Last updated: Thursday 26th March 2020

Chancellor Rishi Sunak today announced a package of support for self-employed people facing financial problems as a result of the present pandemic. It’s called the Coronavirus Self-employment Income Support Scheme, and is available to people who were trading in the last financial year, are trading at present, and who intend to continue this year. The main points include:

  • Self-employed people will be able to apply for a taxable grant worth 80% of their average monthly profits over the last three years, up to £2,500 a month. 
  • It will initially be available for three months as a single lump-sum payment. 
  • It will start to be paid from the beginning of June and will be backdated to March. 
  • More than half of a claimant’s income needs to come from self-employment.
  • The scheme will be open to those with a trading profit of less than £50,000 in 2018-19, or an average trading profit of less than £50,000 for the tax years 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19.
  • If people don’t have tax returns for the last 3 years, the government will look at whatever tax returns they have but those who are recently self-employed and do not have a full year of accounts will not be able to get any help under this scheme. 
  • If anyone missed the filing date for their last tax return, which was due by 01 January this year, they will be given 4 weeks from 26 March 2020 to file.
  • (HMRC) will use information they have to identify those who are entitled to claim and will contact them directly to invite applications. These people will be asked to complete an online form and to confirm that they meet the eligibility requirements.
  • Payment will be made straight into a bank account which claimants will be asked to confirm on the application form.

The scheme will be very welcome news to many, but people facing difficulty from the impact of coronavirus on their business, and who will find it hard to wait until June to get any money, may have to apply for universal credit in the meantime.

You can find detailed advice and information about support on the government’s official website

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