The COVID-19 pandemic financially impacted self-employed individuals across the country. The government introduced the Self-Employed Tax Credit (SETC) to provide relief, allowing independent contractors, freelancers, and gig workers to claim refundable sick and family leave credits.

checking setc tax credit eligibility

But how can you determine if you’re eligible to claim the SETC? This comprehensive guide will explain SETC tax credit eligibility rules to see if you qualify. We’ll also cover:

Learn everything self-employed workers need to tap into this vital tax credit.

What Is the Self-Employed Tax Credit (SETC)?

The Self-Employed Tax Credit originated from the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) passed in 2020. This provided emergency paid sick and family leave to employees of companies impacted by COVID-19.

However, tax credits equivalent to FFCRA benefits were later extended to the self-employed through the Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA). Now, independent contractors can claim the refundable SETC for eligible leave by filing Form 7202 with their tax return.

It allows those who could not work due to qualifying COVID-19 reasons and lost income to recover financially using tax credits. Eligible individuals can claim thousands in SETC relief.

Am I Eligible? SETC Self-Employment Criteria

To qualify for the SETC tax credit as a self-employed individual, you must meet two key criteria:

1. Documentation of Self-Employment

You must have evidence showing:

This often includes submitting Schedule C or similar tax documents detailing your self-employment earnings.

2. Unable to Work Due to COVID-19

You must prove:

Meeting the self-employment and COVID-19 related leave criteria allows you to claim the SETC.

Who Is Considered Self-Employed?

The most common professions eligible for the SETC based on self-employed status include:

Having evidence you earn self-employment income tied to the leave days claimed is key. The SETC does not apply to regular W-2 employees.


Claim the SETC Tax Credit Through an Amended Return

If you missed claiming the Self-Employed Tax Credit when you filed your original 2020 or 2021 tax return, you may still be able to get the tax relief through an amended return.

The process involves:

When amending, ensure your original return has been processed before submitting Form 1040-X. Also, note that the IRS can take a few months to process amended returns. But the delay is worth recovering tax credits you qualify for retroactively.

With some extra effort, filing an amended tax return enables eligible self-employed workers to rightfully gain SETC tax relief even if they missed it when first filing.

Using a Tax Professional for Filing 1040-X

Filing an amended tax return can be complex, with strict rules about the process and documentation needed. Given the intricacies involved with amended returns, consulting a professional tax preparer or CPA is highly recommended to ensure the Form 1040-X is completed fully and accurately.

Tax professionals have the expertise to handle amended filings correctly so your Self-Employed Tax Credit claim is processed smoothly.

What Leave Reasons Qualify for the SETC?

To meet SETC eligibility requirements, your leave must relate to COVID-19 in these ways outlined under FFCRA regulations:

Quarantine or Isolation Orders

You can claim the credit if you cannot work because a quarantine or isolation order prevented you from providing services.

COVID-19 Illness or Symptoms

Leave qualifies if you could not perform services because COVID-19 symptoms prevented you from working and/or you sought a medical diagnosis.

Care for an Impacted Individual

Leave applies if you cannot work because you need to care for someone impacted by an isolation order or COVID-19 symptoms and care.

Childcare Duties

Leave is permitted if you cannot work due to pandemic-related school or childcare closures requiring you to care for a child.

So, along with your self-employment status, your leave reason must align with these COVID-19-related situations.

questions about the setc tax credit

How Do I Claim the SETC Tax Credit?

Follow these key steps to claim the SETC as an eligible self-employed worker:

1. Calculate Average Daily 2020/2021 Earnings

2. Compute Leave Credit Amounts

3. Submit Form 7202 and Tax Return

Save your calculations and supporting eligibility documentation.

What Is the Maximum SETC Amount?

For the 2021 tax year, the maximum SETC tax credits self-employed individuals can claim are:

So $17,000 in total COVID-19 related leave credits are potentially available, providing significant financial relief.

Who Is Not Eligible for the SETC?

Some key groups who do not qualify for the self-employed tax credit include:

Workers who do not have documentation of self-employment income also cannot claim the SETC.

Tap Into Vital Tax Relief You’ve Earned

Don’t leave money on the table that can provide income stability when you need it most. Understanding the SETC eligibility rules allows self-employed individuals to claim the tax credits they deserve.

With the steps covered in this guide, you can confidently confirm your eligibility and claim the Self-Employed Tax Credit using Form 7202. Taking advantage of this significant tax relief helps secure your financial future.

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FAQs about SETC Tax Credit Eligibility

What documentation should I gather to show I’m eligible?

Have evidence like Schedule C, 1099s, business licenses, etc. that demonstrate your self-employment status and income. Also, retain records that prove you took COVID-19-related leave.

Can I claim the credit for any leave taken?

No, the leave must specifically relate to a COVID-19 quarantine order, your own or family member’s illness, or childcare issues due to pandemic closures.

Do I need to use all the leave days to get the maximum credits?

No, you can claim up to the limit of credit available based on the qualified leave days you had to take, even if it was less than the maximum.

When should I expect to receive my credit refund payment?

You will receive the SETC tax credit refund when the IRS fully processes your tax return, typically within 3-6 weeks if filing electronically. Amended returns may take longer.