The government have been continuing to release new financial measures to further support as many people as possible during these unprecedented challenging times of the Covid-19 pandemic. Whilst small businesses and those in industries hardest hit – such as retail, hospitality, and leisure – were the first to receive help, many have argued that the self-employed (who make up 15% of the UK’s population) have been disregarded and ignored. As such, in response to the demands that the self-employed should receive equal support, the latest scheme introduced by the Chancellor on 26 March 2020 is the Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SISS). The Chancellor claims that this new financial scheme will support around 95% of people who receive a majority of their income through self-employment.
What can I receive from the Self-employment Income Support Scheme?
Similar to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the Chancellor is offering those self-employed a direct one-off taxable grant of 80% of their profits, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for an initial 3 months.
Who is eligible to receive a grant from the Self-employment Income Support Scheme?
- You are a self-employed individual or a member of a partnership
- You have submitted your self-assessment tax return for the tax year 2018/19
- You have been trading in the tax year 2019/20
- You should be trading when you apply for the SISS, or would be if it were not for disruptions caused by Covid-19
- You intend to continue trading in the tax year 2020/21
- You have lost trading profits due to Covid-19 (if your self-employment has not been impacted and you are continuing to work and earn profits as usual, you will be disqualified under this condition)
- Your self-employment trading profits must not be over £50,000 for the tax year 2018/19 or your average trading profits for the tax years 2016/17, 2017/18 and 2018/19 are less than £50,0000
- You must be earning over half your income through self-employment
NOTE: If you have not submitted your self-assessment tax return for the tax year 2018/19, you must do so by 23 April 2020.
Who is not eligible to receive a grant from the Self-employment Income Support Scheme?
If you are a director of your own limited company and are paid through PAYE, you will need to use the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
How do I apply for a grant from the Self-employment Income Support Scheme?
Please read this section carefully. As accountants that act as your agent, we are unable to make a claim from the Self-employment Income Support Scheme on your behalf – you must complete the application yourself.
The first step you need to take before applying for the grant is to check your eligibility. The government have created an online tool for you to do this which can be found here. You will need your Self Assessment Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) number. If you do not know what this is or how to find it please see our FAQ page here. You will also need your National Insurance number which will be located on your payslips, P60 or letters from HMRC about your tax, pension and/or benefits. Once you have entered both of these, the online tool will be able to confirm your eligibility immediately.
If you are eligible, the online tool will then ask for you to submit your contact details. This will be used for them to contact you once the online service to make a claim for the grant is available. It is currently estimated that the service will be live from 13 May 2020, however you will be given a specific date or time frame in which to make your claim.
To claim for the grant you will again need your UTR, National Insurance Number, but also your Government Gateway user ID and password. If you do not have a Government Gateway user ID, you will be able to set one up when you check your eligibility. You will also need to provide a bank account number and sort code that accepts BACs payment, which is where the money will be paid into.
What happens after I claim from the Self-employment Income Support Scheme?
Once you’ve completed all the steps from the online application service page, you’ll be told straight away if your application was successful. If your application is approved, you should receive the money into the bank account provided within 6 working days.
You must keep a record of this grant application including the amount received, the claim reference number and evidence that your business has been adversely affected by coronavirus. This grant will also need to be reported on your self-assessment tax return (it is taxable!), reported as self-employed income if you receive any form of Universal Credit, and reported as self-employed income that amounts to working 16 hours a week for any tax credits claims.