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Government urged to extend filing deadlines for Storm Desmond businesses
Many businesses across the North West, Northern Ireland and Scotland are flooded and without power

An accounting group is urging government to automatically extend filing deadlines for businesses affected by storm Desmond over the weekend.

With many businesses across the North West, Northern Ireland and Scotland flooded and without power, easing pressure on owners so that they can concentrate on getting their business up and running is critical to local economies, says the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW). 

Peter Hollis, chair of ICAEW Practice Committee says the last thing that businesses affected by flooding want to be worried about is meeting deadlines for tax returns, with their first priority getting back up and running again.

'Government should be doing all they can to help by automatically extending filing deadlines for businesses in affected postcodes, rather than on a case-by-case basis.

'This will make a major difference to those businesses who will need to file VAT, self-assessment and income and corporation tax returns in the next three months,' he adds. 

ICAEW wants government to help those businesses impacted with an extra three months to file VAT returns and pay the associated tax without penalties arising, an extra three months to file income tax and corporation tax returns and pay associated tax without penalties arising.

There are also demands for government to fund local authorities to suspend collection of business rates for three months while businesses get back in their feet, and for government to provide guarantees to banks to enable assistance to affected businesses on a case-by-case basis.

ICAEW has also updated advice for businesses affected by flooding and this can be found here

Clive Lewis, ICAEW head of enterprise adds, 'HMRC has a good track record at helping those businesses who get in touch as seen with previous natural disasters. Storms such as Desmond demonstrate the need though for any business, no matter how large or small, to have a risk management plan that will allow them to continue to function, even if their premises are damaged.

'When the worst happens and disaster strikes, it is often too late to start thinking about what should be done.'

Further reading on inclement weather and business

See also: Small businesses urged to innovate now

Related topics: Health and safety

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