Who is eligible for the fourth self-employed grant?


MILLIONS of Brits who work for themselves can apply for a fourth round of Covid support cash.

The self-employment income support scheme (SEISS), which is worth up to £7,500, covers lost earnings through February, March and April as a result of coronavirus.

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A fourth round of the SEISS was confirmed in the Budget – and a fifth will followCredit: Alamy

Today is the last day for self-employed people to apply for the help.

Brits who are eligible for the support should have already been contacted by HMRC.

Eligibility depends on your latest tax return and contact will be made either by email, letter or within the online service, HMRC has said.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak confirmed the full details of the scheme’s latest instalment as part of his March Budget – including who is eligible to apply.

What help is available?

THE government has introduced the following measures to help self-employed workers and businesses during the coronavirus outbreak.

  • Income-tax deferrals: Self-assessment income tax payments, that were due in July, can be deferred to the end of January next year.
  • Coronavirus business interruption loan scheme: SMEs can get loans and overdrafts of up to £5 million for up to six years and the government with guarantee up to 80 per of these loans.
  • Grants of up to £10,000: Small firms can get grants of up to £10,000 to help with ongoing business costs.
  • VAT payments: VAT payments can be deferred for three months.
  • Tax bill help: SMEs that cannot afford their tax bills can ask HMRC for a “time to pay” arrangement so any debt collection is suspended.
  • Business rates holiday: A 12-month business rates holiday has been introduced for many businesses.

The Chancellor also confirmed that there will be a fifth and final grant available covering lost income for June, July and August.

Both the fourth and fifth grants are available for 600,000 newly self-employed workers as long as they submitted a tax return for the 2019/20 tax year by midnight on March 2, 2021

Here’s everything you need to know about the fourth SEISS grant, including who can apply and how to claim.

Who is eligible for the fourth grant?

Millions of people who work for themselves are eliglbe for the fourth grant including many who were not eligible for the first three.

When the self-employment scheme was launched in 2020, the Treasury said the help was based on tax returns for 2018-2019, the most recent year for which data was available.

This left many of the newly self-employed ineligible.

But now data for the 2019-20 tax year is available they can claim, as long as newly self-employed people submitted a tax return by midnight on March 2

Since mid-April, HMRC has been contacting newly-eligible people to verify their details and confirm the next steps.

For all self-employed people, you must be currently trading and impacted by reduced demand, or, have been trading but be temporarily unable to because of coronavirus.

You must also have been trading in both the 2019-20 and 2020-21 tax years, and intend to continue trading, to claim the fourth and fifth grants.

HMRC says that you must keep evidence that your profits have been impacted and that it expects everyone to make “an honest assessment about whether you reasonably believe your business will have a significant reduction in profits”.

It says that the significant reduction must be between 1 February 2021 and 30 April 2021.

There is also more guidance with examples that can help you assess this on gov.uk.

Other criteria that you have to to meet includes:

  • You must have been earning more than half of your total income from self-employment.
  • Your trading profit must have been less than £50,000 a year.

You don’t need to have applied for an earlier grant to get the fourth grant.

When do applications close?

Claims for the fourth grant worth up to £7,500 opened in late April.

There was no official launch date for the scheme with the government trying to stagger people’s applications.

Instead, HMRC should have contacted those who are eligible by email, letter or within the online service to give them an exact date of when they can apply.

But claims must be made by June 1.

MoneySavingExpert Martin Lewis criticised Mr Sunak for not making the claim date earlier.

But the Government said it needed more time because hundreds of thousands more people are now eligible for the help.

Unlike previous grants, people who became self-employed in 2019-20 have been able to make a claim through SEISS as long as they filed a tax return by March 2.

Applications for the fourth grant opened later compared to previous support.

For example, the third SEISS grant covered November, December and January with applications opening in November.

Previous grants have also had a longer time-frame for making a claim.

Fourth grant applicants will have had roughly just over one month to claim, based on the late-April opening and June 1 deadline.

The third grant opened for applications on November 30 last year with a deadline of January 29 this year – a two month window for making a claim.

The system for the fifth grant will be open from July.

How much is the fourth grant and how much do I get?

The latest grant is worth up to 80% of average trading profits over three months, capped at a maximum of £7,500.

Average trading profits are calculated based on previous tax returns from up to the past four years.

HMRC have provided a helpful example in their latest guidance if average trading profits over the last four years were £42,000.

  1. Start with your average trading profit (£42,000).
  2. Divide by 12 = £3,500.
  3. Multiply by 3 = £10,500.
  4. Work out 80% of £10,500 = £8,400. You’ll receive £7,500 due to the cap.

There is also more detailed guidance on gov.uk.

How to get debt help for free

THERE are lots of groups who can help you with your problem debts.

  • Citizens Advice – 0808 800 9060
  • StepChange – 0800 138 1111
  • National Debtline – 0808 808 4000
  • Debt Advice Foundation – 0800 043 4050

You can also find information about Debt Management Plans (DMP) and Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVA) on the Money Advice Service website and on the Government’s Gov.uk site.

Speak to one of these organisations – don’t be tempted to use a claims management firm that will claim it can write-off lots of your debts in return for a large up-front fee.

For the fifth grant, people will continue to receive grants worth three months of average profits but the amount will depend on how severely your business has been affected.

People whose turnover has fallen by 30% or more will continue to receive the full 80% for the fifth grant.

People whose turnover has fallen by less than 30% will therefore have less need of taxpayer support and will receive a 30% grant, capped at £2,850.

How do I apply for the fourth grant?

To apply for the grant, you need to make your claim via the Gov.uk website once you get your date from HMRC.

Coronavirus scams are common and you should check any contact from HMRC is genuine.

Self-employed workers need the following information to hand to claim:

  • Your self assessment unique taxpayer reference (UTR) – if you do not have this find out how to get your lost UTR
  • National insurance number – if you do not have this find out how to get your lost national insurance number
  • Government Gateway user ID and password – if you do not have a user ID, you can create one when you make your claim
  • UK bank details (only provide bank account details where a Bacs payment can be accepted)
  • You may also be asked questions about your passport, driving licence or information held on your credit file

Furlough will run until September with 80% of wages paid as the country gradually reopens.

In other news, Martin Lewis has warned that vulnerable Brits are missing out on Universal Credit as they struggle to wade through paperwork.

We’ve also put together a complete guidde on how to fix your coronavirus-hit finances.

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