The self-employed challenge

What a time to be self-employed. We’ve come a long way into the pandemic now so we have had time to reflect and look at our individual situation and work out its impact on the way we make a living. Being self-employed, we already have a whole host of transferable tools and skills that has got us this far - and many self-employed people are able to use their natural resourcefulness in order to adapt their products or services.

Changing direction

Indeed many small businesses have navigated through the pandemic and emerged in a different guise. The corporate caterer who now delivers household essentials and home-made lasagnes. The gardener who delivers plants. The wedding cake maker who now offers a cheerful weekly selection of cupcakes on a home delivery basis.

When change is that little bit more challenging

For some freelancers, change is harder but may not be impossible. A physio client was agile enough to bring his skills to the Zoom virtual platform and offer his usual hands-on service through the screen to diagnose and offer solutions to his patients. What vision and spirit these people are displaying – and all self-employed of course.

Is it time to learn?

When transferring skills to earn a living we are simply demonstrating how we got here in the first place – identifying a market need and fulfilling it using our skills. If you can’t work right now, you might be able to use the time to learn something new or retrain slightly to reposition your offering. One client is currently mastering the art of running a virtual conference for a huge audience of 2000 following the cancellation of all of her international conferences this year. Seeing opportunity in the face of a crisis is part of the self-employed’s character set.

If you’d like to talk through any business ideas or understand how to put a business plan together for investment or loan purposes, please do talk to us. We really enjoy this type of work and can offer help through our own experiences of running a business and from what we have learned through others doing the same.

During the pandemic there has been some significant provision to help self-employed people through a potentially difficult time financially. These are outlined on our website and are summarised below. We can help you work through any of these if needed.

All links to the pages you need are accessible via our Coronavirus support page

Self-employed income support scheme

You’ll need to do this yourself and should have received an email from HMRC if they think you are eligible. Even if you don’t get the email its worth a) talking to us and b) much quicker – go online and check for yourself. You’ll need your Tax reference and NI number. They will generate a gateway code for you and the rest is as easy as answering a few quick questions. HMRC calculates it online in a few moments. Broadly speaking it equates to 80% of your average monthly profit over 3 years, capped at a £7,500 total grant.

Only you can claim this but we can appeal on your behalf if you believe it to be miscalculated. Remember that if you do get a grant, (paid in one lump sum within 6 days of a successful claim) it is taxable. There are a few criteria you’ll need to satisfy and the scheme doesn’t help you if you only set up within the last year. All this information is clearly laid out on the government website. Follow the link on our website.

Bounce-back loan

These are new, fast-track, government backed loans of between £2,000 and £50,000 designed for small businesses, with the amount you can borrow being based on your profits. They’re interest-free and no payments will be due in the first 12 months. The link to apply is also on our webpage.

Deferred tax

Remember that if you are struggling for cash then you can defer your July on account tax payment. Remember that this is only deferred and not cancelled so you’ll need to make provision to pay it at a later date. Please contact Jill if you need some help.

Your income tax return for 19/20

We can help with your tax return and we are advising our self-employed clients to get their returns done sooner rather than later this year in order to plan for tax liabilities.

Use of home as office

You can claim a reasonable amount for a few things if you are working from home, including apportioning expenses such as broadband, phone, heating, lighting and offsetting the cost of repairs, furnishing and equipment. We will be doing a second blog on this... coming soon.

We know these are challenging times but they’re also times where we can show resilience and fortitude. Self-employed people are enterprising and positive. We’d love to talk to you and see where we can help.

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