There is help if you’re self-employed

Ok, so this is happening. Whether you’re the ‘cool and casual’ type about the whole thing, or you’ve started to bite your nails a bit – it’s a good time to prick-up your ears and know what you need to do.

Those of us who are self-employed, it’s worthwhile lining-up your ducks now and planning how to get through the next few months.

The good news is, there is support for the self-employed. Here’s our rough guide about the key points.

How you incubate yourself and register yourself as sick will matter. You’ll need to evidence it.

Follow procedure if you feel sick

You will need to demonstrate that you’ve followed procedure if you want to claim sick allowance. Here are the rules if you actually get sick:

This following information was extracted directly from HMRC website here

1. If you have symptoms of coronavirus infection (COVID-19), however mild, do not leave your home for 7 days from when your symptoms started.

2. You do not need to call NHS 111 to go into self-isolation.

3. If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after 7 days, contact NHS 111 online.

4. You can call NHS111 to apply for a COVID-19 sick note instead of having to see your doctor.

THAT MEANS: The minute you have symptoms – isolate from Day 1. Call 111 and register yourself on that day. Then stay home for 7 days. Re-assess on Day 8.

If you do actually get sick – there is an allowance available

Self-employed can’t claim the normal sick pay – but you can claim an allowance. It’s called Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

For the self-employed who are not eligible for SSP, an ‘Employment and Support Allowance’ (ESA) will be payable, at a rate of £73.10 a week if you are over 25, for eligible people affected by coronavirus or self-isolating in line with advice from day one of sickness, rather than day eight.

You will be entitled to claim this if you are diagnosed with COVID-19.

You will need to evidence that you put yourself into self-isolation at Day 1 of your symptoms. Call 111 NHS to get a sick note.

To apply for ESA go directly to the HMRC Employment Support Allowance website here.

Be warned – if you are eligible – it can take months for your case to be assessed so be prepared for a long delay. In the meantime they can put you on an interim reduced rate.

If you’re ok to work, but you need a bank-roll

Overdrafts and loans will be available

The government have introduced the Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBLIS).

If you’re ok and you can carry on working that’s great. Keep it going. But if you might find that some of your clients can’t pay you right now, or you need extra cash to bank-roll you through the next few months, there is help if you need a short term overdraft or loan.

Banks will be giving loans (and overdrafts) to small businesses. If you’ve been previously been declined getting finance due to insufficient security – this may all change now.

Here’s whats happening – the government is backing the banks with the funding, which means that the banks are in a happier, more secure, place to lend. Therefore, the banks are in a position to say ‘yes’ to the loan when previously it may have been declined.

This scheme includes overdrafts and asset finance. Which means you can apply it to equipment & stock as well as everyday overheads and paying the wages.

Here’s the rules:

  • You can borrow from £1,000 up to £1.2m
  • You will still be eligible to repay 100% of the loan
  • You need to get the loan from a bank which is ‘CBILS’ accredited

(Remember that you’ll have to repay 100% of the money back again, so plan carefully and double check about terms and interest).

Call your bank and see what’s available to you.

Further advice available here:

Grants of £3,000 for small businesses

This applies to you if you’re claiming small business rates relief at your premises.

If you’re currently claiming Small Business Rates Relief (if the rateable value of your premises is under £12,000) then this applies to you.

You will be eligible for a £3,000 grant to help with your ‘ongoing business costs’.

The details of this still seem to be pending. Our advice would be to sign up to notifications or check the HMRC website regularly.

Paying your tax bill

They’re allowing people to spread out their tax bill payments.

Call 0800 0159 559

If you run a business or are self-employed and are concerned about paying your tax due to coronavirus, you can call HMRC’s helpline for help and advice: 0800 0159 559.

Monday to Friday 8am-8pm

Saturdays 8am – 4pm.

Here’s the direct HMRC link:

For further advice and the ‘official word’ read the HMRC Guide for Businesses

Click here for the HMRC Guide – Coronavirus Support for Businesses

Small disclaimer here – the information is changing and updating regularly. Keep an eye out on the HMRC website and sign-up to a couple of notifications.