5th self-employed grant: will there be another SEISS payment from HMRC, date claims may open – and who is eligible?
Self employment workers will be eligible for up to £7,500 for the fourth coronavirus payment grant - but will there be a fifth?
The treasury has confirmed that its coronavirus Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will continue to support sole traders and freelance workers.
The fourth payment covers the months of February, March and April 2021, while a further payment is being introduced to cover the summer months.
This is what we know so far.
Will there be a fifth self employment payment?
The chancellor announced that there is to be a fifth SEISS grant, to support self-employed people “through the challenging months ahead”.
Prior to the unveiling of the budget, Sunak said: "Our Covid support schemes have been a lifeline to millions, protecting jobs and incomes across the UK.
"There's now light at the end of the tunnel with a roadmap for reopening, so it's only right that we continue to help business and individuals through the challenging months ahead - and beyond."
Speaking to the House of Commons to make his Budget statement for 2021, Sunak said support for self-employed workers will continue until September 2021.
How much will I be able to claim?
The fourth SEISS grant has now been confirmed as payable at 80 per cent of monthly earnings, up to £2,500 per month – his means the one off payment to support three months of lost income will be paid at a maximum of £7,500 for the fourth payment.
While Sunak said the fourth and fifth grants will provide three months of support at 80 per cent of average trading profits, he did not mention at what amount the latter would be capped.
This has led to speculation that the scale of the scheme could be drawn back slightly, though this has not been confirmed.
The past has proven that plans are often not set in stone though: the third self employment grant was originally only offered at 20 per cent of monthly earnings in December 2020, as lockdown was supposed to lift and reopen the economy.
However, a lockdown over Christmas resulted in the support being offered at the higher rate of 80 per cent.
Who will be eligible for the fifth payment?
To make a claim to the scheme, your business must have incurred economic downturn from the impact of coronavirus, which will have caused a significant reduction to your profits.
Traders who are continuing to trade but who face restrictions which impact their profit making, or who are unable to trade are eligible to apply.
The chancellor announced that those who began sole trading in 2019 will now also be able to receive support.
To receive a grant from the government in the fourth and fifth wave of payments, the need to submit 2018-2019 self-assessment tax returns will not be necessary to apply.
Instead, 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 tax returns will be sufficient to apply.
On changes to the self-employed scheme, the Chancellor said: “When the scheme was launched, the newly self-employed couldn’t qualify because they hadn’t all filed a 2019/20 tax return.
“But as the tax return deadline has now passed, I can announce today that, provided they filed a tax return by midnight last night, over 600,000 more people, many of whom only became self-employed last year, can now claim the fourth and fifth grants.”
Other eligibility expected to continue into the fifth SEISS application include that members of a partnership can also claim, and support will be based on their share of the partnership’s profit.
How do I apply?
Applications for the fifth grantare not yet open, although the government is likely to announce when you can apply soon, with further details on how to apply for SEISS grant four expected in the coming weeks.
Applications for the scheme’s fourth grant are expected to open from April 2021 – the system will open to claim for the fifth grant from late July.
You can determine if you will be eligible by viewing the criteria on the Government website.
Guidance on how to submit proof of earning and how your trade has been impacted by the lockdown is available on the HMRC website.