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Self-employment Income Support Scheme

27 March 2020, Advocates, Artists, Barristers, Creative Industries, Musicians, Sole Traders

Government grant to freelancers

Details of the Self-employment Income Support Scheme have now been released to support the self-employed or members of a partnership with trading income.

Self-employment Income Support Scheme
Who can apply for the Self-employment Income Support Scheme?

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

What are the criteria for the Self-employment Income Support Scheme?

Your self-employed trading profits must be both:

  • 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.

What if I haven’t filed my 2018-19 tax return yet?

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 to be in with a chance of receiving your grant under the Self-employment Income Support Scheme.  HMRC will use data on 2018-19 returns already submitted to identify those eligible.  Any late tax returns receive by 23 April will be included in the identification process by HMRC.

Alterledger can help you with your tax return to ensure you meet the 23 April 2020 deadline.  The fact that you are confined to your home won’t prevent us from preparing your accounts.

All our systems are online and we can make initial contact by Zoom / Skype / WhatsApp / Facetime to introduce ourselves and perform initial identity checks.  We use online accounting software from Xero and Receipt Bank which will allow you to send everything to us over an encrypted connection.  Even if you have a box of paper receipts, we will give you the Receipt Bank app to scan everything from your phone.

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.


As you can imagine, HMRC are currently inundated with new work at the moment and have to do this with a reduced workforce due to COVID-19.

HMRC will contact you if you are eligible for the Self-employment Income Support 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.

The best thing you can do (apart from file any late accounts) is to make sure you have access to your HMRC online account.  This means when the grants are ready to be paid, you will be able to log in and make your claim.

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