Self-employed package gets cautious welcome

The new measures announced by the government to help the self-employed have been welcomed – but with a cautious message by Napthens employment partner, Oliver McCann.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the scheme will only be open ‘to those who are already self-employed and have a self-assessment tax return for 2019’ and apply to those with trading profits of up to £50,000 per year. The scheme should be accessible by ‘no later than June and capture 95 per cent of the self-employed.’

Oliver said the new Self-employed Income Support Scheme was very welcome relief for the region’s army of self-employed people.

But he warned them: “Check out the rules and the details, especially if you have only set up your business this year. The precise application of the eligibility criteria isn’t clear for these self-employed people who may not have submitted an income tax return for 2019 because they have only just created their company.

“The Chancellor is saying he will give more time for those who haven’t completed a tax return for last year but I would recommend that they check if they do qualify and what they need to do quickly.

“Some individuals who run their own business but through a limited company may also be caught between this scheme and the job retention scheme announced for employees last week on the basis that typically these individuals take their earnings as employed income up to the tax free personal allowance and the rest as dividends. They will need to check the rules which may take a week or so to be communicated, similar to the period of time to do so for the job retention scheme.

“Many of these people will be caught in their own specific circumstances so they need to get advice quickly and refer to the terms of this scheme. They should also remember that they have already had a deferral of income tax for the rest of this year so that will help with cashflow.”

If you need further advice on anything relating to self-employment or employees and the coronavirus outbreak contact a member of our employment team.