Learn more about the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS), including the latest SEISS Grant Extension.
Check what financial support is available to you as a self-employed worker or member of a partnership.
Coronavirus COVID-19 financial help and support for self-employed people and individual partners
“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.
It was followed by the announcement of the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS). The scheme supports self-employed workers (and individuals in a partnership) who are impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.
Since the original announcement, a second round of SEISS funding was made available. A third round of SEISS has now been announced.
The SEISS Grant Extension forms part of the Chancellor’s Winter Economy Plan. It will be divided into two separate grants. We’ll explain who can apply for it, and what you need to do.
Who can claim the SEISS Grant Extension?
As with the first two rounds of SEISS funding, the SEISS grant is available to self-employed workers. It is to help those who are experiencing less demand for work as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The scheme allows self-employed workers, and individuals who are a partner in a partnership, to claim a taxable grant.
We explain the eligibility criteria further in the article.
When will the SEISS Grant Extension be available?
The latest extension to the Self Employed Income Support Scheme will be available for 6 months, from November 2020 to April 2021.
It is split into the two parts, with the first part covering November, December, and January.
How much can I claim through SEISS now it’s been extended?
The extension covers a six month period, divided into two taxable grants. Only the first part of the grant has been confirmed so far. The second part of the grant will be announced nearer the time, giving the government chance to assess the situation.
The first part of the SEISS Grant Extension
The first grant will be paid in a single instalment.
It will cover November, December, and January.
Eligible applicants could receive up to 20% of 3 months’ worth of profits.
It is capped at £1,875 in total.
The second part of the SEISS Grant Extension
The second grant is expected to be paid in a single instalment, like its predecessors.
It will cover February, March, and April.
The government have not yet announced the level of funding that will be available.
How does that compare to previous versions of the SEISS grant?
The original SEISS grant
If you were eligible, then the very first SEISS grant covered 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 was paid out under the first round of SEISS was capped at £7,500. It covered May, June, and July 2020.
The second round of SEISS
The second part of the SEISS scheme was slightly different to the first round of the scheme.
The second SEISS payment was worth up to 70% of three months’ worth of your average monthly trading profits. It was capped at £6,750 in total. This round of SEISS covered August, September, and October 2020.
How are 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.
SEISS and partnerships
If your self-employed income comes from being in a partnership, only your share of the profits are used to calculate your SEISS claim.
Working out your SEISS Grant Extension payment
Like the other payments, the extended SEISS grant is worked out using your average trading profits from the last three tax years.
Step 1. Add together your profits (or losses) from the last three tax years.
Step 2. Divide the total by three. (This is your average profit.)
Step 3. Divide your average profit by 12 (the number of months in a year). This will give you your average monthly profit.
Step 4. The scheme allows you to claim up to 3 months’ worth, so multiply your average monthly profit by 3.
Step 5. The first part of the extended scheme is worth 20% of that total, up to a maximum of £1,875.
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.
Who is eligible for the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS)?
As with previous rounds of the scheme, HMRC are identifying eligible applicants and inviting them to submit a claim. If you think you are eligible but don’t receive a notification from HMRC, you can check online.
The scheme is also only available for businesses whose average yearly profits do not exceed £50,000.
The key word here is average. Your trading profit might be more than £50,000 in one tax year, and at a loss the next, resulting in an average profit which is lower than the £50,000 threshold.
Eligibility for SEISS is also based on how you earn money. The scheme is designed to provide support to those who rely on their self-employed income.
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.
You’ll also need to confirm that you have been adversely affected by coronavirus.
Have I been adversely affected by coronavirus?
It’s also worth noting that the grant is only available for those whose business suffered as a result of coronavirus.
This largely refers to factors influencing your ability to work as you would normally expect to do so. For instance, if you are shielding yourself or have caring responsibilities, or if you have had to scale down work because staff are unable to work.
Again, HMRC have provided guidance as to who they might consider ‘adversely affected’ by the outbreak. The date that you were affected is also important.
This is called the qualifying period. For the SEISS Grant Extension the qualifying period for the first part of the grant is between 1 November 2020 and the date of your claim.
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. If you don’t think that you are eligible but have received an invitation, double-check with them!
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.
What if I didn’t apply for the other SEISS grant?
When the second grant was opened, applicants could still claim as long as they were eligible, even if you didn’t make a claim for the first payment.