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Coronavirus support – how we can help

Support during coronavirus COVID-19 helpline: 0345 120 3779

The tax charities TaxAid and Tax Help for Older People are continuing to work hard to support individuals with their tax difficulties during this pandemic.

In addition to our ongoing work, we are also offering targeted support for those affected by the impact of Covid-19, who are self-employed and also those who need urgent help to understand and implement the furlough scheme for themselves.

The information below outlines how we can help those who need support to get the funding they are eligible for.

Do you need help with your tax returns?

Call us on 0345 120 3779 or email help@taxaid.org.uk

If you’ve been affected by coronavirus, cannot afford an accountant or cannot access the support you usually do to file your tax. Perhaps you know you will face a large tax bill in January but have no idea how much it will be. Filing your tax return now means you can work out how much you owe in tax and start making plans as to how you will be able to pay it. Get in touch – we can help.

Self Employment Support Scheme

The Government is offering financial help through its Self-employment Income Support Scheme. Part of the eligibility for this funding was that 2019/20 tax returns had to be submitted to HMRC by the 2nd March 2021. If you did not meet this deadline, you are unlikely to be eligible for the financial help and will need to seek other support. Citizens Advice has information on this: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/work/coronavirus-if-youre-self-employed/

I am eligible for the financial support – what happens next?

The application window for the earlier grants is now closed, if you have not already claimed you will be unable to claim the first four grants. However, you may still be able to make a claim for the fifth grant.

You’ll be able to claim the fifth grant up until 30th September 2021.

Eligibility will be worked out the same way as the earlier grants, but the way the grant is calculated has now changed. There are two levels of grant, either 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; or 30% of your average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months' worth of profits and capped at £2,850.

How much you will be entitled to depends on how much your turnover has reduced in the year to April 2021 as compared to either 2019/20 or 2018/19.

If your turnover has reduced by more than 30% you’ll be entitled to an 80% grant and if it has reduced by less than 30% you’ll be entitled to a 30% grant.

You can find out more about calculating your turnover here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/work-out-your-turnover-so-you-can-claim-the-fifth-seiss-grant

You can claim for the fifth grant even if you did not make a claim for the earlier grants.

The grant application itself is relatively straightforward, but you will need to make sure you have your Government Gateway ID and password set up ready if you are claiming online. We have more information on what you can do to prepare for the grant claim, including setting up the Government Gateway ID HERE.

If, for any reason you cannot claim for your grant online, you can instead call the HMRC helpline on 0800 024 1222 and select option 2. The line is open Monday to Friday 8am to 4pm. Please note this line is likely to get very busy, so it is best to try and call early if you can.

If you have any questions

You can call our dedicated helpline 0345 120 3779 Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm

The Low Income Tax Reform Group (LITRG) is also keeping up to date with changes as they occur and has a range of useful guides and information depending on your circumstances on their website: https://www.litrg.org.uk/tax-guides/coronavirus-guidance

Parental leave:

HMRC have amended the eligibility criteria for the self employment income support (SEISS) grant for those who were self employed in 2018/19 but whose trading profits reported for the tax year 2018 to 2019 were affected by having a child in 2018/19.

You may be able to make a claim if having a new child either:

  • affected the trading profits or total income you reported for the tax year 2018 to 2019
  • meant you did not submit a Self Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018 to 2019  ie  under the eligibility criteria to this point, if there was no self assessment return for 18/19 the eligibility criteria was not met and you were not eligible for a grant.  The change is therefore that you are now eligible if this gap in your record is as a result of having a new child.

And for the calculation:

Parents who fall into this category will now be able to use either their 2017-18 or both their 2016-17 and 2017-18 self-assessment returns as the basis for their eligibility for the SEISS. Ie previously the calculation was perceived as discriminating against new parents who would normally take longer away from work following having a new child, but this dip in profits had an impact on the level of SEISS available.  The choice now between using the average profits of 16/17 and 17/18 or 17/18 profits is to try and work around this.

For this scheme having a new child is any of the following:

  • being pregnant
  • giving birth (including a stillbirth after more than 24 weeks of pregnancy) and the 26 weeks after giving birth
  • caring for a child within 12 months of birth if you have parental responsibility
  • caring for a child within 12 months of adoption placement

You must have been self-employed in the tax year 2017 to 2018 and have submitted your Self Assessment tax return for that year.

You must also meet all other eligibility criteria.

You’ll need to confirm to HMRC that being a new parent affected your trading profits or total income in the tax year 2018 to 2019, and provide supporting evidence. You’ll be able to do this for the first and second grant using an online form in August 2020.