Coronavirus - if you're self-employed
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.
The government have said you'll be able to apply for a payment to cover income you lost from 1 February 2021 to 30 April 2021.
You can’t apply for money to cover income you lost before 1 February 2021.
We’ll update our advice when the government have announced more details about the payment.
If you have to self-isolate
The law says you have to stay at home and self-isolate if:
- you or someone you live with tests positive for coronavirus
- the NHS tell you to self-isolate because someone you had contact with has coronavirus
If you can’t work from home, you might be able to get a self-isolation payment of £500 from your local council. You can get this as well as a payment from the Self-employment Income Support Scheme.
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. 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 need to expect a significant loss of profits between 1 November 2020 and 31 January 2021 because of coronavirus. This could be because either:
you have less demand - for example, if you have fewer customers than usual
you have to temporarily stop trading - for example, if you have to stop working to care for someone
You should keep any evidence to show how you’ve been affected by coronavirus so you can prove you’ve lost income.
You’ll also have to:
- have done self-employed work in the tax year 2019-20
- be planning to do self-employed work in the tax year 2020-21
You’ll probably also need to have done self-employed work in the tax year 2018-19 and submitted your tax return. If you didn’t do self-employed work in 2018-19 you should check the scheme rules on GOV.UK.
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.
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 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
If you were paid:
- before 22 July 2020, you should tell HMRC by 20 October 2020
- on or after 22 July 2020, you should tell HMRC within 90 days of your payment date
If your company pays people through PAYE
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.
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: