Scheme Opens Earlier Than Expected!
This week HMRC will start contacting self-employed people who are likely to be eligible, through a combination of emails, SMS texts and letters, to tell them what they need to do to get ready to claim. Applications will open in tranches based on the unique taxpayer number (UTR) given to all self-employed taxpayers.
From this week, people will be able to use a new online eligibility checker. If the checker confirms that they are eligible (and they qualify due to being affected by coronavirus and because they intend to continue trading), they will be given a date when they can use the online service to make a claim from 13 May.
Payments will be made to claimants’ bank accounts from 25 May 2020 (ahead of the original June schedule).
For details of the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme Eligibility checker, please see the link below:
Opening a Government Gateway Account
HMRC have also issued guidance on 1 May regarding who can make the SEISS claim. It is hoped that HMRC may rethink the method of claim, but at this moment, the latest guidance clearly states: “Your tax agent cannot make the claim for you”, meaning we cannot apply on your behalf.
The guidance goes on to indicate that you will require: -
- Your Self-assessment Unique Taxpayer Reference Number
- Your National Insurance Number
- Your Government Gateway ID and Password
- Bank account number and sort code for payment
IF YOU KNOW YOUR GOVERNMENT GATEWAY ID AND PASSWORD YOU DO NOT NEED TO TAKE ANY ACTION AT THIS TIME.
IF YOU DO NOT KNOW OR DON’T HAVE A GOVERNMENT GATEWAY ID AND PASSWORD, WE RECOMMEND YOU APPLY AS SOON AS POSSIBLE TO AVOID DELAYS IN RECEIVING PAYMENT. YOU CAN SET ONE UP AT THE SAME TIME AS CHECKING YOUR ELIGIBILITY AS OUTLINED ABOVE. YOU MAY BE ABLE TO SUBMIT A PAPER CLAIM (FULL DETAILS NOT YET PUBLISHED) BUT THIS WILL ALSO LEAD TO DELAYS IN PAYMENT.
If you need any assistance, please contact us as soon as possible.
Reminder about the details of the SEISS
The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will allow taxpayers to claim a taxable grant of 80% of their average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months, and capped at £7,500 altogether.
Key points from the HMRC guidance:
- The taxpayer must make a claim and needs to set up Government Gateway account
- Agents cannot make claims on their client's behalf
- If taxpayers are unable to claim online an alternative way to claim will be available
- Apart from those taxpayers subject to the loan charge their 2018/19 tax return must have been submitted by 23 April 2020 to qualify
- Returns submitted between 26 March 2020 and 23 April 2020 will be subject to additional anti-fraud checks
- Those taxpayers subject to the loan charge have until 30 September 2020 to submit their 2018/19 tax return
There is additional guidance on partnerships where some partners qualify, and others do not – the grant belongs to the partner that qualifies for SEISS.
SEISS is State Aid and may not be available if the taxpayer is already above the State Aid limit.
Where the taxpayer is non-resident or taxed on the remittance basis their total income includes overseas income that is not subject to tax in UK.
Who can claim? The Rules
Taxpayers can claim if they are self-employed individuals or a member of a partnership and:
- they carry on a trade which has been adversely affected by coronavirus
- they traded in the tax year 2018/19 and submitted their Self-Assessment tax return on or before 23 April 2020 for that year
- they traded in the tax year 2019/20
- they intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020/21
- the trading profits are no more than £50,000 per year
- they are earning at least half of their income through self-employment
The business could be adversely affected by coronavirus, for example if they are unable to work because:
- they are sheilding
- are self-isolating
- are on sick leave because of coronavirus
- have caring responsibilities because of coronavirus
- They have had to scale down or temporarily stop trading because:
- their supply chain has been interrupted
- they have fewer or no customers or clients
- their staff are unable to come in to work
HMRC will check claims and take appropriate action to withhold or recover payments found to be dishonest or inaccurate.
Once the claim has been submitted the taxpayer will be notified straight away if the grant is approved. HMRC will pay the grant into the nominated bank account within 6 working days.
When working out eligibility or the amount of the grant HMRC will not consider Self Assessment tax returns for the tax years 2016/17 or 2017/18 if they are submitted after 23 April 2020.
HMRC will use data on the tax returns already submitted to identify those eligible to claim.
When working out eligibility or the amount of the grant HMRC will not consider any changes made to previously submitted returns after 6pm on 26 March 2020.
Each partner in a partnership will need to make a claim based on their own circumstances. HMRC will work out your eligibility based on that partner’s share of the partnership’s trading profits. If the partnership rules require the grant to be paid into the partnership pot, the partnership should give the full grant back to the partner that qualifies for the SEISS grant.
If the taxpayer is self-employed but when they apply or are taking a break from trading because of a new baby or adoption, or have done since 6 April 2019, they may still be eligible because HMRC will treat them as still trading. If claiming Maternity Allowance this will not affect eligibility for the grant.
Non-resident taxpayers and those taxed on the remittance basis may be eligible for the grant if they are self-employed and are either:
- not resident in the UK
- resident in the UK and have chosen the remittance basis