SEISS details were confirmed last week as HMRC detailed the online service to claim fourth grants will be available from late April. So long as a claimant is eligible, they’ll be able to make a claim up until June 1 but Martin Lewis highlighted there are a few areas of the application process that need to be focused on.
In responding to the announcement, the Money Saving Expert said he believed applications will open up from April 22 but “everyone gets their own date”.
As Martin explained: “Finally, the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme four (SEISS four) grant, worth up to £7,500, is on its way – welcome relief for those with incomes savaged by Covid, who’ve eked out the last grant for up to five months.
“The good news (and something we campaigned hard about) is for the first time up to 600,000 recent starter self-employed are due grants too.”
Martin went on to break down the key “need-to-knows” that affected workers need to be aware of.
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These largely concerned eligibility and admin rules, with Martin detailing the following:
- “SEISS four is the first grant that will look at 2019/20 tax returns. Eligibility criteria for this grant are largely unchanged (leaving many still excluded), with one big exception – 2019/20 tax returns will be included, so many who started businesses after around Oct 2018, who were previously excluded, may get one. It works like this…
Eligibility: Self-employment trading profits for the 2019/20 tax year must be £50,000 or under, and at least equal to other income. If not, it’ll average the tax years 2016/17, 2017/18, 2018/19 and 2019/20 to see if you qualify.
Amount: It pays 80 percent of average trading profits up to £7,500 for February 1 to April 30. The average is based on those four tax years up to & incl 2019/20. If you’ve a gap in the years traded, it only uses the tax returns after the gap.
- “I believe the first applications open on April 22, but HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) isn’t confirming. To stop the system being clogged up, HMRC isn’t announcing a specific date applications open. Instead, since Monday it has been sending those eligible a personalised ‘earliest application’ date via text, email or letter. The money is usually paid about six working days after application.
- “I asked people to feed back their ‘earliest application’ dates on social media, and the range is April 22 to 29 . HMRC does have a non-publicised find your date link, which seems to work for some, though it’s saying it’s still a work in progress, and won’t officially launch something with all the data until next Monday. If you check then and don’t get a date, and think you should have, contact HMRC if you think there’s been a mistake.
- “Due your first SEISS grant as a recent starter self-employed? Some newly eligible may have already had a letter from HMRC asking them to verify their ID, but that’s separate from notification of your application date.
- “Some who were eligible before WON’T be now and payouts may change. The change needed to include 600,000 new starters does slightly shift the maths, because of (as detailed above) the inclusion of the 2019/20 tax year. Bigger earnings in that year could mean a bigger payout or may push a few over the cliff edge of £50,000/yr max, leaving them ineligible. Lower earnings then could reduce payouts or exclude you if non self-employed income was high.
- “To claim, you must declare that you’ve had a ‘significant reduction’ in profits. Your business must have been hit by Covid between the beginning of February and end of April.
- “SEISS five will cover May to September and is worth up to £7,500, but it’s turnover dependent. Those whose turnover fell by 30+ percent in the year to Apr 2021 will get 80 percent of profits; those whose turnover fell by less than 30 percent will get just 30 percent of profits. Exact eligibility criteria and application dates haven’t yet been announced.”
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Where self-employed workers are eligible for the fourth grant, they will need to have the following ready:
- Their Self Assessment Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR)
- National Insurance number
- Government Gateway user ID and password
- UK bank details including account number, sort code, name on the account and address linked to the account
On top of SEISS, Rishi Sunak extended a number of support measures through to September in his recent Budget.
However, the Chancellor warned public debt levels are set to reach unprecedented highs and at some point, these debts would have to be repaid.
Rishi laid out how costly this could be in his Budget speech: “Taking into account the significant support announced at the Spending Review 20, this means our total COVID support package, this year and next, is £352billion.
“Once you include the measures announced at the Spring Budget last year, including the step change in capital investment, total fiscal support from this Government over this year and next amounts to £407 billion.
“Coronavirus has caused one of the largest, most comprehensive and sustained economic shocks this country has ever faced.
“And, by any objective analysis, this Government has delivered one of the largest, most comprehensive and sustained responses this country has ever seen.”
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