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COVID19: Financial help available for self-employed individuals – what you need to know

COVID19 Update: 7th April 2020 – We have outlined some clarifications for you regarding the financial help available if you are a self-employed individual – Self-Employment Income Support Scheme – here is what you need to know:

What you need to know

  • HMRC will pay a taxable grant to self-employed individuals and partners equivalent to 80% of their average trading profits for three months, capped at £2,500 per month. 
  • The government has chosen to base the amount of grant for each taxpayer on the average of their trading profits as reported in their last three tax returns for the years: 2015/16 to 2018/19. If the taxpayer started trading within this three year period the monthly average of profits will be calculated from the periods in which they were trading.
  • The taxpayer (or their tax agent) does not need to provide any figures at this stage. HMRC will arrive at the taxpayer’s average earnings by totalling up the reported profit for the three tax years (or shorter period as applicable) and divide by three to arrive at a typical average year.  One quarter of that average annual profit will then form the basis of the grant awarded at the 80% rate.
  • The number of months covered by the grant may be extended beyond three months if the coronavirus shutdown continues beyond the end of June. 
  • The grant will not be payable to anyone who meets any of these conditions:
    • has average annual profits of £50,000 or more – those taxpayers will get nothing
    • has not submitted a tax return for 2018/19
    • receive less than half of their annual taxable income from self-employed profits
    • has already ceased trading permanently.
  • If the taxpayer has not submitted their 2018/19 tax return, they have until 23 April 2020 to submit it in order to qualify for the grant. Penalties for late filing and late payment of tax will apply as normal.
  • Those who started trading on or after 6 April 2019 are not eligible for the grant.
  • The purpose of the grant is to help traders through the coronavirus crisis. To qualify for the grant the business must have traded in 2019/20 and would still be trading if it hadn’t been for the interruption to business due to the coronavirus. If the trader has taken the decision to cease trading completely, no grant is payable.  
  • Property letting businesses are not regarded as a trade, so landlords will not qualify for the grant even if more than half of their taxable income is from rental income.
  • HMRC are also unlikely to consider income from a furnished holiday let as qualifying for the grant
  • HMRC will contact those taxpayers who are eligible for this grant and will invite them to apply for the payment online. It is not clear if this contact will be made by letter, but it will not be by email or text message.
  • HMRC warns taxpayers not to be taken in by scammers who email, text, or call, offering money from HMRC then ask for the business bank details to be confirmed. Warn clients not to click on a link in an email, or reply to a text, purporting to be from HMRC.
  • The taxpayer may need to confirm to HMRC that they were trading in 2019/20 and expect to continue to trade in 2020/21. Some indication of the business turnover for 2019/20 may have to be provided at that point.
  • The grant for three months will be payable in one lump sum into the taxpayer’s bank account, but the money will not be available until early June.
  • The grant will be treated as taxable income, and will have to be reported on tax returns for 2020/21. Taxpayers in receipt of working tax credits or universal credit will have to treat the grant as part of their self-employed income for 2020/21.

We hope this information helps you and we are here for you during this difficult time. We will continue to keep you updated as the Government releases new information. Our business contingency plan is in place and we will do everything we can to support our clients during this uncertain period, please do not hesitate to contact us here if you have any concerns or queries.

Visit our COVID19 Business Hub by clicking here

The information contained above is for general guidance purposes only. Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the contents are accurate, please note that each individual has different circumstances and it is essential that you seek appropriate professional advice before you act on any of the information contained herein. HB Accountants can accept no liability for any errors or omission or for any person acting on or refraining from acting on the information provided in the above

2 thoughts on “COVID19: Financial help available for self-employed individuals – what you need to know

  1. Pingback: COVID19: URGENT update Job Retention Scheme qualifying date has changed - HB Accountants

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