LITRG urges self-employed to double-check grant eligibility

The Low Incomes Tax Reform Group (LITRG) has encouraged self-employed people impacted by COVID-19 to double-check whether they are entitled to the first round of the Government’s Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant, before the claim window closes on 13 July.

The group suggested that HMRC had used its IT systems to identify potential SEISS claimants in May, and had been in contact to explain the first round of the grant.

LITRG, however, said it is worried there may be some people who did not receive this correspondence, such as if they did not tell HMRC about a change of address.

The tax group also expressed concern that some people may have thought they were ineligible for the grant because, when the scheme opened, their business had not been “adversely affected” as a result of COVID-19.

LITRG head, Victoria Todd, commented: “The self-employed, and individual partners trading in partnerships, whose businesses have been affected adversely by COVID-19 but who are yet to claim the first SEISS grant, should check urgently whether they are eligible. It is unfortunate if potential claimants miss out because they did not realise there was a deadline or because they were unsure if they could claim.”

The LITRG also suggested there is confusion about the time periods for the SEISS grants, highlighting that the Government initially stated the scheme would “cover the three months to May”.

The group said this has been taken by some mean that a self-employed business or partnership had to be affected adversely during the three-month period of March, April and May to claim the first grant.

“HMRC has announced some important changes to the first SEISS grant and potential claimants need to be aware of these or otherwise risk missing out on important government support,” Todd added.

“We are urging anyone who has not claimed the first SEISS grant, either because they thought they were not eligible or because they think they are eligible for the second grant instead, to check their eligibility carefully. The opportunity to claim the first grant will be lost after 13 July.

“This is clearly a difficult time for many small businesses, and we recommend that HMRC publicise widely the first SEISS claim closing date and clarify the general misunderstanding about the claim periods to which the SEISS grants relate.”

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