Written by revel accountants on 4th May 2020 in COVID-19 Uncategorised

Calling all self-employed- check whether you are eligible for the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) 

Calling all self-employed- check whether you are eligible for SEISS 

RECAP

Who can claim: Self-employed individuals or a member of a partnership (as long as certain conditions are met, see eligibility criteria).

How much can be claimed: 80% of your trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 a month.

Eligibility criteria

You can claim if you’re a self-employed individual or a member of a partnership and you:

  • have submitted your Self-Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018 to 2019;
  • traded in the tax year 2019 to 2020;
  • are trading when you apply, or would be except for coronavirus;
  • intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020 to 2021;
  • have lost trading profits due to coronavirus.
  • You will need to confirm to HMRC that your business has been adversely affected by coronavirus. HMRC will as usual use a risk based approach to compliance.

Your trading profits must also be no more than £50,000 and more than half of your total income for either:

  • the tax year 2018 to 2019; or
  • the average of the tax years 2016 to 2017, 2017 to 2018, and 2018 to 2019.

Emails, SMS messages and letters are being sent out to those who HMRC thinks may be entitled to claim an SEISS grant. These are expected to arrive during the week beginning 4 May 2020, some letters may not be received until the following week.

Each taxpayer will receive one form of contact:

  • where HMRC holds an email address it uses that;
  • SMS is used where HMRC holds a mobile number, but not an email address; and
  • a letter is sent where HMRC holds neither.

SCAM ALERT Note that to guard against fraud the emails and SMS messages from HMRC do not include active links. If a you receive an email or SMS purporting to come HMRC which includes an active link, that email or SMS is a scam.

We are told that the initial contact explains what you need to do to be ready to claim when the claims portal opens.

HMRC is contacting all those who may be eligible, but not all recipients will in fact be eligible. HMRC has selected the cases based on the information in the self-assessment tax returns it has filed and has carried out the necessary calculations and eligibility checks based on those figures. However, HMRC will not necessarily know whether you meet all of the above eligibility criteria for obvious reasons.

Eligibility checker ***PLEASE DO THIS****

The eligibility checker is available here and is open to anyone to use, not just those who have been contacted by HMRC.

You will need to enter your self-assessment UTR (found on your tax return) and national insurance number and the checker confirms whether you are eligible. You will not need to enter any information about your income.

The checker does not give any information about the amount of grant available. The checker does not require you to log in to your government gateway account but, in the background, it does look at the tax return information held on HMRC’s system. You will be asked to provide an email address for further correspondence.

How to apply for SEISS when the portal goes live

Applications will open on a staged basis between 13 and 18 May, with the portal opening on different days for different taxpayers.

HMRC will email those who provided an email address (when using the eligibility checker or previously) to confirm when the portal is open for them. You can also use the eligibility checker to find out whether the application portal is open for you.

You will then log in to your government gateway account (or select the option to create an account) to complete the application process.

You will be presented with a detailed calculation and will be asked to:

  • read and accept the eligibility criteria;
  • complete declarations, including to confirm that the business has been adversely affected by coronavirus; and
  • supply the bank account details into which they would like the grant to be paid.

You do not need to provide any information about your income – the calculations are all done by HMRC based on the tax returns submitted. HMRC will check the claim and expects to make payments from 25 May 2020 within six working days of the application being submitted.

If you disagree with the eligibility checker

Where the eligibility checker gives a ‘not eligible’ result there is an option to ask HMRC to review the eligibility. This can be completed either by you, or by us as your agent, however the process for disputing the amount of the grant is not yet known.

Fraud warning

HMRC will have powers to check claims, to require repayment of the grant and to charge penalties. The criteria, declarations and calculations must be accurate. If you have any concerns, please speak to us.

We just want to make it abundantly clear that continuing work off the books ‘for example cash basis’ and then claiming your business was adversely affected by coronavirus would be fraud.

If we had any cause to suspect that fraud had taken place, we would be duty bound to alert the authorities of our concerns.

Can we submit a claim on your behalf?

No.

If you are new to Revel and are keen to find out more, please call our consultant Will Bolter FCCA MAAT ATT  (our designated COVID-19 response advisor) on 07379 451484 or contact us by email here.