Editorial

Important news for the self-employed

Alison Mitchell, Chair of the Cricket Writers’ Club, with some important news for freelancers and self-employed journalists and broadcasters:

 

“The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has this evening announced a Self-Employed Income Support scheme to help the self-employed who need it most. The Sport Freelancer Collective welcomes this significant move. The scheme is not perfect however, in particular excluding anyone who only recently went self-employed, and not providing support for all who are affected by the Coronavirus outbreak.

We will be looking carefully at the details and we welcome feedback from our members across the spectrum of the Sports Media. Please email philippe.auclair.fwa@gmail.com putting SEIS in the subject line.

The Scheme

If you’re Self-Employed and your average annual profit over the last 3 years is £50,000 or less, you will be able to apply for a taxable grant worth 80% of average monthly profits over that period, up to £2500/mth. This will be payable for at least 3 months, accessible in June, whereupon a backdated lump sum payment will be made. 

To qualify, you must 

– make the majority of your income from self-employment

– have filed a Tax Return for 2018/19

– have profits of £50k or less based on last 3yrs average

You can keep working and earning as a freelancer, even after accessing this support.

But I missed the January filing deadline for my 2018/19 Tax Return

If you get your tax return in within the next 4 weeks you’ll be eligible.

But I can’t wait for my payment until June?

The measures listed at the bottom of this page are expected to help with cashflow until the grant arrives, eg tax deferrals, mortgage deferrals.

What if my circumstances are complex?

There is a lot to learn about how all this applies to: 

1) Freelancers who earn income ‘PAYE employed for tax purposes’ 

2) Directors of Limited Companies 

3) Those who earn income from a combination of those sources

 

At the SFC, we’re not financial experts, so please speak to an accountant about your personal situation

Martin Lewis, founder of Money Saving Expert has done a special edition of his TV programme on ITV (available on catch-up). He is asking the Treasury some of these questions. 

See his summary here: https://twitter.com/MartinSLewis/status/1243490513413640193?s=20

 

Paul Lewis, presenter of BBC’s Moneybox on the News Channel, is available on iPlayer. 

What if I’m excluded?

The scheme excludes a lot of people, including those who earn profits above £50,000 and still have large bills and costs to meet, and in particular, those who only recently went self-employed. The measures available to help all self-employed are listed at the bottom of this page. Most are tax/payment deferrals (and the payments will always need to be paid eventually), with Universal Credit the only income scheme.

The Sport Freelancer Collective wants to hear your feedback on the situation as it stands. Please email philippe.auclair.fwa@gmail.com putting SEIS in the subject line.

We will keep up a pressing dialogue with those in authority. As it stands, there is no upper income floor for salaried employees who may be furloughed, with the government covering 80% of their salary, up to £2,500 per month. Note however that a furloughed employee CANNOT do any other work for their employer while their job is on hold; a self-employed person can receive support and still continue to earn where they can.

As a Sole Trader or Director of a Ltd Company, you run a business and will be eligible for the Business Interruption Loan Scheme. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/explainers-52005137 Again, this is a loan, to be paid back, it doesn’t make up for lost income.

Measures to support freelancers already announced include:

– access to Universal Credit to be paid at the rate of Statutory Sick Pay £94.25/week, and suspension of the minimum income floor

– deferral of Self-Assessment income tax from July 2020 to January 2021

– deferral of this quarter’s VAT payments to June 2020

(Remember all taxes will still need to be paid, just at a later date, alongside the other taxes that will be due at that time)

– deferral of mortgage payments by 3 months (be aware your mortgage payments may then be higher when you do resume payments, depending on your arrangements) 

– Renters have been helped with £1bn of support, increasing housing benefit and Universal Credit so that Local Housing Allowance will cover at least 30% of market rents in an area 

– Some local authorities are offering deferral of Council Tax payments. Do check your Council’s website.

All details here: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus 

We also encourage you to follow:

IPSE https://www.ipse.co.uk/

NUJ https://www.nuj.org.uk/home/

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