SEISS provides a lump sum of money up to a maximum of £7,500 to cover 80 percent of average trading profits, and was introduced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak at the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March last year. As it stands, eligible self employed workers will get two more grants as part of the Treasury’s Winter Economy Plan. The third grant opened for applications on November 30, and there will be a fourth grant covering the period from February to April 2021.
But with another fresh lockdown implemented in Britain, the self employed are rightly concerned about what the future holds.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, Technical Commercial Manager at Nixon Williams, Joanna Harris said the SEISS grant is likely to be extended for a fifth turn in light of the ongoing situation.
Ms Harris explained: “The SEISS has been extended several times already and the fourth grant covers the period to April 30, 2021.
“This is in line with the CJRS (Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme), and it seems unlikely that one would be extended without the other.
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“If the coronavirus pandemic continues and the national lockdown is extended, then the schemes are likely to be too.”
Even with the vaccine providing a light at the end of the tunnel, economic recovery is likely to be slow, meaning self employed Brits won’t be able to get back on their feet quickly.
Ms Harris added: “With the roll out of the vaccines, the economy will begin to open by April.
“However, it’s important to remember that economic recovery will not be immediate and the Government should consider further support as the lockdown is eased and businesses reopen.”
On the other side of the coin, however, some experts predict the Government will not extend its support for the self employed.
Partner at Crowe UK, Simon Warne told Express.co.uk: “As we enter the third national lockdown, and following the Chancellor’s announcement of £4.6billion further lockdown grant payments, the self employed may be wondering if there is anything extra for them.
“The short answer is no, as the SEISS runs to the end of April 2021.
“We are now in the period of the third grant which covers November 1, 2020, to January 29, 2021, and that will be followed by a fourth grant for the period of February 1, 2021, to April 30, 2021. The levels of the fourth grant has yet to be set.
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“Some have said these support measures don’t go far enough and point to gaps – notably the recently self-employed and those who operate through personal service companies.”
Workers who have fallen through the cracks of SEISS are likely to be living off savings, with some undoubtedly taking on additional support.
Mr Warne added: “Additional support for these groups does not appear to be forthcoming any time soon.”
The financial services expert warned that more hardship may be coming for the self employed as tax breaks historically enjoyed by this sector of workers is likely to come under review in the upcoming Budget.
Self employed workers wanting to benefit from the SEISS grant have had to file their tax returns for the last three years.
If you weren’t eligible for the first and second grant based on the information provided in your tax return, you won’t qualify for any further SEISS support.
Mr Warne said there could be light at the end of the tunnel for workers previously left out because of tax returns.
He concluded: “With 2019/2020 Self Assessment Tax Returns due at the end of this month, we do wonder whether these might be included as a basis for access to SEISS as the previous grant rounds have been contingent on a submission of a 2018/2019 Self Assessment Tax Returns.”
“The focus for the next few weeks is likely to be on vaccine roll out and what this means for an easing of lockdown measures, which are so vital for a return to some sort of business-as-usual normality.”