Applying for the Self-employed Income Support Scheme

In our blog on 26th March 2020, we explained the criteria for the Self-employment Support scheme (SEISS).

As HMRC starts to contact tax payers who may be eligible, we outline below how the process is intended to work at this stage.

Pre-application

Emails, SMS messages and letters are being sent to taxpayers who may be entitled to claim an SEISS grant. Please note that to guard against fraud the email and SMS messages from HMRC do not include active links. If you receive an email or SMS allegedly from HMRC which includes an active link it is a scam.

The initial contact will explain how to be ready to make a claim when the portal opens. HMRC is providing an eligibility checker on www.tax.service.gov.uk/self-employment-support/enter-unique-taxpayer-ref.... This is active now and is open to anyone to use not just those who have been contacted by HMRC.

You will be requested to enter your UTR (10-digit unique tax reference that can be found on your HMRC correspondence) and national insurance number only. You will not be asked to enter any details about your earnings.

The eligibility tool will advise you of the date from which you can claim.

In the background, the site will check your tax return information held by HMRC to assess your eligibility.

Applications

Applications will open to taxpayers on a staged basis between 13th and 18th May. HMRC will email those who have previously provided an email address, to advise when the portal will be open to them.

Once open you will log onto your government gateway account (or select the option to create an account) to complete the application process. You will then be presented with a detailed calculation and asked to:

  • Read and accept the eligibility criteria
  • Complete declarations, including to confirm that your business has been adversely affected by coronavirus; and
  • Supply bank details into which you would like the grant to be paid.

HMRC expects to make payments from 25th May within six working days of the application being submitted

Where the eligibility checker gives a not eligible result there is an option to ask HMRC to review. This can be completed by you or us as your agent.

The process for disputing the amount of the grant is not yet known.

Whilst we, as your accountants, are able to access the eligibility checker for you, we are not able to access your government gateway account to submit the claim. HMRC has advised that accountants should not use client credentials to apply for grants on behalf of clients and that doing so may trigger fraud checks and delay payments.

We advise against clients setting up a new government gateway ID in advance of making an application, but instead do so as the first step in the application process (via the eligibility checker). This will ensure that the correct type of credentials are set up and avoids the need to wait for an authorisation code in the post (this requirement is suspended for those that set up government gateway credentials as part of the SEISS service).

HMRC will be providing a telephone-based application service for the digitally excluded, further details are awaited.

For further information please contact your normal bennettbrooks contact