COVID-19: The latest advice for the self-employed

Self-employed workers facing financial difficulties because of Coronavirus, are now being offered much needed support from the government.

The Government support

  • Open to those with trading profits of up to £50,000
  • Open to those who are already self-employed and filed a tax return for 2018/19.
  • Self-employed will be paid 80% of average profits over past 3 years, up to £2,500 a month.
  • Money will be backdated to March & paid in June.
  • HMRC will contact you directly and pay the grant directly into your bank account.
  • 95% of the self-employed will be covered.

Please visit the HMRC website for detailed information.

Am I eligible to claim?

HMRC has begun contacting around 3.5m taxpayers who may be eligible for the government's self-employment income support scheme (SEISS) to explain the application process and help them get ready to make a claim when the service opens.

An online checker is now available which will let you check your eligibility, as well as give you a date on which you can apply. You will need your unique taxpayer reference (UTR) and National Insurance number. We also suggest you check to make sure your details are up-to-date on your gateway account.

SEISS is a temporary scheme that will enable those eligible to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of their average trading profits up to a maximum of £7,500 (equivalent to three months' profits) in a single instalment. You will be eligible if your business has been adversely affected by coronavirus, traded in 2019-20 and intend to continue trading based on the following criteria:

  • Earning at least half of your income through self-employment
  • Trading profits of no more than £50,000 per year.
  • Traded in the tax year 2018 to 2019, having submitted your self assessment tax return on or before 23 April 2020 for that year.

If you are ineligible for the scheme, HMRC will offer guidance to help you understand why. They will also outline other support that you might be able to take advantage of, such as income tax deferrals, Universal Credit, access to rental support and mortgage holidays and the various business support schemes they have already introduced to protect you during this time.

The claims service is due to be operational from Wednesday 13th May, with payments reaching bank accounts by 25 May, or six working days after the claim is made.

Statutory Sick Pay to be reimbursed

You can get £94.25 per week Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if you're too ill to work. It's paid by your employer for up to 28 weeks. If you're self-isolating because of coronavirus (COVID-19), you can get SSP if you're eligible. SSP will be payable from day one instead of day four for affected individuals.

You should tell your employer as soon as possible. You need to qualify for SSP and have been off work sick for 4 or more days in a row (including non-working days). If in doubt, we've found the following Government Coronavirus guidance here

Sick Pay for self-employed

If you are one of around 6 million people in Britain who are self-employed or a contract worker, you can also claim employment and support allowance from day 1 instead of day 8. We found some very good advice on the BBC website you may find useful too.

Some personal advice

  • Please put your own and your family's health first. Everything else can wait!
  • Do follow best advice being offered by the NHS & the Government to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.
  • The NHS Coronavirus website offers great advice & help.
  • Get the latest travel advice & guidance from the FCO website, & check your travel insurance if you have to cancel trips.
  • Don't make any non-refundable travel or accommodation bookings.
  • Keep an eye out for updates on any events you are planning on attending that may now be cancelled or postponed.

We understand that as our clients you will all have different issues and different needs, so there are bound to be some financial questions you may need help with. We are here if you have any questions you would like to ask. Please call us on +44 (0)20 886 7575 or email

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We are a member firm of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England & Wales (ICAEW). Registered to carry on audit work in the UK and Ireland. Our Insurer is Prosure Solutions (per W R Berkley , and IGI), 34 Lime St, London EC3M 7AT (worldwide, excluding North America). Also an independent member of GGI, a multidisciplinary worldwide association of accountants, tax consultants & lawyers.