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How the COVID-19 self-employed income support scheme works

Earlier in the year, the UK Government announced a COVID-19 self-employed income support scheme for the self-employed who were affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

Here’s how it works.

How much can you get?

There are four grants.

  1. The first was available to claim until July 2020; the second was available from 17th August 2020
    1. 70% of your taxable profits from self-employment, averaged over the last three years (less if you’re newly self-employed) as a taxable grant 
    2. It’s not a loan – you don’t need to pay it back
    3. The maximum you could get was £2,190 for three months
    4. You could apply until 19th October and get the grant for all three months
    5. The maximum you could can get was £6,570

In total, both grants could offer you £14,070 to help you get through the COVID-19 crisis.

  1. The third is available to claim from 1st November 2020; the fourth is available from 1st February 2021
    1. 80% of your taxable profits from self-employment
    2. Again, it’s not a loan
    3. The maximum you can get from November to 31st December is £7,500, paid in a single instalment
    4. The details of the fourth grant are as yet to be released

Do I qualify for COVID-19 self-employed income support?

All grants (so far) have the same eligibility criteria:

  • Your income must be mostly through self-employment
  • You have to earn less than £50,000 per year
  • You’re already registered as self-employed and traded in the 2019/20 tax year
  • You must have already filed your 2018/19 Self Assessment tax return, unless you’re a new parent or in the military reserves – scroll down for details on these conditions
  • You intend to continue trading but your profits have been reduced (or temporarily stopped) by the pandemic

Try our eligibility calculator

Have you already submitted your Self Assessment tax return for the 2018/19 tax year?
You could be eligible for a grant of up to £7,500.

See how much you can actually get with this calculator.

What you need to do to claim the COVID-19 self-employed income support grant

  • If you have already filed your 2018/19 Self Assessment tax return by 23 April 2020, you’re good – you don’t need to do anything. HMRC will send you a letter (in June)
  • If you haven’t filed the 2018/19 tax return, you’re only eligible if during the 2018/19 tax year, you were:
    • Pregnant
    • On maternity leave
    • Claiming the maternity allowance
    • In the military reserves for at least a 90 day period
  • As a new parent or part of the military reserves, you may be eligible to claim both the first and second SEISS grants in one – up to £14,070 – from August 2020

Read about the new parent and military reserve eligibility update in more detail.

Other things you might want to know

  • You might also be eligible for business interruption loans or Universal Credit
  • If you are instead claiming a tax rebate (like the CIS rebate) from the 2019/20 tax year, you can still file your tax return starting on 6 April, as normal
  • The July Payment on Account deadline was moved to 31 January 2021 (the same day as the Self Assessment deadline)

If you have problems paying your tax bill, you can also contact HMRC to discuss your options

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