NFU Scotland | /financial-support-for-the-selfemployed.aspx

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Support for the Self-Employed


What support is available for self-employed people?

There are two support packages in place:

  1. The Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund,
  2. Self-Employed Income Scheme.


I am self-employed and my business has been impacted by COVID-19 – what help is available?

The Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund has closed.

The UK Government’s Self-Employed Income Support Scheme is open to self-employed individual whose businesses have been adversely impacted by COVID-19.

The Scheme will pay an initial grant to eligible individuals who have applied before the deadline of 13 July. Under the initial grant, eligible individuals can claim a taxable grant worth 80% of their average monthly trading profits, which will be capped at £7,500 in total. The scheme is now closed to new claims for the first grant.

The UK Government has also announced that a second grant application round will open in August. Individuals will be able to claim a second taxable grant worth 70% of their average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering three months’ worth of profits, which will be capped at £6,570 in total.

The scheme will be open to all self-employed individuals who have at least one year of tax returns. If you are eligible to receive a grant, it will be subject to Income Tax and National Insurance contributions but does not need to be repaid. If you receive the grant, you can continue to work or take on other employment including voluntary work.

Please note that HMRC are taking a stringent approach to ensuring all applicants are compliant. To be successful in receiving a grant, you will need to clearly demonstrate that your business has been adversely affected by coronavirus and fully comply with the requirements of the Self-employment Income Support Scheme.  

When can I apply for the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme?

The online service is now available. HMRC will work out if you are eligible for the scheme and how much grant you may get.

If you are eligible, HMRC will tell you the date you can make your claim from and that if your claim is approved, you’ll receive your payment within 6 working days. Please note that that you must make the claim yourself. Your tax agent or adviser must not claim on your behalf.

  • Check the current guidance from HMRC here for more information.


Who can claim for the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme?

HMRC will contact you if you are eligible and invite you to apply to the Scheme. However, you can also check if you are eligible for the scheme via a new tool, available here. Your tax agent or adviser can also check on your behalf. However, your tax agent or adviser cannot make a claim for you.

The Scheme is available if you are a self-employed individual or a member of a partnership and you:

  • have submitted your Self-Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018 to 2019,
  • traded in the tax year 2019 to 2020,
  • are trading when you apply, or would be except for coronavirus,
  • intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020 to 2021,
  • have lost trading profits due to coronavirus.

Please note that your trading profits must be nor more than £50,000 and more than half your total income for either:

  • The tax year 2018 to 2019,
  • The average of the tax 2016 to 2017, 2017 to 2018 and 2018 to 2019.


I have received an email from HMRC, is it a scam?

HMRC are aware that there has been a significant increase in scams, emails and texts from scammers claiming to be HMRC.

Eligible people will be invited to claim via the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme through Gov.UK. Please note that this is the only service you can use to claim through the scheme, and you are the only one who can claim for it.

If someone gets in touch with you, claiming to be from HMRC, stating financial help can be claimed or tax refund is owed and asking you to click on a link of give information (e.g. name, bank details, or credit card details) it is a scam. Do not respond.

HMRC are asking that suspicious emails claiming to be from HMRC should reported by sending them to phishing@hmrc.gov.uk. Texts should be sent to 60599.

I haven’t submitted a Self-Assessment tax return, what should I do?

If you haven’t submitted your Self-Assessment Tax return for the tax year 2018 to 2019 you must do this by 23 April 2020 or you will not be able to claim.

HMRC will review any late returns in the usual way.

If you haven’t submitted a Self-Assessment Tax Return for all three tax years (2016 to 2017, 2017 to 2018 and 2018 to 2019), HMRC will work out your average trading profit based on continuous periods of self-employment, which will be either:

  • The tax years 2017 to 2018 and 2018 to 2019,
  • The tax years 2018 to 2019 only, even if you were self-employed in the tax year 2016 to 2017.

The grant will be 80% of your average trading profit, divided by 12 which will give a monthly amount. We will pay this or up to a maximum of £2,500 a month, whichever is lower.

HMRC plan to pay the grant directly into your bank account, in one instalment.

Will there be any changes to the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme?

On Friday 29 May it was announced there will be two phases to the scheme and the scheme will be extended until 19 October 2020. The eligibility to both grants will be kept the same, and individuals will need to confirm their business has been adversely affected by Coronavirus when applying for the grant.

First Grant

  • Applications opened on Wednesday 13 May and will close on Monday 13 July,
  • Eligible individuals can claim a taxable grant worth 80% of their average monthly trading profits, paid in a single instalment covering three months’ worth of profit, and capped at £7,500 in total.

Second and Final Grant

  • You will be able to claim the second and final grant from 17 August 2020. It is anticipated the online service will be available to do this.
  • An individual does not need to have claimed from the first grant to claim from the second and final grant, 
  • Eligible individuals will be able to claim a taxable grant work of 70 per cent of their average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering three months’ worth of profit and capped at £6,570 in total.
  • The online service is not available yet and HMRC will update guidance when the service is available.

More information:

  • Eligibility guidance and information about the extension of the scheme from HMRC is available here
  • Sign up to notifications about the extension of the scheme here


What other support may I be eligible for?

You can make a claim for Universal Credit while you wait for the grant. You will need to record the grant as part of your self-employed income, which may influence the amount of Universal Credit you can receive.  Guidance from the Department for Work & Pensions about employment and benefits support is available here

If you are employed as a director or employee paid through PAYE, you may be eligible for support via the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

What other kind of help can I get?

The following help for the self-employed is also available:

  • Deferral of Self-Assessment Income Tax and VAT payments,
  • Grants for businesses that pay little or no business rates, or the
  • Business Interruption Loan Scheme.


More information

  • Guidance from the UK Government about financial support available to businesses is available here
  • The UK Government business support finder is available here
  • Guidance from the Scottish Government about funding support is available here
  • Please also check the information available within the financial support for businesses section of the FAQ here



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