Editorial

Sports Freelancers Collective update April 10th

Welcome to the Sports Freelancer Collective’s latest update April 10th

HEARD ANYTHING ABOUT SEISS?

A message from Philippe Auclair, FWA co-ordinator of the Sports Freelancer Collective…

Like many of you, I gather, I’ve yet to hear directly or through my accountant from HMRC re SEISS. The SFC would like to get a clearer picture of what is happening (or not happening) in this regard.

For this purpose, we’d like to hear from those of you who think – or know – they are eligible for the scheme.

Just email (philippe.auclair.fwa@gmail.com) stating:

  • HMRC has been in touch with me
  • HMRC has been in touch with my accountant
  • HMRC has not been in touch either with me or my accountant

Thank you very much for participating in this ‘survey’.

The more of you – who are eligible – respond to it, the better we’ll be able to understand the current situation, and work to protect and promote our cause.

Warning: be aware that phishers and scammers have already used fake SEISS messages purporting to be from HMRC to try and steal data. A friend of mine was targeted on the very evening of Rishi Sunak’s announcement, and my accountant confirmed that other clients of his had also received fraudulent messages. So be extra careful when dealing with emails of this kind.

FROM OUR ACCOUNTANT

Niall McGinnity, who’s been an absolute rock for the SFC, very kindly asked me to share the following information. Just click on the links to access the resources in question.

A SEISS calculator tool and simple guide – helpful to work out eligibility and support levels.

There is also a lobbying effort being made via this online form. This is collating support to lobby the government on the two main holes in current support, namely:

  • Small limited companies with directors who pay themselves in dividends and are not eligible for grants. 
  • Sole traders who set up shop from 6 April 2019 and are not eligible for grants.

TWITTER WATCHDOG

The Treasury Committee is a cross-party group of MPs appointed by The House of Commons and they are here to scrutinise the Treasury. It’s worth following them on Twitter @commonstreasury

FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE 

Hardships funds and emergency grants may be accessible via:

ANXIETY

Sports psychotherapist Gary Bloom is happy to speak to anyone via @bloomers57 or emailing info@sportsjournalists.co.uk.

SCAM ALERT

Any freelancer hoping for (or expecting) good news from HMRC please be advised that there are scam texts already circulating which suggest you have been approved a payment and asking for banking details. HMRC will never ask for any personal details – and invitations to apply for the SEISS grant are not due to  go out until June.

HELP FOR PRS

A shout-out for those who may straddle the divide between sports journalism and sports comms, the Public Relations Communications Association (PRCA) are offering six months free membership free.

Anyone who has lost either their job or a significant portion of their income will be able to access plenty of free resources, group virtual events, free webinars, and remote networking – and help them keep their skills up-to-date.

The offer’s open to anyone in the industry – they don’t have to have been a PRCA member. And on the freelancer front, they will taking people’s word for it.

SELF-EMPLOYED INCOME SUPPORT SCHEME Q AND A

Niall McGinnity of Novem9 Ltd has very kindly offered his advice free of charge. Please send your queries to philippe.auclair.fwa@gmail.com and here is today’s selection.

Q – Am I entitled to apply for UK government support. I’m a full-time freelance journalist, working for UK titles and receiving all of my pay in a UK bank account, but after April 2019 I became a tax resident in a EU country. However, I did submit an 18/19 tax return in the UK while I was still a British tax resident, and am yet to submit a tax return here as the 2019 accounts aren’t due until the summer.

NIALL – The submission of the 2018-19 tax return is an advantage. The fact that you are receiving your money in UK, even though now a tax resident in another country, will require you to complete a 2019-20 return in UK. Given the parameters of the self employed support scheme announced I therefore believe that you could make a claim. HMRC have advised people not to contact but they will write to them if they are able to claim so first test would be to ask if you have received that. If so I would proceed and claim. If not can you check if HMRC have written to you or check online if you have an account with them, and see if a 2019-20 return is expected, and if you have already made a payment on account for that period. Final question is to ask if you have formally notified HMRC of your change in tax residency yet?

Q – I set up my own small company last June (2019). All my sources of income stopped due to Covid 19. The only money left in my business to date is to pay for one more pay day at the end of April. I’m massively confused about what is on offer.

NIALL – From these points it would appear that SEISS would not be available. Have you informed HMRC you are no longer self employed? If not that is an advantage as HMRC may well write and invite you to apply based on previous results.

Q – I think I would be eligible for the new scheme for those who are classed under self assessment with profits for 18/19 under £50k – my average over the last three years of accounts is under £50k also.
But will HMRC only consider me as a company director now or could I have sneaked in as I paid a tax bill in Jan 2020?

NIALL: I think the key factor is whether the original self employed trade could be classed as continuing. I believe it is but only via the company so some of the conditions in relation to self employed results for 2019-20 and 20102-21 won’t be met. HMRC have said they will write to anyone who can apply, and the three-year history may mean that you get notified as the company results haven’t been declared yet. It’s somewhat of a grey area and my advice would be to respond to any invitation to apply if and when it is received. On the company side one area that can be taken advantage of is to defer all taxes (VAT up to 30 June is automatic, monthly Paye and NIC needs to be applied for with HMRC on 0800 0159 559). This will conserve cash.

Q – Could there be scope for a business grant / loan? Is Universal Credit perhaps the only way forward?

NIALL: For a business that started in June 2019 it’s not brilliant as the banks are looking for a solid history of trading – normally 2 years or more. That said it is worth an application and I can advise. Your business bank would be first point for a claim under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

Q – As a company, I pay myself a small salary under £1000 and the rest in dividends – but dividends are not taken into account when trying to claim 80per cent from the government… simply, which way do you think I should go?

NIALL: On the wage of £1000 you can easily furlough yourself if the trade is at a standstill. However, only the wage would be applicable, not dividends, so it’s a small relief but not ideal.

 

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