Self-Employment Income Support Scheme
On 26 March 2020, the government announced the introduction of the Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS). This scheme is to provide financial help to self-employed individuals, including members of a partnership, who have lost income due to Covid-19.
This is welcome news for the self-employed and the key details released so far are as follows:
How much will you get?
You can claim a grant of 80% of your average trading profits over the last 3 years, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next 3 months (1 March 2020 until 31 May 2020). The government pledges that the scheme may be extended if needed.
1. Your self-employment trading profits must be less than £50,000 and, more than 50% of your total income must come from self-employment. This is determined by at least one of the following conditions being met:
- Trading profits in the tax year ended 5 April 2019 of less than £50,000 and these profits are more than 50% of your total taxable income; or
- Your average annual trading profit for the last 3 tax years up to the year ended 5 April 2019 is less than £50,000 and must be more than 50% of your average taxable income over the same period.
2. You must have submitted your Tax Return for the year ended 5 April 2019 which was due for filing by 31 January 2020.
3. You must have traded during the 2019/20 tax year.
4. You must be trading at the time of making the application or would be except for COVID-19.
5. You intend on continuing to trade in the next tax year (2020/21).
6. You have lost self-employment or partnership trading profits as a result of COVID-19.
How to Apply
HMRC will use the information from your submitted 2018/19 Tax Return to identify if you are eligible for the scheme. If you are eligible, HMRC will contact you and invite you to apply online.
How and When You Will Receive the Grant
Once your application is processed by HMRC they will inform you how much you will get. The grant will be paid directly into your bank in one lump sum. Payment is expected in early June 2020.
Please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any queries in respect of the above or indeed, any of the other Business Support measures put in place by HM Government. In the meantime, we have also compiled a summary of frequently asked questions (FAQ’s).
Is the grant taxed?
Yes, the grant is treated as taxable income and will be included on your Tax Return to 5 April 2021.
If my trading profits are above £50,000 in 2018/19 but my average profits for the 3 previous years are below £50,000, will I be eligible?
Yes, so long as your trading profits are more than half of your average taxable income in the same period.
How will HMRC calculate my grant entitlement?
HMRC will add together your trading profits in the last 3 tax years, or less where applicable. Using this total, they will then calculate an average monthly profit. The grant payment will be 80% of the average monthly profit up to a maximum of £2,500 per month.
Can I claim if I have self-employment and employment income?
Yes, you can, so long as your average self-employment trading profits are less than £50,000 and represent more than 50% of your total taxable income. For example, if your average trading profits are £40,000 and your employment taxable earnings are less than £40,000, then you will be eligible.
I have not been self-employed for 3 years; do I still qualify?
Yes, if you started trading between 6 April 2016 and 5 April 2019. HMRC will only use those years for which you filed a self-assessment tax return.
What are “trading profits” defined as?
Income less business expenses; otherwise known as taxable income.
What if I haven’t yet filed my 2018/19 tax return; can I still apply?
If you submit your tax return before 23 April 2020, HMRC will consider if you are eligible.
Can I contact HMRC now and apply for the grant?
No, unfortunately you can’t do this. The scheme is not yet live and HMRC will contact you.
Does the grant affect my tax credits claim?
Yes, you will need to include the grant as income on your tax credits claim.
If I started self-employment after 6 April 2019, am I eligible?
No, in the current guidelines you would not be eligible.
Can I continue to trade and claim the grant?
Yes, you can.
Does this scheme apply to individuals operating via a personal service company?
No, the scheme only applies to those individuals who are self-employed or a partner in a partnership. However, their salary may be covered by the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme if they are operating a PAYE scheme.