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Extension to Government Support for the Self-Employed

Since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, the Government has brought in various types of emergency business support. The Furlough scheme has received most media exposure, but another crucial measure is the Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) to help the self-employed.

The second SEISS grant finished on 19th October, but by then the Government had already announced that a third and fourth grant would be made available.

The Self-employment Income Support Scheme

The first SEISS grant came into force early in the pandemic and was available to self-employed individuals, as opposed to limited companies who had other measures available. To qualify for this and the second grant, you had to:

have submitted your self-assessment tax return for 2018/19 by 23 April 2020

have been trading during the tax year 2019/20

be intending to continue trading in the tax year 2020/21

What Are Trivial Benefits?

"Trivial Benefit" is a term applied to some small benefits which are not liable for tax. To count as a trivial benefit, it must be worth £50 or below and fulfil the following conditions:

  • The benefit must not be either cash or a cash voucher.
  • The benefit must not be a work or performance related reward.
  • The benefit must not be specified in the contract as a term of employment.

You also had to have been hit by Coronavirus, which could mean a variety of things.

  • you might have been personally affected by the virus, from actually being ill to shielding or caring for someone.
  • you might also have had to close or scale back your business for reasons such as staff or customers being hit, or your supply chain affected.

Extension to the Scheme

On 24th September, it was announced that there would also be a third and fourth grant, and the terms for these were updated on 22nd October. The third is to run from 1st November.

The date of the fourth has not been announced yet, but the expectation is that it will be 1st February 2021.

To qualify for these extension grants, you must have been;

  • Eligible for the first and second grants, whether or not you actually claimed them.
  • You must also either be actively trading but negatively affected by the coronavirus, or else have had to stop actively trading as a result of coronavirus.

How Much Will You Receive?

The value of the SEISS grants is calculated from an average figure for three months of trading profits, capped at a maximum figure. The first two grants were 80% and 70%, with a maximum of £7,500 and £6,570, respectively.

The third grant will be significantly lower, offering 40% with a maximum of £3,750, while the value of the fourth has not yet been announced.

This will be disappointing to self-employed people already hit hard and facing the possibility of further lockdowns.

Nevertheless, if you are self-employed and hit by the pandemic, it would obviously be worthwhile to apply for the third SEISS grant in November.

You're very welcome to get in touch with Grace Certified Accountants if you have any questions.

I hope this information helps your business run more smoothly through these difficult times.

Stay safe

Dora Ngoma

Director & Managing Partner

Grace Certified Accountants

Please check out my other blogs for more advice on how to run your bookkeeping and accounts smoothly. Or take a look at us on Facebook and LinkedIn for more valuable insights.