Brexit Support Fund applications could be rejected if cash “runs out before the deadline”

Applications to the SME Brexit Support Fund could be rejected if the £20 million cash pot “runs out before the deadline”, a regulator has warned.

Commenting on the short turnaround, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) urged businesses to apply early to ensure they can access the support they need.

Launched last month, the grant funding scheme enables traders to access specialist training to help them adapt to new customs and tax processes, such as rules of origin and VAT.

It comes in response to concerns that the “vast majority” of small businesses who trade overseas do so only with the EU – meaning that most traders are unfamiliar with the complex international trade rules introduced at the end of the transition period.

To support traders during this time, the SME Brexit Support Fund will provide non-repayable grants of up to £2,000 per business to pay for essential support, such as specialist training and professional advice – including accountant’s fees.

However, the ICAEW has warned that the short turnaround time, as well as the limited cash pot, could prevent traders from accessing funding.

The final deadline for applications is 30 June 2021, meaning traders have just months left to prepare and submit an application.

But the regulator expects the £20 million fund to “run out” before then, meaning businesses should urgently submit their application, even if they do not plan to trade with the rest of the world until later in the year.

“HMRC’s guidance has been updated to confirm that applications can now be made online and that the closing date is 30 June,” said the ICAEW.

“It also states that the fund may close for applications earlier if all funds are allocated.”

To apply, your business must move goods between Great Britain and the EU or Northern Ireland; be established in the UK for at least 12 months or currently hold Authorised Economic Operator status; have no more than 500 employees and turnover no more than £100 million; and have not previously failed to meet its tax or customs obligations.

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

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