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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 £2,500 per month from the government. This is called the Self-employment Income Support Scheme.

If you're eligible, you can get money to cover lost income for 3 months. You have until 13 July 2020 to apply.

If your business is still affected by coronavirus in August, you’ll be able to apply to the scheme again. You’ll be able to apply even if you didn’t apply for a first payment.

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

If you became self-employed on or after 6 April 2019, you might be eligible for the Scottish government's Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund

Check if you can use 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. The government will look at your tax returns to see if you’re eligible - if you’re not sure you can check the rules on GOV.UK.

You’ll also have to:

  • have been affected by coronavirus - you won’t need to give evidence of this when you apply
  • have submitted your tax return for at least 1 of these tax years: 2016-17, 2017-18 or 2018-19
  • have earned self-employed income in the tax years 2018-19 and 2019-20
  • be planning to trade in the tax year 2020-21

If you don’t think you’re eligible

You can check what benefits you can get.

Check how much you’ll get

HMRC will calculate how much you should get based on your self-employed profits. You’ll get 1 payment to cover lost income for 3 months. If you apply to the scheme again in August you’ll get a second payment.

You can find out more about the scheme rules on GOV.UK 

Applying for the Self-employment Income Support Scheme 

You can apply for the scheme on GOV.UK.

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

If HMRC accept your application, they say they’ll pay you 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 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

You can apply to the Scottish government's Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund if you:

  • became self-employed on or after 6 April 2019
  • were getting over 50% of your income from self-employment
  • have lost revenue because of coronavirus and are suffering financially
  • haven't got any help from other coronavirus business support schemes such as the Self-employment Income Support Scheme
  • don't get working age benefits such as Universal Credit, Statutory Sick Pay, Employment and Support Allowance, Jobseeker's Allowance, Income Support or you've applied for but not yet started getting Universal Credit or an advance payment of Universal Credit
  • don't have savings to meet your basic needs.

If you qualify, you'll get a grant of £2,000 from your local council. You can only apply once.

If you get a grant, you can continue to work or take on other employment, including volunteering.

Find out how to apply to the Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund on the Find Business Support website. You have until 10 July 2020 to apply.

Even if you get the grant, you might be able to get other benefits, like Universal Credit. You'll need to apply for the Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund before applying for other benefits. Check what 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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