700,000 self-employed potentially eligible for SEISS urged to claim grant before 13 July deadline

Around 700,000 individuals who have yet to claim the government’s first Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant have been urged to apply before the deadline closes on July 13.

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The latest government statistics (published 5 July) show that over 2.7 million individuals have claimed the grant so far, with the total value of claims made standing at £7.7 billion.

However, with the first grant available from the scheme closing for applications on Monday 13 July, IPSE (the Association of Independent Professionals & the Self-Employed) is urging eligible self-employed people who may not have made use of the scheme to make a claim.

The government initially identified some 3.4 million self-employed individuals as potentially eligible. While some of these businesses may have ceased trading since 2018-19 or not been ‘adversely affected’ by the Coronavirus, thousands of other potentially eligible applicants are yet to make use of the scheme.

Analysis of the government’s SEISS statistics suggests that while the average take-up of the scheme is now above 70%, it has so far been lowest amongst younger freelancers aged 16-24 (62%) and those over 65 (55%). Women are also less likely to have taken up the grant, with 66% claiming from the scheme so far compared to 72% of men who are potentially eligible.

The first SEISS scheme provides a grant to self-employed individuals or partnerships, worth 80% of their profits up to a cap of £2,500 per month. This is based on past tax returns - HMRC will use the average profits from applicants' 2018-19 (and 2016-17 and 2017-18, if applicable) tax returns to calculate the size of the grant.

Those who are eligible must have submitted an Income Tax Self-Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018-19; traded in the tax year 2019-20 and be trading when they apply, or would have except for COVID-19; intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020-21; have lost trading/partnership trading profits due to COVID-19; and have self-employed trading profits of less than £50,000 and more than half of their income from self-employment.

The government has announced a second SEISS grant will be available for businesses affected by the coronavirus on or after 14 July 2020. Applicants will be able to make a claim from 17 August 2020.

Alasdair Hutchison, Policy Development Manager, IPSE said: “With days to go until the deadline on 13 July, we are urging self-employed workers to double-check to see if they are eligible for the first SEISS grant.

We would particularly encourage those freelancers in groups which have shown less take-up so far – particularly younger self-employed and women – to check their eligibility if their business has been affected so they can claim a grant.

The deadline is also a reminder that SEISS has been a lifeline for millions of self-employed people. We were pleased to see the scheme extended for a second time but urge the government to make it fair and flexible going forward to avoid financial cliff-edge come August and to extend help to groups who have been excluded from support, such as company directors.”

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