Attention self-employed: Could you be vulnerable to penalties for your SEISS grant claim?

The SEISS (Self Employed Income Support Scheme) was announced in April 2020 to help self-employed individuals claim a grant worth 80% of their average monthly earnings if they had been adversely affected by coronavirus.

There was then a further announcement in May 2020 to say that the scheme had been extended for a second pay out of 70% of their average monthly earnings in August/September 2020.

 

On the 28th July 2020, HMRC announced they were going to be punishing people who misused the SEISS, considering whether a claim was either appropriate or excessive.
As someone who is self-employed, it is essential that you make sure you haven’t claimed the grant when you were not eligible as HMRC are now sending out strong warnings.

 

To be eligible for the SEISS grant:

 

  • You need to have submitted a tax return in the 2018/19 tax year, have traded during the 2019/20 tax year, and intend to continue trading as self-employed in the 2020/21 tax year.
  • You must also have been adversely affected during the coronavirus pandemic. HMRC reserve the right to investigate this. HMRC’s definition of “adversely affected” can be found here – https://www.gov.uk/guidance/decide-if-your-business-has-been-adversely-affected-for-the-self-employment-income-support-scheme
  • If you have willingly claimed the grant when you knew you were not entitled, this is classed as a deliberate act and you could get a starting penalty of 100% of the grant paid out. However, if you did not know you were ineligible for the grant when you received it, they will only charge a penalty if you have not repaid the grant in full by the 31st January 2022.

Key Dates

 

If claimants have received a grant they were not entitled to, HMRC needs to be notified by 20th October 2020 or 90 days after they received the grant, whichever is later. Payments of any overclaim is to be made in full by 31st January 2022.

 

We are also seeing a number of people receiving letters regarding the validity of CJRS (Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme). If HMRC have enough information to prove a client has made an incorrect claim, there will be a compliance check which could result in penalties being charged.

 

Here at Turas Accountants, we understand these implications can arise, which is why we work hard to give you the best possible advice and strategies to make it easier for you. For peace of mind, we offer Tax Investigation insurance which protects you from the costs that arise in dealing with your HMRC enquiry.

 

If you or anyone you know needs help with anything regarding tax investigations or you think would benefit from Tax Investigation Insurance, please do get in touch with our team today on 01952 882434.