Self Employment Income Support Scheme
The Self Employment Income Support Scheme SEISS is now closed. This page recaps its history since launch. Further announcements on government support are covered in our blogs.
update 30 september 2020: Scheme closed
The final SEISS grant period covers 1 May to 30 September and the online portal through which claims are made closed on the 30 September.
Update 28 July 2021:Online claims service for fifth SEISS grant now open
The online claims service is now open. As a reminder, if you are eligible for the grant, HMRC should have been in contact during July to give you a date from which you can make your claim. You must claim by the 30 September 2021 at the latest.
Update 6 July 2021: Calculating turnover for fifth SEISS grant
HMRC has published guidance on how to work out turnover if you are eligible for the fifth SEISS grant. Claimants will need to work out turnover for a 12-month period starting from any date between 1 – 6 April 2020 and find your turnover from either 2019-2020 or 2018 to 2019 to use as a reference year.
To find your 2020/21 turnover figure:
- Refer to your Self-Assessment Tax return 2020-21 if you have completed it
- Check your accounting software, bookkeeping records covering self-employment invoices and payments received
- Check bank account used for business
- Ask your accountant or tax advisor
To find your reference year turnover, use the turnover reported in your 2019-20 tax return unless 2019-20 was not a normal year for you, (sickness, maternity, reservist, unusual client activity), in which case use your 2018-19 turnover figure. Your records must show how 2019-20 was not a normal year for you.
The online claims service will ask you for your turnover figures and compare them for you. If your turnover is down by 30% or more, your grant will be 80% of 3 months’ average trading profits capped at £7,500. If your turnover is down by less than 30% your grant will be 30% of 3 months’ average trading profits capped at £2,850.
You can check if you are eligible to claim the fifth SEISS grant here. If you are eligible based on your tax returns HMRC will have contacted you during July to give you a date you can claim from. The online claims service opened on 28 July 2021. Claims must be made by 30 September.
Update 2 June 2021: Policy Paper on fifth grant published
The Government has published outline guidance today on the 5th Self Employment Income Support Scheme grant covering May 2021 to September 2021, saying that it will open to claims in late July. Full details are expected by early July 2021. The 5th grant will be determined by how much your turnover has been reduced in the year April 2020 to April 2021. This is the key difference to the 4th grant, and the government expects to provide more detail on how to work out how your turnover was affected by the end of this month. Turnovers reduced by more than 30% will receive 80% of 3 months ‘ average trading profits capped at £7,500, while turnovers reduced by less than 30% will receive 30% of 3 months’ average trading profit, capped at £2,850.
To be eligible to claim you must be a self employed individual or a member of a partnership, you must have traded in the tax years 2019/20 (and submitted your tax return by 2 March 2021) and 2020/21, your trade has been reduced or has ceased temporarily due to cornavirus. Eligibility will be based on your tax returns and you must be able to declare that you intend to continue to trade, as for the 4th grant (below).
Update 3 March 2021: details of fourth grant and fifth grant announced
The fourth SEISS grant will be set at 80% of 3 months’ average trading profits, paid out in a single instalment, capped at £7,500. The fourth grant will take into account 2019 to 2020 tax returns and will be open to those who became self employed in the tax year ending 6 April 2020. The remainder of the eligibility criteria are unchanged.
- Based on your 2019/20 Self Assessment tax return, your trading profits must be no more than £50,000 and be at least equal to your non trading income
- If you’re not eligible based on 2019/20 return, HMRC will look at 2016/17, 2017/18, 2018/19 and 2019/20
- You must have traded in both 2019/20 – and submitted your tax return before 2 March 2021 – and 2020/21
- You must either be currently trading but impacted by reduced demand due to Coronavirus or have been trading but are temporarily unable to do so because of Coronavirus
- You must declare that you intend to continue to trade and that you reasonably believe there will be a significant reduction in your trading profits due to reduced business activity, capacity, demand, or inability to trade due to Coronavirus
The online claims service for the fourth grant will be available from late April 2021.
The fifth and final SEISS grant will cover May to September 2021, and those eligible can claim from late July.
The amount of the fifth grant will depend on how much your turnover has been reduced in the year April 2020 to April 2021.
The fifth grant will be worth:
- 80% of 3 months’ average trading profits, capped at £7,500, for those with a turnover reduction of 30% or more
- 30% of 3 months’ average trading profits, capped at £2,850, for those with a turnover reduction of less than 30%
HMRC will publish more details in due course.
update 1 February 2021: details of fourth grant expected on 3 march 2021
The last date for making a claim for the third SEISS grant was 29 January 2021. The government has announced that details about the fourth grant will be announced on 3 March 2021, scheduled to be Budget Day.
Update 30 November: Online service for third SEISS grant now available
The government has announced that the online service for the third SEISS grant is now available. Claims can be made from the date given by HMRC in an email or letter or from within the online service, but must be made by 29 January 2021.
To recap, to be eligible to claim for the third grant you must be self employed or a member of a partnership, have traded in both tax years 2018/19 and 2019/20, had trading impacted by reduced demand or temporarily suspended due to coronavirus and be able to declare that you intend to continue to trade and that you reasonably believe there will be a significant reduction in your trading profits.
The government further clarifies “reasonable belief” and “significant reduction” as follows:
In order to claim, you must reasonably believe that you will suffer a significant reduction in trading profits due to reduced business activity, capacity or demand or inability to trade due to coronavirus during the period 1 November to 29 January 2021. You must keep evidence that shows how your business has been impacted by coronavirus resulting in less business activity than otherwise expected.
Before you make a claim, you must decide if the impact on your business will cause a significant reduction in your trading profits for the tax year you report them in.”
The government guidance gives examples and considers how different circumstances can affect your eligibility.
The claim period for the grant is between 1 Nov 2020 and 29 Jan 2021. It will be worth 80% of average monthly trading profits and paid in a single instalment covering three months’ worth of trading profits, capped at £7,500 in total. It is important that you keep records of the amount claimed, grant claim reference and evidence that your business has reduced activity, capacity or demand or was temporarily unable to trade due to coronavirus at the time you make your claim.
Examples of evidence include business accounts, records of cancelled contracts or appointments, fewer invoices, a record of dates where demand or capacity was reduced due to government restrictions, NHS Test and Trace communications, NHS shielding letter, test results or communications from child’s school.
Update 5 November: SEISS Increased for NOVember, December and January
The Chancellor has today confirmed that the third Self Employment Income Support Scheme grant has been increased to 80% of three months average monthly trading profits (up from 55%) and capped at a maximum of £7,500. This brings it into line with the support given to employees under the Coronavirus Job Retention (or furough) Scheme which was extended until the end of March today. The level of the fourth grant, covering February, March and April has yet to be confirmed.
Update 2 November : SEISS increased
To date the government’s Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) has provided 2 grants since March with the third instalment covering the three months from November to January 2021, due in December. A fourth instalment is expected to cover February, March and April 2021 but there are no details yet as to the level of that fourth grant.
Changes to SEISS on 2 November
The level of the third grant was originally set at 20% of average monthly profits. This was revised to 40% and on the 2 November, increased to 80% for November – with December and January remaining at 40%. HMRC averages this to 55% of average monthly trading profits across the three-month grant period. The maximum grant cap was also increased to £5,160 and the claim date also brought forward from 14 December to 30 November.
Eligible to claim
To be eligible to claim, self employed individuals or members of partnerships must:
- Have been eligible to claim the first and second SEISS grants (even if they did not claim them)
- Declare that they intend to continue to trade and either:
- Are actively trading but impacted by reduced demand due to coronavirus
- Were previously trading but are temporarily unable to do so due to coronavirus
Update Further SEISS extension announced
Update 22 October: The Chancellor has announced further changes to the level of the third SEISS grant. The third taxable grant will provide 40% of average monthly trading profits, covering the three months from November to the end of January 2021 and capped at £3,750 in total. The level of the fourth grant covering February to the end of April 2021 will be set “in due course”. Government factsheet available here. We will provide further details as we get them.
Update SEISS extended – second and final grant available in august – claims from 17 August
Update 2 July: If you are eligible and your business has been adversely affected on or after 14 July 2020 you will be able to make your claim from 17 August. The government has updated its guidance on what constitutes your business being ” adversely affected” – see below. It has also clarified that if having a new child affected your trading profits for the tax year 2018/19 or meant that you did not submit a self-assessment tax return for that year, you may still be able to claim. Additionally if you are a military reservist who carried out specified reservist activities, you may also be able to claim SEISS.
“Your business could be adversely affected by coronavirus if, for example:
- you’re unable to work because you:
- are shielding
- are self-isolating
- are on sick leave because of coronavirus
- have caring responsibilities because of coronavirus
- you’ve had to scale down, temporarily stop trading or incurred additional costs because:
- your supply chain has been interrupted
- you have fewer or no customers or clients
- your staff are unable to come in to work
- one or more of your contracts have been cancelled
- you had to buy protective equipment so you could trade following social distancing rules”
Update 13 June: The Government has confirmed that a second and final grant can be claimed under SEISS. The second taxable grant, worth 70% of the eligible self employed person’s average monthly trading profit and capped at £6,570 in total, will be paid in a single instalment covering June, July and August. The same eligibility criteria apply to the second grant, as they did to the first and claimants will have to confirm that their business has been adversely affected on or after 14 July 2020. Claims can be made from 17 August. Individuals do not have to have claimed for the first grant in order to claim for the second. The online service for the second and final grant is not yet available.
The government has updated its guidance regarding SEISS to provide further information about the extension to the scheme.
the self employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) – First Grant – deadline for claim 13 July 2020
If you are self-employed or a member of a partnership and have been adversely affected by Covid-19, you could claim a taxable grant of 80% of your average monthly trading profits, paid in a single instalment covering 3 months – March, April and May – and capped at £7,500.
You can continue to work, start a new trade, take on other employment, volunteer, and still receive the grant. The grant will be subject to Income Tax and self-employed National Insurance.
HMRC advise that they will work out if you are eligible and how much grant you will get.
Who can claim?
It is important to note that HMRC will contact you if it believes that you are eligible to make a claim. It will use the following criteria.
- have submitted your Income Tax Self Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018-19 on or before 23 April 2020
- 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, for example as a result of shielding, self isolation, sick leave, caring responsibilities, supply chain issues, few/no customers/clients, staff unable to work.
- your self-employed trading profits/partnership trading profits must be less than £50,000 and more than half of your income comes from self-employment.
HMRC will start contacting those it believes are eligible, through a combination of emails, SMS text and letters this week to tell them what they need to do to get ready to claim. To manage the volume of applications, HMRC is opening the GOV.UK online claim service in tranches based on the tax payers unique taxpayer number (UTR).
Also from this week, people will be able to use the new online eligibility checker. To use the tool you will need your Self Assessment Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) number and your National Insurance Number. If the checker confirms that you are eligible, you will be asked to submit contact details so that HMRC are able to tell claimants what to do before you submit your claim using the government’s online service from midday on 13 May.
HMRC is aiming to ensure all payments are made by 25 May. HMRC will calculate the amount of the payment. It will be a single instalment covering 3 months based on 80% of your average monthly trading profit over 3 tax years ending 2018/19, capped at £7,500 and paid directly into your bank account.
It is also important to note, that if we act for you as your agent, we are not able to make a claim for you. We can guide you through it, but you must make the claim yourself. We can check if you would be eligible to make a claim using the same eligibility checker GOV.UK online tool. and review your calculations.
If HMRC tells you that you are not eligible to make a claim, you can ask HMRC to review this after you have used the online checker.
If you receive texts, calls or emails claiming to be from HMRC, offering financial help or a tax refund and asking you to click on a link or to give personal information, it is a scam. You should email it to firstname.lastname@example.org and then delete it.
What do you need to make your claim?
- Self Assessment UTR – if you do not have this find out how to get your lost UTR
- National Insurance number – if you do not have this find out how to get your lost National Insurance number
- Government Gateway user ID and password – if you do not have a user ID, you can create one when you check your eligibility online
- bank account number and sort code you want HMRC to pay the grant into (only provide bank account details where a BACS payment can be accepted)
- You’ll have to confirm to HMRC that your business has been adversely affected by coronavirus.
- If you claim the grant HMRC will treat this as confirmation you are below the state aid limits.[Maximum level of State Aid that a business may receive across all measures under the European Commission’s Temporary Framework is €800,000]
HMRC will check claims and take appropriate action to withhold or recover payments found to be dishonest or inaccurate.
After you have claimed
- HMRC will give you an immediate decision, and if approved, your grant will be paid into your bank account within 6 working days.
- We remind you that you are required to keep copies/records of the amount claimed, claim reference number, and evidence of adverse affects of coronavirus on your business
- the grant must be reported on your Self Assessment tax return, as Self-Employed Income for any Universal Credit Claim, as self-employed income and that you are working 16 hours a week for any tax credit claims.
reference documents and useful links: