HMRC starts to contact self-employed for support scheme

HMRC has announced it has started to contact customers who may be eligible for the government’s Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS).

Those eligible will be able to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of their average trading profits up to a maximum of £7,500 – equivalent to three months’ profits – paid in a single instalment.

Individuals are eligible for the SEISS if their business has been adversely affected by coronavirus, they traded in the 2019/20 tax year, and if they intend to continue trading.

However, HMRC has also stated that customers must earn at least half of their income through self-employment, have trading profits of no more than £50,000 per year, and also traded in the 2018/19 tax year having also submitted their self assessment tax return on or before 23 April 2020 for that year.

HMRC added that it is using information customers provided in their 2018/19 tax return – as well as returns for 2016/17 and 2017/18 where needed – to determine eligibility, and from today will be contacting customers who may be eligible via email, text message or letter.

The claims service will open on 13 May and HMRC said those eligible for the scheme will have the money paid into their bank account by 25 May, or within six working days of completing a claim. 

The Government believes the SEISS will bring parity with the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, for which the Treasury has committed to pay up to £2,500 each month in wages of employed workers who are furloughed during the pandemic.

Personal Finance Society chief executive, Keith Richards, welcomed the move by the Government, and said: “The economic crisis we are in the midst of is unprecedented and has already affected businesses and individuals significantly, so we commend any measures which can ensure as few people as possible fall between the cracks and get access to much needed support quickly.

“We urge any of our members who are in need and are eligible for these schemes to make full use of them in order to ensure the vital service they provide to the public continues.

“The Personal Finance Society will continue to work with the regulator and the government, to ensure our members are supported in meeting the needs of their clients and receive the most up to date guidance to do so.”

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