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Government Coronavirus Support for the Self-Employed

Updated: 03 June 2020

The information and any opinions contained in this summary are for general information purposes only, are not intended to constitute legal or other professional advice and should not be relied on or treated as a substitute for specific advice relevant to particular circumstances.

In the UK there are over 5 million self-employed workers. The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has announced a wide range of financial support for businesses and their employees, and has also recently announced support schemes for the self-employed, which includes many sole traders. In this summary, we look at what is available to this sector of workers and provide links where more information can be accessed. As more detailed guidance is made available, we will update this section.

List of support measures from the Government for the self-employed

Self-employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS)

On Thursday 26th March, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the Self-employed Income Scheme which sees the self-employed receive the same amount of income as a furloughed employee in the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Steps have been taken to make this scheme deliverable and fair, as well as provide targeted support for those most in need; 95% of people who are mainly self-employed will benefit from this scheme.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “The scheme I have announced today (26 March 2020) is fair. It is targeted at those who need it the most and, crucially, it is deliverable, and it provides an unprecedented level of support for self-employed people.”

Type of business: Self-employed individuals (including members of partnerships) trading with profits of up to £50,000
What it is: A grant to self-employed individuals or partnerships, worth 80% of their profits, over the last three years, up to a cap of £2,500 per month

  • Your income has been negatively impacted by COVID-19
  • You have filed a tax return for 2018-19
    Note – If you have not yet filed for 2018-19, you will have an additional 4 weeks from 26 March 2020 to do so
  • You have traded in 2019-20, are trading at the point of application (or would be except for COVID-19) and intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020-21
  • You have trading profits of less than £50,000 and more than half of your total income comes from self-employment. This can be with reference to at least one of the following conditions:
    – Your trading profits and total income in 2018-19
    – Your average trading profits and total income across up to the three years between 2016-17, 2017-18, and 2018-19

What to do: You can now make a claim online

Click here for more information on how to make a claim and when you can expect to receive your grant.

Universal Credit Benefits

Type of business and eligibility: All and self-employed who are unable to work
What it is: A weekly payment of £94.25
What to do: Check your eligibility for Universal Credit and apply online

Click here for more information.

Time To Pay

Type of business: All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress
What it is: You may receive support if you have outstanding tax liabilities through HMRC’s Time To Pay service
Eligibility: Your business pays tax to the UK Government and you have outstanding tax liabilities
What to do: Contact HMRC in the usual way or call 0800 0159 559 and HMRC will discuss the options available to you
When: Support is now available.

Click here for more information.

Income Tax Deferral for the Self-Employed

Type of Business: Self-employed
What it is: Income Tax payments due in July 2020 under the Self-Assessment system will be deferred to January 2021
Eligibility: Self-employed
What to do: This is an automatic offer with no application required, as it will be applied automatically by HMRC. No penalties or interest for late payment will be charged in the deferral period
When: Payments due on 31 July 2020 will be deferred until 31 January 2021

HMRC have also scaled up their Time to Pay offer to all firms and individuals who are in temporary financial distress as a result of coronavirus and have outstanding tax liabilities.

More information can be found on the Government’s business support website.

VAT Deferral

Type of business: All VAT-registered UK businesses
What it is: Value Added Tax (VAT) will be deferred for 3 months
Eligibility: Must be VAT-registered
What to do: Automatic with no application required. Registered businesses will not. need to make VAT payments normally due with VAT returns during this period
When: The deferral period is from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020.

Click here for more information.

Further information

Business Support from the Government

If you have any questions relating to your business, a telephone service is available Monday to Friday from 9am to 6pm, call 0300 456 3565. A business information campaign has also been launched to ensure that businesses are aware of the support that is available. Visit the business support website.

Are you covered by your insurance as a result of COVID-19?

If you have any questions surrounding your insurance, check with your provider on the terms and conditions of your cover as it can differ from one provider to another. If you are a Member of The Retail Mutual, in the first instance please visit our FAQs to find out how your cover responds.

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