Budget 2021: what support is available to my law firm?

Budget 2021 contained a raft of support designed to help solicitors recover and restart after the pandemic. Here are the schemes and reliefs your law firm needs to know about:

Affordable finance

Replacing the existing coronavirus loan schemes, the new UK-wide Recovery Loan Scheme will make loans of between £25,001 and £10 million, and asset and invoice finance between £1,000 and £10 million, available to help law firms “of all sizes”.

Investment

From April 2021, a new “super-deduction” will cut law firms’ tax bill by 25p for every pound they invest in new equipment, while small and medium-sized businesses will benefit from the new £520 million Help to Grow scheme – helping solicitors invest in management training, technology and software.

Extended furlough scheme

The landmark Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) will cover the wages of employees unable to work until at least September 2021.

Self-employment

Self-employed solicitors will be entitled to a fourth and fifth grant under the Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS).

Like previous iterations, the fourth grant will be set at 80 per cent of three months’ average trading profits, paid out in a single instalment and capped at £7,500.

Unlike previous grants, however, the fourth instalment will now take the 2019/20 tax year into account and be extended to the newly self-employed for the first time.

To apply, you must have traded in 2019/20 and 2020/21 and have submitted your tax return by 02 March 2021.

Newly self-employed solicitors will also have to declare their eligibility by confirming their identity and demonstrating business activity by providing three months’ worth of bank statements.

SDLT extension

The scheme which cuts stamp duty for almost all buyers will now be extended by implementing a tapered transition from 30 June to the end of September, effectively avoiding the “cliff edge”.

While not directly affecting solicitors, the extension to the Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) holiday will support the conveyancing market and their clients in completing their property purchases on time.

Commenting on the move, Law Society president David Greene said: “Implementing a tapered transition from the full SDLT holiday on 30 June to the end of the scheme in September will help smooth the cliff edge and reduce the risk of a significant impact on consumers and the market.”

For help and advice with related matters, please get in touch with our expert legal finance team today.