Last week, the Chancellor announced the Government’s package of support for the UK’s self-employed workers and members of trading partnerships.
The main feature of the relief is that a self-employed person or a partner of a trading partnership can claim a grant of up to £2,500 per month for the three months, March to May 2020 if they meet the conditions.
Who can apply?
Self-employed individuals or members of a trading partnership can apply if you:
• have submitted your Income Tax Self Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018-19 (if this has not been submitted yet, then you must do so by 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
• have self-employed trading profits of less than £50,000, and more than half of your income comes from self-employment.
How much will you get?
• One instalment of the grant will be transferred directly into your bank account if HMRC agrees that you are both eligible and approved (expected in June).
• The grant will be 80% of the average profits from the previous 3 tax years (or the average of 1 or 2 years if you do not have 3 years), up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for 3 months (backdated to 1 March).
• This is not tax-free income. The payments will form part of your trading profit for the year and be taxed along with the rest of your trading profits through your Self-Assessment Tax Returns.
• Ask us or check your earlier years’ tax returns for scheme eligibility- on the majority trading and £50,000 trading profit conditions.
• Tell us to file your tax return for 2018/19 (if you have not yet done so) by 23 April 2020.
• Because HMRC expects to pay the first grant instalment in June, you still need to address cashflow until the monies are actually transferred. We will help you with cash flow forecast and analysis
• Consider other help you may be eligible for as a self-employed worker or member of a trading partnership such as:
o VAT payment deferment
o Self-Assessment July 2020 payment deferment
o Time to pay arrangement with HMRC for other taxes
o Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to cover 80% of furloughed staff costs
o Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) support
o Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
o Small Business Grant Scheme
o Specific sector grants administered by local authorities
• HMRC are supposed to invite you to take part in this program, but following the maxim ‘don’t ask, don’t get’, if you have not been contacted by HMRC in the next few weeks, and you believe you are eligible then you should apply directly to HMRC for the grant.
Losers and Winners
If you have started trading on or after 6 April 2019 you will not be covered by these measures. For new self-employed businesses there is scope to claim support through either Universal Credit or Jobseekers Allowance.
If your partnership derives most of its income from residential lettings then this program will not cover you. HMRC do not regard this activity as a trade. However, commercial property letting and furnished holiday lettings will qualify.
Although taxpayers who trade through their own company may consider themselves self-employed these measures do not extend to cover the shareholder directors of personal trading company. We will address this issue in another Blog article
There is nothing in the scheme that stops a self-employed individual or member of a trading partnership taking up temporary employment (bearing in mind the government guidelines on self-quarantine) from now until the payment of the grant. Equally it does not preclude a claim being made under Universal Credit to alleviate hardship, whilst waiting for the grant.
Equally there is no requirement to cease trading whilst awaiting the grant, so some income, however minimal, may still be received.
For most self-employed individuals and members of a trading partnership, this scheme offers a welcome lifeline to keep a business afloat.
SRC-Time are one of the South East’s leading accountancy firms in advising the self-employed and partnerships in all aspects of their tax affairs and we are able to assist in any issue raised above.
Our expert team is available to provide you with advice and can be contacted on 01273 326 556 or you can drop us an email at email@example.com or speak with an account manager to get any process started.