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COVID-19: Self-Employment Income Support Scheme Opens

This week HMRC will start contacting self-employed people who are likely to be eligible for the Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), through a combination of emails, SMS texts and letters, to tell them what they need to do to get ready to claim.  

Our latest business support post covers how to find out if you’re eligible for the SEISS, and how to make your claim.

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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). Find out more on the GOV.UK site here. For the Self Employed Income Support Scheme Eligibility checker, click here.

Check If You Can Claim A Grant Through The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

HMRC have updated their guidance on the 4th May to outline the process for applying for SEISS. The full details can be viewed here

The scheme will allow you to claim a taxable grant of 80% of your average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months, and capped at £7,500 altogether.

You will get a taxable grant based on your average trading profit over the 3 tax years:

  • 2016 to 2017
  • 2017 to 2018
  • 2018 to 2019

HMRC will work out your average trading profit by adding together your total trading profits or losses for the 3 tax years, then they will divide by 3. The grant will be 80% of your average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months, and capped at £7,500 altogether. The online service will tell you how HMRC have worked the grant out.

The grant amount HMRC works out for you will be paid directly into your bank account, in one instalment. To find out how HMRC will work out your average trading profits including if you have not traded for all 3 years, click here.

If you receive the grant you can continue to work, start a new trade, or take on other employment including voluntary work, or duties as an armed forces reservist. 

The grant will be subject to Income Tax and self-employed National Insurance. There is other support available if you are not eligible for the grant. HMRC will work out if you are eligible and how much grant you may get. 

Check If You Are Eligible To Claim In The Self Employment Income Support Scheme

HMRC have an online eligibility checker which links from their web page. If HMRC tells you that you are not eligible to make a claim, you can ask HMRC to review this after you have used the online tool. If you want to do this later, you will be able to use the online tool more than once.

If you are unable to claim online an alternative way to claim will be available soon.

We can check this on your behalf if you want us to. If you cannot find your UTR ask us because we keep this on file for you. We also keep your National Insurance number on file as you need this too.

Once you have done the eligibility checker, and you are eligible for the Grant, HMRC will ask for your contact details and they will email you between the 13 and 18 May. The HMRC portal opens on different days for different taxpayers.  

When You Make Your Claim

You will need your:

  • Self-Assessment UTR 
  • National Insurance number 
  • Government Gateway user ID and password – if you do not have a user ID, you can create one when you check your eligibility online (see above)
  • Bank account number and sort code you want us to pay the grant into (only provide bank account details where a Bacs payment can be accepted)

You will have 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 are below the state aid limits.

After You Have Claimed

Once you have submitted your claim, you will be told straight away if your grant is approved. HMRC will pay the grant into your bank account within 6 working days. You must keep a copy of all records in line with normal self-employment record keeping requirements, including:

  • the amount claimed
  • the claim reference number for your records
  • evidence that your business has been adversely affected by coronavirus

You will need to report the grant:

  • on your Self-Assessment tax return
  • as self-employed income for any Universal Credit claims
  • as self-employed income and that you are working 16 hours a week for any tax credits claims

Please contact us if you need help with your claim.

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