An awful lot's changed in the last fortnight as the coronavirus epidemic in the UK continues to adversely affect businesses.

As a consequence, the Government has announced a raft of emergency measures to try and keep the UK economy afloat.

Those cater for more than five million people who are registered as self-employed and almost six million private-sector businesses.

The questions on business owners' lips range from which scheme is open to me to how do I access it?

The following information is accurate as of 2 April 2020 and may be subject to future change. Speak to us if in any doubt.

Coronavirus job retention scheme

This is a temporary scheme open to all UK employers for at least three months, starting from 1 March 2020.

It is designed to support employers whose operations have been severely affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19).

The scheme intends to protect jobs by offering employers the opportunity to furlough employees, or in other words, give them a leave of absence.

During this period, which must last at least three weeks, furloughed employees must not undertake work or provide services for their employer.

Employers can claim for 80% of furloughed employees' usual monthly wage costs, up to £2,500 a month.

The associated employer national insurance contributions and minimum workplace pension contributions (3%) on that wage can also be claimed.

The scheme is open to all UK employers that had created and started a PAYE payroll scheme on 28 February 2020 or earlier.

The online service used to claim is not yet available, although HMRC expects it to be up and running by the end of this month.

More details on eligibility and how much can be claimed to cover wages for furloughed employees can be found on HMRC's website.

Self-employed income support

This scheme provides a taxable grant worth 80% of a self-employed individual or partner's trading profits for an initial three months.

It is based on trading profits of less than £50,000 in 2018/19, or average trading profits of less than £50,000 between 2016 and 2019.

Sole traders or partners can claim up to £2,500 a month for three months and HMRC will pay the grant as a lump sum directly into a bank account.

As the scheme is based on tax returns, HMRC already has the information it needs to determine if a sole trader or partner is eligible for the grant.

The tax body will contact the individual directly and invite them to submit a claim through GOV.UK

A word of caution, however: if someone texts, calls or emails claiming to be from HMRC and asks you to click on a link or to give information, it is a scam.

If you fall into this bracket and have lost income as a result of COVID-19, more information can be found on GOV.UK

Deferred tax payments and obligations

Payments on account

Anyone who has to send in a tax return for 2019/20 through self-assessment and pay income tax can defer the second batch of payments on account.

In a normal year, these are due before 31 July 2020 but can now be deferred until midnight on 31 January 2021.

VAT payments

VAT-registered businesses that have been affected by COVID-19 have the option to defer any payments due between 20 March and 30 June 2020.

HMRC does not need to be notified of the deferral. Simply stop the direct debit payment from the business's bank account.

This is only a deferral, however, and any payment deferred during this period of uncertainty will need to be paid by 31 March 2021.

Companies House

Around 4.3 million businesses in the UK can apply to Companies House for a three-month extension to file their accounts.

Firms that apply and cite coronavirus-related disruption will automatically be granted the three-month extension.

Applications can be made online and should take around 15 minutes to complete.

Talk to us about managing cashflow.