The online service to claim a grant through the Self Employment Income Support Scheme will open on 13 May.  As we have previously advised, the scheme will allow those in Partnerships as well as Sole Traders that have been adversely affected by COVID-19 to claim a taxable grant of 80% of their average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering three months, and capped at £7,500 altogether.  Ahead of the 13 May launch date, we would urge you to make preparations to claim this grant.

At present a claim can only be made by you personally, it can not be made by your agent or tax adviser therefore we strongly recommend that you follow the steps outlined below to work out whether you are likely to be entitled to a Grant and how you can claim it.

You can find more about the government grant for the self-employed and the eligibility criteria on our website by clicking here and on HMRC’s website here

Check if you are eligible to claim

You should use HMRC’s online tool to find out if you’re eligible to make a claim. Please click here.  You will need your:

  1. Self Assessment Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) number. This is your unique ten digit reference number with HMRC that is used to file your tax return and make tax payments. You will find it on copies of your tax return, payment advice or correspondence from HMRC.
  2. National Insurance number

If you are eligible

HMRC will tell you the date you’ll be able to make a claim from and ask you to add your contact details. They will then use the contact details to remind you when the online service will be available. When checking your eligibility you will need to enter contact information and set up a Government Gateway account for HMRC to communicate directly with you.  This is straightforward and the steps are outlined on the website.

Whilst you need to make the claim personally, we are still here to help you. If you believe that you should be eligible to make a claim and HMRC advise differently, please contact us as soon as possible. We are also happy to review HMRC calculations of the grant if applicable and answer any questions you may have.

How to claim

You can check your eligibility and provide details to set up your Government Gateway account today. If you’re eligible, HMRC will tell you the date you can make your claim from. If your claim is approved you’ll receive your payment within six working days.

When you subsequently make your claim, following the date advised by HMRC, you will need your:

  1. Self Assessment UTR
  2. National Insurance number
  3. Government Gateway user ID and password – as per above, you may not have a user ID, you can create one when you check your eligibility online (follow the previous link)
  4. Bank account number and sort code you want the grant paid into. This must be a bank account where a Bacs payment can be accepted)

You will have to confirm to HMRC that your business has been adversely affected by coronavirus. If you claim the grant, HMRC will treat this as confirmation you’re below the state aid limits.  You should not claim the grant if you’re already above the state aid limits or if claiming this grant would take you above those limits.

The maximum level of aid that a business may receive under the European State Aid limit is €800,000 (€120,000 per undertaking active in the agriculture and aquaculture sector or €100,000 per undertaking active in the primary production of agricultural products).

HMRC will check claims and take appropriate action to withhold or recover payments found to be dishonest or inaccurate.

After you’ve claimed

Once you’ve submitted your claim, you will be told straight away if your grant is approved.

You must keep a copy of all records in line with normal self-employment record keeping requirements, including:

  • the amount claimed
  • the claim reference number for your records
  • evidence that your business has been adversely affected by coronavirus

You will need to report the grant:

  • on your Self Assessment tax return
  • as self-employed income for any Universal Credit claims
  • as self-employed income and that you’re working 16 hours a week for any tax credits claims

The grant will be subject to Income Tax and self-employed National Insurance. HMRC will work out if you’re eligible and the level of grant you will receive.

If you have any queries please contact Anne Fitzpatrick by email or Tel: 028 9032 3466