Concern raised for self-employed missing out on Govt scheme

The Low Incomes Tax Reform Group (LITRG) has raised concern that some people who are eligible to apply for the Government's Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant have not received any correspondence from HMRC.

The group warned that if HMRC do not have their up-to-date contact details, they might not hear from the tax authority.

The LITRG described this as a concern because HMRC are starting to contact people to invite them to check their eligibility for the SEISS grant, before the claims process opens later this week.

To qualify for the scheme, individuals must meet several conditions which include a requirement to trade on a self-employed basis – either as a self-employed individual or a business partner in a trading partnership – as well as proof of trade being adversely affected by coronavirus.

HMRC have used information from 2016/17, 2017/18 and 2018/19 tax returns to identify potential SEISS claimants and have contacted them through either email, SMS messages or letter.

LITRG head, Victoria Todd, commented: “We are concerned that self-employed people whose businesses have been affected by the coronavirus may miss out on claiming this grant because they were not aware that it was available. It would be very unfortunate if business owners who have seen a fall in trade because of the lockdown, or Covid-19-related health reasons, do not get the financial help they are entitled to.

“HMRC have produced an online checker on GOV.UK which identifies whether you may be eligible for the grant. But the online checker only checks some of the eligibility conditions and may give an incorrect result.

“If you are self-employed and think you may be eligible for a SEISS grant, we recommend that you read the Government’s guidance which sets out the full conditions and that you use the online checker to see if and when you can apply for the scheme.

“We are aware that some people who think they are eligible are using the checker and receiving a ‘not eligible’ response. We suggest that you wait a couple of days and then try again. If it still shows you are not eligible then you can ask HMRC to review your eligibility.”

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