If you are likely to struggle with tax payments due to the epidemic HMRC is offering help and support for the self-employed, they can be contacted on 0800 0159 559 (8.00 – 20.00 Mon – Fri, 8.00 – 16.00 Sat, closed Bank Holidays). Read more here.
Self-Employment Income Support Scheme
The UK Government have announced the Self-employment Income Support Scheme to support the self-employed. If you have been self-employed for over a year you will be eligible for a taxable grant of up to 80% of your average profits per month for up to the last three years, or £2,500 per month, (whichever is lower). The scheme closes for the first round of grants on 13th July, if your income has been affected on or after the 14th of July you will be able to claim a 2nd grant from 17th August.
You need to be earning less than £50,000 a year, have a self-assessed tax return from 2019, and earn the majority of your earnings through self-employment to be eligible. HMRC will invite you to apply in due course if you are eligible.
If you became self-employed after April 2019 and you live in Scotland you may be eligible for the Scottish Government's Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund, you can find out more on how to apply here.
You can find a full summary of the Chancellor’s announcement on 26/03/2020 here.
Self-Employed For Less Than A Year
If you have been self-employed for less than a year the Government advice is to apply for Universal Credit and ESA, where the minimum income floor has been relaxed, for those who have to self-isolate due to the virus ESA will be available from day one of self-isolation. Read more here.
If you are resident in Scotland the Scottish Government is launching a grant scheme for which the newly self-employed will be eligible, it will launch at the end of April and you can find more information here.
Third Sector Support
Third sector organisations are working to help support musicians at this time, Help Musicians can provide financial assistance for health interventions and signposting for debt/welfare related issues, their Health and Wellbeing team can be reached email@example.com, telephone: 0207 239 9103. They cannot provide direct replacement of lost earnings, National Insurance or Income, Inheritance or Capital Gains Tax Bills or Legal Advice. For immediate Mental Health Support you can contact their team on MMM@helpmusicians.org.uk or 0808 802 8008. Read more here.
The Musicians’ Union is advising that the current outbreak is likely to be a force majeure trigger for contracts, if you are a Musician Union (MU) member and you are concerned about your individual contracts you are advised to contact your MU regional office for further advice, this can be found here. Read more here.
On musicians in theatres, the current advice from the MU is, if a producer/theatre chose to close the contract with you should stand, if they waited until the Government order to close theatres, they do not have to pay but a producer’s insurance may cover wages, though this will vary individually. The MU’s website has further advice on this and music teaching etc, this can be accessed here.
The Government has announced mortgage lenders have agreed to support customers experiencing personal financial difficulties as a result of coronavirus, including through payment holidays, among other options. This approach will also be adopted where necessary for Help to Buy customers paying interest on their Equity Loans.