What you need to know
Who can claim:
Self-employed individuals or a member of a partnership (as long as certain criteria are met, see below). Limited companies and trusts are not entitled to claim.
How much can be claimed:
80% of trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 a month.
How long does the scheme run:
Three months (March to May), but it may be extended.
When can claims be made:
The application portal opens in phases between 13 and 18 May.
When will grants be paid:
By 25 May or within six working days of claim.
Who makes the application:
Claims have to made by the taxpayer themselves and cannot be made by agents.
Who does the calculations:
HMRC does all the calculations needed for the claim, using the information in the submitted tax returns. The taxpayer does not have to provide any figures.
Is the grant taxable:
Yes, the grant is subject to income tax and self-employment national insurance contributions. HMRC’s policy intent (subject to legislation being enacted) is that the grant is taxable when received and there is no requirement to allocate the grant to the months to which it nominally relates (March to May). HMRC does not expect any element of the grant to be reported on 2019/20 self assessment tax returns.
Self-employed individuals, including members of partnerships, are eligible if they:
HMRC has provided some guidance on the meaning of ‘adversely affected’. This includes being unable to work because the taxpayer is shielding, self-isolating or is on sick leave or has care responsibilities because of coronavirus. It also includes scaling down or temporarily stopping trading because the supply chain has been interrupted, the business has fewer or no customers or staff are unable to work. It is also important to keep evidence in this case, such as:
The taxpayer's trading profits must be no more than £50,000 and more than half of their total income for either:
The amount of the grant is based on the average trading profits for the relevant years. Examples are available in HMRC’s guidance. Note that the grant is calculated using the trading profits shown on the tax returns; no adjustment is made if the taxpayer traded for only part of a tax year.
How to apply:
From 4 May HMRC will contact taxpayers that it believes may be entitled to claim for a SEISS grant. However, HMRC will not necessarily know whether the taxpayer meets all the conditions of the scheme and the result is subject to meeting the eligibility criteria mentioned above.
The SEISS application portal opens to taxpayers on a staged basis between 13 and 18 May, with the portal opening on different days for different taxpayers. HMRC is sending reminder emails to taxpayers who have provided an email address to confirm when the portal is open. Taxpayers can also use the eligibility checker at any time to check whether the application portal is open for them and to register an email address to prevent any delays in accessing the portal.
Taxpayers then log in to their government gateway account (or select the option to create an account) to complete the application process. They are presented with a calculation of the amount of the grant and are asked to:
The taxpayer does not need to provide any information about their income – the calculations are all done by HMRC based on the tax returns submitted. HMRC will check the claim and expects to make payments by 25 May 2020 or within six working days of the application being submitted.