Self-employed can apply for £7,500 grant from today – and payments will start next week

SELF-EMPLOYED workers can apply for emergency coronavirus cash worth up to £7,500 from today – and it could be transferred into their bank accounts by next week.

HMRC has contacted tax-payers eligible for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) over the past week letting them know that they can make a claim from May 13.

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Payments will then be made into their bank account by May 25, or within six working days of completing the claim.

SEISS will see the government cover up to 80 per cent of self-employed workers' average profits, up to £2,500 a month, if their income has dropped due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It can be backdated to cover March, April and May meaning you could claim up to £7,500.

Self-employed workers can check how much they will be able to claim using a free online tool, accessed by logging into their government portal.

Self-employment grant: who can claim?

You can claim if you're a self-employed individual or a member of a partnership and you:

  • have submitted your self assessment tax return for the tax year 2018/19
  • traded in the tax year 2019/20
  • are trading when you apply, or would be except for coronavirus
  • intend to continue to trade in the current tax year (2020/21)
  • have lost trading profits due to coronavirus.

The scheme was outlined weeks after the government's furlough scheme for PAYE employees was announced, after the Chancellor promised that he would ensure that no one is left behind.

The taxable cash grants aim to help the 3.8million self-employed workers in the UK.

To be eligible for the financial help, self-employed workers must have traded in the tax year 2019 to 2020 and intend to continue trading. They must also:

  • Earn at least half of their income through self-employment,
  • Have trading profits of no more than £50,000 per year,
  • Traded in the tax year 2018 to 2019 and submitted their self-assessment tax return on or before April 23 2020 for that year.

HMRC is using information that customers have provided in their 2018 to 2019 tax return – and returns for 2016 to 2017 and 2017 to 2018 where needed – to work out who is eligible.

What other help is available?

THE government has also introduced the following measures to help self-employed workers and businesses during the coronavirus outbreak.

  • Income-tax deferrals: Self-assessment income tax payments, that were due in July, can be deferred to the end of January next year.
  • Rent support: Businesses who are struggling to pay their rents are protected from eviction until the end of June.
  • Coronavirus business interruption loan scheme: SMEs can get loans and overdrafts of up to £5 million for up to six years and the government with guarantee up to 80 per of these loans.
  • Grants of up to £10,000: Small firms can get grants of up to £10,000 to help with ongoing business costs.
  • VAT payments: VAT payments can be deferred for three months.
  • Tax bill help: SMEs that cannot afford their tax bills can ask HMRC for a “time to pay” arrangement so any debt collection is suspended.
  • Business rates holiday: A 12-month business rates holiday has been introduced for many businesses.

It has been contacting workers by email, text message or letter – but before you hand over your details, you should make sure that the contact really is from HMRC.

This is because Action Fraud – the anti-fraud arm of the Met Police – has issued a warning after it received a number of complaints about phishing scammers posing as government bodies, including HMRC and GOV.UK, in a bid to trick you into handing over your personal details.

But hundreds of thousands of Brits could miss out on coronavirus support cash from the government due to a furlough and grant loophole.

If you're one of the 420,000 workers whose income is made up of both working for themselves and via PAYE then you'll need to apply to both schemes.

If you're not eligible for the SEISS or furlough schemes, you can apply for help through Universal Credit.

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