There is lots of information coming out about support to all sorts of sectors – as Barristers you are self employed – and hence it is those provisions that are looked at below.

If Courts are restricted in operation this may impact on your earnings.

But – there are some areas specific to you that might need further consideration.

Aged Debt – can you collect more of your aged debt faster to help with cash flow?

This may be the moment to look at what is essential spend personally and professionally and putting together a personal budget to know how much cash you need each month.

This will help you in any negotiations that might be necessary with banks etc.

Self employed

The government support offered to the self employed has been criticised and may be subject to further announcements.

If making payments to HMRC is going to be difficult over the next few months there are various deferment plans in place – these are automatic and you do not need to contact HMRC.

VAT deferral – any payment due between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020 can be deferred until 30 June 2020 – so practically this will relate to quarters ending 29 February 2020 and 31 March 2020.

It will still be payable – so if your business and your cash flow is not affected then deferring may not be of real benefit – and it may be that those who can should keep paying to keep some payments going into the Exchequer.

Income tax deferral – self assessment payment due at the end of July – this can be deferred until 31 January 2021.

Again – this is a deferral so if you can pay it this may be the better option as at the end of January 2021 you may have to pay the July payment, the January balancing charge and the payment on account of 2020/21.

If however you are expecting your business to be heavily affected the liability for 20/21 may be unusually low – in which case deferral may be the best option.

By acting promptly on your personal tax return for 2020/21 you may be able to predict your liabilities earlier and act appropriately.

No interest or penalties will be charged regarding these deferments.

If your income is affected then you may be eligible for universal credit – the minimum floor has been removed from 6 April – this is the figure that it is assumed you are earning based on 35 hours at minimum wage – instead it will be based on what you have actually earned.

If you have over £16,000 in savings you will not be eligible.

If you are sick you may be able to claim sick pay through Universal Credit or Employment and Support Allowance.

You may be entitled to a mortgage or rental holiday, or other loans or credit card bills terms may be renegotiated. Link Here.


Disclaimer: this is our interpretation based on the information available and may be subject to revision so please check before acting upon it March 2020