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SME Brexit Support Fund for Training & Advice

22 March

You can apply for up to £2,000 through the SME Brexit Support Fund to pay for practical support, including training and/or professional advice, if you are a trader with up to 500 employees and no more than £100 million annual turnover

What is the SME Brexit Support Fund?

The government has made £20 million available through the current SME Brexit Support Fund. Provided you meet certain eligibility criteria, HMRC may provide funding towards the costs of training and/or professional advice, to help you with changes to trade rules with the EU.  (This is a government fund from HMRC being managed by PwC)

What grants are available through the grant scheme?

Traders can apply for up to £2,000 in total through two types of grants:

  1. Grant for Training:
  2. The grants can be used to provide training on the following:
    • How to complete customs declarations
    • How to manage customs processes and use customs software and systems
    • Specific import and export related aspects including VAT, excise and rules of origin

 

  1. Grant for Professional Advice:
  2. The grant can be used to get professional advice, so your business can meet its customs, excise, import VAT or safety and security declaration requirements.

Who can apply?

To apply for the SME Brexit Support Fund, you will need to self-certify that your organisation meets the following criteria:

  1. Grants are available to enterprises fall within certain limits. The thresholds are:
  • Annual turnover must not be more than £100 million
  • There must not be more than 500 employees
  1. Your organisation must be an importer or exporter of goods between GB and EU countries or moves goods between GB and Northern Ireland, and either completes or intends to complete customs declarations internally for its own goods; or uses intermediary representation for completion of customs declarations but requires additional capability internally to effectively import and/or export (such as advice on rules of origin or VAT). Please note traders in services are not eligible.

Note that in in the above, declarations are defined as “the preparation of customs declarations paperwork and/or digital activity (whether import or export declarations), including relating to Safety and Security, excise and import VAT and submission of these to customs authorities.

  1. Your organisation must be either established in the UK for at least 12 months prior to the submission of its application for grant funding or have Authorised Economic Operator status, as normally listed on the European Commission’s website
  2. Your organisation must have a permanent establishment or branch in the UK, at both the time of application and payment of the grant. This does not preclude organisations established in the UK but operating overseas, as long as it can be shown that the overseas operational activity is in support of customs declarations for the UK.
  3. Your organisation must be in good standing with HMRC. A business is deemed to not be in good standing where our records show applicants (including Directors/owners/senior staff) have not complied with HMRC requirements. HMRC will make a proportionate decision on whether an applicant will be disqualified from applying on these grounds. Indicators could include a record of:
  • Overdue tax returns
  • Not paying tax or duties due (or not complying with any agreed Time to Pay arrangement with HMRC)
  • Business in administration or personal insolvency
  • Disqualification from acting as a director
  • Net negative assets
  1. All applicants agree to cooperate with HMRC at suitable points after the payment of grants, to provide such data as is required to demonstrate the expansion of capacity that has resulted from the aforementioned grants.

 Qualifying Expenditure

Qualifying expenditure for training or professional advice must have been made or committed to on or after the announcement of the additional £20m on 11 February 2021.

 Subsidy Regime

  • All grants provided under this scheme are provided under the UK domestic subsidy control regime which includes, but is not limited to, any relevant domestic legislation, Free Trade Agreements, World Trade Organisation rules on subsidies and the relevant provisions of the Northern Ireland Protocol.
  • The grant applicant, and any other undertaking forming a single undertaking with the grant applicant, confirms that any grant applied for under this scheme will not cause them to have obtained in excess of £180,000 in aid during the current and two previous fiscal years from HMRC or any other public authority.
  • If grants under multiple regulations are received, the grant obtained for training costs cannot be used to match funding for co-funded training projects.
  • Should the rules pertaining to subsidies be revised in the period covered by the scheme, HMRC and the administrator will ensure that the new rules apply to relevant applications.

What grants are available?

HMRC can provide grants to support the costs of training and/or professional advice. We understand that each organisation will have different needs. Traders can therefore apply for up to £2,000 in funding across one or more grants but must meet the eligibility criteria.

Grants for Training

  1. How to complete customs declarations
  2. How to manage customs processes and use customs software and systems
  3. Specific import and export related aspects including VAT, excise and rules of origin

What can the training grant be used for?

Valid training includes:

  • How to complete customs declarations
  • How to manage customs processes and use customs software and systems
  • Specific import and export related aspects including VAT, excise and rules of origin Customs declarations or other declarations required to complete customs processes in the UK or EU, such as safety and security declarations.

 What training is excluded from the grant?

Excluded from this scheme is training which is not related specifically to new trade rules with the EU – for example training to meet Health and Safety requirements.

 What training is eligible for this grant?

 Externally delivered training

  • The cost of the training provision as charged to them by the external training provider (without itemising trainer’s personnel costs or the trainer’s materials and supplies).
  • Trainees’ materials and supplies directly related to the training, to the extent that they are used exclusively for the training, and not supplied by the trainer.
  • Trainer’s and trainee’s travel and subsistence costs, to the extent that they are incurred and required exclusively to deliver or attend training events.
  • Training can be delivered in person or virtually, but must be procured through an external provider.

Please note, internal training is not eligible for this grant.

The Grant Applicant, and any other undertaking forming a single undertaking with the Grant Applicant, confirms that any grant applied for under this scheme will not cause them to have obtained in excess of £180,000 in aid during the current and two previous fiscal years from HMRC or any other public authority.

 The cap per applicant is £2,000. Should eligible training costs exceed that amount, grant support will be limited to £2,000 per organisation.

 What are the grant limitations?

  • The amount that can be obtained and paid for under the SME Brexit Support Scheme is £2,000 in total per applicant.
  • Note that there can be no application made for trainee’s salaries.
  • The maximum claim per applicant across both training and professional advice is £2,000 so if the full grant has been claimed for training, no further grant can be claimed for consultancy and vice versa.

 What are the time limits on qualifying expenditure?

Please note, qualifying expenditure must have been made on or after 11 February 2021 and must be evidenced, in full, on submission of your claim for payment. The claim for payment including acceptable evidence of expenditure must be submitted within two calendar months of the grant offer being issued, and by 31 August 2021 at the latest.

 

Grants for Professional Advice

Get professional advice so your business can meet its customs, excise, import VAT or safety and security declaration requirements.

What can the professional advice grant be used for?

 Valid advisory costs include:

  • The expenditure must be directly related to consultancy advice procured by the applicant to enable the business to discharge its obligations to HMRC, such as customs, excise, VAT relating to importing or exporting or safety and security declaration obligations.
  • The provision of professional advice on specific aspects of regulations such as clarification of rules of origin or VAT relating to imports or exports.
  • Associated costs with the delivery of professional advice – such as the consultant’s travel and subsistence costs and costs of products supplied included within the consultant’s fee and essential to the delivery of the advice

 What advisory costs are excluded from the grant?

  • Consultancy costs relating to domestic tax obligations, tax planning, recruitment or any business function not directly related to import, export movement of goods between GB and the EU are excluded.
  • No support can be applied for in respect of any consultancy advice delivered internally within their organisation.

 What advice is covered by this grant?

  • Eligible professional advice is that contracted by the business from a consultant that is not employed by the business, typically for a daily rate or one-off fee.
  • Consultants are not defined, recommended or regulated by HMRC but are expected to be businesses registered with HMRC. Where employees of consultancy businesses provide advice, the invoice should be from the employing consultancy business.

 What are the grant limitations?

  • The consultancy costs that can be applied for are limited to £2,000 per applicant business. Where the consultancy cost exceeds £2,000, grant support is limited to the first £2,000.
  • Multiple applications can be made, but the maximum amount that can be paid to any applicant across both training and professional advice is £2,000. For example, if the full grant has been claimed for professional advice, no further grant can be claimed for training and vice versa.
  • Applications for lesser sums can be made for training and professional advice, for example £1,000 for each, but the total applied for cannot exceed £2,000.

 What are the time limits on qualifying expenditure?

Please note, qualifying expenditure must have been made on or after 11 February 2021 and must be evidenced, in full, on submission of your claim for payment. The claim for payment including acceptable evidence of expenditure must be submitted within two calendar months of the grant offer being issued, and by 31 August 2021 at the latest.

How do I apply?

Visit the dedicated PwC website for applications:  https://www.customsintermediarygrant.co.uk/sme-how-to-apply

 

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