Final SEISS grant
The Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) provides grants to self-employed taxpayers whose business has been adversely affected by the Coronavirus pandemic. Eligible taxpayers can now claim the second and final grant under the scheme. Grants paid out under the scheme are taxable.
To qualify for the second grant, you must be a sole trader or a partner in a partnership and your business must have been ‘adversely affected’ by the Coronavirus pandemic on or after 14 July 2020. As for the first grant, you must have:
- traded in the 2018/19 tax year and submitted your self-assessment tax return for that year no later than 23 April 2020;
- traded in the 2019/20 tax year; and
- traded in the 2020/21 tax year or intend to do so.
The scheme is only open to self-employed taxpayers whose income from self-employment comprises at least 50% of their total income and is not more than £50,000. The £50,000 limit is initially applied for 2018/19 and the test is met if profits for that year are £50,000 or below. However, where profits for 2018/19 are more than £50,000, average profits for 2016/17, 2017/18 and 2018/19 are considered. You will qualify if the average profits for these years do not exceed the £50,000 threshold.
If you meet the eligibility conditions for the second grant, you can make a claim, even if you did not claim for the first grant.
Meaning of ‘adversely affected’
The second grant is only available to businesses that have been ‘adversely affected’ by the Coronavirus pandemic on or after 14 July 2020. HMRC have published guidance, together with examples, setting out the circumstances in which they consider a business to have been ‘adversely affected’ by the pandemic.
As a general guide, a business will be ‘adversely affected’ if it has experienced lower turnover or higher costs as a result of Coronavirus. This may be because you were unable to work because you were sick, self-isolating, shielding or caring for someone because of the virus. The business may also suffer a reduction in trade or an increase in costs because of interruptions to the supply change, a reduction in customers or the need to incur additional costs to make the business COVID-secure or to meet social distancing requirements.
Need to keep records
To support a claim for the second grant under the SEISS, you should keep evidence to show how and when the business was ‘adversely affected’ by Coronavirus. This may include:
- business accounts showing a reduction in turnover or an increase in expenditure;
- confirmation of any Coronavirus-related loans that the business has received;
- any dates that the business had to close as a result of lockdown restrictions; and
- any dates that the staff were unable to work because they had Coronavirus symptoms, were self-isolating, shielding, or had caring responsibilities as a result of the virus.
How much is the second grant?
As with the first grant, the second grant is based on average profits over the three tax years 2016/17, 2017/18 and 2018/19. If you did not trade in 2016/17 or file a return for that year, the grant is based on average profits for 2017/18 and 2018/19; if you did not trade in 2017/18 or file a tax return for 2017/18, the grant is only based on profits for 2018/19, regardless of whether you traded in 2016/17.
The second grant is worth 70% of three months’ average profits, to a maximum of £6,570.
HMRC have written to all traders who they believe to be eligible to make a second claim under the scheme, telling them the date from which they can make their claim. Claims can be made online via the claim portal, which opened on 17 August 2020. The last date on which a claim can be made under the scheme is 19 October 2020.
As with the first claim, you must make the claim yourself; claims by agents are not permitted. However, we can advise you on how to make the claim, whether you qualify and what records you need to keep.