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COVID-19 Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (update)

COVID-19 Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (update)

Andrew J P Wilson

Published by
Andrew J P Wilson

4th May 2020

As anticipated the Chancellor has announced a package of support for the self-employed as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. This has been further fleshed out in the Treasury’s direction of 30 April 2020.

Support for the self-employed will, according to the press release issued by HM Treasury, consist of financial support in the form of 80% of the profits of self-employed individuals up to £2,500 per month. The grant will be subject tax and National Insurance contributions but does not need to be repaid. Please note however the grant will only be available to someone who is engaged in a trade which has been adversely affected by coronavirus. The grant is thus restricted to those who meet these criteria. We do not know at this stage how these thresholds are to be assessed .

This is different to the equivalent support offered to employees.

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 from 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19. Anyone with a trading profit above this level is excluded from the scope of the scheme. You must satisfy HMRC that you intend to continue trading through 2020/21 and that you have lost trading profits as a result of coronavirus. You must be trading when you apply or would be but for Coronavirus. The process of calculation of entitlement is complicated.

To qualify, more than half your income in these periods must come from self-employment.

Only those who are already in self-employment and meet the above conditions will be eligible.

There is a sting in the tail however: 
1. This income support will cover a three month period to May 2020 and will be paid as a single lump sum at the beginning of June; and
2. You must have submitted your 2018-19 tax return to HMRC by 23 April 2020.

To participate in this scheme, you must meet the qualifying threshold as a self-employed person. The scheme does not cover dividend payments which may have been made in lieu of salary for example.

You do not need to do anything if you meet the criteria set out above. HMRC will contact you direct and invite you to apply under the scheme.

To see if you qualify for this assistance please contact any of our team for further advice on 0141 248 3434 or email enquiries@wjm.co.uk

The information contained in this newsletter is for general guidance only and represents our understanding of relevant law and practice as at May 2020. Wright, Johnston & Mackenzie LLP cannot be held responsible for any action taken or not taken in reliance upon the contents. Specific advice should be taken on any individual matter. Transmissions to or from our email system and calls to or from our offices may be monitored and/or recorded for regulatory purposes. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered office: 302 St Vincent Street, Glasgow, G2 5RZ. A limited liability partnership registered in Scotland, number SO 300336.