Government changes SEISS criteria for self-employed parents

The Government’s income protection scheme for the self employed has been changed so that parents who took parental leave last year can use earnings figures from previous tax years.

Employee using a calculator and notepad


Self-employed parents whose trading profits dipped in 2018/19 because they took time out to have children will be able to claim for a payment under the self-employed income support scheme (SEISS), the government has announced.

The scheme requires claimants to have traded in 2018/19 with their profits making up at least half of their total income. They must also have submitted a self-assessment tax return on or before 23 April 2020 for the 2018/19 tax year.

The Treasury says parents, including mothers, fathers and those who have adopted, who took time out of trading to care for their children within the first 12 months of birth of the child or within 12 months of an adoption placement, will now be able to use either their 2017-18 or both their 2016-17 and 2017-18 self-assessment returns as the basis for their eligibility for the SEISS.

They will also need to meet the other standard eligibility criteria for support under the SEISS. Further details will be published in July. The SEISS scheme was extended to August last month.

Alasdair Hutchison, Policy Development Manager at IPSE (the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed), welcomed the change and called for the Government to do more for newly self employed and freelancers working through limited companies who cannot benefit from the SEISS scheme He said: “This important change resolves an unfair glitch in the system and will help a significant number of self-employed parents claim the support they need.This move also shows it’s possible for the government to be more flexible with the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme. It should now be a small step for it to extend this flexibility to other desperate, struggling groups.”

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