Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)
How to check if you are eligible and how to claim
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) have begun to contact those self-employed individuals who it believes are eligible to make a claim for the SEISS grant. HMRC will make contact via email, text message or, if it does not have an email address or phone number then, by letter. Please be aware that there are currently a number of fraudulent emails and texts messages in circulation so you should exercise caution and be careful when entering any personal details.
You can also check your eligibility yourself by visiting https://www.tax.service.gov.uk/self-employment-support/enter-unique-taxpayer-reference
Please note that as Agents we will not be able to make the claim on your behalf. This is due to the way the system has been set up by HMRC. However, we will be able to offer advice on eligibility and provide further instructions of how you can make your claim, if requested.
When checking eligibility you will only need your National Insurance (NI) number and Unique Tax Reference (UTR) number. Once you follow the link and enter your NI number and UTR, HMRC will confirm whether it believes you are eligible to make a claim and, if so, it will allocate a date and time between 13 May and 18 May 2020 from which you may make your claim. At this point a link will guide you to the Government Gateway login.
If you do not have a Government Gateway Account then you will need to follow the link and set one up. It is important that you follow the link provided on the page to avoid setting up a Gateway Account for the wrong service. Fortunately the process of setting up a Gateway Account, which can require an authentication code in the post, has been made instant for the purpose of applying for the SEISS grant. If creating a new Government Gateway Account then you will need to verify your identity by providing details from either your driving license photocard or your UK passport. If you do not have either of these documents then you will be asked for a piece of financial information such as the date you set up your mobile phone contract.
Once you have your Government Gateway ID and you have reached your claim start time then you can apply for the grant.
Are you eligible?
To be eligible your trading profit must make up more than half of your total income and either of the following must be true:
- Your trading profit must be no more than £50,000 for the tax year 2018/19; or
- Your trading profit must be no more than £50,000 for the average of the tax years 2016/17, 2017/18, and 2018 /19.
You must also:
- have submitted a self-assessment tax return for the tax year 2018/19;
- have traded in the tax year 2019/20;
- be trading when you apply, or would be if not for Coronavirus;
- be intending to continue to trade in the tax year 2020/21;
- carry on a trade which has been adversely affected by Coronavirus (see below for further details)
- confirm the grant does not breach state aid limits
When making a claim you will need to confirm the above conditions have been met. You will not be required to submit any trading profit results because HMRC already holds these details.
HMRC guidance confirms your business could be adversely affected by Coronavirus if, for example:
- you are unable to work because you:
- are shielding ;
- are selfisolating;
- are on sick leave because of coronavirus; or
- have caring responsibilities because of coronavirus.
- you have had to scale down or temporarily stop trading because:
- your supply chain has been interrupted;
- you have fewer or no customers or clients ; or
- your staff are unable to come in to work,
How much can you claim?
The amount you will be able to claim is calculated by reference to your average trading profit over the last three years to 5 April 2019 (or less if applicable). You then receive 80% of your average monthly trading profit (up to £2,500 per month) for 3 months. The grant will be paid as a single lump sum into your nominated bank account within 6 working days of making the claim.
For partnerships each partner will need to make a claim based on their own circumstances and the grant will be calculated based on each partner’s profit share. If a partnership’s rules require that each partner pay their grant into the partnership pot (where some partners may qualify for the grant and others may not) then the partnership must repay the full grant back to the eligible partner(s).
For further detail about the different circumstances which may affect the SEISS read here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/how-different-circumstances-affect-the-self-employment-income-support-scheme
For further detail about eligibility and how the grant will be calculated read here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/how-hmrc-works-out-total-income-and-trading-profits-for-the-self-employment-income-support-scheme
Those who miss out on SEISS
Unfortunately, this is not a scheme whereby one size fits all and there will be self-employed individuals who miss out on the scheme. This includes individuals that:
- started self-employment or joined a partnership after 5 April 2019.
- have self-employment or partnership income of more than £50,000.
- incorporated their trade after 5 April 2019.
- have income from employment, property or other sources which is more than their self-employment or partnership income, breaching the 50% test.
- have reduced earnings in the relevant years because of parental leave or illness.
- did not file their 2018/19 self-assessment return by 23 April 2020.
If you are not eligible for SEISS then you may still be eligible for other government support such as:
- The Business Bounce Back Loan – see https://www.scott-wilkinson.com/blog/new-business-bounce-back-loan-scheme/
- Deferring your July 2020 Income Tax payment on account
- Deferring your next VAT payment falling due between now and 30 June 2020
- Claim benefits such as Universal Credit
Author: James Cornthwaite FCA CTA
A former pupil at St Aidan’s C of E High School, James attended Blackpool Sixth Form College and Lancaster University, graduating in 2004, gaining BSc. first class honours. He joined Moore and Smalley, Preston in 2005 and qualified as a...
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