This week HMRC will start to contact businesses who could be eligible for the SEISS and they have confirmed agents can’t make the claim on a clients behalf

This week HMRC have started contacting self-employed customers who we think could be eligible for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), based on the information they provided in their 2018 to 2019 tax return. HMRC are inviting customers to use their online checker which will quickly confirm whether they are eligible and will give customers a specific date from which they can make a claim.

HMRC have written to ask for our support and help, as customers prepare to make a claim.

How we can help

We can help our clients by:

  • ensuring they are aware they may be eligible
  • helping them to find the details they need
  • using the online eligibility checker on their behalf (or supporting them to use it themselves)
  • talking them through why they may or may not be eligible, drawing on the HMRC online guidance or through their daily webinars.

As an agent we won’t be able to make a claim on behalf of our clients.

Designing a scheme that enabled agents to apply on behalf of clients would have taken substantially longer to deliver, at a time when speed is the priority.

Instead, HMRC have designed the scheme to be as simple as possible for customers to use, and they will calculate the amount a customer is entitled to based on the information they already hold.

How to use the checker

To use the online checker you will need your Unique Taxpayer Reference Number and their National Insurance Number.

If you are eligible, you will be given a date, between 13 and 18‌‌ May, from which you can apply. This date is assigned randomly to help HMRC manage demand on the service, making sure that everyone who needs to make a claim can do so.

You will also be asked to provide your Government Gateway credentials (user ID and password) and check that your bank and contact details are up to date. This is important so that HMRC can remind you by email or text message when it’s your turn to make a claim.

If you doen’t have Government Gateway credentials, you can set those up simply if you follow HMRC guidance and use the SEISS eligibility checker. There will be no requirement for you to wait for pins or codes through the post.

We have been asked to encourage our clients to use the SEISS eligibility checker and get your Government Gateway credentials now if you don’t already have themThis will make applying for the grant quicker and easier when it is their time to apply.

The application process

When the application process goes live on 13‌‌ May, we can continue to support our clients although we cannot complete the claim on their behalf.

The application process will show how HMRC has calculated the grant you are due to receive. You will be able to share this calculation with us.

If you wish to seek a review of this calculation, you can do so or we can do this on your behalf. It’s important to note that the checker has an extremely high accuracy rate as HMRC use the data we have previously provided to HMRC.

HMRC welcome our support in helping you to understand if they meet the criteria for SEISS. If you still wish to request a review, HMRC will look at your case from 18‌‌ May and HMRC will explain your eligibility by the end of May.

Further information

HMRC phone lines will be very busy over the next couple of weeks so they would really value our help in explaining the scheme to you and ensuring you understand the scheme. You can do this by visiting the HMRC guidance on GOV.UK which will provide you with most of the answers you need or by contacting us for confirmation.

Join the HMRC webinar to find out more

You can also join one of HMRC’s live webinars for further information about the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

During these webinars HMRC will cover an overview of the scheme, who can claim, how much customers may be entitled to, how to claim, what happens after customers have claimed and other support available. Choose a date and time.

Watch HMRC’s animation

HMRC have created a short animation to show, step by step, how to use the checker.

Other help available

There are a range of measures to support businesses and individuals at this difficult time. If you are not eligible for a grant under this scheme, you may still qualify for other forms of help. HMRC encourage you to visit GOV.UK to see what alternative support might apply or contact us to discuss this in more detail.

A word about scams

HMRC are aware of an increase in scam emails, calls and texts. Eligible customers will be invited to claim through GOV‌.UK – it is the only service you can use. If someone gets in touch with you claiming to be from HMRC, saying that financial help can be claimed or that a tax refund is owed, and asks you to click on a link or to give information such as their name, credit card or bank details, you should not respond. It is a scam.

Suspicious emails claiming to be from HMRC should be reported by sending them to [email protected]. Texts should be sent to 60599.

HMRC will contact us again with further information ahead of the claim process opening next week and wee will keep you up to date.

Every business is unique. If you would like any advice with regards to your business and the effects the virus are having on your trade then please contact Rob. We are not looking to profit from the crisis and Rob has agreed to discuss your business and concerns for free with no obligation to engage us as your accountants in the future. We would just like to help where we can. Stay safe, stay well and stay home where you can.

This article is published for information only. It provides only an overview and no action should be taken without consulting the detailed legislation or seeking professional advice. Therefore no responsibility for loss occasioned by any person acting or refraining from action as a result of the above can be accepted by the author or the firm.