Help for flooded businesses

Last month’s flooding across areas of the UK has meant a bleak outlook for the individuals and businesses affected leading up to Christmas. There are some pockets of relief, and with increasing numbers of such natural disasters, it’s worth being aware of where additional help is available.

Not only is flooding a traumatic event personally, but the time it takes to recover goods and property can be seriously damaging to a business. HMRC has been encouraging business owners affected by the latest round of flooding to contact their Business Payment Support Service (BPPS) for help with tax-related problems. The government announced immediate total relief on council tax and business rates for at least three months for affected homeowners and businesses.

The BPPS offers support and advice across all business sectors, from the self-employed to large firms, and has practical information on tax issues to help you plan a way forward as your business recovers. The helpline can discuss issues such as agreeing deferred payments, suspending debt collection and reviewing penalties for missed statutory deadlines.

Even if you have a valid policy, not all costs are recoverable through insurance. Small- and medium-sized businesses seriously affected by flooding can also apply for a business recovery grant of £2,500 from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. There are also grants for farmers to cover damage, with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs expanding its recovery fund to cover those requiring help against uninsurable damage up to £25,000.

During the height of November’s flooding in South Yorkshire, 38 pumps were moving 50 million litres of water across eight locations to try to protect local homes and businesses. Under such circumstances keeping up with your tax payments will be the last thing on your mind, so it may help to know that the tax authorities are prepared to help with the issues.