The latest Self-employed NEWS & updates

MON 4 May


Self-employment Income Support Scheme [SEISS] is live. Here's everything need to know and what to do:

A few weeks ago, the world came to a dramatic halt. And while the world had stopped spinning, the meter kept ticking leaving everyone idling in the back seat wondering – who in the world is going to pay for all of this?

Flash-forward a few weeks, and we're now trying to figure out which option from the economic buffet of support should we choose.

For all the government's follies, when it has come to delivering financial support cushion for UK businesses, they've delivered and delivered uncharacteristically early.

And continuing the Government's reliable new trend, as of today, weeks ahead of schedule, HMRC will begin contacting three and a half million self-employed people as they kick off the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS).

All the latest and up to date details are below:

What you'll get:‍

  • You'll receive a taxable grant covering 80% of your average monthly earnings over the last three years of your income.
  • Salary will be covered up to a maximum of £2,500 per month up to a max of £7,500 (equivalent to three months’ profits).
  • If you have been self-employed for a shorter period, they will calculate it using the figures based on what HMRC hold.

Who will get it:

Who qualifies

  • The scheme will cover 95% of the self-employed. This includes all self-employed people who's trading profits are no more than £50,000.
  • you must have traded in the tax year 2018 to 2019 and submitted a self-assessment tax return before 23rd of April. (The deadline was Jan 31st but extended to April 23rd)
  • at least half your income must come from your self-employment
TAX TIP*: Trading Profits is your total income, minus your allowable expenses or any previous year losses. In employment terms this would be referred to your take-home pay' (or beer money).*

Who doesn't qualify

  • High earners: Those with earning above £50,000
  • If you're new to Self employment and not yet filed a tax return, this is due to having no real data in which to validate your potential earnings. But expect more developments on this.

But if you're feeling anxious there's no need to wait around for the call to confirm your eligibility, you can go online here and check your eligibility for SEISS.

But before you jump on in, make sure you have checked off the following prep points

  • have/know your Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) and your Insurance Number
  • make sure your details are up-to-date in their Government Gateway account

Once the check is complete, you'll be given a date when you can submit your claim.

When you get:

  • Claims service open on Wednesday 13 May
  • You'll receive the full grant six working days after the claim is made, with some payments reaching bank accounts as early as 25 May.

How you'll get it?

  • HMRC will be in touch directly with those who are eligible for the grant
  • or as I mentioned before, you can go online here and check your eligibility for SEISS in the meantime
  • If all checks out, you'll receive payment directly into your bank account
  • You will be issued the grant in one single lump-sum covering 3 months backdated to March 1st.

Q: Will I need to repay it?

No, this is a grant, not a loan, so what you get is what you keep. But keep in mind that this is a taxable income grant, which means you will pay tax on the amount in the same way that you pay tax on any income you make with a regular job.

Note: One scenario to look out for is that if you earnings are nearing the high-income threshold (50,000) and you take the grant, and it pushes you above the high-income threshold you will be paying a much higher income tax rate of 40% up from 20%.

Other options available

Unfortunately, not all will benefit from the SEISS scheme as some will fall into the dreaded 'grey area'. If you are ineligible, HMRC will help you to understand why and guide you otherwise. The good news is that there are quite a few financial support schemes now available and if you need financial support, then they are worth exploring.

  1. POA deferred
  2. Universal Credits
  3. Bounce Back loan
  4. Rent holiday

  1. POA deferred to Jan 31, 2020

In July, (2020) the second instalment to your Payments On Account is due. This no longer the case. You can defer (delay) your 2nd payments on account instalment until Jan 31, 2021.

This is optional. If you choose not to pay it by July 31 then you won't incur any late payment fees or interest, the process is automatic.

TAX TIP: POA is just a pre-payment towards your tax bill so technically it is deferred, but all that it means is you're paying your 2019/20 tax bill in one.

  1. Bounce back loan

Whereas the SEISS is a non-repayable grant, the bounce back loan is a loan. And yes, you guessed it, needs to be paid back. You can borrow anywhere from 2000 to 50,000

Loan perks

  • The government guarantees 100% of the loan
  • no fees or interest needs to be paid on the first 12 months
  • loan term up to 6 years and low-interest rate for the remaining period of the loan
TIP: While the loan offer will likely be one of the best loans you'll ever get, it's still borrowed money and needs to be paid back. So don't commit to borrowing unless you really have too, or you can guarantee yourself that you can pay it back before you start incurring fees.

You can apply here: https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-schemes/bounce-back-loans/

  1. Rent holiday

Are you struggling with you paying you rent? Who isn't! While the government have provided a 'Rent Holiday' as such, they have given landlords a 3 month Mortgage Holiday. Regardless of whether they've chosen to take it or not if you're are struggling to pay the rent then you need to speak with your landlord or letting agents and work out a deal to reduce your rent as until you're able to get back to work.

If you're afraid that your landlord may suddenly want to kick you out, the government have said they need to give all tenants 3 months notice before they can evict anyone, which will only provide people with momentary relief. Still...

TIP: Workout what you can realistically afford right now, but remember, you'll need to pay the remaining amount at some point, so there's no use in reducing it for reduction's sake. After the 3 months, or if it's extended, you'll need to work out a reasonable payback plan with your landlord or agent.


  1. Universal credit, can I - should I claim it?

Yes. If you haven't done so already then here's the link: https://www.gov.uk/apply-universal-credit.

There are hundreds of thousands of self-employed people claiming universal credit for the first time because of C19. Still, many are concerned that in doing so, may affect their eligibility for the SEISS grant.

Getting UC WON'T affect how much you can claim on SEISS. However, the amount of UC you could receive will likely be reduced after you've claimed SEISS because it is an income grant, which is why you should apply for UC now while you are waiting for your grant.

Here's what the government guidance states: “You can make a claim for Universal Credit while you wait for the grant, but any grant received will be treated as part of your self-employment income and may affect the amount of UC you get. Any UC claims for earlier periods will not be affected.”

HMRC have now kicked off the SEISS grants process and grants payments will start hitting eligible self-employed people's bank accounts from May 25th. So if you haven't applied already, and you need a financial hand, then what are you waiting for... the worst that could happen is that you find out that you are not eligible. https://www.gov.uk/apply-universal-credit

Q: How much is it? Due to C19, UC has increased from £317.82 to £409.89 a month for single people aged 25 or over.

Q: I have money save away for my tax, will this be included as my earnings? No. the DWP have said " that any money saved away for your tax bill WON'T be included as part of your savings." yOu will need to make a note of this on your Universal Credits online journal after you've applied.


Further information

Guidance and information on the scheme is available on GOV.UK:



– WED 01st, APRIL

Government have release the official details on who, how, and what can beclaimed as a self employed person. Check out the details below!

- Claim a grant through the coronavirus (COVID-19) Self-employment Income Support Scheme

This scheme will allow you to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of your trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next 3 months. This may be extended if needed.

Who can apply

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

  • have submitted your Income Tax 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 COVID-19
  • intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020-21
  • have lost trading/partnership trading profits due to COVID-19

Your self-employed trading profits must also be less than £50,000 and more than half of your income come from self-employment. This is determined by at least one of the following conditions being true:

  • having trading profits/partnership trading profits in 2018-19 of less than £50,000 and these profits constitute more than half of your total taxable income
  • having average trading profits in 2016-17, 2017-18, and 2018-19 of less than £50,000 and these profits constitute more than half of your average taxable income in the same period

If you started trading between 2016-19, HMRC will only use those years for which you filed a Self-Assessment tax return.

If you have not submitted your Income Tax Self-Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018-19, you must do this by 23 April 2020.

HMRC will use data on 2018-19 returns already submitted to identify those eligible and will risk assess any late returns filed before the 23 April 2020 deadline in the usual way.

How much you’ll get

You’ll get a taxable grant which will be 80% of the average profits from the tax years (where applicable):

  • 2016 to 2017
  • 2017 to 2018
  • 2018 to 2019

To work out the average HMRC will add together the total trading profit for the 3 tax years (where applicable) then divide by 3 (where applicable), and use this to calculate a monthly amount.

It will be up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for 3 months.

We’ll pay the grant directly into your bank account, in one instalment.

How to apply

You cannot apply for this scheme yet.

HMRC will contact you if you are eligible for the scheme and invite you to apply online.

Individuals do not need to contact HMRC now and doing so will only delay the urgent work being undertaken to introduce the scheme.

You will access this scheme only through GOV.UK. If someone texts, calls or emails claiming to be from HMRC, saying that you can claim financial help or are owed a tax refund, and asks you to click on a link or to give information such as your name, credit card or bank details, it is a scam.

After you’ve applied

Once HMRC has received your claim and you are eligible for the grant, we will contact you to tell you how much you will get and the payment details.

If you claim tax credits you’ll need to include the grant in your claim as income.

Source: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme

Other help you can get

The government is also providing the following additional help for the self-employed:

If you’re a director of your own company and paid through PAYE you may be able to get support using the Job Retention Scheme.

Published 26 March 2020

FInd all the lates detaisl here

– THURSDAY 26th, MARCH

Financial Aid for the Self Employed Announced!

Well, it was an anxious wait but the news comes at a welcome relief. It's mostly good news with the self-employed receiving a support package that's on par with the benefits set out for employers/employees. The only catch - there's a two-month wait. But there is still financial options and support available to you in the meantime. More on that and all the key headline announced by Chancellor Rishi this evening.

What you'll get:

  • You'll receive a taxable grant covering 80% of your average monthly earnings over the last three years of your income.
  • Salary will be cover up to a maximum of £2,500 per month
  • If you have been self-employed for a shorter period, they will calculate it using the figures based on what they hold.

Who will get it:

Who qualifies

  • The scheme will cover 95% of the self-employed. This covers all self-employed people who trading profits must be less than £50,000
  • More than half your income must come from your self employment
  • You need to have filed a tax return for 2018/19
  • If you've not yet filed your tax return, then you have 4 weeks from today (March 26) to file and benefit from the scheme. (You can of course take care of that in http://taxod.com)

Who doesn't qualify

  • High earners: Those with earning above £50,000
  • If you're new to Self Employment and not yet filed a tax return. This is due to having no real data in which to validate your potential earnings. But expect more developments on this.

When you'll get it:

  • There will be efforts to move the date forward, but as it stands, the grant won't be available until June.
  • You will be issued the grant in one lump-sum covering 3 months backdated to March 1st.

How do I get it?

  • HMRC will be in touch direct with those who are eligible for the grant
  • You'll be asked to fill out a form to validate your claim
  • You'll receive payment directly into your bank account

What's available to me in the meantime?

  • Business interruption loans
  • Universal Credit: If you apply for Universal Credit, you will receive funds within days - sometimes within a day of your application if you're eligible

See all these short-term options available to you here

Tonight, we breathe a sigh of relief. Tomorrow we continue to hunt to secure ourselves in the short-term – and the never-ending search for bog roll.


– MONDAY 23RD, MARCH

Aye Corona!

I'm not sure if you’ve to see news recently, but you may have felt a moment of pre-empted glee when BoJo was dishing out a fruitful bounty of benefits to support small business, employers and employees – only to have your hopes kneed in the face when it came to what they had in store for the self-employed.  

When it comes to government support, there's never been parity in how the self-employed vs employees are treated. In light of recent announcements – this really does take the chocolate digestive.

Here's what we get so far: Two firelighters, a pen-knife and two tubes of smarties. 'Good luck, we're all all counting on you'.

Below, you'll see the real list of comparison. Not much better aye? I'd take my chances with the smarties.

Employee support

Vs

  • a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
  • deferring VAT and Income Tax payments
  • a Statutory Sick Pay relief package for small and medium sized businesses (SMEs)
  • a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses in England
  • small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
  • grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,001 and £51,000
  • the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank
  • a new lending facility from the Bank of England to help support liquidity among larger firms, helping them bridge coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through loans
  • the HMRC Time To Pay Scheme

Self Employed support

But don't worry, it's not gone unoticed. Phillipa Childs from Bectu https://bectu.org.uk/ is fighting for our cause. This is what she had to say:

“The Chancellor’s support package for workers will come as a devastating blow to freelance and self-employed workers who needed much more support than they are being given. It is clear the Chancellor simply doesn’t understand the hardship these workers are in – telling them to simply claim universal credit while other workers have their incomes protected is cruel and unfair.

He must urgently revise his income support plan to include these workers and not force them onto the welfare system and we will be making urgent representations to government to make sure all our members are protected during this crisis.
– MONDAY 24TH, MARCH

And good old Martin Lewis from Money Saving Expert (the Julian Asange of legal news) has posted a video with some hopeful news!

"I have it confirmed by the government they are working on a self-employed package now"

He also states

"We could know by Friday" & "We hope to see some parity with the employers deal" & "Dont make drastic changes yet, see what's the deal is yet!"

Checkout the video below where he talks thorugh the latest developmennts



What are the current options available to you, as a self employed paerson?

1. July POA deffered to Jan 31, 2020

In July, (2020) the second instalment to your Payments On Account is due. This no longer the case. In light of the recent events, Sunak said they are deferring the 2nd payments on account instalment until Jan 31, 2021.

We can appreciate any financial alleviation at this point, even if it is temporarily, but shifting the – already pain in the arse POA debt to later in the year just ain't going to cut it when in comparison to the employers/employees support package. Cheers GOV!

Still, more announcements to come shorty, so let's keep a lead on it for now.

2. Universal credits

Statutory sick pay (SSP) The chancellor has announced that the “self-employed can now access in full universal credit at a rate equivalent to statutory sick pay for employees”.

How much is it? Nowhere near enough. Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is £94.25 per week. Right now, something's better than nothing. And if you are C19 sick you can claim from day one.

How do I prove I'm sick? If you're having symptoms of coronavirus an Isolation Note can be obtained from NHS 111 online. If you live with someone that has symptoms, an Isolation Note can be obtained from the NHS website.

Where can I make a claim? It's simple, do it here Universal Credit

What if I'm not sick? If you are not eligible to receive sick pay you can apply for Universal Credit and/or apply for New Style Employment and Support Allowance

Don't wait If you expect to have no work for the foreseeable future, you should make a claim for Universal Credit at the earliest opportunity.

Self employed people who operate through their own limited company should be able to make a claim under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

3. IR35

Every cloud... As of 17 March 2020 the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has announced the IR35 reforms will be delayed for a year in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Hopefully, by that time they would have realised the enormous additional burden to some self-employed people and rethink the new reform – or better still keep things as they are or scrap it all together [PRAY EMOJI!]

How you can help?

1. Play a game. Save the world

Once you've finished converting your house into a private supermarket, you may be wondering what you could be doing with your new-found time to help towards finding a solution to COVID -19?

How about a game?

#C19 is a disease protein, and to #STOPIT, we need to understand how that protein works. And to understand how it works we need to understand how that protein folds.https://fold.it is a free online game (and Not For Profit run by scientists) that lets anyone design anti-viral proteins via their gaming platform.

The cool thing is – the best protein designs will actually be manufacture at the Washington University for Protein Design and tested against the coronavirus protein.

So when someone asks on Monday, "what did you do on the weekend?" smugly reply: Saving the world – why? What did you do?

..It's rhetorical – I know, bog roll.

2. Volunteer

If you have a car, pushbike or phone (you def have a phone), then you can be volunteering to help the NHS with an extensive list of todos.

You can help by delivering critical medicines to the most vulnerable. Or if you like me and only have a phone – you could jump on a call with anyone who just wants to have a chat or feeling lonely.

Even though a staggering 450,000 good samaritans have already volunteered, you can never have enough helping hands right now.

It takes a minute to register. You need proof of ID – passport, driving licence to register.

As Arnie Schwartzenegger would say – Do it... Do it NOW!

https://www.goodsamapp.org/NHSvolunteerresponders

Authors

Dave Legion

Founder / CEO of TAXO'D

Award-winning freelance Designer, Director & Animator and tax vigalante

Erica Wolfe-Murray

Executive Director / Head of content

Author / Publisher / Innovation driver using clients’ intellectual assets/IP and Founder of Lola Media Ltd