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Act now: Don’t miss out on £6,500 self-employed coronavirus grant

Paloma Kubiak
Written By:
Paloma Kubiak

The deadline for self-employed workers to apply for a government grant worth up to £6,570 is today. Act now or you’ll miss out.

A second grant is available until Monday 19 October 2020, though the government last month announced an extension to the existing Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) as part of the Winter Economy Plan, starting in November.

Currently, the second grant is worth 70% of people’s average monthly trading profits, capped at £2,190 per month for three months, so £6,570 in total.

In order to be eligible, you need to prove you’ve been adversely affected by coronavirus on or after 14 July 2020.

You also need to meet the following criteria:

  • Traded in the tax year 2018/19 and submitted your self-assessment tax return on or before 23 April 2020 for that year
  • Traded in the tax year 2019/20
  • Intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020/21. You can also continue to work and claim the grant
  • Trading profits must be no more than £50,000 and you must earn at least half of your income through self-employment.

If you’re not eligible based on your 2018/19 tax return, HMRC will look at the tax years 2016 to 2017, 2017 to 2018, and 2018 to 2019.

You should have been contacted by HMRC if you’re eligible for the scheme. But if you haven’t heard from HMRC, you can find out if you’re eligible using this online tool.

You can make a claim for the second grant even if you didn’t make a claim for the first grant.

More than 2.7 million people benefited from the first stage of the SEISS, with the government handing out £7.8bn of grants to help self-employed people through the coronavirus crisis.

SEISS extension

An initial taxable grant will be provided to those who are currently eligible for SEISS and are continuing to actively trade but face reduced demand due to coronavirus.

The initial lump sum will cover three months’ worth of profits for the period from November to the end of January next year. This will be worth 20% of average monthly profits, up to a total of £1,875. You’ll need to show your business has been impacted between 1 November 2020 and the date of your claim.

An additional fourth grant, which may be adjusted to respond to changing circumstances, will be available for self-employed individuals to cover the period from February 2021 to the end of April.

The level of the second grant will be set in due course and grants are subject to Income Tax and National Insurance Contributions.

Excluded workers

An estimated three million self-employed workers are excluded from government support, including:

  • Those who trade through a limited company or a trust
  • The newly self-employed and new businesses
  • The self-employed with profits above £50,000
  • Workers in less than 50% self-employment
  • Workers on PAYE freelance short-term contracts
  • Low investment start-ups

Many people who fall into these categories have had little or no income or revenue since March, with no prospect of change on the horizon.

Campaign group ExcludedUK has been lobbying the government for these people to be offered support from the government.

Another group, ForgottenLtd, is asking for help for small limited company directors.