Fifth round of Government support scheme opens July 2021

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 fifth round of support under the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) opens at the end of July. SoA members can apply anytime on or before 30 September 2021.

The date for opening of applications is yet to be announced. We encourage members to keep checking information and updates on the scheme here.

We will continue to lobby the Government to fix the flaws in the SEISS that have excluded so many authors and creative professionals and introduce compensation for the millions of freelancers who have missed out on financial support during the pandemic.

What you need to know

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, please note that you will be ineligible for the fifth grant.

If you are ineligible for the fifth round and you have other paid employment, the latest round of ‘furlough’ or Job Retention Scheme (JRS) opened on 1 July 2021 covering up to 70% of an employee’s wages until 30 September 2021. Find out more about JRS here

Am I eligible?

To qualify for the fifth round of SEISS support, you must show that you ‘reasonably believe’ that Covid-19 has led to a ‘significant reduction’ in your profits between 1 May 2021 and 30 September 2021.

Our advice is that members should make a claim under the fifth round unless it is clear that their income has not been affected at all by Covid-19 or the ensuing social distancing measures.

If you have secured commissions for work in recent months, you will still be able to make a claim under the fifth round. For example, authors who have been offered contracts for work during the pandemic may nonetheless have been prevented from undertaking paid visits and public appearances owing to lockdown restrictions, impacting what they might otherwise have expected to earn.

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

Important changes

The fifth round differs from the Government’s previous grants. You will usually now need to tell HMRC about your turnover so that the right grant can be calculated for and paid to you.

Turnover includes the takings, fees, sales or money earned or received by you as an author.

To make a claim under the fifth round, you will need to have two different turnover figures to hand:

  1. For the 12-month period between 1 April 2020 and 6 April 2020; and
  2. For the financial years 2019-2020 or 2018-2019.

HMRC will then compare these two figures to work out how much you should receive.

There are two levels of grant available:

  1. If your turnover is down by 30+%, you will receive 80% of your average three-month trading profits up to £7,500; but
  2. If your turnover is down by less than 30%, you will receive only 30% of your average three-month trading profits up to £2,850.

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