Who is eligible and how do they work?

Laveta Brigham

Millions of self-employed workers will be able to apply for grants of up to £7,500 from today: Press Association Images/Press Association Images Millions of self-employed people whose businesses have been impacted by coronavirus will be able to apply for the final round of self-employed grants from the government from today. […]

Millions of self-employed workers will be able to apply for grants of up to £7,500 from today: Press Association Images/Press Association Images
Millions of self-employed workers will be able to apply for grants of up to £7,500 from today: Press Association Images/Press Association Images

Millions of self-employed people whose businesses have been impacted by coronavirus will be able to apply for the final round of self-employed grants from the government from today.

The initial Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant was worth up to 80% of average trading profits for those stuck at home – and was designed to match the support being given to furloughed workers.

The maximum payment was £7,500, intended to cover March, April and May, and to date 2.7 million self-employed workers have made clams totalling £7.8 billion.

Now, applications for the second and final SEISS payment are open, which is worth up to 70% of average trading profits and capped at £6,570 in total.

Here’s what you need to know about the second and final payment.

The HMRC is running the SEISS scheme (PA)
The HMRC is running the SEISS scheme (PA)

Who is eligible for the Self Employed Income Support Scheme?

You can claim a self-employed grant if you’re a self-employed individual or a member of a partnership and all of the following apply:

  • You traded in the tax year 2018 to 2019 and submitted your Self Assessment tax return on or before 23 April 2020 for that year

  • You traded in the tax year 2019 to 2020

  • You intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020 to 2021

  • You carry on a trade which has been adversely affected by coronavirus

HM Revenues & Customs (HMRC) will work out your eligibility by looking at your 2018 to 2019 Self Assessment tax return. Your trading profits must be no more than £50,000 and at least equal to your non-trading income.

If you’re not eligible based on the 2018 to 2019 Self Assessment tax return, then the tax years 2016 to 2017, 2017 to 2018, and 2018 to 2019 will be checked.

Those able to make a claim have already been contacted by HMRC, and will be able to apply with a unique reference number.

A demonstrator protests about the UK Government sick pay allowance of £94 per week for freelance and self employed workers during the coronavirus outbreak (PA)
A demonstrator protests about the UK Government sick pay allowance of £94 per week for freelance and self employed workers during the coronavirus outbreak (PA)

More than three million people may be eligible for the payment of up to £6,570 each, which Chancellor Rishi Sunak said would be the final hand-out.

How do I apply?

Applicants will need to confirm their business has been affected by the virus on or after 14 July, but they would not need to have taken the first grant to be eligible for the second.

Make sure to have your Self Assessment Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR), National Insurance number, Government Gateway user ID and password, and UK bank details to hand.

Mike Cherry, national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, previoulsy said: “I would encourage all those who think they are eligible to use the online checker if they’ve not done so yet, and to apply on the date allocated.

The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed welcomed the second round of grants, but said the government must be ready to reopen and “extend it to the desperately struggling forgotten self-employed” in the event of a second wave of the coronavirus.

How do self-employment grants work?

If you want to claim the second and final grant you must make your claim on or before 19 October 2020.

You’ll get a taxable grant based on your average trading profit over the 3 tax years:

  • 2016 to 2017

  • 2017 to 2018

  • 2018 to 2019

The government will work out your average trading profit by adding together your total trading profits or losses for the 3 tax years, and dividing this number by 3.

The second and final grant is worth 70% of your average monthly trading profits; it’s paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months’ worth of profits, and capped at £6,570 in total.

The first grant, for which applications closed on 13 July 2020, was based on 80 per cent of your trading profits and capped at £7,500 in total.

The grant amount will be paid directly into your bank account in one instalment.

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