Coronavirus: Help if you’re self-employed

Self-employed joiner at work with a tablet

Find out what grants are available if you're self-employed and your business is affected by the pandemic. 

  • If you've been self-employed since April 2019 you may be eligible for the fourth and fifth grant announced on 3 March 2021.

  • If you were self-employed before April 2019 you may have received grants already. You'll also be eligible for the fourth and fifth grants announced on 3 March 2021.

To apply, visit GOV.UK.

The package in a nutshell 

If you’re self-employed or a member of a partnership and you've submitted a tax return for the tax year 2018 to 19 or 2019 to 20, you can apply for a grant of up to £7,500. 

For the first three grants, you were only eligible if you were self-employed before April 2019. The fourth and fifth grants will also be available to those who were self-employed and filed a tax return for 2019 to 20 before midnight on 2 March 2021.

If more than half of your income comes from self-employment and you earn up to £50,000 a year from this then you can apply. HMRC will ask you for information about your profits over the past three years. This is so they can work out your average monthly profit. 

There have been three grants so far, and a further two have been announced. The fourth grant will cover February 2021 to April 2021.


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I’ve already applied for a grant, am I able to apply again? 

If you’ve applied for the previous grants, you should be able to apply for future self-employment grants. 

You’ll need to prove your business has been impacted due to reduced demand because of coronavirus rather than due to self-isolating or shielding. 

You’ll also have to prove that you want to continue trading in the next tax year. 

How much can I apply for? 

You can apply for a grant of up to 80% of your average monthly profits over the last three years. This is capped at £7,500, working out at £2,500 a month. 

I’ve only been self-employed for a year, so I only have one year of accounts. Can I still claim? 

Yes. HMRC will work out your grant by looking at your accounts. 

I’ve only just gone self-employed. Can I claim? 

Unfortunately not. The government can’t calculate an average monthly income for you. The Treasury is advising people in your situation to claim Universal Credit. 

I earn some money from being self-employed, but most of what I earn comes from other sources. Can I claim? 

No. You have to earn more than 50% of your income from self-employment. 

I earn more than £50,000 a year. Can I apply for the scheme? 

No. To be eligible, you have to earn less than £50,000 a year. 

I’ve set up a limited company and pay myself through dividends. Am I covered? 

No, you’re not eligible for the scheme. To see what other support is available, check GOV.UK.

I think I’m eligible, so what should I do now? 

You’ll be able to apply for the fourth grant through GOV.UK

You’ll have to give them details of your profits for the last three years and make a declaration saying the coronavirus has impacted or stopped you from trading. 

When will I receive payments? 

Once your application has been approved, HMRC will pay the money straight into your bank account. 

Will I have to pay tax on any payment I receive? 

Yes, the grants are counted as taxable income and will also be subject to National Insurance contributions. You’ll need to declare the payments on your next tax return. 

I’m not eligible, is there any other support available? 

You could apply for Universal Credit. You should record this as part of your income for self-employment. 

Or you could consider applying for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme. For more information on this, visit GOV.UK.

I bought a business insurance policy through Am I covered? 

If you bought a business insurance policy after 20 March 2020, you won't be covered for anything that's caused by the coronavirus pandemic. 

If you have a policy that you took out before 20 March, what you're covered for will depend on your insurer. You can get more information at our partner, Simply Business.