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Coronavirus - if you're self-employed

This advice applies to Scotland

If your business has been affected by coronavirus you might be able to get money from the government, for example if you've:

  • lost out on income
  • had to stop working to look after someone

You could get 80% of your average profits up to a maximum of £7,500 for 3 months from the government. This is called the Self-employment Income Support Scheme.

You won’t have to pay the money back, but you’ll have to pay tax on it.

You can apply for a payment to cover income you lost from 1 May 2021 to 30 September 2021.

You must apply for the payment by 30 September 2021 - the government will contact you to tell you when you can apply.

You can’t apply for money to cover income you lost before 1 May 2021 because the deadline has passed.

If you have to self-isolate

If you can’t work from home, you might be able to get a self-isolation support grant of £500 from your local council. You can get this as well as a payment from the Self-employment Income Support Scheme.

Check what benefits you can get if you're self-isolating.

Find out more about when you need to self-isolate on NHS inform.

Check if you're eligible for the Self-employment Income Support Scheme

You can use the scheme if you’re self-employed or a member of a partnership. 

Your self-employed profits must not be more than £50,000 per year and they must make up at least half of your total income. You don’t need to have used the scheme before.

You'll need to meet other requirements - the government will check if you're eligible by looking at your tax returns.

You can check if you’re eligible and how much you can get on GOV.UK.

If you don’t think you’re eligible

You can check what benefits you can get.

If you get Universal Credit

You need to tell the DWP if you get money from the Self-employment Income Support Scheme, because this counts as income. Tell the DWP by making a note on your online account on GOV.UK.

Applying for the Self-employment Income Support Scheme 

The government will tell you what date you can apply from and how you can apply online. They’ll contact you by email, text message, letter or within their online service if you’ve used the scheme before.

If you can’t apply online, you can check how to contact HMRC for help on GOV.UK.

If your application is accepted, you should be paid within 6 working days. 

If you need money while you’re waiting, you can check what benefits you can get

You’re allowed to keep working and still get money from the scheme. You can also get another job as an employee somewhere else. But you should remember:

  • you’re only eligible for the scheme if you plan to continue trading in this tax year - you might have to pay the money back if you apply and then stop trading
  • the money you get from the scheme is taxable income, so you might end up paying more tax

If you have problems with your payments

Tell HMRC as soon as possible, for example if you think you weren’t paid enough. You can check how to contact HMRC on GOV.UK.

If you think you were paid too much or shouldn’t have been paid at all

You should tell HMRC and pay the money back on GOV.UK. If you can’t tell them online, you can check other ways to contact HMRC on GOV.UK.

You should tell HMRC within 90 days of getting the payment.

If your company pays people through PAYE

You can apply for a grant to pay them 80% of their wages under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme on GOV.UK. 

If you need help while you’re waiting for money through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, you might also be able to use the Business Interruption Loan Scheme on GOV.UK.

If you're newly self-employed

If you applied for the Scottish government's Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund, you can check the status of your application by contacting Find Business Support. This fund is now closed for new applications.

You can check what other benefits you can get.

Check if something is a scam

Make sure you only use trusted sources of information about coronavirus.

If you see emails about coronavirus from someone you don't know, don't click on any links or pay for anything. 

Never move your money into a ‘safe account’ if someone asks you to - even if they say they’re from the police or your bank.

You can protect your business by checking if something is a scam.

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