Covid-19: Last chance to claim self-employed support

If you are self-employed your business has been affected by the pandemic since July 14, you have unt

If you are self-employed your business has been affected by the pandemic since July 14, you have until October 19 to apply for a support grant Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The second – and final – tranche of the Coronavirus Self-Employed Income Support Scheme opened for applications this week.

Shaun Davison of Lovewell Blake Picture: Lovewell Blake

Shaun Davison of Lovewell Blake Picture: Lovewell Blake - Credit: Archant

Applications opened on Monday for the second instalment of financial support for self-employed people impacted by the Covid-19 crisis – and you don’t have to have received the first instalment of help to be eligible to apply.

An initial grant available to traders whose business had been adversely affected by the pandemic saw 2.7 million claims, worth around £7.8 billion, made by the end of June. Now there is a second – and final – round of funding, aimed at those whose business has been similarly adversely affected on or after July 14, says Shaun Davison of Lovewell Blake.

The new grant will be based on 70pc of the average monthly trading profits for a period of three months, up to a maximum of £6,750. Claims can be made between now and the closing date of October 19; you can claim even if you weren’t part of the initial round of support.

It is important to point out that this scheme is aimed only at those who have been ‘adversely affected’ by Covid-19. HMRC won’t ask for proof of this at the time of claim, but may well do in the future so you will need to keep any evidence supporting your claim. HMRC will be making compliance checks and if you claim the grant incorrectly, they can claim it back, along with penalties and interest.

Those who have been trading as normal since July 14 are not eligible to claim, but if your business is affected before October 19 – perhaps by a local lockdown caused by a second wave, or because you have Covid symptoms and need to self-isolate – you will be able to claim.

The online guide to the scheme (click here) from HMRC outlines the eligibility criteria and claims can be made online here as well. When completing your application, print a copy of HMRC’s calculation and provide it to your accountant, if you have one. The grant will be subject to tax and National Insurance, but is outside the scope of VAT; you will need to report it on your 2020/21 tax return.

The process was fast and efficient first time around. With many businesses now trading under the new normal (so the level of claims is likely to be lower), it should be the same for the second instalment. This is likely to be the last part of the Covid-related help for the self-employed, so affected businesses will do well to take advantage.