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Coronavirus help for the self-employed and ‘gig’ workers

  • 1st May 2020

Self-employed – what you’re entitled to

If you are self-employed or a member of a partnership you may be entitled to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of your trading profits, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for 3 months. To qualify you should:

  • have annual trading profits in 2018/19 (or average profits for 2016/17, 2017/18 and 2018/19) of less than £50,000 and more than half of your total taxable income
  • have lost profits due to coronavirus – although there have been no official announcements, HMRC will presumably reserve the right to check this statement is accurate in the future
  • have submitted your tax return for the tax year 2018/19
  • have earned self-employment income in the tax year 2019/20, are currently trading at the application date (or would have been had it not been for Coronavirus), and expect to continue trading in 2020/21

If you started trading between 2016-19, HMRC will only use those years for which you filed a Self-Assessment tax return.

Unlike the employee job retention scheme, here you CAN keep working.

You CAN apply for both the SEISS scheme and universal credit, however any universal credit will be classed as income.

If you began trading on or after 6 April 2019 you will not eligible for this grant.

HMRC will contact those taxpayers who may be eligible for this grant and will invite them to apply for the payment online. Although it is not yet possible to apply for this funding, it is anticipated that it will be available mid-May with payments being made mid-June.

I cannot wait until June for payment, what can I do?

Apply for universal credit as a first point of call.

You should also consider applying for the Business Interruption Loan if you are eligible. More details on this scheme are available here.

If you have any money put aside for your July self-assessment tax bill, you could consider using this to cover your immediate expenses until you receive your grant. You July self-assessment payment can be deferred until January 2021 without interest or penalties so will hopefully provide you with a little breathing space, but we recommend you plan your cash flow accordingly and factor in that this will still need to be paid in the future.

Create a cash flow management plan. This will help you through the short-term to see what money you may need to help you through this period of uncertainty. You don’t want to borrow or spend more than you have to. Use our Cashflow management tool.

Gig workers, zero hours, freelance and agency

Your first step is to check to see if you are eligible to be furloughed. If you are taxed through PAYE, then you are likely to be considered an ‘employee’ and may therefore have the same rights as an employee. If PAYE applies to you, you may be eligible for furlough. Speak to your employer and check the guidance.

If PAYE does not apply, then it is likely you will be classed as self-employed and taxed through self-assessment which means you most likely to be ineligible for furlough. You may still be eligible for other support being offered to the self-employed as explained earlier in this article, or you may be able to claim benefits.

Visit our Coronavirus support hub for more information and links to the support available. Also check the Money Saving Expert website which is a great resource for other guidance and advice.

Any news or resources within this section should not be relied upon with regards to figures or data referred to as legislative and policy changes may have occurred.