Since April 2020, HMRC have been paying out grants to support eligible self-employed business owners who have been adversely affected by COVID-19. They have specifically excluded us, and other accountants, from assisting you in claiming these grants.
We have recently been aware of the following points:
1. HMRC are being tasked to recover 30-50% of all grants paid out (across the various support schemes).
2. Specifically on Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS), HMRC will be approaching accountants for information if / when they take a look at tax returns to prove eligibility.
3. If you can’t demonstrate that you were entitled to it, HMRC will consider the action deliberate and concealed, with penalties of 100% of the grant paid to you. Fact sheet here.
Eligibility criteria (in brief):
You need to be able to demonstrate how your business was impacted by Covid-19. According to HMRC, being adversely impacted includes being unable to work because the taxpayer is shielding, self-isolating, is on sick leave or has care responsibilities because of coronavirus. It also includes scaling down, temporarily stopping trading or incurring additional costs because:
- the supply chain has been interrupted
- the business has fewer or no customers
- staff are unable to work
- one or more contracts have been cancelled
- protective equipment was purchased to comply with social distancing rules
The scheme specifically allows a claim where the trade has continued, so long as the trade is ‘adversely affected’.