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To support the self-employed through the coronavirus outbreak the Government introduced the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS).

The Scheme has paid taxable grants worth 80% of someone’s average monthly trading profit, for a three-month period, worth up to £7,500 in total. On 30 April 2020 the Government published the Treasury Direction to HM Revenue & Customs, the statutory guidelines for HMRC to administer the SEISS. The Scheme was opened for applications on 13 May, and closed on 13 July.

On 29 May 2020 the Government announced a second round of the SEISS, with those eligible able to claim a second grant, worth 70% of their average monthly trading profit, for a further three months, capped at £6,570 in total. On 2 July a second Treasury Direction was published to this effect. Applications for the second grant were opened on 17 August, and were closed on 19 October.

On 24 September 2020 the Government announced an extension to the SEISS to be introduced in November, to cover the six months up to the end of April 2021. The SEISS Grant Extension would be made in two taxable grants – first to cover November to January, second to cover February to April.  

Initially it was proposed that the first of these grants would cover 20% of average monthly trading profits, capped at £1,875, but this figure has been revised three times.  On 22 October the Chancellor announced the first grant would cover 40% of average monthly trading profits, capped at £3,750. On 2 November the Chancellor announced that the payment for the first month (November) of the first grant would be set at 80% – increasing the total level of this grant to 55% of trading profits, capped at £5,160. Subsequently on 5 November the Chancellor announced that all three months of the first grant would be calculated on the basis of 80% of average trading profits, up to a maximum of £7,500.[1] On 24 November the Government published a further Treasury Direction underpinning the scheme. Applications for the third SEISS grant opened on 29 November and closed on 29 January 2021.[2]

On 3 March 2021 the Chancellor presented the 2021 Budget, and as part of this announced the SEISS would be extended until the end of September 2021.

A fourth grant will be set at 80% of 3 months’ average trading profits, paid out in a single instalment, capped at £7,500. Unlike earlier SEISS grants, the grant will take into account 2019 to 2020 tax returns and will be open to those who became self-employed in tax year 2019 to 2020. The online claims service for the fourth grant will be available from late April 2021 until 31 May 2021.

A fifth grant is to cover May to September, and the size of the grant is to be determined, in part, by the amount a claimant’s turnover has reduced in the year April 2020 to April 2021. The grant will be worth:

  • 80% of 3 months’ average trading profits, capped at £7,500, for those with a turnover reduction of 30% or more
  • 30% of 3 months’ average trading profits, capped at £2,850, for those with a turnover reduction of less than 30%.

Applications of the fifth grant are to be opened from late July.[3]

Notes : 

[1]     HM Treasury press notice, Government extends Furlough to March and increases self-employed support, 5 November 2020

[2]     Details of the eligibility criteria for the third grant are set out in, HMRC, Check if you can claim a grant through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme,  16 February 2021 [withdrawn 3 March 2021]

[3]     HMRC, Self-Employment Income Support Scheme fourth grant, 3 March 2021. See also, Budget 2021, HC 1226, March 2021 para 2.15-6

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