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Covid support could be open to more people

More self-employed workers could be eligible for the next round of Covid support after missing out on previous grants following a change in the criteria.

Martyn Bramwell, from Dyke Yaxley Chartered Accountants in Shrewsbury and Telford, said the application process for the fourth Self Employment Income Support (SEISS) grant was now open with the closing deadline of June 1.

“As with the previous grants, there is the usual phased access with each self-employed worker being notified of the earliest date they can apply.

“The latest grant covers the period from February 1 through to April 30, 2021, and the criteria has changed as it now takes 2019/20 tax returns into account for eligibility and for calculating what payment you’ll receive.

“This means there will be many people who previously did not qualify for the grants who will now be eligible, as long as their circumstances meet the other required conditions.”

Martyn said the basic eligibility and calculation had not changed significantly – the grant will still be 80% of three months profits capped at £7,500, but with the 2019/20 profits included, it’s likely to be a different amount than the third SEISS grant.

In order to qualify, applicants must have traded as self-employed (including partners in a partnership) during 2020/21 and continue to trade in 2021/22.

“You must also have a reasonable belief that there will be a significant reduction in trading profits due to a reduction in your self-employed income, reduced business activity, capacity or demand, or an inability to trade due to Coronavirus. HM Revenue and Customs have already said that increased costs alone will not qualify as entitlement to the grant.”

Martyn said HMRC had also stressed the importance of record keeping for the fourth application including the amount of the grant, the claim number, and any evidence to support your claim as to how your business has been impacted.

“The process for claiming is the same as before via Government Gateway accounts, or by telephone for anyone who is digitally excluded, and after answering the required questions you will receive an immediate decision as to how much you can claim and how it was calculated. If you disagree with the calculation, the advice is to still make the claim and then challenge it once you receive payment, which should be made within six working days.

“All SEISS claims will be checked thoroughly by HMRC, and it’s important to remember these grants are all taxable and subject to Class 4 National Insurance contributions, so you must inform your accountant if you receive a payment.”


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