Coronavirus Business Support Scheme - Circuit Break Lockdown

Applications are now open.

The Coronavirus Business Support Scheme – Circuit Break Lockdown (CBSS – CBL) was established in January 2021 to provide grant assistance to support local businesses and self-employed individuals in designated sectors that have been financially affected through reduced trading due to the circuit break lockdown.

The purpose of the Scheme is to provide support by way of financial assistance for eligible business overheads to those applicants that meet the Scheme's eligibility criteria.

The Scheme offers financial support to eligible applicants in the form of a single grant payment of £1,500.

Important note - Applications for this payment are now open. Applications will close on 31st January 2021. Any issues with submitted applications must be resolved by 12th February 2021, failure to resolve issues by this date will result in the application being closed and no payment will be made.

Tourist accommodation providers are ineligible under this Scheme, but are encouraged to contact the Department’s Visit Isle of Man Agency and enquire regarding the Strategic Capacity Scheme.

Businesses in the Tourism & Travel sectors who have previously received Coronavirus Business Support Scheme (Round 4) or Financial Assistance Scheme (Appendix 10 – now called the Coronavirus Recovery Scheme) for the period January 2021 to March 2021 will not be eligible for this Scheme.

Eligible applicants must declare that

  • They have been adversely financially affected by the COVID-19 circuit break lockdown;
  • They have usual eligible monthly business overheads of more than £250 per calendar month


Eligible Businesses

Any business which is not in an excluded sector (listed below) which has been adversely financially affected by the COVID-19 outbreak and has usual eligible monthly business overheads of more than £250 per calendar month can apply subject to certain criteria.

“Applicants” are defined as being one of the following:

1. Self-employed individuals;

2. Sole traders owning a business with no staff other than the owner;

3. Partnerships where both parties are the owners and have no other employees;

4. Businesses including limited companies with no staff other than the owner(s); and

5. Businesses including limited companies with staff other than the owners and; -

a. The business must have fewer than 100 employees; or

b. In the case of the retail sector*, 26 or fewer full time equivalent employees (including the owner or owners).

*Further information on the eligibility of retailers can be found under Excluded Sectors. Support will only be provided to “applicants” as defined above and therefore public sector bodies, charities, sports organisations and not for profit organisations etc. are deemed ineligible.

Excluded Sectors

Excluded sectors are any business which falls into the below sectors:

  • Finance Sector
    Including but not restricted to:
    • Banking
    • Insurance
    • Fund Industry (including managers and administrators)
    • Accountancy services (except for those businesses with 25 employees or less where the majority of their clients are in the Isle of Man)
    • Trust & Corporate Service Providers
    • Other financial services
  • Legal Services
    except where at least 30% of the income of the provider of those services is derived from either or a combination of conveyancing and legal aid related work.
  • IT, Information Technology & Digital
  • Egaming
  • Space
  • Utilities (including gas and telecoms)
  • Public Administration
  • Visitor Accommodation
  • Any retailer that is liable to pay or will be liable to pay income tax at a 10% rate under the large retailers’ tax for the 2018/19 income tax year;
  • Any business that receives a significant amount of its income from Isle of Man Government in any way and including payments for underwritten events; and
  • Any constituent entity of a MNE group under the Income Tax (Country-by-Country Reporting) Regulations 20173 (total consolidated group revenue of 750 million Euro or more).

Any business in the above sectors that can prove to the satisfaction of the Chief Executive of the Department for Enterprise that it has and continues to be financially impacted and is unable to pay its business overheads as a direct result of the restrictions imposed due to COVID-19 circuit break lockdown, may request special consideration. Such a request must be made in writing and clearly state the reasons why an exception should be made.

Business Eligibility Criteria

In order to qualify for the Scheme and financial assistance all “applicants” must:

1. Have genuine business overheads of more than £250 per month (eligible business overheads are listed below), state the level of such overheads, provide a summary of those overheads and that without financial assistance such overheads will create financial difficulty. Applicants may be requested to evidence these overheads;

2. To the best of its knowledge, intend to continue trading through the current difficult conditions into at least the short to mid-term future and that if the business closes the grant may be repayable;

3. Not be in an excluded sector as outlined in the Guidance (1.3b);

4. Not be in receipt of either the Strategic Capacity Scheme (Round 4), Coronavirus Recovery Scheme (CRS) or Coronavirus Business Support Scheme (Round 4);

5. Have been in operation continuously for a period that commenced no later than 4th January 2021, businesses that were trading on 28th February 2020 and meet all the eligibility criteria will be paid as soon as possible. Those businesses that commenced operating after 28th February 2020 and meet all the eligibility criteria will have a small delay in payments due to the Department awaiting a legislation change;

6. Have annual profits or gains wholly or mainly from a relevant sector as set out in this guidance;

7. Not have any overdue payments of more than 3 months which are more than £3,000 relating to Income Tax, National Insurance and VAT; and

8. Meet other Income Tax, NI and VAT compliance criteria.

Additional criteria specifically for self-employed applicants:

a) Be a self-employed earner as defined by the Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992;

b) Have already notified the Treasury under regulation 87 of the Social Security (Contributions) Regulations 2001 of their liability to pay Class 2 National Insurance Contributions or notified the Assessor of Income Tax of any income from self-employment;

c) Earnings from self-employment must be greater than £6,500 per annum. Therefore the applicant must not have been granted a certificate of Small Earnings Exception or would have been granted such a certificate had an application to Treasury been made;

d) In the event of the person’s making an application to the Treasury for the purpose, not have his or her liability to pay Class 2 or Class 4 National Insurance contributions deferred or treated as deferred;

e) For clarity notwithstanding that a person over state pension age is not liable to pay Class 1, Class 2 or Class 4 National Insurance contributions for the purposes of this scheme, therefore (c) and (d) apply to that person as though such a liability exists;

f) When considering whether a self-employed person meets condition (b) above, Treasury will take into account the relevant facts and circumstances.  In particular, an individual who has consistently declared their income from self-employment on their tax returns and paid the relevant income tax and class 4 national insurance contributions, will be treated for these purposes only as having notified the Treasury under regulation 87, even if their class 2 national insurance contribution record is currently  incomplete.

g) When considering whether a self-employed person meets condition (c) above Treasury will take into account for these purposes only the fact that one of the purposes of this provision was to prevent those with other sources of income that are their main sources of income claiming the grant e.g. a person in full time employment who receives a small amount of self-employment income from a few hours worked as a sports coach.  It was not intended to prevent those whose profits have dropped recently and their main source of income is their self-employment from qualifying.

Important note - Applicants who have been declined for one (or more) of the criteria listed above and who have not resolved the issue(s) will be declined in this funding round.


Eligible business overheads and expenditure

Qualifying business overheads include the following: -

  • Rent on commercial business premises (to be paid to independent third parties only);
  • Commercial premises operating costs including rates, utilities, insurance, cleaning;
  • Audit, accountancy, professional and subscription fees;
  • IT operating costs including licenses;
  • Existing lease, hire purchase or finance costs relating to business equipment, vehicles or machinery (to be paid to independent third parties only);
  • Routine bank charges;
  • Capital (business and loans) or interest repayments;
  • Mortgage payments (for business premises);
  • Supplier invoices;
  • Purchases of fuel and equipment (business use only); and
  • Other reasonable business costs incurred as agreed by the Department on a case by case basis.

The following costs are specifically excluded:

  • Salary costs;
  • Personal costs;
  • Payments to related entities (with the exception of payments in respect of shared costs within a group structure and subject to the Department’s discretion); and
  • Directors’ fees.

How to apply

Applicants must read the full Scheme Guidelines before submitting an application to the Department.

Applications are now open.


Additional COVID-19 business support available

Alongside this support, businesses and self-employed individuals may also be able to benefit from the following schemes (subject to certain eligibility requirements):

  • Salary Support Scheme
    Provides financial assistance to any qualifying business of up to £280 for a full-time equivalent employee per week, open for an initial period beginning on the 4th January and ending on 31st January 2021.
  • Manx Earnings Replacement Allowance (MERA)
    Provides an income of £200 a week to people who have either been laid off or made redundant from their employment, or have lost their self-employed work, since 4 January 2021. Re-introduced from 11th January 2021 and payable to qualifying persons for a 3-week period up to 31st January 2021.


Alternative COVID-19 business support available

If you are ineligible to receive the CBSS CBL, alternative support schemes have been put in place to support financially adversely affected businesses at this time (subject to eligibility requirements):

  • Strategic Capacity Scheme
    Provides financial assistance to Tourist Accommodation businesses. Applications for Round 3 are open and will close on 31st January 2021.
  • Coronavirus Recovery Scheme
    Provides financial assistance in the form of a grant payment to support the costs of adapting a business and/or support towards essential ongoing operational costs.
  • Coronavirus Business Support Scheme (Round 4) – for businesses operating in the travel and tourism industry only
    Provides financial assistance in the form of a grant payment of £3,000 to businesses who have been financially adversely affected by the Island’s border restrictions. Applications for Round 4 are open and will close on 30th April 2021.

Further information on all of the Department’s business support and grant schemes can be found here.

CBSS – CBL Application Form



  • Financial Support for Travel and Tourism Businesses Extended for Winter Season

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