From 4th May, HMRC started contacting self-employed individuals who may be eligible for a cash grant in respect of the Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) ahead of being able to make claims from 13th May.
HMRC will contact you either by email, text or letter, and has confirmed its communications will not contain active links to guard against fraud. If you receive an email or text which appears to be from HMRC and it includes an active link, do not click on it as the email or text will be a scam.
HMRC anticipates claims may be made on a staged basis starting between 13th and 18th May, with the SEISS claim portal opening on different days for different taxpayers.
HMRC says the claims process will be straightforward, and those eligible for SEISS should have the funds paid into their bank account by 25th May, or within six working days of completing the claim.
We look at the three steps you need to take yourself to ensure you are ready so when the claim process is launched, you can receive your grant as soon as possible.
1 - How do I register for the Self Employed Income Support Scheme? (jump to guidance)
2 - Am I eligible for the Self Employed Income Support Scheme? (jump to guidance)
3 - How do I claim the Self Employed Income Support Scheme? (jump to guidance)
HMRC has confirmed that your accountant is not authorised to make SEISS claims on your behalf so if you do not have a Personal Tax Account, you must create one to be able to apply for a SEISS grant.
How to create a Personal Tax Account
Step 1: You will need to register with the Government Gateway, which usually takes about 10 minutes. As you will be asked to confirm your identity to create your tax account, you should have the following information to hand:
- your National Insurance number
- a recent payslip or P60 or a valid UK passport
To create a Personal Tax account click here.
How to check if you are eligible for the Self-employment Income Support Scheme
Step 2: HMRC is contacting everyone it thinks may be eligible to make a claim, based on information it already holds. However, not everyone who is contacted will be entitled to a grant.
For example, HMRC will not always know if you meet all conditions for the scheme such as whether you have traded in the current tax year. Full details about eligibility for SEISS may be found here, but in a nutshell, you must meet the following conditions of the scheme to be eligible to make a claim:
- traded in the tax year 2019/20;
- are trading when you apply, or would be except for coronavirus;
- intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020/21; and
- have lost trading profits due to coronavirus.
- have filed a tax return for 2018/19 as self-employed or a member of a trading partnership by 23rd April 2020
- have trading profits of no more than £50,000 and more than half of your total income come from self-employment for either the tax year 2018/19 or the average of the tax years 2016/17, 2017/18, and 2018/19.
HMRC has provided an eligibility checker here to help you confirm whether you are eligible.
You should then enter your Self-Assessment Unique Taxpayer Reference and National Insurance number in the relevant boxes.
The HMRC checker will then confirm whether you are eligible for SEISS. If you are not and you can make an appeal.
You do not need to enter any information about your income and the checker will not advise the amount of grant available.
You will also be asked to provide an email address for further correspondence including advising you when you may make a claim.
If you receive texts, calls or emails claiming to be from HMRC, offering financial help or a tax refund and asking you to click on a link or to give personal information, it is a scam. You should email it to [email protected] and then delete it.
How to make a claim from the Self-employment Income Support Scheme
Step 3: Due to expected high demand for SEISS claims, HMRC will be staging applications and the portal to do so will be available on different days for different taxpayers.
Once you know if you are eligible you will need to log in to your Government Gateway account here.
To make your claim, you will need your:
- Self-Assessment UTR
- National Insurance number
- Bank account number and sort code you want HMRC to pay your grant into (only provide bank account details where a BACS payment can be accepted)
When you have logged in, you will be presented with information about how your grant has been calculated and be asked the following:
- read and accept the eligibility criteria
- complete a number of declarations, including to confirm that your business has been adversely affected by coronavirus
- supply the bank account details into which they would like the grant to be paid
If you claim the grant, HMRC will treat this as confirmation that you are below the state aid limits.
HMRC will check claims and take appropriate action to withhold or recover payments found to be dishonest or inaccurate.
Once you have submitted your claim, you will be told straight away if your grant is approved. HMRC will pay your grant into your bank account within six working days.
HMRC advise 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
To assist you with your claim, we have answered a range of popular SEISS questions in our FAQs section here.
Need more help?
You may have been advised you are eligible, or believe you are likely to be, but are unsure as to how much grant you may be entitled to.
Or you may have been told that you are not eligible for a grant when you completed the eligibility checker and do not understand why.
We would recommend you speak with your accountant for any further support as they will know your individual situation. If you feel that it's perhaps time to change accountants then we would be delighted to welcome you to TaxAssist Accountants for a the full support service we can provide you with. Please talk to us on 0800 0523 555 or use our online enquiry form. We can offer initial consultations, advice and support over the phone if you have any concerns about face-to-face meetings.
For our latest COVID-19 news and guidance for your business, visit our dedicated Coronavirus Hub.
We will be updating it regularly as we continue to monitor and digest all the latest information
Date published 6 May 2020 | Last updated 14 May 2020This article is intended to inform rather than advise and is based on legislation and practice at the time. Taxpayer’s circumstances do vary and if you feel that the information provided is beneficial it is important that you contact us before implementation. If you take, or do not take action as a result of reading this article, before receiving our written endorsement, we will accept no responsibility for any financial loss incurred.
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