The online claim service for the self-employed will open next week on May 13 – providing much needed support for self-employed individuals across the UK.
It comes nearly six weeks after Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the support package. Originally, payments weren’t going to be made until June, but this is now being brought forward, and it’s possible that some people could receive their grant in the next couple of weeks.
The support is genuine assistance for the self-employed and will be particularly welcome for those who do not have premises and have therefore not been eligible for other grants.
The Government suggests that 95 per cent of self-employed people will be covered by this provision, but quite how accurate their numbers are I’m not sure.
We’re finding quite a few clients who will not be eligible, and there are people who will still be without support.
For example, those who are not covered might include people who started self-employment during the last tax year and those who work through personal service companies.
People using personal service companies may consider themselves self-employed, but because it’s a corporate structure they cannot benefit from these payments. They may have limited support through the furlough scheme.
Those who are yet to file tax returns for 2018/19 will not get any anything, but they have had plenty of warning to get those returns in.
The mechanics of the scheme are broadly similar to furloughing, but self-employed can still work to keep their business going.
Unfortunately, there is no provision for the higher self-employed earner, unlike with furloughing. If they had a high salary, they would at least get £2,500, but that’s not the case for self-employed.
It’s unfortunate that the provision has not been extended a little bit.
HMRC began the process of contacting people this week. We have tested the online eligibility checker ourselves. It appears to work and is simple to use.
We’re hopeful the application process will be smooth and there shouldn’t be many teething problems.
There could be issues for those who are yet to set up a government gateway.
I would strongly urge people to set the gateway up now if they haven’t done so already, or make sure you have the details to hand if you already have one. Then you’ll be in a position to act speedily once you’re told the date from you can apply.
We notified all our self-employed clients immediately after the announcement and many came back and asked us to look at certain scenarios.
The rules are strict. Unfortunately, if you do not qualify, you do not qualify. There isn’t any manouevering to try and benefit from this.
I think for some people the support this much needed support could have come a lot earlier, but we understand that it takes time to work things out.
The team here at Burgis & Bullock is here to support you with any questions you have regarding the funding that you are able to access as a self-employed individual.