Coronavirus COVID-19 financial help and support for people who are self-employed or a member of a partnership.
Read our article answering frequently asked questions about the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS). This page will be updated as more information becomes available. Last updated 1st June 2020.
“We have not forgotten you; help is coming.”
This was the message from Chief Secretary of the Treasury, Steve Barclay, to worried self-employed workers affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Since then, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has confirmed the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS), available for self-employed workers and individuals in a partnership who are impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.
Are directors eligible for the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS)?
Unfortunately, directors of limited companies are not eligible to apply for a grant under the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS).
A self-employed person or sole trader means someone who works for themselves in business. This is not to be confused with the director/owner of a limited company, where directors are technically employees of the company.
Who is eligible for the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS)?
To qualify for the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme, applicants must have filed their 2018-19 return before 23rd April 2020.
The scheme is also only available for businesses whose yearly profits do not exceed £50,000.
Applicants must have traded in 2019/20, and intend to continue trading in 2020/21.
More than 50%, of your earnings must be from your self-employed work. Those who receive the majority of their earnings from regular employment will not be eligible.
Those who pay themselves a salary and dividends through their own company are not covered by the scheme, but will be covered for the salary element of their income through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme if they operate PAYE.
HMRC invited me to apply for the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS), but I don’t think I’m eligible?
HMRC are inviting applicants to make a claim based on information from their 2018/19 tax return. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve met all of the SEISS eligibility criteria, because HMRC won’t have access to that information yet, so double check!
How will the payments for Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) be calculated?
The payments will be calculated using the average monthly profits over the last three financial years:
The profits (or losses) from each year will be added together, and then divided by the number of years, to work out your average profit.
Where three years isn’t feasible, for instance if the business isn’t old enough, HMRC will instead average the period they do have up to three years.
How much will I get through the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS)?
If you’re eligible, then the SEISS grant will be 80% of 3 months-worth of your average monthly trading profits.
That is, your average monthly profit, multiplied by three, and then 80% of that total. The amount that can be paid out under SEISS is capped at £7,500.
Will I have to repay money I get through the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS)?
No, if you are eligible and make a successful claim for SEISS, you will not have to repay the support that you get.
Is the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) subject to tax and NI?
Yes, money paid to you as a SEISS grant will be subject to Income Tax and self-employed National Insurance.
Do I need to include Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) on my Self Assessment tax return?
Yes, because SEISS is subject to tax and NI, you’ll need to include the grant you receive on your Self Assessment tax return.
When will the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) be available?
The online application service for SEISS will be available from 13th May 2020. HMRC have staggered the application dates for different individuals, so don’t worry if they write to you with a slightly later date.
We suspect this has been done to prevent the online system crashing from too many people accessing it at the same time.
Can my accountant make my Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) claim for me?
Unfortunately, HMRC have confirmed that applicants must make their applications for SEISS themselves. Your accountant or tax agent will be able to use the online eligibility checking tool on your behalf, but will not be able to submit a SEISS claim for you.
How can I make a claim through the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS)?
Because your accountant or tax adviser is not allowed to make a SEISS claim for you, you’ll need to do it yourself.
As you’ll be making your own claim, you’ll need to set up a Government Gateway account if you don’t already have one. This only takes a few minutes to do online.
You should make sure that you also have the Self Assessment service connected to that gateway account. If you don’t already have this bit set up, you’ll need to request an activation code from HMRC, which can take a few weeks.
You’ll need to know (or set up) your:
Self Assessment UTR – read our article on where to find your UTR if you’re not sure
National Insurance number
Government Gateway user ID and password
Bank account number and sort code for the account where you would like the grant to be paid
What happens after I submit my claim for the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS)?
HMRC have said that applicants for the SEISS grant will find out if their claim was approved straight away.
Because you’ll need to include details of the grant on your next Self Assessment tax return, make sure you take note of
the amount claimed
the claim reference number
evidence which demonstrates your business has suffered as a result of coronavirus
How will my Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) payment be paid?
If successful, the grant will be paid as one instalment into your chosen bank account, within 6 working days.
Can I still work if I receive a Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant?
Yes, unlike the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, self-employed people and individuals in a partnership will be allowed to continue working if they receive a SEISS grant.
You’ll also be permitted to start a new trade, volunteer, or start work for an employer.
When does the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) close?
The government have announced that the SEISS scheme has been extended and will now cover June, July & August. Whereas the first round of SEISS offered 80%, this second round provides eligible applicants with a taxable grant of 70% of their average trading profits, up to a total of £6,570. The rules on eligibility for the grant have not changed.
If you have yet to submit a claim for the first SEISS claim, you can continue to do so up until 13th July with the second grant opening in August.