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SEISS – Evidence that your business has been adversely affected by coronavirus

By Chris Dawson May 13, 2020 - 10:15 am

From today, the self-employed can start to claim under the Coronavirus Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS). Not everyone will be able to claim SEISS today, but you can register to make a claim and will be given a date over the next few days upon which you will be given access to complete your claim.

Evidence you must keep for SEISS

It is very important to note that if you claim SEISS you will need to keep evidence that your business has been adversely affected by Coronavirus and confirm your income suffered as a result of the Coronavirus. The Government are well aware that this scheme is open to fraudulent claims and will be carrying out investigations where they think fraud has taken place. They will expect you to keep records and provide on request evidence of the following to support your claim:

  • Business accounts showing a reduction in turnover
  • Confirmation of any Coronavirus-related business loans you have received
  • Dates your business had to close due to lockdown restrictions
  • Dates you or your staff were unable to work due to Coronavirus symptoms, shielding or caring responsibilities due to school closures

Reasons your business saw a reduction in turnover to justify claiming SEISS could include:

  • When you were unable to work because you:
    • were shielding
    • were self-isolating
    • were on sick leave because of coronavirus
    • had caring responsibilities because of coronavirus
  • When you had to scale down or temporarily stop trading because:
    • your supply chain has been interrupted
    • you have fewer or no customers or clients
    • your staff are unable to come in to work

Bear in mind that you may not have to provide this evidence until after you tax return is submitted in January 2021. The SEISS provides grants not loans, but that won’t stop HMRC pursuing anyone who they believe has claimed fraudulently.

“We are building checks into the self-employment support scheme to prevent fraud. Only those already known to HMRC through tax return data as self-employed will be able to apply.

We already have a wide range of statutory and common law powers to tackle fraud and criminality, which will be used.”
– HMRC Spokesperson

Reporting your SEISS Grant

The SEISS grant is taxable and may affect other payments you receive such as Universal Credit and Tax Credits. 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

How to claim SEISS

In order to claim SEISS you will need your:

  • Self Assessment Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR)
  • National Insurance number
  • Government Gateway user ID and password
  • UK bank details

The first step towards submitting a claim will be to complete the HMRC online tool to find out if you’re eligible to make a claim.

  • Jim
    3 weeks ago

    Must think were daft
    Hmrc nay possibly prosecute the worse offenders or the stupid
    otherwise its open to rampant abuse

    • 3 weeks ago

      The messaging I received was merely “You might be eligible… check if you can claim”. There was nothing about “if your income was impacted by Coronavirus” or similar.

      Going to be a lot of people who’s income wasn’t impacted that try it on for a bit of freebie cash!

    • RobC
      3 weeks ago

      HMRC will not be able to easily assess dubious SEISS claims until the 2020/21 tax returns are submitted which might not be until January 2022. They might expect to see a fall in turnover in 2020/21 and ask questions if there wasn’t.

  • Jim
    3 weeks ago

    Government is throwing money at this
    In desperation
    A Massive financial virus is on its way,
    With fiscal ICUs overwhelmed

  • JoeB
    3 weeks ago

    Is this (and the previous article about the grant) based on any actual evidence or is just supposition and opinion?

    The previous one in particular with your list of who should not apply seemed to be just your opinion without an official HMRC source to back it up.

    • 3 weeks ago

      We don’t just make stuff like this up!!!!

      Who can claim is covered here

      If you want the sources for the rest then start browsing the HMRC website and it’s all there (apart from the HMRC Spokesperson quote which they supplied to Tamebay via email)… although you’ll have to do the work which we did and browse through a ton of pages.

  • T.Kaye
    3 weeks ago

    I have been been working self employed for over 3 years but didn’t take much in this current year as I’ve been out of work with injuries and working when I can and where I can.

    I didn’t claim any benefits as I was preferring to work than claim benefits.

    I had work in April/May of 2019 and work in December/January of 2019/2020 and was picking up work here and there and considering a new line of work, still as self employed, when Covid hit and now there was no chance of work.

    Am I allowed to claim ? HMRC contacted me and told me I was permitted. I don’t want to commit fraud.

    I’ve also dedicated a lot of time to helping my 86 year old land lady who was basically isolated and has been alone apart from me for the past 7 weeks and she can attest to that.

  • BFT
    3 weeks ago

    I looked at the form yesterday.

    The form stated:

    Your business could be adversely affected by coronavirus if, for example:
    you’ve had to scale down or temporarily stop trading because:
    your supply chain has been interrupted.

    At least 2 of my suppliers locked down so I could not get stocks.
    My main supplier continued as normal.
    My main product lines sold well – in line with 2 years ago (last year was not so good), however, I could not sell stock I did not have, so my overall turnover would have been higher without the CV problems. How much higher I do not know, as I do not separate out sales from different suppliers in my records.

    I did not see any requirements to prove a reduction in turnover on the application, as I may not be able to do this.

    My problem is that I have put a lot of time and effort into increasing my range of products from my main supplier, in order to make a big leap in overall turnover this year, so I would not expect to see a decrease, but perhaps I would have seen the big leap without CV.

    I have never claimed a penny in benefits in my life, so would be somewhat aggrieved if I could not claim this, especially if my taxes and NI go up to pay for the country’s bailout.

    I really don’t want the boys from HMRC kicking my door down, so cannot make up my mind if I should claim.

  • T.Kaye
    3 weeks ago

    I work as a labourer who is “self employed”. There is nobody hiring these past few months and I have continued to incur expenses for garage rentals and tool purchases. SO I can show that.

  • Will
    3 weeks ago

    I know a self employed builder, he has told me that he ‘is busier than ever during this lockdown’ and is working 7 days a week. However, he told me that he has every intention of claiming up to £2500 monthly under the SEISS. He will just not include the jobs that he has done on his trading books. How can that be right?

    • 3 weeks ago

      Is not right. He basically a tax dodger. Let’s hope he enjoys the wrath of HMRC if he is caught.

  • john
    3 weeks ago

    Please supply a link that mentions you can only claim SEISS IF IT EFFECTS PROFIT.

    You can claim SEISS and earn 10 times as much as you did last year, In-fact it actually encourages you to claim and WORK. (it does not say claim and work but only earn 20% of you usual income lol)

  • 3 weeks ago

    “you carry on a trade which has been adversely affected by coronavirus”

    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme#check

    Making 10 times as much as you did last year, can hardly be described as adversely affected by anyone other than a complete moron and I’m sure you are not a moron.

    • john
      3 weeks ago

      profit is not mentioned at all.”Adversely effected” is down too interpretation….My profits are down now….however if i bring in PPE next month they will be tenfold. i am still entitled to the grant.

      if i go get a job as a porter for NHS . my income will have doubled. and will still get 80%(provided i still keep SE business going.)

      i can stop working/drag my heels until the SE gravy boat has finished, again thats fine.

      Point i am making is profit can be the same or more and you can still get the 80%. It also actually gives examples that may not effect profit. At no point in any guidelines does it mention profit or turn over.

      The Property grant has even less restrictions.

      My interpretation is “has covid hindered my business” – yes. (and that may be the case even if you are making more money than last year)

      If i isolate for X days then bust my backside for the next month and get my profits back up . Am i entitled to the grant ? (i think yes)

    • 3 weeks ago

      Live with your conscience and the threat of an HMRC investigation hanging over your head. Have fun if you ever have to explain that to an investigator especially as you have popped your thoughts onto a public forum they read!

  • john
    3 weeks ago

    morally its not good . However they have said for SE there are no work restrictions. While claiming the SE grant. Even if we ASSUME they mean profit /turnover that can change after getting the grant.

    Furthermore When does your business have to be “Adversely effected” . At no point does it say WHEN. Is it only march april may? Should you leave claiming until you see the full effect?

    There are allot of question and ambiguity.

  • 3 weeks ago

    When you say there are a ‘lot of questions and ambiguity’ you should say there will be a lot of fraudulent claims 😀 😀

    People who don’t need it can’t wait to justify a reason to claim so that they don’t miss out on free cash. Those that truly need to claim find it very easy to justify.

  • Jim
    3 weeks ago

    grown ups should know whats right

  • Nicole
    2 weeks ago

    I know a person who applied for SEISS but never stopped working , business was never affected and fell into this persons pocket 3000£ for free.
    As a key worker I put myself at risk of going to work every day and feel angry that money from our taxes are given out this way.

    • 2 weeks ago

      Feel free to vent your frustration in an effective manner
      https://www.tax.service.gov.uk/shortforms/form/TEH_IRF

    • 2 weeks ago

      If this person got £3000 through SEISS, that is 80% of an average 3 monthly net profit, meaning they made an average £15K per year over the last 3 years, or to put it another way, just £1250 per month.

      It would not take much of a downturn in business to have a negative impact on this figure and unless you have insider information, you’d not be able to tell. Even if they seem as busy as ever, that can be misleading. Only HMRC will know the reality when they submit their accounts.

  • Nicole
    2 weeks ago

    I will not report this person because I can’t.
    But I would like to hear that the government has some ways to detect thieves.
    Will HMRC be able to find that the business was never affected but the SEISS was collected at the end of the tax year?

  • Chris
    2 weeks ago

    Working with many people through this period (may be a week off)
    I now see most are now contemplating how to spend there Government lottery win.

  • echonnie
    2 weeks ago

    I applied for the SEISS as I am fast food moped courier and since most restaurants/clients got closed I was definitely affected as I was getting less jobs.

    But, I managed to do the same money on a weekly basis as before because I found another similar job and also I was spending more time on the road…

    So, my question is: Is it providing a proof of the restaurants being closed enough evidence or I have to declare any income reduction?

    I am asking that question because my accountant told me that HMRC haven’t stated anything about income reduction but just that the business should be adversely affected by the CoViD19?

  • Andy
    1 week ago

    I have been told of a company that have so called subbies that work continuously and have not stopped working for the same company, all the guys on the books are on the furlough Scheme, on 80% pay, A good few of these subbies have claimed the SEISS, amounting to £6000 each, will they be in for a shock later on, they are all paid through the company, not cash, will they getaway with it .

    • RobC
      7 days ago

      Just an opinion but as accountant with subbies on my books I would strongly advise against claiming SEISS if your business has not been adversely affected by Covid-19 In fairness most have been in varying degrees due to sites being closed or not wanting work done or materials such as plaster etc not being available. However for those who have carried on working throughout but have still claimed you need to recognise there will a day of reckoning when the huge bill for all this taxpayers money handed out becomes a hot political issue and I suspect there will be calls for more checks to be made.

  • Peter
    4 days ago

    Hello, I’ve been effected by covid and made a claim (very small one). I’m self employed and work varies month to month. But my question is: what if I see record profits this year as I’m a growing business? Work is now picking up again and I’m worried further down the line I will be in trouble, because I could end up have a good year work wise! Is there a way of paying it back if this happens? Don’t want to get fined!

    Thanks

    • 4 days ago

      Sorry to hear this Peter, I do hope you are in good health now?

      Follow the government advice to keep a full record detailing how your business was impacted during the three months the grant applies to especially detailing the dates you couldn’t work and why.

      Hopefully if work is picking up (and it would be great if you end up with a bumper year) you won’t need the second SEISS grant which has been announced, but so long as you can clearly show HMRC why you claimed, and have kept a trial of the applicable dates, there shouldn’t be any problems at all.

  • Paul welsh
    3 days ago

    I’m self employed only working 3 days a week . That’s 24 hours instead of 40 . Is there a definite guideline on the hours that suggest adversely affected, in my estimation it is. A lot of people are out of work completely so hoe do we justify.

    • Jack Robinson
      3 days ago

      I’m in the same bit as you Paul I claimed the first one and I’m starting to work again but at reduced hours! So from what has been said “adversely affected” I would take that as yes I have had a negative impact on Coronavirus . I have been noting each day down with the hours I’ve worked in hoping that would be enough evidence with my wage sheets to support that.

    • john
      2 days ago

      You will not have to pay it back if you were “adversely effected” in ANY way.(eg. hours,suppliers and or profit)

      Commons Briefing Paper CBP 8879 of 8 April 2020 on the SEISS

      “The SEISS differs from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme in that grants paid under
      the SEISS will not cover actual loss of earnings. Rather, the SEISS will pay out at a level
      calculated based on past earnings. So, even if a self-employed individual only sees a small
      reduction in their profits they will still get a full grant. The Institute for Fiscal Studies
      estimates some self-employed workers will therefore be financially better off than they
      would have been without the crisis.”

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