Financial Assistance for Self-employed Individuals

27th March 2020

There has been huge pressure on the Government since it unveiled its support programme for businesses to reveal the support it is putting in place for self-employed.

The Coronavirus Self-Employment Income Support scheme is the latest Government funding package announced in direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We are in a fast moving and unprecedented situation which is putting significant strain on the economy as a whole, and our local economy in the South West.

Updated information on the COVID-19 pandemic and the UK’s response are provided on a daily basis from the Government and specialist organisations. 

As a result, this briefing is subject to any subsequent changes in Government advice, particularly in the event of any further restrictions on social distancing/isolation and lockdown.

This general briefing has been prepared to assist any of our self-employed clients. It is not intended to represent financial advice but is intended to help self-employed workers access information and resources that may assist them in these challenging times.

The Coronavirus Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

  • Self-employed people will be able to apply for a direct cash grant of up to 80% of their average monthly profits over the last three years, up to £2,500 a month          
  • The scheme is intended to cover 95% of people who receive the majority of their income from self-employment       
  • Self-employed people – examples of whom were listed as cleaners, plumbers, electricians, musicians, hairdressers – who are eligible for the scheme will be able to apply directly to HMRC for the taxable grant, using a simple online form        
  • The grants will be paid directly into people’s bank accounts          
  • The scheme will be open to those with a trading profit of less than £50,000 in 2018-19 or an average trading profit of less than £50,000 from 2016-2017, 2017-2018 and 2018-2019         
  • To qualify, more than half the applicant’s income in these periods must come from self-employment as registered on the 2018-2019 tax return filed in January – anyone who missed the filing deadline has four weeks from now to get it done and still qualify        
  • Only those already in self-employment and who meet the above conditions will be eligible to apply      
  • HMRC will identify eligible taxpayers and contact them directly with guidance on how to apply   
  • The scheme will cover the three months to May         
  • Grants will be paid in a single lump sum instalment covering all 3 months         
  • As the scheme has been designed from scratch, there is a time period within which it will be implemented by the Government      
  • Grants will be backdated to March but will not start to be paid until the beginning of June          
  • Self-employed people do not need themselves to take any action        
  • HMRC will use existing information to check potential eligibility for UK taxpayers and invite applicants once the scheme has become operational         
  • Those who pay themselves a salary and dividends through their own company are not covered by the scheme, but will be covered for their salary by the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (if eligible and they are operating PAYE schemes)          
  • Previously announced measures will continue to apply to self-employed individuals until the new scheme is rolled out and becomes operational. These include:  
    -        Changes to Universal Credit
    -        Income tax and VAT deferrals
    -        Business continuity loans where applicants have a business bank account
    -        Personal support to renters and access to three-month mortgage holidays        
  • The Government has clarified that this scheme will also apply to members of partnerships          
  • Unlike the measures relating to “furloughed employees”, self-employed individuals can continue to work as they receive support        
  • The grants will be taxable and will need to be declared on tax returns by January 2022

Useful links  

For links to further useful information you may like to see:   

The Government’s current main advice page for self-employed individuals in relation to the Coronavirus

Battens’ Business Services: Corporate and Commercial Services   

  Katherine Gilmour on  01935 846059 or katherine.gilmour@battens.co.uk 

 Brian Levine on 01935 846258 or brian.levine@battens.co.uk