SEISS Extended: The Last Round and What You Need to Know Now
Despite the final stage of England’s lockdown lifting measures being pushed back four weeks to July 19, 2021, the self-employed income support scheme (SEISS) is not expected to be extended.
All social constraints in England were supposed to be lifted on June 21st, according to the government’s lockdown roadmap. However, due to the recent increase in Covid cases, this deadline has been delayed until at least July 19, meaning that some workers will continue to lose work opportunities or be unable to work at all.
The fifth SEISS grant, which covers lost earnings from May to September, is currently the last of the financial assistance available to self-employed workers, but applications will not be available until late July. The deadline for the fourth grant was June 1st.
HMRC should contact anyone who is eligible by mid-July to let them know when they can claim, but if you don’t hear anything and believe you are entitled to a reimbursement, you should check the government’s online claims service.
Here, we’ll go over SEISS self-employment assistance and what it could mean for your finances, as well as how to avoid becoming a victim of a scam.
About the Fifth SEISS Grant
The fifth SEISS grant is the government’s final one, and it will be available to apply for starting in late July – the exact date has yet to be determined.
The amount of money you’ll get from this grant will be determined by how much money you’ve lost in turnover. If it has been reduced by 30% or more, you will receive a grant of up to 80% as usual.
The fifth grant will be worth 30% of lost earnings subject to a limit of £2,850 for those whose turnover has been decreased by less than 30%.
The fourth SEISS grant was worth up to £7,500 and covered up to 80% of monthly average profits in February, March, and April. This is now closed for applications.
How Much Will Self Employed Workers Get This Time?
The majority of your eligibility and grant amount is determined by looking at your 2019-20 tax return to see if your trading profits exceed £50,000 and equal or exceed your non-trading income.
If you’re not eligible based on your 2019-20 tax return, HMRC will look at your tax returns from the previous three years.
To calculate your average three-month income, you’ll need tax returns from all four tax years; if you have a gap in the years you’ve traded, only the most recent tax returns will be used.
To calculate your three-month average income, divide your average annual profit by 12 and multiply by three. Your grant will cover up to 80% of this amount.
Am I SEISS Eligible?
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the United Kingdom currently has 5.02 million self-employed workers, many of whom would have been among the first to feel the effects of the coronavirus outbreak’s restrictions.
To apply for the SEISS fifth round, you must be a self-employed individual or a member of a partnership who meets the following criteria:
- In 2019-20 you traded, and intend to trade again in 2020-21.
- Have a yearly trading profit of less than £50,000
- Self-employment accounts for the majority of your income (50 percent or more).
- By midnight on March 2, 2021, you must have filed a tax return for the 2019-20 tax year.
If I Receive SEISS Funds, Will I Have to Pay Them Back?
The money received through the self-employed income support scheme will not be required to be repaid.
However, the Chancellor has previously stated that the taxation of self-employed workers may need to be reconsidered.
The Chancellor has previously stated that the equal level of assistance received by employed and self-employed workers may lead to future questions about whether self-employed workers should pay the same level of National Insurance.
However, as per the 2021 Budget, this is unlikely to happen anytime soon, with Class 4 National Insurance rates remaining unchanged in 2021-22.
Avoiding SEISS Scams
Unfortunately, the coronavirus outbreak has resulted in an increase in all kinds of scams. In fact, according to the City of London Police, they’ve seen a 400% increase in scams as a result of coronavirus-related fraud according to figures they released in March 2021.
Scams involving HMRC have been around for a while, so it’s pretty obvious that fraudsters are trying to take advantage of the self-employed income support scheme.
If you think you are SEISS eligible this round, HMRC will contact you to let you know if you qualify for the scheme. It will send you a link to an online form where you must enter your bank account information. HMRC will then make a payment to you directly into the bank account you specified.
If you’re contacted and told to do something different, you should probably ignore it. You can call HMRC’s helpline or use its webchat services to see if it’s really them contacting you if you want to confirm your suspicions are correct.
You should also be very wary of phone calls claiming to be from HMRC, and read the details of any email correspondence you receive carefully. There are no announced plans for HMRC to ring anyone about their SEISS eligibility, so such calls are almost certainly a scam.
What Other Help is Still Available for Self Employed Workers?
Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced in the Budget on March 3, 2021, that the government would provide an additional £5 billion in funding to businesses that had to close due to the recent lockdowns.
When businesses in the hospitality and leisure sectors, including personal care, are allowed to reopen, the new Restart Grant will provide up to £6,000 to non-essential retail businesses and up to £18,000 to businesses in the hospitality and leisure sectors.
Mr Sunak announced £4.6 billion in new government grants to help businesses during the national lockdown on January 5, 2021.
This includes £9,000 one-time grants for retail, hospitality, and leisure businesses, as well as a £594 million discretionary fund for other affected businesses.
What Is the Recovery Loan Scheme?
You may have also heard of the Recovery Loan Scheme.
The government-backed recovery loan scheme, which was first announced in the Budget on March 3, can be paid out to any companies still trading in the UK that have been impacted by Covid-19.
The government will back up to 80% of the loans, allowing for payouts of up to £10 million.
The loans are intended to assist businesses in getting back on track as lockdown measures are eased, but businesses can decide how to spend the funds.
Businesses can get term loans and asset finance for three months to six years, as well as overdrafts and invoice finance for three months to three years, under the scheme.
There are fees and charges, as well as interest of up to 14.99 percent.
The British Business Bank website lists accredited lenders, but it recommends that business owners first contact their own finance provider to see if they offer the scheme.
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