The self-employed income support scheme (SEISS) allows self-employed tax-payers to claim a taxable grant of 80% of their average monthly trading profits. This will cover 3 months and will be paid in one instalment (capped at £7,500).
The grant will be subject to Income Tax and self-employed National Insurance.
Unlike the furlough scheme, if you receive the grant you CAN continue to work, start a new trade or take on other employment. You are also able to take part in voluntary work, or duties as an armed forces reservist.
When Is It Open?
The self-employed income support scheme will be open for applications from the 13th of May and HMRC has begun contacting taxpayers that it believes are entitled to claim the grant.
If you are self-employed then you should soon receive correspondence about the scheme via email from HMRC.
If you don’t have an email address registered with HMRC they will send you a text message if it has a mobile phone number. Wherever HMRC does not hold an email address or mobile phone number for a self-employed taxpayer it will send a physical letter. However, this letter may not arrive until after the 12th of May.
Be Aware Of Scam Texts And Emails
There are currently numerous scam texts falsely claiming to be from HMRC, such as ones asking the receiver to reply with their UTR number.
Genuine emails and texts from HMRC do not include an active link to click on; they only tell the taxpayer to be ready to claim.
Although you may receive contact from HMRC about the Self-employed Income Support Scheme this doesn’t necessarily mean that you will meet all of the criteria to receive the grant.
HMRC will use the information which they have about a trader’s profits for the years to 2018/19. However, to claim the SEISS the taxpayer must also have traded in 2019/20 AND be intending to trade in 2020/21.
The information about current and future trading will not yet be held by HMRC therefore it is wise to check your eligibility for the grant before you apply. The eligibility checker will ask for your UTR and NI number, so be sure to have those to hand.
You can check your eligibility here
Although it is not a requirement to use the eligibility checker before making your claim it may well speed up the process.
How To Claim
Whilst HMRC has been communicating with accountants and tax agents and we are able to advise our clients we are NOT able to make a claim on their behalf. HMRC have also advised that agents should not use their clients’ credentials to apply for grants on their behalf as this may trigger fraud checks and delay payment of the grant.
Therefore, the tax-payer MUST make their claim for the self-employed income support scheme themselves via the Government Gateway.
The online application service will be available from the 13th May 2020, and if you’re eligible, HMRC will tell you the date you can make your claim from.
When You Make Your Claim
You will be required to confirm to HMRC that your business has been adversely affected by Coronavirus. (If you claim the grant HMRC will treat this as confirmation you’re below the state aid limits.) You will also need your:
- Self Assessment UTR
- National Insurance number
- Government Gateway user ID and password
- Bank account number and sort code you want HMRC to pay the grant into (only provide bank account details where a Bacs payment can be accepted)
You will be told straight away if your claim has been successful and if it has you will receive your payment within 6 working days.
HMRC will check claims and take appropriate action to withhold or recover payments found to be dishonest or inaccurate.
If you don’t currently have a Government Gateway account you will need to set one up. The easiest way to do this is to create one when you check your eligibility online. You can do this here.
Alternatively, you can www.hmrc.gov.uk/login and choose ‘create sign in details’
You will need your UTR and NI number and a valid email address. Once you have created your account you will be emailed a confirmation code. Use this code to confirm your email address.
Once this is complete you will be issued with a User ID for your government gateway account.
This ID is made up of many digits and not memorable so it is advisable to print it out and keep it in a safe place.
The government have advised that there will be a telephone-based SEISS grant application service for those unable to use the online service, however details have not yet been released.
After You’ve Claimed
If your claim is successful you must keep a copy of all your records (in line with normal self-employment record keeping requirements).
- the amount claimed
- the claim reference number for your records
- evidence that your business has been adversely affected by coronavirus
You will need to include the grant :
- on your Self Assessment tax return
- as self-employed income for any Universal Credit claims
- as self-employed income and that you’re working 16 hours a week for any tax credits claims
How We Can Help
Although we are unable to make claims for the self-employed income support scheme on behalf of our clients we are still here to support you.
You can also find more information about support for businesses affected by Coronavirus here.