the next stage of her study, ACA qualifications through the apprenticeship route.

, partner at Stephenson Smart’s March and Wisbech offices, commented:

“We have always had a strong apprenticeship scheme at Stephenson Smart and find great rewards in hiring new talent and nurturing them to become accounting professionals.”

“If your business, like many others, is struggling to recruit, offering a traineeship or apprenticeship scheme might be the answer.”



Business Start Up Advice

Business Start Up

25th February, 2019, Stephenson Smart

If you are looking to start your own business in Norfolk or Cambridgeshire, let Stephenson Smart give you a hand.

Starting your own business can be challenging and daunting and often the level of support is based on limited knowledge of what is needed and affordability.

We can take away that burden. We are Chartered Accountants and Business Advisors, specialising in business start up advice. We have many clients whose unique, small businesses have grown significantly, and we have supported them through it. With our tailored and personal approach, advice and support is provided in a cost-effective way.

A significant task for a new business owner is ensuring that the business complies with the extensive tax, legislation and insurance requirements that are imposed by various authorities. To avoid problems, penalties and – in some cases – legal action, it is important to understand your obligations.

Small business start ups are an extremely important part of the economy. At Stephenson Smart we recognise both this and the role we can play in nurturing ambitious enterprises. Stephenson Smart’s dedicated business start up advice team provide accounting, tax and business start up advice.

At Stephenson Smart, we can offer business start up advice and support you by:

  • Keeping your books in order
  • Minimising your tax payments
  • Providing practical advice on starting and running a small business
  • A pre-agreed competitive fixed fee
  • Offering a personal approach


We have in King’s Lynn, Great Yarmouth, Fakenham, Wisbech, March and Downham Market and qualified, professional teams on hand to offer you great business start up advice.

Corporation & Business Tax Planning

Corporation & Business Tax Planning

25th February, 2019, Stephenson Smart

Research and Development Tax Relief

Research and Development (R&D) reliefs support companies that work on innovative projects seeking to make an advancement in science and technology and can be claimed for costs specifically relating to those projects including; staff, software and consumables.

There are two different types of Research and Development reliefs, depending on the size of the company.

Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) can claim an extra 130% Corporation Tax deduction for their qualifying costs from their taxable profit, as well as the normal 100% deduction, to make a total 230% deduction. This can then translate into a tax credit if the company is loss making, worth up to 14.5% of the surrenderable loss.

Large companies can claim a Research and Development Expenditure Credit (RDEC) against their Corporation Tax liability for working on R&D projects, worth 13% of the qualifying R&D expenditure.



Business tax planning is vital. Here at Stephenson Smart we have built up an excellent reputation for progressive tax planning for businesses throughout the whole of the UK. Individuals operating in partnership, sole traders, UK companies and permanent establishments of foreign companies situated in the UK are all liable to pay tax in the UK on their business profits. The regime under which tax is collected differs depending upon the structure through which the business operates.

For example, a limited company will need to file a Self-Assessment tax return form called a CT600, while a partnership will need to file a Self-Assessment partnership return called a SA800. Sole traders and individual partners of partnerships will file Self-Assessment tax returns called SA100.

The responsibility of the correct calculation of business profits contained within each of the Self-Assessment tax returns filed in the UK rests solely with the taxpayer.

Stephenson Smart are able to assist in formulating and submitting calculations of business profits compliant with the latest changes in legislation, making the most of deductions and allowances available to the business. In most cases we can reduce the amount of tax paid and maximise the wealth of the company and/or individuals.

Corporation Tax

Corporation tax returns need to be filed online in iXBRL format. Filing returns late will result in a penalty and interest on late paid corporation tax will accrue. We are here to ensure that all returns are submitted on time, in the correct format and that all deadlines are met.

Capital Allowances

Business expenditure of a capital nature is not always tax deductible, but may qualify for capital allowances. There is a wide variety of capital allowances available for capital expenditure depending upon the nature of the capital asset purchased. We will maximise the amount of capital allowances claimed, and the subsequent deduction from taxable profits will reduce your tax liability. Working together with your business we will keep you up to date with tax legislation affecting capital allowances available and ensure that your tax liability is minimised.

We can offer advice specific to you and your needs on an individual basis in relation, but not limited to, the following events:

  • Advice on Corporation tax payments and their timing, whether in instalments or single transactions.
  • Calculation and submission of company tax returns in required iXBRL format.
  • Maximisation of research and development tax credits and administering the repayment of tax losses.
  • Maximising capital allowances, in some cases obtaining 100% allowances through utilisation of the Annual Investment allowance and Enhanced Capital allowances.
  • Maximising relief for expenditure on intangible assets and goodwill.
  • Reconstructions of businesses and groups, including mergers and acquisitions both within the UK and internationally.
  • Effective loss relief planning including group relief to maximise the potential of your business.
  • Advice relating to company strategy such as directors remuneration planning and dividend policy.


Call us today to see how Stephenson Smart can help your business.

Buying a Business

Buying a Business

25th February, 2019, Stephenson Smart

If you are keen to improve your position in the market by merger, acquisition or disposal Stephenson Smart can help you avoid pitfalls and navigate you through the tricky process.

There are many things to take into consideration when buying a business, including the right price to pay, how much you need to borrow, funding options and which is the most appropriate.

Business Strategy and Support

At Stephenson Smart, we can help you identify purchase targets, assist you in developing business plans and forecasts, use our long-standing relationships to help you in raising finance, carry out financial and taxation due diligence and help in negotiations.

In short, we can give you peace of mind.

You might be considering a Management Buy Out? This is a complicated transaction requiring persistence, expertise and excellent advice and we can advise your management team through every stage

Talk to us about optimising tax and corporate structures, and on advising about an integration plan, or how best to invest the profits.

At Stephenson Smart, we can advise on:

  • Raising finance
  • Business valuations
  • Due diligence
  • Management buy-ins and buy-out
  • Post-acquisition integration
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