COVID-19: How to claim for SEISS
May 06, 2020
If you’re self employed, you can now complete HMRC’s eligibility check for the Self Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) for Covid-19.
The government opened its claims service on Wednesday 13 May, and has announced that payments will start to reach bank accounts within six working days after you submit a claim.
How can I claim?
SEISS claims must be submitted by the taxpayer – we cannot submit the claim on your behalf. You can check whether you’re entitled to apply by using HMRC’s online eligibility checker.
In order to check your eligibility and then submit your claim, you will need:
1. Your Self Assessment Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) Number
You will need to start by entering your 10 digit UTR number, for example 1234567890. It will be on your tax returns and other letters you’ve received about Self Assessment. It may be called ‘reference’, ‘UTR’ or ‘official use’. If you need help finding your UTR let us know, because we may have this on file for you. The system will then tell you whether you are eligible or not, and if you are, when you can claim from – e.g. from 8am on 14 May.
2. Your National Insurance Number
3. Your Government Gateway ID and Password
You will need a Government Gateway Personal Tax account in order to submit your claim. You can set up a Government Gateway account online – you’ll need to provide a means for HMRC to check your identity (e.g. passport details or payslip), and you’ll need to set up 2-step verification for security purposes, which will be used every time you log in.
You may already have a Government Gateway tax account, but make sure this is a personal tax account (containing your contact details) and not a business tax account.
IF YOU DON’T ALREADY HAVE A GOVERNMENT GATEWAY PERSONAL TAX ACCOUNT ID AND PASSWORD WE RECOMMEND YOU APPLY AS SOON AS POSSIBLE TO AVOID DELAYS IN RECEIVING PAYMENT.
4. Bank account number and sort code for payment
HMRC has created a short animation which clearly explains, step by step, how to use the checker.
Once you have done the eligibility checker, and you are eligible for the grant, HMRC will ask for your contact details and they will email you between the 13 and 18 May. The HMRC portal opens on different days for different taxpayers.
Once you have submitted your claim, you will be told straight away if your grant is approved and the grant will appear in your bank account within six working days.
How has HMRC calculated my eligibility?
HMRC is using information that you provided in your 2018-19 tax return (and returns for 2016-17 and 2017-18 if needed) to decided if you’re eligible. It will contact those who may be eligible via email, SMS or letter.
You will be eligible if your business has been adversely affected by coronavirus, if you traded in 2019-20, if you intend to continue trading AND if you:
- Earn at least half your income through self-employment;
- Have trading profits of no more than £50,000 per year;
- Traded in the tax year 2018-19 and submitted your Self Assessment tax return on or before 23 April 2020 for that year.
Full details of how HMRC will work out your eligibility can be found on the Gov.uk website.
There are numerous ways your business could be adversely affected by coronavirus, for example if you are unable to work because you:
- are shielding or self-isolating
- are on sick leave because of coronavirus
- 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
- your staff are unable to come in to work
How much will I get?
You will get a taxable grant based on your average trading profit over the three tax years – 2016/17, 2017/18 and 2018/19.
HMRC will work out your average trading profit by adding together your total trading profits or losses for the three tax years, then it will divide this by 3.
The grant will be 80% of your average trading profit, divided by 12 to give a monthly amount. HMRC will then multiply this by 3, to cover the three months that the scheme currently lasts for. HMRC will pay this amount, up to a maximum of £7,500, in one lump sum directly into your bank account.
The grant will be subject to Income Tax and self-employed National Insurance. 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
You will need to report the grant:
- on your Self-Assessment tax return
- as self-employed income for any Universal Credit claims
- as self-employed income and that you are working 16 hours a week for any tax credits claims
If you receive the grant you can continue to work, start a new trade, or take on other employment including voluntary work, or duties as an armed forces reservist.
What if I’m not eligible for SEISS?
If you’re not eligible for the scheme, HMRC will provide guidance to help you understand why you’re not. Various different circumstances affect the scheme, and you can check here if any of these affect you.
Alternative sources of support may be available to you. The government announced on 2 May a new ‘discretionary fund’, which has been set up to accommodate certain small businesses who have not been included within the business grant funds scheme.
A further £617 million is being made available to local authorities in England. It’s aimed at small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs, and could be a help to bed and breakfast businesses and landlords of holiday lets. The allocation of this fund is going to be at the discretion of local authorities though, and will be based on local economic need.
There will be three levels of grant payments – £25,000 (the maximum), £10,000, or any amount under £10,000 depending on the approach decided by individual local councils.
To be eligible, you must run a small business of under 50 employees, and you must also be able to demonstrate a significant drop of income due to Coronavirus restriction measures. Local authorities will receive further guidance in the near future.
As ever, if you have any questions or concerns, or if you need any advice with setting up your Government Gateway account or submitting your SEISS claim, please let us know and we’ll be happy to help.