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Self-Employed: What You Need to Know About Covid-19 Government Support

The scheme plans to support the self-employed people (including sole traders, freelancers, members of partnerships) whose income has been impacted by COVID-19. It will provide a grant to self-employed individuals, worth 80% of their profits up to £2,500 a month. HMRC will use the average profits from tax returns in 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 to calculate the size of the grant. If individuals have fewer than three years of returns the average of these will be taken. Open for at least three months, payments will be available from the start of June at the earliest. Individuals will be able to claim these grants and still do business. 
In contrast in Berlin 150.000 self-employed and small businesses in just 5 days after the application process opened, Berlin have distributed more than £1.124 billion in coronavirus aid. While the self-employed wait UK MPs have been offered an extra £10,000 each to support them while they work from home during the pandemic.

Who can get the grant?

You must have lost trading profits due to COVID-19. You are eligible if more than half of your income comes from self-employment and you have profits of less than £50,000. To evidence this, you can reference your trading profits and total income in 2018/19 or your average trading profits and total income across up to the three years between 2016-17, 2017-18, and 2018-19. You must have filed a tax return for 2018-19 as self-employed or a member of a trading partnership. For those who have not yet filed for 2018-19, you will have an additional 4 weeks from the announcement to do so. You must have traded in 2019-20, be currently trading at the point of application (or would be except for COVID 19), and intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020 to 2021.

When will the grants be paid from the scheme?

Mr Sunak confirmed that eligible applicants will receive access to funds no later than the beginning of June, with self-employed and freelance taxpayers encouraged to apply for Universal Credit in the meantime. The scheme is anticipated to run for three months initially. Money will be paid straight into individuals’ bank accounts via HMRC in a single lump sum. In the meantime, self-employed individuals have options to defer income tax payments, access universal credit and some will be able to access CBILS loans from the BBB.

What do I need to do?

  1. HMRC will use existing information to check potential eligibility and invite applications once the scheme is operational.
  2. HMRC will then pay the grant directly to eligible claimants’ bank account.
  3. For eligible individuals who have not submitted returns for 2018-19, you have 4 weeks’ notice from the date of the announcement to file your returns and therefore become eligible for this scheme.

Further details from the Government here in due course.

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