An Update – Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)

Important Update on our previous advice

When we first let you know details of this scheme, we advised that you set up a Government Gateway in preparation for this going live. That has changed.

HMRC has dispensed with the need to set up a Gateway account first if you do not have such an account. Instead, they have built it into the claim process as the first stage of your claim, with the advantage that they are also dispensing with you having to wait for postal notification of an authorisation code. This is an improvement as it will hopefully simplify and speed up the whole process.

Background information & Guidance

This week commencing 4 May 2020 HMRC will start contacting self-employed people who are likely to be eligible for a grant under the SEISS, through emails, SMS texts or letters, in that order of priority depending on what contact details they hold, to tell them what they need to do to get ready to claim.

From this week, you will be able to use a new online eligibility checker (details below), for which you simply need to input your tax reference UTR and your NI number. If the checker confirms that you are eligible (and you qualify due to being affected by coronavirus and because you intend to continue trading), you will be given a date when you can use the online service to make a claim from 13 May 2020. If this eligibility checker says that you are not eligible, please let us know so we can review this check, as the system has been built very quickly and could be wrong, or the credentials you hold may be incorrect.

The application process is available only to you as the taxpayer. HMRC has specifically excluded agents such as ourselves from applying on your behalf to speed up the readiness of the system.

Payments will be made to your designated bank account from 25 May 2020 (ahead of the original June schedule).

Amount of grant

You will not need to input any financial details of your income to work out the amount you are likely to receive, as all calculations will be done by HMRC to speed up the process. However, if you believe that the amount is incorrect, please ask us and we will check it for you.

The application process will require you to input your Government Gateway credentials if you have them or to create an account, for which you will need to provide an email address. You will then be presented with a detailed calculation of the amount you can claim and be invited to confirm your eligibility by signing a declaration. You then supply the details of a bank account, so inputting sort code and account number of your bank account to which you would like payment made.

Anti-Fraud measures

The initial communication from HMRC by way of email or SMS text will not contain any active links and in that way they believe that they are minimising fraudulent intervention.

If you do receive any communication that has links and invites you to provide financial details or bank accounts, please ignore it as it will be fraudulent. Please beware of this as we imagine that this will present a significant opportunity for fraudsters to operate. If you are in any doubt, please contact us first.

The decision to exclude agents from acting on clients’ behalf may seem harsh, particularly for those who have no digital access. However, please don’t ask us to process the application using your credentials, as HMRC has made it clear that this will trigger their fraud checks and it is specifically outlawed by our professional regulators, who do regard it as unethical behaviour. We will do what we can to assist you to make a claim.

Some website links for you are as follows:

Details of the SEISS –

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme

Self Employed Income Support Scheme Eligibility checker –

https://www.tax.service.gov.uk/self-employment-support/enter-unique-taxpayer-reference

 

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