Coronavirus: are law firms entitled to financial support?

Two new grant funds and a Government-backed loan scheme will be launched to support businesses throughout the coronavirus pandemic, it has been announced.

The emergency finance package, which will help law firms, solicitors and their staff throughout the pandemic, is split between small, medium and large-sized organisations, as well as firms in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors – meaning law firms may not be entitled to some support.

For the smallest of law firms with a rateable value of less than £15,000 – such as those eligible for small business rate relief (SBBR) or rural rate relief – a new grant of up to £10,000 is available. This grant will be administered by local authorities.

Law firms with a rateable value of between £15,000 and £51,000, meanwhile, will not be entitled to the £25,000 SME cash grant – as it is only available to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses.

Instead, law firms should consider the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme. Delivered by the British Business Bank, the scheme will enable companies to apply for a loan of up to £5 million, with the government covering up to 80 per cent of any losses with no fees.

Elsewhere…

Both Companies House and HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) have confirmed that it will allow law firms to extend accounting and filing deadlines and delay enforcement action where necessary as a result of Covid-19 disruption.

If you are struggling to pay tax, contact the new dedicated HMRC helpline (0800 0159 559) to set up an instalment arrangement, or to ask the regulator to temporarily suspend enforcement action or cancel penalties and interest “where you have administrative difficulties contacting or paying HMRC immediately”.

For support accessing emergency finance or improving cash flow, get in touch with our expert legal finance team today.