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September 25th 2020

Coronavirus: an update on the Self Employment Income Scheme

The UK Government unveiled its Winter Economy Plan on Tuesday this week, featuring several announcements about further Covid-19 support for businesses.

Among the announcements from the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, was that the Government is extending the Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) for a further two grant periods. The first two SEISS grants, launched in May and August, were for an amount based on average profits in the three tax years up to and including 2018/19. The initial grant was calculated at 80% of average profits, reducing to 70% for the second grant; in both cases covering a 3-month period. Taxpayers only qualified if trade had been ‘adversely affected’ by Covid-19, that self-employment had been the majority of income across those 3 tax years (at least 50% of income), and that average profit did not exceed £50,000 per tax year. There were caps to the support available.

The next grant is worth 20% of average monthly profits, up to maximum of £1,875. This will cover the period from November 2020 to January 2021. The eligibility criteria are expected to be the same as those used for the initial two SEISS grants, and for sole traders and partnerships continuing to actively trade, but facing reduced demand due to Covid-19. We expect the claim process to be similar to the previous two grants, with applications opening online on a date yet to be announced.

The fourth grant is expected to cover the period from February to April 2021, with further announcements about the thresholds expected in due course.

If you are eligible for SEISS, but have not yet claimed the second grant, you can do so until 19 October 2020. The first grant closed on 13 July 2020, but it is not necessary to have claimed the first grant in order to claim the second, as long as you meet the other eligibility criteria. You can make the claim here.

If you wish to discuss any of the matters contained in this article, please feel welcome to contact us.

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