If you’re self-employed you can now claim for up to £7,500 in lost earnings - here’s how

Wednesday, 13th May 2020, 3:56 pm
Updated Wednesday, 13th May 2020, 3:56 pm
This is what you need to know about the new scheme from the government (Photo: Shutterstock)

As the coronavirus pandemic continues in the UK, many people have found themselves affected in a multitude of ways - including self-employed workers.

If you’re a self-employed worker, you could be eligible to claim up to £7,500 from the government as part of a new scheme.

This is everything you need to know.

What’s the scheme?

The government fund is called the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme and is designed for those who are self-employed, or a member of a partnership that has been adversely affected by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

It allows you to claim a taxable grant of 80 per cent of your average monthly trading profits, which is paid out in a single instalment, covering three months, and is capped at £7,500 altogether.

The government website states that this is a “temporary scheme, but it may be extended”.

Who can claim the grant?

You can claim the money if you’re a self employed individual or a member of a partnership and all of the following apply:

  • You traded in the tax year 2018 to 2019 and submitted your Self Assessment tax return on or before 23 April 2020 for that year
  • You traded in the tax year 2019 to 2020
  • You intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020 to 2021
  • You carry on a trade which has been adversely affected by coronavirus

Ways your business could be adversely affected by coronavirus can include:

  • You’re unable to work because you are shielding/self isolating/on sick leave due to coronavirus/have caring responsibilities because of coronavirus
  • You’ve had to scale down or temporarily stop trading due to your supply chain being interrupted/you have fewer or no customers or clients/your staff are unable to come in to work

The grant should not be claimed if you are a limited company or operating a trade through a trust.

Grants under this scheme are not counted as “access to public funds”, therefore you are able to claim the money on all categories of work visa.

You can check if you’re eligible to claim online here.

You’ll need:

What do I do if I am eligible?

If you are deemed eligible for the scheme, you’ll be told when you can make your claim from, and advised to add your contact details to the online form.

In some instances, you might be able to make a claim straight away.

To make a claim straight away, you’ll need:

  • Your government gateway user ID and password - if you do not have a user ID, you’ll be able to create one when you check your eligibility or when you’re making a claim
  • Your UK bank details, including your bank account number, sort code, name on the account and address linked to the bank account

You’ll also need to be able to confirm to HMRC that your business has been badly affected by the coronavirus.

Be aware that the website is currently experiencing high levels of demand, so therefore might not load properly for some users. If you find this happening, you’ll need to try the site at another time.

What happens after I claim?

After you’ve made your claim, it will be reviewed and paid into your bank account in the next six working days. You’ll be alerted via email when the payment is on its way.

If you think the amount you’ve been paid is wrong, you can ask HMRC to review your grant amount.

You’ll need:

  • Your grant claim reference number
  • Your National Insurance number
  • The Unique Taxpayer Reference you used on your claim
  • The Government Gateway user ID you used to make the claim
  • Details on why you think the grant amount is wrong

What if the website says I’m not eligible?

The government uses the information you or your tax agent or advisor sent them on your Self Assessment tax returns to work out your eligibility.

If you think you’re eligible, even if the website says you’re not, you can ask the HMRC to review your eligibility.

Otherwise, you might be eligible for other means of governmental financial support, such as:

  • Grants for businesses that pay little or no business rates
  • Business Interruption Loan Schemes
  • Bounce Back Loans

You can read more about these schemes on the government website here.