A Gig Worker’s Guide to Accessing Self Employment Tax Credit (SETC) Benefits

In the gig economy, where flexibility and independence reign, gig workers play a vital role in various industries, from ridesharing to food delivery to freelance services. However, the COVID-19 pandemic brought unprecedented challenges to this workforce, affecting their income and stability.

To address the needs of gig workers in the aftermath of these trying times, the Self Employment Tax Credit (SETC) is available to offset losses that were incurred. Relief measures of the program include things such as paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore how gig workers can qualify for and file under the SETC, ensuring they can access benefits that are available to businesses that were negatively impacted by the pandemic.

Claim Your Tax Credit Refund of Up to $32,000

Understanding the Self Employment Tax Credit (SETC)

Enacted in March 2020, the SETC was designed to provide relief to individuals and families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The act includes provisions such as Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) and Expanded Family and Medical Leave (EFMLA), offering eligible individuals paid time off for specified COVID-19 related reasons. While the SETC primarily targets employers and employees, gig workers, who are often classified as independent contractors, may also qualify for certain benefits under the act.

Qualifying for SETC Benefits as a Gig Worker

To qualify for SETC benefits, gig workers must meet specific eligibility criteria outlined by the legislation. Here’s a breakdown of key factors determining qualification:

COVID-19 Related Circumstances: Gig workers seeking SETC benefits must demonstrate that they were unable to work during specific time periods during the pandemic due to certain COVID-19 related circumstances. These circumstances may include having been subjected to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19, experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis, or caring for an individual subject to quarantine or isolation.

Loss of Income: Eligible gig workers must also have experienced a loss of income directly resulting from COVID-19 related circumstances. This loss of income serves as the basis for claiming SETC benefits, such as paid sick leave or emergency family and medical leave credits.

Documentation Requirements: While gig workers are not subject to the same documentation requirements as traditional employees, they should maintain records substantiating their eligibility for SETC benefits. This documentation may include medical records, quarantine orders, correspondence with healthcare providers, and financial statements demonstrating income loss.

Claim Your Tax Credit Refund of Up to $32,000

Filing for SETC Benefits as a Gig Worker

Once deemed eligible, gig workers can proceed with filing for SETC benefits through established procedures outlined by relevant agencies. Here’s a step-by-step guide to navigating the filing process:

Identify Eligible Leave Types: Gig workers must identify the specific SETC leave provisions for which they qualify based on their individual circumstances. These may include Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) or Expanded Family and Medical Leave (EFMLA) for specified reasons related to COVID-19.

Calculate SETC Credits: Gig workers can calculate the amount of SETC credits available to them based on their eligible leave types and the corresponding reimbursement rates established by the IRS. The IRS provides detailed guidance and resources for calculating these credits, including applicable caps and limitations.

Complete Required Forms: Gig workers must complete and submit the appropriate forms to claim SETC credits. The specific forms vary depending on the method of filing (e.g., individual tax return, quarterly estimated tax payments).

Retain Documentation: Gig workers should retain accurate records and documentation supporting their SETC claims. This documentation serves as evidence of eligibility and may be subject to review or audit by relevant agencies.

Maximizing SETC Benefits and Compliance

To maximize SETC benefits and ensure regulatory compliance, gig workers can implement the following strategies:

Stay Informed: Gig workers should stay updated on guidance and resources provided by government agencies, including the IRS and the Department of Labor. Timely information enables individuals to make informed decisions and access available benefits.

Seek Professional Guidance: Consulting with tax professionals, financial advisors, or legal experts can provide gig workers with personalized guidance tailored to their specific circumstances. Experienced professionals can offer insights into eligibility criteria, filing requirements, and compliance considerations.

Maintain Accurate Records: Thorough record-keeping is essential for substantiating SETC claims and demonstrating compliance with regulatory requirements. Gig workers should maintain detailed records of COVID-19 related circumstances, income loss, leave taken, and any documentation supporting their claims.

Plan for Future Contingencies: As the situation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, gig workers should proactively plan for future contingencies and uncertainties. This may include exploring alternative sources of income, implementing safety protocols, or accessing additional assistance programs to safeguard their livelihoods.


The Self Employment Tax Credit (SETC) offers critical support to gig workers that faced a negative economic impact because of the COVID-19 pandemic. By understanding the eligibility criteria, filing procedures, and compliance requirements associated with SETC benefits, individuals can access much-needed assistance to continue to recover and restore their livelihoods.

Through proactive planning, informed decision-making, and adherence to regulatory guidelines, gig workers can navigate the complexities of the SETC with confidence, ensuring they receive the support they deserve.

Claim Your Tax Credit Refund of Up to $32,000