HMRC updates Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) guidance with further information on second and final grant

HMRC updates Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) guidance with further information on second and final grant

An announcement regarding changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and to the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) was made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, during the Downing Street daily briefing on Friday 29 May 2020. For further information, see News analysis: Chancellor details changes to Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS).

For information on the SEISS generally, see Practice Notes:

HMRC has now updated the following guidance on 12 June:

Minor amendments have also been made (unannounced) to the following HMRC guidance:

Four track changes documents in PDF format, illustrating the additions, moves and deletions that have occurred in the HMRC guidance can be accessed here:

Checking if you can claim a grant

The main HMRC guidance on checking if you can claim a grant through the SEISS is updated as follows:

  • an eligible self-employed person or member of a partnership whose business has been adversely affected must make their claim for the first SEISS grant on or before 13 July
  • if eligible, and if their business has been adversely affected on or after 14 July, they will be able to make a claim for the second and final grant in August 2020
  • a person can claim for the second (August 2020) grant even if they did not make a claim for the first grant
  • HMRC will work out a person’s eligibility for the second grant the same way as the first grant. If a person make a claim for the second grant they will have to confirm their business has been adversely affected on or after 14 July 2020
  • the online service for the second and final grant is not yet available. Potential claimants should not contact HMRC now, as it will update the guidance page when the service is available, and they can Sign up for email alerts for any changes to the guidance
  • making a claim for Universal Credit may affect other benefits, so individuals should check how tax credits and other benefits affect each other, and find out what to do if they are already getting benefits

The check if you can claim a grant guidance also refers to the HMRC guidance on how different circumstances affect the SEISS for examples of when the ‘adversely affected’ criteria will be met (see below).

Examples of the ‘adversely affected’ criteria

The updated HMRC guidance on how different circumstances affect the SEISS includes a new section: ‘Adversely affected examples’, which sets out a number of examples of when the ‘adversely affected’ criteria are met:

  • for the first grant, and

  • on or after 14 July, for the second grant

The examples are as follows:

ScenarioAdversely affected for first grantAdversely affected for second grant
A builder’s trade was not impacted. She worked on a very small building site and was still able to go to work throughout the whole of the crisis as she was able to work at a social distance.NoNo
A builder was unable to find work from March to September because of the government restrictions on building sites and the economic impact of the crisis on the companies she worked for.YesYes
A builder worked on short-term contracts on various building sites. She only had half the work she would normally have between March to May because some of her building sites were closed. She was able to work as normal from June because her building sites reopened.YesNo
A builder worked on short-term contracts on various building sites. She had no work from March to April because her building sites were closed. She was able to work as normal from May because she works on small house extensions which are completely outdoors.YesNo
A builder was able to work as normal from February to August because she works on small house extensions which are completely outdoors. However, she caught coronavirus in August, meaning she had to self-isolate and was unable to work for 6 weeks while she recovered.NoYes

Other minor updates

Minor updates have also been made to the guidance on claiming a grant through the SEISS and how HMRC works out trading profits and non-trading income for the SEISS, but these are not announced in the ‘updates’ sections of the relevant guidance, according to which these two sets of guidance were last updated on 29 May and 7 May respectively. These updates make it clear (in line with the guidance on checking if you can claim a grant through the SEISS) that an eligible individual whose business has been adversely affected on or after 14 July 2020 will be able to make a claim in August 2020, and can claim for the second grant even if they did not make a claim for the first grant.

The claiming a grant guidance also states that:

  • an individual may have to pay a penalty if they know they’ve been overpaid, or are not eligible for the grant, and do not tell HMRC (before this change, the guidance suggested that an individual may have to pay a penalty if HMRC needs to recover a payment)

  • individuals who know they need to tell HMRC that they have been overpaid or are not eligible for the grant should not contact HMRC yet; the guidance will be updated soon with how they can do this

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