UK Self-Employed Income Support Scheme

The UK Self-Employed Income Support Scheme

Guidance for members on the UK Government’s Self-Employed Income Support Scheme.

The UK Self-Employed Income Support Scheme

This page provides guidance for members on the UK Government’s Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (“SEISS”) which was announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 26 March 2020. The content herein has been derived entirely from HMRC’s guidance and communications to Chartered Accountants Ireland on the SEISS.

Two further grants (the third and fourth) under the scheme were announced as part of the Chancellor’s Winter Economy plan.

The Institute will continue to engage with HMRC on our members behalf in respect of COVID-19 supports and will share the most up to date information as it becomes available.

We therefore recommend that you bookmark this page and also regularly check the latest updates section of our COVID-19 hub.

This page was last updated on Monday, 16 November 2020

The SEISS – extension

Although two further SEISS grants were announced in the September Winter Economy plan, the third self-employed income support scheme (“SEISS”) grant has been increased and will now be 80 per cent of three months’ average trading profits capped at £7,500 for the period November 2020-January 2021, according to a recent announcement.

To be eligible for the SEISS grant extension self-employed individuals, including members of partnerships, must:

  • have been previously eligible for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme first and second grant (although they do not have to have claimed the previous grants); and
  • declare that they intend to continue to trade and either:
  • are currently actively trading but are impacted by reduced demand due to coronavirus; or
  • were previously trading but are temporarily unable to do so due to coronavirus.

The third and fourth grants will be paid in two lump sum instalments each covering three months.

The fourth taxable grant will cover a three-month period from 1 February 2021 until 30 April 2021. The Government will review the level of the fourth grant and set this in due course.

The SEISS – recent updates

Important updates and recent developments in the SEISS are as follows:-

  • The third grant will cover the period November 2020 – January 2021 and will be 80 per cent of average monthly trading profits capped at £7,500;
  • The online service for claiming the third grant is expected to open from 30 November 2020; and
  • Details of the fourth grant have yet to be decided.

The SEISS – the role of agents

For the first and second grants, agents were unable to make claims on behalf of their clients. According to HMRC, developing the functionality for agents to make claims on behalf of clients was one of the difficult trade-offs made in delivering the system as early as possible to get money to eligible self-employed taxpayers. This is likely to continue to be the case for the third and fourth grants.

In addition, anyone who is digitally excluded or Northern Ireland self-employed individuals who do not have a Government Gateway (“GG”) ID (and cannot verify their identity perhaps because they have an Irish passport) were required to claim over the phone for the first and second grants – we are currently awaiting an update from HMRC on this in respect of the third and fourth grants.

The SEISS - tax treatment of amounts received

Grant payments received by a business under the SEISS should be included as a source of taxable income in the financial statements of the relevant business and will therefore be subject to both income tax and self-employed national insurance contributions, in accordance with normal principles.

The SEISS - dealing with HMRC

The contact details for the SEISS are available on GOV.UK. HMRC advice is to only use these contact channels if you cannot get the help you need online.

The SEISS - useful links

Make sure to bookmark the relevant SEISS pages on GOV.UK on your web browser to ensure you’re getting the most up to date information.

Links to the most up to date guidance and related sources of information are provided below:-

  • Guidance on the first and second grants under the scheme; and
  • An overview of the guidance on the extension of the scheme to provide the third and fourth grants – more detailed guidance is expected in the week commencing 23 November 2020.

The SEISS – service availability

Members are also advised to regularly check the availability and any issues affecting the online SEISS portal so that they can provide their clients with the most up to date information.

If you have a specific query or issue in respect of the SEISS or any other COVID-19 support which HMRC are administering, please check if your query is covered anywhere on GOV.UK or in our hub before contacting UK Taxation Specialist Leontia Doran.

Chartered Accountants Ireland can accept no responsibility for the content on any site that is linked to from the Institute website. Links are provided in good faith for the potential support of members and students.