Coronavirus: How your circumstances affect eligibility for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

News article

This guidance was withdrawn on 1 October 2021.

Claims for the fifth SEISS grant have now closed. The last date for making a claim was 30 September 2021.

You can:

If you received a grant payment, you must report this on your tax return. Find out how to report SEISS grants.


If your tax return is late, amended or under enquiry

If your tax return is late
If you submitted your Self Assessment tax return for the tax year 2019 to 2020 on or after 3 March 2021 you’ll not be able to claim.

When working out your eligibility or the amount you’ll get, HMRC will not take into account Self Assessment tax returns for the tax years 2016 to 2017, 2017 to 2018 or 2018 to 2019 if they were submitted on or after 3 March 2021.

If your return is under enquiry
HMRC will use the information in your original tax return if it:

  • is under enquiry
  • has been part of a contract settlement

If you have amended your tax return

When working out your eligibility or the amount you’ll get, HMRC will not take into account any amendments made to submitted returns for the tax years 2016 to 2017, 2017 to 2018, 2018 to 19 and 2019 to 2020 if the amendments were submitted on or after 3 March 2021.

If an amendment to your tax return on or after 3 March 2021 lowers the amount you’re eligible for, you’ll need to tell HMRC within 90 days. You may then need to pay back some or all of the grant.

If you're a member of a partnership

Each partner in your partnership will need to make a claim based on their own circumstances. HMRC will work out your eligibility based on your share of the partnership’s trading profits.

If the partnership rules require the grant to be paid into the partnership pot, the partnership should give the full grant back to you. This should be treated as the partnership’s income in the same way as any other income.

Example of how HMRC works out your partnership eligibility.

If having a new child affected your 2019 to 2020 tax return

You may be able to make a claim if having a new child affected your 2019 to 2020 tax return. For this scheme having a new child means:

  • 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

If you have had a new child, you may be able to claim if:

  • the trading profits and total income reported in your 2019 to 2020 tax return mean you do not meet the eligibility criteria for the grant
  • you did not submit a 2019 to 2020 tax return

Before making a claim, you must contact HMRC to verify that having a new child has affected your eligibility.

To make a claim you must have submitted a 2018 to 2019 tax return and meet all other eligibility criteria.

How HMRC will work out your eligibility and grant

HMRC will work out your eligibility based on your Self Assessment tax returns for one of the following:

  • the average of the tax years 2016 to 2017, 2017 to 2018 and 2018 to 2019
  • the average of the tax years 2017 to 2018 and 2018 to 2019, if you did not submit a tax return in 2016 to 2017
  • the tax year 2018 to 2019, if you did not submit a tax return in 2017 to 2018

HMRC will work out your grant using an average of up to 3 years’ trading profits. They will take into account trading profits from the 2016 to 2017, 2017 to 2018 and 2018 to 2019 tax years.

If you have a gap in the years you have traded, HMRC will only use your most recent returns after the gap to work out your eligibility and grant amount.

If you have loans covered by the loan charge and have not agreed a settlement with HMRC

If you have received payment for work or services in the form of a loan or other form of credit covered by the loan charge, you may be able to claim a grant if you were self-employed and submitted a 2017 to 2018 tax return.

To be eligible for the grant, you must also have submitted your 2019 to 2020 tax return on or before 2 March 2021 and:

  • continued to trade in tax years 2020 to 2021
  • intend to continue to trade in 2021 to 2022

HMRC will work out your eligibility and average trading profits based on either:

  • the average of the tax years 2016 to 2017 and 2017 to 2018
  • the tax year 2017 to 2018, if you were not self-employed in the tax year 2016 to 2017

The guidance above does not apply if your loans have been removed from the loan charge because of the changes made by the government in Finance Act 2020 following the loan charge independent review or you have agreed a contract settlement. You should follow the normal guidance.

If you claim averaging relief

If you’re a self-employed farmer or market gardener, or creative author or artist HMRC will use the amount of profit before the impact of the averaging claims to work out:

  • if you can claim a grant
  • how much grant you’ll receive

If you’re a military reservist

Specified reservist activities are:

  • full-time service commitment
  • additional duties commitment
  • call-out

You may be able to make a claim if you carried out specified reservist activities for at least 90 days in the tax year 2019 to 2020, and they affected your trading profits or total income for that year. One of the following must apply:

  • you submitted a tax return for the year 2019 to 2020
  • you were not able to submit a 2019 to 2020 return but you submitted a 2018 to 2019 return

HMRC will work out your eligibility based on your Self Assessment tax returns for one of the following:

  • the average of the tax years 2016 to 2017, 2017 to 2018 and 2018 to 2019
  • the average of the tax years 2017 to 2018 and 2018 to 2019, if you did not submit a tax return in 2016 to 2017
  • the tax year 2018 to 2019, if you did not submit a tax return in 2017 to 2018

HMRC will work out your grant using an average of up to 3 years’ trading profits. They will take into account trading profits from the 2016 to 2017, 2017 to 2018 and 2018 to 2019 tax years.

If you have a gap in the years you have traded, HMRC will only use your most recent returns after the gap to work out your eligibility and grant amount.

HMRC will not include any reservist income from the Ministry of Defence when working out your eligibility.

You must meet all other eligibility criteria.

If you started self-employment on or after 6 April 2019
You may also be eligible to make a claim if you started self-employment on or after 6 April 2019 and you have submitted your Self Assessment tax return for the tax year 2019 to 2020 on or before 2 March 2021.

HMRC will work out your eligibility based on the information in your 2019 to 2020 Self Assessment tax return. HMRC will not include any reservist income from the Ministry of Defence when working out your eligibility.

If you’re non-resident or chose the remittance basis

You may be eligible for the grant if you’re self-employed and are either:

Your UK trading profits for 2019 to 2020 must be less than £50,000 and at least equal to your other worldwide income in that tax year.

If you’re not eligible based on your 2019 to 2020 tax return, HMRC will then look at your average UK trading profits and worldwide income for the tax years 2016 to 2017, 2017 to 2018, 2018 to 2019 and 2019 to 2020.

If you have a gap in the years you have traded, HMRC will only use your most recent returns after the gap to work out your eligibility and grant.

If you’re non-resident in the UK or chose the remittance basis and are subject to the loan charge you must confirm to HMRC either:

  • if you traded in the tax years 2016 to 2017 and 2017 to 2018 your average UK trading profit for those tax years is no more than £50,000 and the sum of those trading profits is at least equal to the sum of your other worldwide income in those tax years
  • if you did not trade in the tax year 2016 to 2017, your UK trading profits for the tax year 2017 to 2018 are no more than £50,000 and are at least equal to your other worldwide income in that tax year

State aid

The Northern Ireland Protocol states that EU State aid rules will apply in certain, limited circumstances which are relevant to trade between Northern Ireland and the EU.

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme is a state aid approved under the European Commission’s Temporary Framework (section 3.10), designed to respond to coronavirus (COVID-19).

First published 16 June 2020