COVID-19 – self-employed income support scheme payments to be made later this month (UK)

May 05, 2020

In a letter to us from the Chancellor of the Exchequer received on Sunday 3 May and published yesterday, HMRC have advised that the coronavirus self-employed income support scheme is now aiming to make payments by 25 May and not June as previously announced. A new online eligibility checker tool is also now available, the guidance for the scheme has also been updated on eligibility, how the process for making a claim will work and how HMRC calculate the grants. 

HMRC has now started contacting those who are potentially eligible. A further detailed update has just been received from HMRC on the scheme which we have set out below.  

We understand that agents will not be able to make claims on behalf of their clients as this would have delayed the release of both the claim portal and cash to agents.  Agents can however assist clients in checking their eligibility. 

The Institute has been engaging with HMRC on this specific matter and other issues related to COVID-19 supports. In particular, we have raised the position of agents and the digitally excluded with HMRC and are awaiting a response. 

HMRC are holding a number of webinars on this scheme at various dates and times. Book onto a webinar now and hear the latest from HMRC. 

“Update from HMRC 

This week we will start contacting people who may be eligible for the new Self-Employment Income Support Scheme. 

If they are eligible, this scheme will allow them to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of their trading profits up to a maximum of £7,500. 

The process is quick and easy for your clients to follow, but we are asking for your help in guiding them through the eligibility criteria and the process for checking and claiming. 

Advising clients 

You can play an important role in supporting your clients by helping them get ready to claim, by: 

  • talking them through why they may / may not be eligible 

  • helping them to find the details they need 

  • using the online eligibility checker on their behalf (or supporting them to use it themselves). 

Under the rules of the scheme, not every self-employed person will be able to claim, so we’d value your support in helping them understand this. Your client must complete the claim themselves. 

See our updated guidance on GOV‌.UK for information on eligibility, how they will make a claim and how we calculate the grants. 

Those who are ineligible 

This is a very challenging time and some people may be disappointed if they are not eligible. We would be grateful for your help in explaining the reasons why, and helping them find alternative support. 

They may be able to: 

  • delay VAT payments 

  • delay their Self Assessment payment on account 

  • arrange to pay their Self Assessment tax bill in instalments 

  • get a payment from the Small Business Grant Fund 

  • get a loan from the Business Interruption Loan Scheme or Bounce Back Loan 

  • get Universal Credit 

  • apply for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) 

  • apply for Child Benefit. 

We've worked hard to ensure we’ve identified the right people who are eligible, but of course they will be able to ask for a review, or you can ask for a review on their behalf. If you or your client ask for a review, we will look at their case from 18‌‌ May and explain their eligibility by the end of May. 

Scams 

We are aware of an increase in scam emails, calls and texts. Eligible customers will be invited to claim through GOV‌.UK – it is the only service they can use. If someone gets in touch with your clients claiming to be from HMRC, saying that financial help can be claimed or that a tax refund is owed, and asks them to click on a link or to give information such as their name, credit card or bank details, they should not respond. It is a scam. 

Suspicious emails claiming to be from HMRC should reported to us by sending them to phishing@hmrc.gov.uk. Texts should be sent to 60599. 

We will write again in the next few days with more information on the claim process, but in the meantime, thank you for your help in supporting the launch of this new scheme”