The UK Government has today announced that the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will continue until September with a fourth and fifth grant.
The fourth and fifth grants will take into account submitted 2019-20 tax returns. This means your clients may be able to claim, even if they were not eligible for previous grants. Your clients must have submitted their 2019-20 tax returns by 2 March 2021 to be eligible for the fourth and fifth grants.
Fourth SEISS grant
The UK Government will pay a taxable grant which is calculated based on 80% of three months’ average trading profits, paid out in a single payment and capped at £7,500 in total. The value of the grant is based on an average of your client’s trading profits for up to four tax years between 2016 to 2020, where available.
The grant will be available to claim from late April. As with previous grants, trading profits must be no more than £50,000 and at least equal to non-trading income in order to claim the fourth SEISS grant.
Eligibility for the fourth SEISS grant will also depend on whether your client experienced a significant financial impact from coronavirus between February 2021 and April 2021.
As the calculation now takes into account the tax year 2019-20, your clients who previously claimed SEISS grants may receive grants that are higher or lower in value than any previous SEISS payments they received.
We have moved quickly to ensure we have the information we need to check customers' eligibility before applications are open, while also protecting the SEISS from fraud. Where we need to make further checks, we will write to customers and explain that we will call them to ask for proof of identity and evidence of trade. To make these calls, we will use the telephone number on the customer's record. If this is their agent's number, we will ask that you provide us with your client’s contact number as we need to speak to them directly. Thank you for supporting your clients with this process, which will help make sure we can get support to people who need it.
Further details of the scheme can be found by searching 'Self Employed Income Support Scheme' on GOV.UK.
How your clients can claim the fourth SEISS grant
From mid-April, your clients will be given their personal claim date by HMRC which confirms the earliest date they can claim. We are inviting customers to claim on different days to ensure the system is fast and easy to use.
The online claims service for the fourth grant will be live from late April. This is to allow us time to process recently submitted 2019-20 Self Assessment tax returns.
Your clients must make their claim for the fourth grant between their personal claim date and 31 May 2021 at the latest.
Your clients will need to make an honest assessment that there has been a significant reduction in trading profits due to reduced demand or their inability to trade, and to keep appropriate records as evidence.
The UK Government has also announced that there will be a fifth and final SEISS grant covering May to September. The amount of the fifth grant will be determined by how much your clients’ turnover has been reduced.
The grant will be worth 80% of three months’ average trading profits, capped at £7,500, for those with a higher reduction in turnover (30% or more). For those with a lower reduction in turnover, of less than 30%, then the grant will be worth 30% of three months average trading profits.
Your clients will be able to claim the fifth grant from late July if they are eligible. Further details will be provided on the fifth grant in due course.
Questions and answers on SEISS:
When will further guidance be available?
We will publish more guidance in due course.
How will customers receive their personal claim date?
We will contact your clients from mid-April by email, letter or SMS, depending on the information they have provided to us previously.
What can customers do to prepare?
We will send details of how to make a claim when we contact customers with their personal claim date.
In the meantime, to confirm eligibility and make a claim, customers should ensure they have the following to hand:
- National Insurance number
- Self Assessment Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR)
- Government Gateway user ID and password
- bank account number and sort code.
Customers claiming SEISS for the first time may be asked additional questions to prove their identity. These customers should be ready to answer questions about the following documents, which we recommend they have to hand:
- UK passport
- credit file (such as loans, credit cards or mortgages)
- Self Assessment tax return (within the last 3 years)
- driving licence (DVLA UK or DVA NI)
- tax credit claim
- three most recent payslips.
During the first two weeks of a grant opening for claims, we receive many calls to our helplines from customers who cannot access the Government Gateway or have issues verifying their identity. We would be grateful if you could support your clients in preparing the above documents so they’re ready to claim.
What support is there for those who are not eligible?
Those who are not eligible for SEISS may be eligible for other elements of the financial support provided by the UK Government. This includes Bounce Back Loans, tax deferrals, rental support, increased levels of Universal Credit, mortgage holidays, and other business support grants.
More information on further support can be found by searching on GOV.UK.