Concern that some self-employed risk missing out on Coronavirus scheme

(3 minutes to read)

HMRC have used information from 2016/17, 2017/18 and 2018/19 tax returns to identify potential SEISS claimants and have contacted them through either email, SMS messages or letter.

The Low Incomes Tax Reform Group (LITRG) is warning people that if HMRC does not have their up-to-date contact details, they might not hear from the tax authority about applying for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant.

To qualify for the scheme, you have to meet several conditions which include a requirement to trade on a self-employed basis (either as a self-employed individual or a business partner in a trading partnership), both currently and in the future (or would be but for Covid-19) and that your trade has been affected adversely because of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Victoria Todd, Head of LITRG, commented, “There may be self-employed people who have not received any information from HMRC about the SEISS grant who are eligible and should be making a claim towards the end of this week. This includes people who are self-isolating at a different address to where they usually reside or perhaps have changed address or mobile number but have not updated their contact details with HMRC.”

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Todd added, “We are concerned that self-employed people whose businesses have been affected by the coronavirus may miss out on claiming this grant because they were not aware that it was available. It would be very unfortunate if business owners who have seen a fall in trade because of the lockdown or Covid-19-related health reasons do not get the financial help they are entitled to.

“HMRC have produced an online checker on GOV.UK which identifies whether you may be eligible for the grant. But the online checker only checks some of the eligibility conditions and may give an incorrect result. If you are self-employed and think you may be eligible for a SEISS grant, we recommend that you read the Government’s guidance which sets out the full conditions and that you use the online checker to see if and when you can apply for the scheme.

“We are aware that some people who think they are eligible are using the checker and receiving a ‘not eligible’ response. We suggest that you wait a couple of days and then try again. If it still shows you are not eligible then you can ask HMRC to review your eligibility.”

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