Self-employed workers, including on-demand drivers like yourself, are particularly hard-hit by the pandemic’s economic impact. In early 2020, The Government introduced the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, aka. SEISS – a series of grants you can apply for if you’ve lost income due to the epidemic as a self-employed worker or as a member of a partnership.
The scheme has recently been extended with the fifth and final grant.
This guide has all the information you need as a rideshare driver to access the support scheme. Shout out to our tax specialist partner GoSimpleTax for helping us get the facts straight so we can deliver useful content and get your career into gear.
The information in this guide has been gathered from online government sources and it’s subject to change as the pandemic evolves. Check with HMRC for any updates.
Am I eligible for the self-employed support scheme?
Self-employed support scheme requirements
You can apply for the British Government’s COVID-19 self-employed support scheme if:
- Your self-employed trading profits are less than £50,000 and amount for more than half of your total income*
- You’ve submitted your Income Tax Self Assessment tax return for the 2019-2020 tax year on or before March 2nd 2021
- You traded in 2020-21 tax year and want to continue trading in 2021-22
- You’ve lost trading profits due to COVID-19
*This can be calculated as the three-year average previous trading periods, or solely for the las taxt year. HMRC will only use those years for which you filed a Self-Assessment tax return.
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How much support can I get?
Please note that this article includes historical data, also including the grants that are no longer open to claim. Check the application deadlines.
First grant (March – May 2020)
The first grant for the March-May period covered 80% of your average profit – much like employee furlough. However, the grant was capped at £2,500/month, and was taxable, so you had to declare it on your Self Assessment tax return. The grant was wired directly to your bank account, in one instalment.
The application deadline for the March-May grant was July 13th 2020.
Second grant (June – August 2020)
From June to August, this percentage dropped to 70% and it was capped at £6,570 total.
To be eligible for the second grant you had to confirm that your business had been adversely affected by COVID-19 after July 14th 2020.
Applications for this second grant had opened on August 17th with a deadline on October 19th.
Third grant (November 2020 – January 2021)
You were eligible to claim the third grant only if you were eligible for the first two based on the information in your Self Assessment tax returns, and your business had a new or continuing impact from coronavirus between 1 November 2020 and 29 January 2021.
The third taxable grant was worth 80% of your average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months’ worth of profits, and capped at £7,500 in total.
The application deadline was 29 January 2021.
Fourth grant (February – April 2021)
To be eligible for the fourth grant, you had to confirm that your business had suffered reduced activity, capacity or demand between February 1st and April 30th 2021.
If you started self-employment for the first time in 2019/20, then your trading profits would be divided by 12 (irrespective of when you started trading), multiplied by 3, and you’ receive 80% of this amount as self-employed income support (capped at £7,500).
Applications for the fourth grant closed on June 1st.
Fifth grant (July – September 2021)
The fifth grant is different from previous grants. In most cases, when you make your claim you’ll need to tell HMRC about your business turnover so they can work out your grant amount.
If you’re eligible for the fifth and final self-employment support grant, HMRC will contact you from mid-July to give you a personal claim.
The value of the grant is calculated based on how much your turnover has been reduced in the year 2020-21 compared to before the pandemic.
- If your turnover has fallen by 30% or more, you’ll will continue to receive the full grant (80% of three months’ average trading profits, capped at £7,500)
- If your turnover has fallen by less than 30%, you’ll receive a 30% grant, capped at £2,850
HMRC will not ask you for any turnover figures if you started trading in 2019 – 2020 and did not trade in the tax years 2018 – 2019, 2017 – 2018, or 2016 – 2017, and you’ll fall into the first category above.
Turnover includes the takings, fees, sales or money earned or received by your business.
To make a claim, you’ll need your turnover figures for a pre-covid year, that represents normal trading (2019 – 2020 or 2018 – 2019).
You can apply anytime from your personal claim date until September 30th, 2021. The online claims service will open from late July.
Can I claim the grant if I’m still driving?
Yes. You’re eligible for the self-employment support if you’ve lost profits because of the pandemic or the consequences of the lockdowns, as long as as you want to keep trading in the 2021/22 tax year, and your average self-employed trading profit amounts for more than half of your total income (not exceeding £50,000 per year). You can even take up other employment if necessary, provided that the SEISS payments still cover the majority of your income.
How to claim self-employed financial support?
Grants under the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme are not counted as ‘access to public funds’, and you can claim the grant on all categories of work visa.
You don’t need to repay the grants if you’re eligible, but they’re subject to Income Tax and self-employed National Insurance, so you must report them on your Self Assessment tax return. You must keep evidence to support your claim.
Find out more about the Self Employed Income Support and claim a grant online
Important: scammers are abusing the current situation and the vulnerability of the self-employed, so be careful who you share your banking or personal information with. This grant will only be available through gov.uk
How and when will I get the money?
Once you’ve applied, HMRC will contact you again to tell you the exact sum you’re eligible for as well as the expected payment date.
Does this income affect my Universal Credit?
Yes, if you claim Universal Credit, you’ll need to mention the grant you receive through this scheme as income.
Special thanks to GoSimpleTax for their expert advice in creating this article. Check out their Self Assessment tax return calculator where you can track your tax liability in real-time and log your expenses on the go.
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A word on health and safety
The safety of our members and staff remains our number one priority. We’re working tirelessly to align our operations with the Government’s restrictions and advice, so we can protect each other, assume social responsibility, and do our part in easing the pressure on the healthcare system.
Take a moment to read our safety guide:
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