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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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If you are self-employed and your business has been adversely affected by COVID-19, the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) may well be a lifeline for you. Given that claims for the last grant closed on 29th January 2021, you are probably wondering: “When can I claim my 4th grant?”

Personal claim dates

There is no hard-and-fast answer to “When can I claim my 4th grant?” HMRC is currently contacting self-employed people it believes may be eligible for the latest round of SEISS. There is no single ‘big bang’ date on which all eligible people can apply. Instead, HMRC is emailing individuals to give them a personal claim date. This date is likely to be towards the end of April 2021.

Don’t try to claim before your personal date. The online system won’t let you. Also, be sure to claim yourself – you can’t ask your accountant or another agent to do it. If you do, it’ll trigger a fraud alert and it’ll only delay payment.

Am I eligible for the 4th grant?

While HMRC is contacting self-employed people it believes may be eligible, not all of them will be. Before you make a claim, you have to make sure that you meet the relevant eligibility criteria. You must:

  • Have traded in both tax years 2019/20 and 2020/21 and have submitted your latest tax return before 2nd March 2021
  • Be a self-employed individual or a member of a partnership
  • Be currently trading while affected by reduced demand, or be temporarily unable to trade because of COVID-19
  • Intend to continue trading
  • Reasonably believe there will be a significant reduction in your trading profits.

What does ‘reasonably believe’ mean?

This is important. You have to have good reason to believe that COVID has had a significant negative impact on your profits. It was possible (for example) to claim earlier rounds of SEISS if your trading profits weren’t significantly affected, but you did have to spend extra money on PPE. You can no longer do this. HMRC guidance states:

In order to claim the fourth grant, you must reasonably believe that you’ll suffer a significant reduction in trading profits, due to reduced business activity, capacity, demand or inability to trade due to coronavirus between 1 February 2021 and 30 April 2021. You must keep evidence that shows how your business has been impacted by coronavirus resulting in less business activity than otherwise expected. 

What information do I need to claim the 4th grant?

If you’ve claimed before, the procedure is similar. You’ll need your National Insurance number, Unique Taxpayer Reference Number, your bank details and a Government Gateway account.

However, if you have not claimed before, you may be asked extra questions to confirm your identity. HMRC says that questions could relate to any of the following:

  • your UK passport
  • information held on your credit file (such as loans, credit cards or mortgages)
  • your Self Assessment tax return (within the last three years)
  • your tax credit claim
  • one of your three most recent payslips.
  • your P60

You need this information to hand when making your claim. If you can’t verify your identity, it will delay your claim.

How much is the SEISS 4th grant?

You can claim 80% of average trading profits over three months, capped at £7,500. The next, fifth grant will pay 80% or 30% depending on your trading position for 2020/21. We’ll supply more details about this nearer the time.

Any questions?

If you were wondering, ‘When I can I claim my 4th grant?’, we hope you’ve answered your question. If you have any further queries – and you are a THP client – please do get in touch.

Need further advice on any of the topics being discussed? Get in touch and see how we can help.

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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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