As a self-employed individual you may have been able to claim up to three grants under the self-employed income support scheme (SEISS) since the start of the pandemic. Two more SEISS grants will soon be made available, capped at £7,500 each.
Each of these new grants will be based on your average trading profits as reported on your tax returns for the four years to 2019-20. You will only be eligible to claim these grants if you submitted your 2019-20 tax return by midnight on 2 March 2021 (it was due by 31 January 2021).
The extension means that if you started your business in 2019-20 you will be able to claim a SEISS grant for the first time, as long as you meet the other criteria and thresholds, which are the same as they were for the first three grants. The online facility to claim the fourth SEISS grant will open in late April.
As part of the claims process you must declare that you have suffered a significant drop in trading profits. HMRC does not quantify what ‘significant’ means but the reduction in earnings need not be enough to put you out of business as you must still be trading, or be intending to continue to trade once the Covid-19 restrictions are lifted, in order to be eligible for the SEISS grants.
A fifth SEISS grant will be available in late July 2021 but the eligibility criteria will be tighter still.
If your turnover has fallen by at least 30% you may be able get the full grant, calculated at 80% of your average trading profits, capped at £7,500. Businesses whose turnover has fallen by less than 30% will receive a grant based on 30% of average profits, capped at £2,850.
All of the SEISS grants are taxable income for your business and they will have to be declared as income on your tax returns for the tax years in which they are received.