Update on Government Covid-19 support schemes

Martin Reed

Martin Reed

Martin leads the SoA's Communications team. He oversees our strategic communications and campaign-based activities, including PR, social media, events and partnerships.
The third round of support under the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) is still open. Members must apply before Friday 29 January 2021.

The basics

If you were eligible for rounds one and two of the SEISS, you will be eligible for the third round, subject to meeting two additional tests – ‘reasonable belief’ and ‘significant reduction’ – explained below.

If you were not eligible for either of the previous SEISS grants based on your Self-Assessment tax returns, you will be ineligible for the third grant. We continue to lobby the Government to provide more support and widen criteria.

If you are ineligible for the third round because more than 50% of your income comes from paid employment, the ‘furlough’ or Job Retention Scheme (JRS) remains open until 30 April 2021.

Am I eligible to claim?

Our advice is that members should make a claim under the third round unless it is clear that their income has not been affected at all by Coronavirus or the ensuing social distancing measures.

If you have secured commissions for work over the winter months, you will still be able to make a claim under the third round. For example, an author offered a contract for work in November 2020 may nonetheless have been prevented from undertaking paid visits and public appearances throughout November and December that would have increased their income further still.

For more guidance on HMRC rules on ‘reasonable belief’ and ‘significant reduction’, check out the Worked Examples on Gov.uk. You can also get in touch with us if you have any questions.

What can I claim and how?

The third round is 80% of your average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment by HMRC up to a maximum of £7,500 (£2,500 per month).

The online service is now open here and members must claim before 29 January 2021. Payments are subject to Income Tax and self-employed National Insurance and must be reported as income on your 2020-21 tax returns.

What is the SoA doing to help?

We continue to lobby the Government to fix the flaws in the SEISS that have excluded so many authors and creative professionals, and introduce a fairer replacement scheme – or further extend the SEISS – until 30 April 2021 consistent with the furlough scheme. We will also press for an extension of the scheme to cover the latest lockdowns across the UK.

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