Self employment income support scheme (SEISS) for Covid

If you are self-employed and your income has fallen during the coronavirus pandemic, you may be eligible for the Covid Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS).
At the time of writing (March 2021), the government has just announced outline details for the fourth and fifth round of SEISS grants. Eligibility for this scheme is now based on your 2019/20 tax return. SEISS is also now available to those who became self-employed after 6 April 2019.
  • The fourth SEISS grant will be set at 80% of three months’ worth of average trading profits, paid out in a single instalment, capped at £7,500. If you're eligible, HMRC will contact you in mid-April to give you your personal claim date. This will be the date that you can make your claim from.
  • The fifth (and final) grant will be available from late July 2021 and will be equal to 80% of three months’ worth of average trading profits, capped at a maximum of £7,500 for those whose turnover has reduced by 30% or more. If your turnover hasn't reduced by 30%, you'll still be able to claim, but at a lower amount, capped at £2,850 (equal to 30% of the maximum).  
The fourth SEISS grant provides help for the months from February 2021 to April 2021, and the fifth grant covers the period from May to September 2021. The government has said that the fifth grant will be the final SEISS grant.

SEISS grants count as taxable income and should be declared as business income on your tax return.

What you will need to do

You don't need to do anything just yet, even if you think you are eligible. HMRC has said they will contact everyone eligible for the fourth SEISS grant by mid-April 2021 to give them details of how and when they should claim.

You'll need your Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) and National Insurance Number when you come to access these grants. If you need them, you can find your UTR and NINO reference numbers in your untied account.

A Tax return for the 2019/20 tax year (for income to 5 April 2020) must have been submitted by midnight on 2 March 2021 in order to be eligible for the SEISS grants.

How does SEISS work?

To be eligible for the fourth grant you must be self-employed (or a member of a partnership). The qualifying criteria are as follows:
  • You must have submitted your 2019/20 tax return by 2 March 2021.
  • You must have been self-employed in the 2019/20 tax year and continued to trade in the 2020/21 year (or would have done if it weren't for Covid), and intend to continue to trade in the future. 
  • Your trading profits must be no more than £50,000.
  • At least half your earnings (or more) must have come from self-employment.
  • If you don’t meet the above criteria on your 2019/20 tax return, HMRC will look at your tax returns from 2016/17 onwards (if appropriate), to calculate the averages. 
  • You must also reasonably believe there will be a significant reduction in your trading profits due to reduced business activity, capacity, demand or inability to trade because of coronavirus.
More guidance about the fourth and fifth SEISS grants will be published in due course. You can also find more details about SEISS at gov.uk

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