SELF-EMPLOYED workers who have been affected by coronavirus have just five days left to apply for the first set of government grants.
The deadline for Self-Employment Income Support Scheme applications falls on Monday, July 13.
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The scheme is designed to help people who have lost work because of Covid-19, for instance because custom has dried up or because of shielding or care responsibilities.
The grant provides 80 per cent of three months' profits up to a cap of £7,500 in total (or £2,500 per month).
The first grant, which is closing from July 13, covers lost profits from March, April and May.
A second grant has also been introduced to help self-employed workers that struggle in June, July and August.
Many self-employed people will qualify for both grants, if their business continue to be affected by coronavirus and lockdown.
But anyone who is already losing income must apply for the first grant quickly, before it closes for good.
Missing the deadline for the first grant will not disqualify you from the second, but it will mean you lose out on any help for troubles in the earlier part of the year.
Who qualifies for the Self-employed Income Support Scheme?
To be eligible for the financial help, you need to have traded in the tax year 2019 to 2020 and intend to carry on trading.
You must also:
- Earn at least half of your income through self-employment
- Have annual trading profits of no more than £50,000
You'll also need to show that your business has been adversely affected by coronavirus.
This could be because:
- you’re unable to work because you are shielding
- you can't work because you are self-isolating
- you’re unable to work because you are on sick leave because of coronavirus
- you've had to stop work because you have caring responsibilities due to coronavirus
- you’ve had to scale down, temporarily stop trading or have incurred additional costs because:
– your supply chain has been interrupted
– you have fewer or no customers
– your staff can't come in to work
– one or more of your contracts has been cancelled
– you had to buy protective equipment so you could follow social distancing rules
The government has provided examples of when you might be ‘adversely affected’.
You can't claim the grant if you’re a limited company or operating a trade through a trust.
HOW TO APPLY FOR THE SELF-EMPLOYMENT INCOME SUPPORT SCHEME
HMRC has been contacting workers who qualify for help through the SEISS.
- To check your eligibility, you'll need to enter your self-assessment unique taxpayer reference number (also known as your "reference", "UTR" or "official use").
- This should be 10 numbers long you can find it on your tax returns letters or any other documents regarding self-assessments, if you can't find it anywhere, you can get it online
- To check your grant eligibility, you'll also need to know your national insurance number and have up-to-date details on your government gateway account.
- Your accountant or tax adviser can also check eligibility on your behalf
- Once the online check is complete, eligible customers will be given a date for when they can submit their claim.
- Applications can be made online using this Gov.uk web page – or if you're having trouble applying, you can call HMRC on 0800 024 1222.
- You'll need to log in to the service on your given date and time to put forward your claim.
- HMRC says the money will then being paid into your account six days later.
How much will I get?
How much you'll get will depend on how much your business made over the last three years.
The taxable grant is based on your average trading profit over the years:
- 2016 to 2017
- 2017 to 2018
- 2018 to 2019
HMRC will work out your average trading profit by adding together your total trading profits or losses for the three years and then dividing it by three.
The first grant will be worth 80 per cent of your average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering all three months from March to May.
It will be capped at £7,500 in total.
The grant amount HMRC calculates will be paid directly into your bank account, in one instalment.
The payments you get will be taxable, so you will pay some of the money to the government as you would with your normal income.
What other help is available for self-employed workers?
THE government has introduced the following measures to help self-employed workers and businesses during the coronavirus outbreak.
- Income-tax deferrals: Self-assessment income tax payments, that were due in July, can be deferred to the end of January next year.
- Rent support: Businesses who are struggling to pay their rents are protected from eviction until the end of June.
- Coronavirus business interruption loan scheme: SMEs can get loans and overdrafts of up to £5 million for up to six years and the government with guarantee up to 80 per of these loans.
- Grants of up to £10,000: Small firms can get grants of up to £10,000 to help with ongoing business costs.
- VAT payments: VAT payments can be deferred for three months.
- Tax bill help: SMEs that cannot afford their tax bills can ask HMRC for a “time to pay” arrangement so any debt collection is suspended.
- Business rates holiday: A 12-month business rates holiday has been introduced for many businesses.
How does the second grant work?
The second grant will be similar to the first, but you'll have to show that your profits were adversely affected after July 15.
You'll be able to apply from August 17.
You won't get quite as much money as in the first grant, as the government will only pay 70 per cent of your average profits.
The cap will also be reduced to £6,570 in total for the three months.
The government has confirmed that this second grant will be the final one it offers.
You can claim for the second grant even if you did not make a claim for the first.
Lots of self-employed workers have complained that have fallen through the gaps and won't receive any government grants.
Here's everything you need to know about the scheme's second round including how to apply.
If you're not eligible for the SEISS or furlough schemes, you can apply for help through Universal Credit.
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