SEISS: HMRC’s further guidance to self-employed as ‘mid-point’ for grant reached

Martin Lewis outlines details on the fifth SEISS grant

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SEISS, or the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme as it is formally known, is designed to help self-employed individuals who have been impacted by the ongoing pandemic. Many self-employed people have seen their businesses drastically affected by the COVID-19 crisis, and have needed financial help. A number of grants have been available to claim, but the current form of support is scheduled to be the last formal part of Government assistance.

As such, many self-employed people will want to take action with their claim.

The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), has flagged SEISS grant five has now reached its “mid-point” in terms of the application window.

A claim, the Government states, must be made on or before September 30, 2021.

To assist Britons, HMRC has issued updated guidance on the claims process to ensure it goes smoothly.

A particularly interesting point relates to turnover figures, which is a new feature to consider within the grant.

The fifth grant differs to previous methods of support, as individuals will need to provide two turnover figures to help HMRC work out what they will get. 

People must work out their April 2020 to April 2021 turnover, and then find their turnover from either 2019/20 or 2018/19 to use as a reference year. 

If incorrect turnover figures were reported, then HMRC has said there is action which is necessary.

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If the grant provided was too high, then Britons will need to pay this sum back through a specific process. 

Individuals are required to tell HMRC, in most cases, within 90 days of receiving the grant should any information be incorrect.

However, if the grant was too low, then self-employed people may be able to make an additional claim.

They can do so by phoning the SEISS helpline, but must still bear the September 30 deadline in mind. 

There has also been a minor alteration as it relates to self assessment returns which could be important to note.

From June 19, 2021 onwards, where the data does not match records, HMRC will be automatically correcting SEISS grant amounts which were entered on 2020/21 self assessment returns.

The Revenue is currently processing and correcting returns which were submitted before that date.

It can also now accept amendments to SEISS grant entries over the phone from taxpayers, when previously this usually needed to be made in writing. 

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People must highlight to HMRC if there has been an amendment to any of their tax returns on or after March 3, 2021 which either:

  • Lowers the amount of SEISS grant a person is eligible for
  • Causes them to no longer be eligible for the fourth or fifth SEISS grant

Once again, they will have 90 days by which to make the Revenue aware of this change.

Should they not, then HMRC will write to the individual concerned to recover the grant, and a penalty fee may also have to be met.

Individuals will not have to inform the Revenue, though, if the grant amount they are eligible for has lowered by £100 or less, or if it was £100 or less in the first place.

Those who are not sure are still encouraged to inform HMRC using the online form provided on the Government’s website. 

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