By now, HMRC should have contacted you about the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) if you are an eligible self-employed individual. It is now time to look at the specifics of the application process.
- When can I make my claim?
The eligibility checker will confirm if you are eligible to make a claim and will give you the date on which you can make your first claim; initial dates have been staged between 13 and 18 May to avoid the system being overloaded. There is currently no deadline for making a claim.
- Will you need a Government Gateway account to apply?
Yes, you will need to have a Government Gateway account and you will need the account user ID and password to be able to apply for the SEISS grant. If you do not have an account, you can set one up as the first stage of the SEISS application process.
- Will HMRC work out how much you are entitled to claim?
Yes, HMRC will work out the amounts due to you based on information already submitted in your tax returns. If you need assistance to interpret and check HMRC’s calculations, we can assist you with this. If you are offered a sum by HMRC and you think it is too low, we suggest you accept it and then appeal later rather than refusing the sum initially offered.
- When will payments be made?
HMRC will aim to make payments by 25 May 2020 directly into the claimant’s bank account, or within six working days of completing a claim.
- How to spot scam email correspondence
Genuine emails and texts from HMRC do not include active links. You should only check your eligibility or make claims by following the eligibility checker link in this article or by searching on gov.uk for ‘Self-employment Income Support Scheme’.
- How do HMRC define ‘adversely affected’?
To qualify for the SEISS, claimants must confirm that their trade has been adversely affected to some extent by Covid-19.
HMRC has provided some guidance on the meaning of ‘adversely affected’. This includes being unable to work because you are suffering from Covid-19, shielding or self-isolating or if you are caring for someone in one of those categories. It also includes scaling down or temporarily stopping trading because your supply chain has been interrupted, or because your business has fewer or no customers or your staff are unable to work.
The lack of any specific, measurable reductions in income is intentional; it is not necessary to quantify any adverse effect in financial terms. You should keep evidence of the impact on your trade, but there is no link between the amount of the grant and the financial loss.
The scheme specifically allows a claim where the trade has continued, so long as the trade is ‘adversely affected’. During the application process, you will be asked to confirm that you meet the eligibility criteria.
- A reminder of the eligibility criteria
You are eligible for SEISS if you:
– traded in the tax year 2018/19 and submitted your 2018/19 self assessment tax return on or before 23 April 2020;
– traded in the tax year 2019/20;
– intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020/21; and
– carry on a trade which has been adversely affected by coronavirus.
In addition, your self-employed trading profits must be no more than £50,000 and must represent more than half of your total income for either:
– the tax year 2018/19; or
– the average of the tax years 2016/17, 2017/18 and 2018/19.
In a small number of cases, the eligibility checker is giving an incorrect “not-eligible” result. HMRC is updating the system and those who may be in this situation should keep trying the checker. Please get in touch if you think HMRC’s response is repeatedly incorrect so that we can check your position against our own records.