Updates to Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS)

This blog was written by Chris Hodgson, Tax Associate.

As we move towards the middle of May, the guidance on the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) has been updated.

An online tool has been made available by HMRC. It allows self-employed people to check on whether HMRC think that they ar eligible for a payment under SEISS. You enter the Self Assessment UTR, then the National Insurance number, and it tells you if you are eligible.

Real examples

I checked for a couple of clients, who we think will be entitled, as a test. For the first client, the tool confirmed eligibility. For the second client, the tool stated that the UTR and NI number which I entered did not match their records, even though having checked again, the entries were correct. This may bode ill in terms of HMRC getting things right when contacting clients.

On the question of how HMRC are going to contact taxpayers, the mechanism is not clear yet, but one can perhaps infer that HMRC will be sending out letters, rather than texts, emails or telephone calls. This is on the basis that the updated guidance says that if you get a text, email or phone call purporting to be from HMRC, then report it as phishing.

Government Gateway user ID

There is one extra piece of work which many self-employed people now need to do urgently. On being told that you are eligible, a self-employed person will be directed to an online portal and you will have to enter your Government Gateway user ID.

Most self-employed people who use an accountant will not have a user ID as they rely on their accountant. Accountants have a user ID as an agent, but there is no mechanism for accountants to use that ID. Therefore, we are contacting all of our clients who we think will be eligible to advise them to set up a user ID. The sooner this is done, the sooner the claim can be made.

Other information

The other parts of the claim are that you need to provide your bank account number and sort code to HMRC to allow them to make a BACS payment to you. You also need to make a declaration that your business has been adversely affected by coronavirus.

Please remember that unlike with furlough, you can continue to work in your business, and to take on what work you can find.

You should receive payment within six working days of submitting the claim to HMRC.

As and when the portal goes live, or if some practical issues come to light, we will send out a further blog on SEISS.

Contact us

For further information, please contact Chris Hodgson at chris.hodgson@taitwalker.co.uk.