More support for the self-employed

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced that support for the self-employed during the coronavirus pandemic will continue to be provided until September.

The government also says that 600,000 more self-employed people will now be eligible for the help as access to grants is widened.

A fourth grant from the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will be available to claim from April.

Paid out in a single instalment, it will be worth 80 per cent of three months’ average trading profits up to £7,500.

This grant will take into account 2019 to 2020 tax returns and will be open to those who became self-employed in tax year 2019 to 2020. The rest of the eligibility criteria remain unchanged.

To work out your eligibility, HMRC will first look at your 2019-2020 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 your 2019-2020 return, they will then look at the tax years 2016-2017, 2017-2018 and 2018- 2019.

You must currently be trading but impacted by reduced demand due to coronavirus or have been trading but are temporarily unable to do so due to coronavirus.

You must also declare that you intend to continue to trade and that you reasonably believe there will be a significant reduction in your trading profits due to reduced business activity, capacity, demand or inability to trade due to coronavirus.

The online claims service for this fourth grant will be available from late April until May 31.

If you are eligible, HMRC will contact you in mid-April to give you your personal claim date. This will be the date that you can make your claim from.

A fifth grant, which will be available from July, was also announced in the chancellor’s Budget speech.

Those whose turnover has fallen by 30 per cent or more will continue to receive the full 80 per cent grant. Those whose turnover has fallen by less than 30 per cent will get a 30 per cent grant.

The amount of the fifth grant will be determined by how much your turnover has been reduced in the year April 2020 to April 2021.

The Treasury says further details will be provided on this grant “in due course”.