3 March 2021
Rachel McEleney, associate tax director at Deloitte, comments on changes to the self-employment income support scheme (SEISS):
“The Chancellor has confirmed a fourth SEISS grant to cover the period from 29 January to the end of April, followed by a fifth grant from May onwards. Together these are forecast to cost over £11 billion, bringing the total cost of the scheme to over £30 billion. In order to be eligible for either of the grants, the individual’s 2019/20 tax return must have been filed by midnight on 2 March 2021.
“For eligible individuals, the fourth grant is equivalent to 80% of three months’ average profits, capped at £7,500. The tax years used for averaging can vary depending on when trading commenced and whether the individual is subject to special rules for parental leave or military reservists. Additionally, about 600,000 individuals who became self-employed during 2019/20 may now qualify for the grant if they meet the eligibility criteria for that year.
“The fifth grant will work in a similar way to the fourth, but the amount of the grant will depend on the extent to which turnover has been affected. Those whose turnover has dropped by 30% or more should be entitled to the full 80% subject to the £7,500 cap. If the drop is smaller, the grant is at 30% with a cap of £2,850.
“Unlike the previous grants, the average profits used in the calculation will generally be based on the 2019/20 profits rather than the preceding three tax years, provided profits were £50,000 or less but at least as much as non-trading income. This may be better or worse than the previous approach, depending on how 2019/20 compares with the preceding three years. If the individual does not meet the income criteria in 2019/20 in isolation (e.g. profits exceeded £50,000), but did meet the criteria for the previous grants, the previous criteria can be used.
“Some of those who were newly self-employed during 2019/20 may still fall outside the net due to the requirement for trading profits to make up at least half of their income. Income is considered for the tax year as a whole, so employment or other income received before they started trading could prevent them from meeting the income criteria.”
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Deloitte has a range of spokespeople available to comment on today’s statement. They can be reached on 020 7007 3333 or 0207 303 5054 or one of the following numbers:
• Ian Stewart – chief economist (07789 036 944)
• Amanda Tickel - head of tax policy (07920 270 964)
• Rachel McEleney - personal tax (07826 891 752)
• Zubin Patel – corporate tax (07795 968 483)
• James Warwick - employment tax (07768 178 264)
• Gareth Pritchard – indirect tax (07920 006 216)
• Mike Barber – climate change/sustainability (07920 270 964)
• Jonathan Evans – stamp duty (07818 535 803 /07789 036 944)
• Gerry Biddle – business rates (07785 381 369)
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