Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced new measures to help the self-employed - likely to be welcomed by self-employed estate agents.
The Chancellor has stressed the complexity of identifying the appropriate self-employed, and the difficulty of implementing these measures - many may not be accessible until June.
In summary the proposals are:
- The government will pay self-employed people whose businesses have been adversely affected by Coronavirus, a taxable grant worth 80 per cent of their average monthly profits over the last three years, up to £2,500 per month (note this is 80 per cent of average profits - not earnings);
- It’s only available to those with trading profits up to £50,000 who make a majority of their income from self-employment;
- To minimise fraud only those already in self-employment who have a tax return for 2019 can apply;
- Some 95 per cent of self-employed will benefit from this scheme;
- Self-employed can now access Business Interruption loans;
- Self-employed income tax payments due in July can be deferred to the end of January 2021;
- and the self-employed can access Universal Credit in full.
It is thought that the self-employed with their own companies, who pay themselves in dividends rather than salary, may find it difficult to benefit from the new measures.
However, Sunak made it clear that a price to be paid by the self-employed - once the virus crisis is over - will be that they will no longer have what some see as tax and National Insurance advantages.
Increasing numbers of agents have self-employed status - notably those working for many online estate agencies, some franchise holders, and those agents working through hybrid 'hubs' that have set up in recent years.