Applicants for the fourth Self-Employment Income Support Scheme grant are to be given an individual application date by HMRC.
Business groups are warning that both the application process and the eligibility requirements for the fourth Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant have changed compared to previous payments.
Self-employed workers affected by the pandemic will need an individual application date in order to apply for the fourth SEISS grant covering the three-month period from February to April.
The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) says that HMRC is not planning to announce a formal opening date for applications; instead it will be contacting those eligible by email, letter or within the GOV.UK online service to give them a specific application date.
IPSE said: "We've already seen reports that some have already been able to access their SEISS 4 grant date by logging in to the Self-Assessment Unique Taxpayer Reference page on GOV.UK. This link should go live from Monday 19 April and you should be able to view your own unique date for applying if considered eligible."
Once applicants have received their application date, they will have until 1 June 2021 to complete the claim. If successfully claimed, the grant will provide 80% cover of three months' average trading profits and be paid as a single, taxable instalment and capped at a total of £7,500.
Key eligibility requirements for the fourth SEISS grant are:
- You must have filed a 2019/20 tax return before 2 March;
- You must have earned most of your income though trading;
- You must have average trading profits of less than £50,000.
However, eligibility also depends on the extent to which a business has been affected by the pandemic. Government guidelines say that a business must be impacted by "reduced demand" or be "unable to trade" due to coronavirus in the qualifying period (1 Feb - 30 April 2021). At the same time, you "must decide if the impact on your business will cause a significant reduction in your trading profits for the tax year you report them in".
According to IPSE, HMRC has provided no clear definition of what constitutes a "significant reduction" in trading profit. HMRC says applicants will have to make an "honest assessment".
To make a claim you will also need:
- Your Self-Assessment Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR);
- Your National Insurance number;
- Your government Gateway user ID and password;
- Your UK bank details including a bank account number, sort code, name on the account and the address linked to your bank account.
The full SEISS guidelines are available on the GOV.UK website.
Written by Rachel Miller.