Coronavirus, Financial Support for Freelancers

Everything you need to know, we're here to help

Production companies like ours would struggle without a wide pool of talented production freelancers. From audio operators, carpenters and set builders, to lighting technicians, streaming engineers and local crew, the events industry relies on you to help deliver events week on week.

The UK government is providing support for the self-employed professionals of the UK through a variety of schemes. There is no single point of reference for all of the options available to the self-employed so we wanted to help you navigate the schemes and how to access them.

 We are breaking down the following:

  • —  Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)
  • —  Income Tax Deferral Scheme
  • —  VAT Deferral Scheme (small businesses)
  • —  Time to Pay Scheme


Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)

Official website — HMRC Self-employment Income Support Scheme


What is it?

If you have lost income due to the coronavirus COVID-19 you can claim a (taxable) grant worth 80% of your usual income for 3 months (effectively April, May and June).

The maximum cap is £2,500 per month (equivalent to a £30,000 annual income). Extensions are possible. 


Are you eligible?

The conditions required to qualify for this scheme are far more complicated than the others mentioned here so we will take a little time to lay them out for you.

Trading conditions

  1. You submitted Income Tax Self Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018-19
  2. You ‘traded’ (i.e. got paid for work) in the tax year 2019-20 (06/04/2019 - 05/04/2020)
  3. You are and intended to trade in the tax year 2020-21
  4. You have lost trading profits due to COVID-19

Income conditions

  1. Your usual profits (not total income) must be less than £50,000
  2. This income must constitute more than half of your income

HMRC do an excellent job of breaking things down on the official webpage for this scheme. Make sure you take a look.


How can you access it?

You cannot access this scheme yet, it will take some time to set up as there are 4.8 million self-employed people in the UK so they have a lot to prepare. We will update this page when the scheme is launched.


When will you be paid?

It is unlikely that payments will be awarded until June but they will be back dated to cover the 3 month period.



Income Tax Deferral Scheme

Official website — Business Support | Deferral of Self-Assessment payment

What is it?

For a few years now HMRC have been asking self-employed professionals to pay their income tax in multiple instalments throughout the year based on their previous annual income. 

If you are due to make a self-assessment payment on account on 31st July then you can delay this payment until January 2021.


How can you access it?

You have nothing to do, it is completely automatic.


VAT Deferral Scheme (small businesses)

Official website — Business Support | VAT Deferral

What is it?

We know some of you run small VAT registered businesses and the government has you covered here too. Any VAT payments due between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020 can be delayed to the end of the 2020-21 tax year (5 April 2021) with no repercussions.


How can you access it?

As with the Income Tax Deferral Scheme this is automatically triggered with no applications required. You can choose to pay your VAT bill on time if you wish, but you can choose not to to help with cash flow.

Note — When this was first announced this was bracketed under “Time to Pay”. 

Time to Pay Scheme

Official website — HMRC Time to Pay

What is it?

If you are in a tight financial spot then the government are offering support and flexibility on tax payments under their Time to Pay service. 


How can you access it?

This is agreed on a case-by-case basis. If you think you have missed a tax payment or think you might struggle with your next tax payment call HMRC’s dedicated helpline.

HMRC COVID-19 helpline for self-employed: 0800 0159 559. 


Official Sources

The information provided here has been sourced from the following government webpages:


HMRC COVID-19 helpline for self-employed: 0800 0159 559 LINK
HMRC COVID-19 helpline for businesses: 0800 024 1222 LINK