The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) has provided grant support for self-employed individuals whose business has been adversely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. An extension to the scheme was announced at the time of the 2021 Budget. As a result, it will continue to provide support until September 2021.
Three grants have already been made under the scheme. As a result of the extension, a further two grants will be available. In addition, individuals who started trading in 2019/20 may now be eligible to claim.
The fourth grant covers the period from February to April 2021 and is based on 80% of three months’ average trading profits. The amount of the grant is capped at £7,500. It is paid out in a single instalment.
To be eligible, the trader must have filed his or her 2019/20 self-assessment tax return and traded in 2020/21. Only traders whose trading profit is not more than £50,000 in 2019/20 or, where trading profit exceeds this level in 2019/20, not more than £50,000 on average over the period from 2016/17 to 2019/20 can benefit from the grant. In addition, income from self-employment must account for at least 50% of the individual’s total income.
To qualify for the grant, the trader must either:
- be trading currently but demand has fallen as a result of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic; or
- have been trading but is unable to do so temporarily as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The trader must also declare that:
- they intend to continue trading; and
- they reasonably believe that there will be a significant reduction in their trading profits due to reduced business activity, capacity, demand or inability to trade due to Coronavirus.
Claims for the fourth grant can be made online from late April 2021 until 31 May 2021.
The fifth and final grant will cover the period from May to September 2021. The amount of this grant depends on the extent by turnover has fallen as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Traders who have suffered a reduction in turnover of at least 30% will be eligible for a grant worth 80% of three months’ average trading profits capped at £7,500. A smaller grant worth 30% of three months’ average trading profits capped at £2,850 will be available to traders who turnover has fallen as a result of coronavirus but where the reduction in turnover is less than 30%.
When the SEISS was originally launched, only those traders who had filed their 2018/19 tax return by 23 April 2020 could claim. As the filing date for the 2019/20 tax return of 31 January 2021 has now passed, individuals who commenced trading in 2019/20 and who have been adversely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic can claim the fourth and fifth grants under the scheme provided that they had filed their 2019/20 self-assessment return by midnight on 2 March 2021. They will also need to meet the other eligibility conditions.
Grants are taxable
Grants received under the SEIS are taxable and must be taken into account in working out the taxable profits for the year in which the grant is received.