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COVID-19 advice and updates for SMEs and the self-employed

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COVID-19 personal finances advice and updates

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This morning, the coronavirus Self-Employed Income Support Scheme opens. Self-employed people whose income has suffered due to the pandemic will want to know how to claim SEISS as a matter of urgency.

In summary, you can claim 80% of average profits for March, April and May. This is payable in a lump sum, up to a maximum of £7,500 (£2,500 per month).

You can read more details on the scheme here. You can also find out how check your eligibility and how to calculate your trading profits.

So, how do you claim your money?

How to claim SEISS

To claim SEISS, you need to head to HMRC’s eligibility checker.

The system will ask you for your Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR). If you don’t know this, you can find it on the top-left of your tax return or on other correspondence from the taxman.

You’ll also need to enter your National Insurance (NI) number. Again, you can find this on your tax return, just under your UTR.

If you are eligible for SEISS, you will be given a date and time from when you can make your claim. I used the system this morning and was told I can claim from 8am on 14 May (tomorrow). You then supply your contact details. HMRC says ‘We will use these to tell you when to claim and what you need to do beforehand.’

The SEISS application process 

Applications are made via the Government Gateway system. If you don’t have a Government Gateway account, make sure you open one asap.

When you are allowed to make your application online, you will be presented with a calculation of your grant amount. There is no option to claim a reduced or increased amount – so it’s a case of claiming ‘all or nothing’.

If you disagree with the calculation, you can request HMRC to review the amount – but expect delays if you do this.

If you claim SEISS, you can expect payment within 6 days of making your claim.

Problems claiming SEISS?

If you have problems claiming SEISS, you’ll need to speak to HMRC. The helpline number is 0800 024 1222 and you can access the ‘Ask HMRC’ webchat.

Please be aware, that these services are likely to be very busy, so it could take a long time to get through.

Could it be worth delaying your claim?

SEISS counts as income for benefits assessment purposes. If you have been claiming Universal Credit, you may be better off if you delay your SEISS claim so that you receive the grant in a later monthly assessment period.

Can THP claim SEISS for you?

Unfortunately, we can’t claim SEISS for you. The rules state that you must do it yourself. If you run into problems, we recommend getting in touch with HMRC for advice. If you are a client and you have a question relating your accounts, then we will of course be able to help as normal.

Avatar for Kirsty Demeza
About Kirsty Demeza

With a portfolio that ranges from startups to companies with a £10 million turnover, Kirsty’s talent for working closely with her clients ensures her services remain in strong demand.

“The most rewarding part of my role is seeing clients succeed,” she says. “When you help a new business and watch it expand into new premises and secure big contracts, it’s a great feeling.” Kirsty never finds two days are the same.

As well as providing accounting services that range from self-assessment tax planning and VAT to audit and accounts, she’s part of THP’s sales team and closely involved in helping our trainees to develop their skills.

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