The UK Government have set up the Coronavirus Self-employment Income Support Scheme to help freelancers and small business owners affected by the pandemic. Under this scheme, eligible self-employed people will be able to claim up to £2500 per month for three months. 

What is the Coronavirus Self-employment Income Support Scheme?

The Coronavirus Self-employment Income Support Scheme is for people registered as self employed / members of a partnership. It has been introduced to help self-employed people who have lost work as a result of COVID-19.

It will provide a taxable grant of 80% of your trading profits, up to £2,500 per month, for three months. This will be based on average trading profits over your last three eligible self-assessment tax returns.

Who's eligible for the Coronavirus Self-employment Income Support Scheme?

Numerous criteria apply and, due to the link to submitted tax returns, not all self-employed people are eligible.

To be eligible you must:

  • have submitted a self-assessment tax return to HMRC for the 18/19 tax year
  • have been trading in tax year 19/20
  • intend to keep trading in tax year 20/21
  • have trading profits of no more than £50,000 per year
  • get more than half your income from self-employment
  • have lost trading profits due to COVID-19

Which tax years count towards the Coronavirus Self-employment Income Support Scheme?

Payment will be based on average trading profits over past three years of completed tax returns, covering the tax years:

  • 2016 to 2017
  • 2017 to 2018
  • 2018 to 2019

If you started trading between 2016-19, HMRC will only use those years for which you filed a Self-Assessment tax return.

I haven't submitted my 2018/2019 tax return yet...

Don't worry. You've got until 23rd April to get this done. Contact your accountant ASAP.

How do you access the Coronavirus Self-employment Income Support Scheme?

You don't need to apply for this directly yet. HMRC will contact you if you are eligible and let you know how much money you are entitled to. You'll then be invited to apply online.

Can I get the money straight away?

No. Payments expected by June, paid directly into your bank account as a lump sum.

Can I continue to work on this Scheme?

Yes, if you can still find work, you're allowed to do it. However, if possible, please remember fellow freelancers who won't receive any money via this scheme. They will still need to find work. Consider referring work to them if you're able to.

How long will the Coronavirus Self-employment Income Support Scheme run?

 It will run for three months initially. The Government will then review whether an extension is necessary.

I'm not eligible for the Coronavirus Self-employment Income Support Scheme. What can I do?

Unfortunately there are self-employed people who aren't eligible under the current scheme. The Government advice is to apply for Universal Credit.

You could also look at different loans and financing options currently available.

IPSE and FSB continue to campaign on behalf of self-employed people who cannot access this support. Contact them online to let them know you're affected.

You can also write to your MP. You'll find their contact details at www.writetothem.com 

Where can I find more information about the Coronavirus Self-employment Income Support Scheme?

We recommend using the Government website for the most accurate and up-to-date information about any measures relating to Coronavirus.

Information about the Coronavirus Self-employment Income Support Scheme can be found on their COVID-19: support for businesses page.