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Guidance and interpretation as of 5th May 2020 of the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme announced by the government for the self-employed impacted by the coronavirus. The government is yet to provide full details and this article will be updated as more information is announced. Read a full summary of COVID-19 Government Support.


If you’re self-employed and filed a self assessment tax return in 2018-19 and have trading profits of £50,000 or less, the government will cover 80% of your average monthly trading profits (over the past 3 years), up to a cap of £2,500 per month, for at least three months.

UPDATE: the scheme will be available from 13th May 2020. If you are eligible, HMRC will tell you the date you can make your claim from. See guidance below.


  • You are self-employed
  • You filed a self assessment tax return for the tax year 2018-19 (if you are late filing, you will still be eligible if you submit your tax return within 4 weeks)
  • You have annual trading profits of up to £50,000 in 2018-19 OR an average trading profit of less than £50,000 from 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19.
  • More than half of your income in these periods came from self-employment.
  • Your business has been adversely affected by coronavirus

You can check if you’re eligible to claim using HMRC’s online tool. You will need your self assessment Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) number and your national insurance number. Check your eligibility here

Eligibility guidance

I have traded for less than 3 years

If you have been trading less than 3 years, you will still be able to claim through the scheme.  HMRC will calculate your average monthly profit based on the number of months you have been trading.

I am late filing my 2018-19 tax return

If you are late filing, you will still be eligible and be able to claim under the scheme if you submit your tax return within 4 weeks (23rd April 2020).

I am a director of a limited company and pay myself via dividends and a PAYE scheme

You are not covered by this scheme but through operating a PAYE scheme, you are covered by the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – see here. However, during the pay periods you apply for support, the director would not be able to perform any revenue generating work. This would not appear feasible for many directors who run businesses through a limited company. 


The online service will be available from 13th May 2020 but this does not necessarily mean you will be able to claim from this date. Rather, if you’re eligible, HMRC will tell you the date you’ll be able to make a claim. You will be asked to leave your contact details so they can remind you when the online scheme will be available.

Use HMRC’s online tool to confirm your eligibility: click here

To make your claim, you will need your Self Assessment UTR, National Insurance number, your government gateway user ID and password and a bank account number and sort code you would like the grant paid into. 


The Chancellor announcement that the reimbursements would be received no later than the beginning of June 2020.

Cash grants will be received as a single lump sum covering the initial three month period and if approved you’ll receive your payment within 6 working days.

Other support available to the self-employed

  • The Chancellor confirmed the self-employed are eligible for the Business Interruption Loan Scheme – see here as well as the Bounce Back Loan Scheme – see here.
  • The self-employed can defer their 31st July 2020 income tax payment and next VAT payment where applicable until 2021 – see here
  • The Chancellor confirmed that the self-employed can access the welfare support universal credit system. The Chancellor announced previously that universal credit payments would rise as a result of the coronavirus.


Need support with your COVID-19 Action Plan?

Concerned about the impact the coronavirus is having on your business? 

Need help understanding what Government Support is available?


  • Book a free Business Health Check with a Chartered Accountant who will help answer your questions and review what solutions and financial support are available to your business: Book Now
  • Read our free resource on how to access the Coronavirus Government Support announced for businesses so far: Read Now
  • Access our free COVID-19 Action Plan to understand what areas of your business you need to review: Download Now
  • Have questions? Leave your details below and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible: