Extended Government Covid support for self employed workers, including SEISS and help for those in the gig economy - untied

On 29 May, it was announced that SEISS will be extended to August. Those who have already applied will need to submit another application in August.

Importantly over a million people who qualify for SEISS have still not applied for it. It could be worth £14,000 to you. It is not a loan but is a grant to make up for income lost to Covid; it is subject to tax.

Self employment income support scheme (SEISS)

We know how much this matters to help self employed people get through.

  • These are grants based on your earnings in previous years
  • The first grant is worth up to £7,500; the second grant is worth up to £6,500.
  • The Government will start making payments under the SEISS to those that are eligible
  • Apply here. You will need your Unique Taxpayer Reference (10 digits) and your National Insurance Number. This will also tell you when you can apply for SEISS (you should also be contacted by HMRC to apply)
  • You will need an HMRC log in to apply (untied cannot do this for you), but you can do this through the application process
  • Money you get under the SEISS will be taxable
  • To get the SEISS support, your tax returns need to be up to date
  • You will also need to be adversely affected by Covid, and have evidence to demonstrate this

Any questions, untied is here to help although we cannot submit applications for you under the Government schemes.

Bounce back loans – up to £25k

  • If you had income last year, you could also qualify for bounce back loans
  • They are interest free for the first year and will then be at a low interest rate of 2.5%. They can be for up to 25% of what you earned in 2019 (or if you started the business recently, it will be based on recent earnings)
  • A few things to note:
    • a lot of bank terms and conditions don’t allow you to run a business through your personal accounts. Except this is exactly what many people do. So we are seeing some banks requiring you to move to a business bank account. If you don’t want to move to a business bank account, see the list on Martin Lewis’ website here which also tells you which lenders accept applications from businesses that aren’t their customers
    • the period in question is 2019, which of course doesn’t map onto a regular tax year – so you will need to estimate
    • some lenders are asking for your tax return for 2019-20 to be filed – again a reminder that untied is here to help you do that
  • Remember that while they can help you through the crisis, these are loans and will need to be repaid

Local authority grants – not yet clear

  • If you have an office property where you would normally pay business rates (or would if it weren’t for small business rates relief) then you can get a £10k grant from your local authority
  • Most self employed people wouldn’t qualify. However there is money being given to local authorities to pay at their discretion. In theory it should offer support if you work from a shared workspace like WeWork, a shared workshop or potentially even a shared kitchen. However, so far we have contacted several authorities about this and not had any clear indication what this means – and no money is being paid out. This is very disappointing as it is now several weeks since the scheme was announced.

Other options – Startup Loans

If you are a recent business (or are thinking of setting up a business) you can apply for a startup loan of up to £25k via Start Up Loans.

You will need to provide evidence of the viability of your business. The loans have a 6% fixed interest rate, and will need to be repaid. Unlike some of the other loans, the startup loans are made to you as an individual rather than to the business (in practice it makes little difference if you are a sole trader).

Benefits

You may also be entitled to benefits.

Other ways untied is helping

untied remains free during the crisis for three months to help people get on top of your taxes and filings to HMRC. We’re here with support to answer questions too

We are also campaigning on your behalf

  • untied is aware of some people who were unable to file their tax returns by the 23 April deadline despite taking action to do so. We have written to HMRC asking for leniency especially if they had been in contact to request a reminder of their Unique Taxpayer Reference before the cut-off
  • we have also encouraged using 2019/20 tax returns to help the more recently self-employed
  • the delays in payments are difficult, and it would be good to see the August application window brought forward