In May, HMRC used their IT systems to identify and contact potential SEISS claimants, however, the LITRG worries that there may be some people who did not receive this information.
This could’ve been due to a simple error, such as HMRC not having up-to-date information on a self-employed professional – a change of address for example.
Because of this, self-employed people who have been impacted by Covid-19 and are struggling financially are being encouraged to double-check whether they are entitled to the government’s Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant before the claim window closes on 13th July.
Victoria Todd, Head of LITRG, said, “The self-employed, and individual partners trading in partnerships, whose businesses have been affected adversely by Covid-19 but who are yet to claim the first SEISS grant, should check urgently whether they are eligible. It is unfortunate if potential claimants miss out because they did not realise there was a deadline or because they were unsure if they could claim.”
Todd added, “This is clearly a difficult time for many small businesses, and we recommend that HMRC publicise widely the first SEISS claim closing date and clarify the general misunderstanding about the claim periods to which the SEISS grants relate.”
There is also some confusion about the time periods for the SEISS grants. The government initially said that the scheme would ‘cover the three months to May’, so this was taken to mean by many that a self-employed business or partnership had to be affected adversely during the three-month period of March, April and May to claim the first grant.
Those affected in June, July and August assumed they would qualify for the second grant. HMRC then amended their guidance to state that if a business has been adversely affected because of Covid-19 at any point up to 13th July, they will qualify for the first SEISS grant (assuming all other conditions are met). Only if a business is adversely affected by Covid-19 from 14th July can they claim a second grant.
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