The Coronavirus Act 2020 (Self Employed Income Support Scheme) Direction received royal assent on 30 April 2020 and HMRC have confirmed that the online service will be available for self-employed individuals to claim from 13 May.
The Direction specifically states that an individual can only claim if their business has been adversely affected by the Coronavirus. This therefore limits the scope of individuals who are eligible to claim. Examples provided by the government include:
- an individual is unable to work because they:
- are shielding;
- are self-isolating;
- are on sick leave because of coronavirus; or
- have caring responsibilities because of coronavirus.
They have had to scale down or temporarily stop trading because:
- their supply chain has been interrupted;
- they have fewer or no customers or clients; or
- their staff are unable to come in to work.
In addition to this, the eligibility criteria has been amended and incorporates new profit conditions. In essence, an individual’s trading profits (depending on which tax years they have been trading in) must be no more than £50,000 (but more than nil) and at least equal to their non-trading income. There have been some murmurings that this threshold will be reduced going forward.
A specific date for filing tax returns has now been set as 23 April 2020, an individual must therefore have delivered a tax return for a relevant tax year (being 2016-17, 2017-18 and/or 2018-19) on or before 23 April 2020.
The amount of payment received by an individual under the scheme will be the lower of:
- £7,500; or
- 3 x (trading profit/12 x 80%) – this is now a specific equation used to calculate an individual’s trading profit.
The updated government guidance also advises that if an individual receives the grant they can continue to work, start a new trade or take on other employment including voluntary work.
Please note that an individual must make the claim themselves and cannot ask their tax agent or advisor to do it on their behalf.
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