HMRC to contact self-employed on Covid-19 80% support this week

HMRC will be contacting self-employed people this week about the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme. You can check your eligibility online now.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has opened an online checker today (4 May) so the self-employed and partnerships can check their eligibility for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) and get a date on which they can apply for it. Click here to go to the online checker. You will need your Self Assessment Unique Taxpayer Reference.

This week HMRC will start contacting the 3.5million-or-so people who could be eligible for the government’s SEISS to explain the application process and help them get ready to make a claim.

The claims service opens on Wednesday 13 May, ahead of schedule, with payments reaching bank accounts by 25 May, or six working days after the claim is made.

The scheme is for the self-employed or those in a partnership whose business has been adversely affected by the coronavirus. It covers most people who get at least half of their income in this way. 

 SEISS is a temporary scheme giving a grant of up to 80% of average trading profits up to a maximum of £7,500 (£2,500 a month for a maximum of three months) in a single payment.

HMRC is using information that customers have provided in their 2018/19 tax return - and returns for 2016/17 and 2017/18 where needed – to determine eligibility. It is contacting customers who could be eligible via email, SMS or letter. 

You are eligible if:

  1. your business has been adversely affected by coronavirus
  2. you traded in 2019-20
  3. you intend to continue trading and:   
  •                          Earn at least half of your  income from self-employment   
  •                          Have trading profits of no more than £50,000 a year   
  •                          Traded in the tax year 2018 to 2019 and submitted a Self Assessment tax return on or before 23 April 2020 for that year.   

If you are ineligible for the scheme, HMRC will direct you to guidance setting out the conditions to help you understand why and advise you about other support that might be available, such as: income tax deferrals, rental support, Universal Credit, access to mortgage holidays and the various business support schemes the government has introduced to protect businesses during this time.   

HMRC expects its phone lines to be busy over the next few weeks as people enter this new scheme so ask that you call only if you really can’t find what you need on GOV.UK, from your tax agent or by using the online webchat service. This will leave the lines open for those who actually do need help.