Updated Information on how small businesses and the self-employed can weather Covid 19 – March 27th, 2020

I want to try and keep the information as clear and as simple as I possibly can for everyone, so I won’t be writing out everything again, I will just be writing out the highlights.

Last night’s big announcement by the Chancellor of the Exchequer was a support package for the self-employed. This is what we currently know:

– the scheme is only open to those self-employed people who have filed tax returns up to and including the 2018/2019 tax year and are still trading in the 2019/2020 tax year
– are trading when you apply (or would be except for Covid-19)
– intend to continue to trade in the 2020/2021 tax year
– have lost trading/partnership trading profits due to Covid-19
– those who have a trading profit of less than £50,000 in the 2018/2019 tax year, or an average trading profit of less than £50,000 from 2016/2017, 2017/2018 and 2018/2019 are eligible
– more than half of your income has to have come from self-employment
– you will receive 80% of your average monthly trading profit over the last three years (where applicable), up to £2,500/month in grants for at least 3 months; HMRC will add together the total trading profit for the tax years, divide by 3 (where applicable) and use this to calculate your monthly amount
– only those who are already in self-employment and meet the above conditions can apply
– the scheme also applies to members of partnerships
– HMRC will contact all of those who eligible and tell them how to apply
– the scheme is being designed from scratch and will cover the three months to May
– the grants will be paid in a single lump-sum installment covering the three months and will start to be paid at the beginning of June
– this is a taxable grant
– DO NOT contact HMRC – they will be using the existing information to contact those who eligible
– sole director limited companies where the director is paid through a PAYE scheme is not eligible for this scheme
You can read more about the scheme here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme

2) HMRC have announced a new helpline number for businesses and self-employed to contact HMRC about tax-related issues due to coronavirus: 0800 024 1222.

3) Job Retention Scheme

The government has published more in-depth information about the job retention scheme and you can read it here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

There hasn’t yet been any clarification on how sole directors are able to access support – according to some of the information provided by the government, sole director companies may be able to access support through the Job Retention Scheme – however, that requires the employee to be furloughed and unable to do any work for the business, so I have reached out to a number of agencies to try and get some clarification on this. As soon as I have had any concrete clarification, I will pass that information on.

I will be doing some fb lives next week on the self-employed support scheme, the job retention scheme, as well as a more general one to cover all of the support available to businesses, so keep an eye out for those on the FaceBook page. I will also be putting together some fact sheets about each of the schemes available so that all of the information is in one place.

The information and policies are continually being updated by the government, so I urge you to keep on top of the information by visiting the relevant website for your area.

Scotland: https://www.gov.scot/coronavirus-covid-19/
Wales: https://gov.wales/business-and-employers-coronavirus
Northern Ireland: https://www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk/

I will be trying to keep myself as informed as possible and will share relevant information on my fb business page: https://www.facebook.com/ihelmenterprises/

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