The long awaited help for the self-employed goes live on 13 May, although some taxpayers will not be able to claim until 14 May or later! You can, however, prepare now, by checking your eligibility and setting up a Government Gateway.
If you are self -employed or a partner in a trading business, then you will qualify for this grant subject to the qualifying criteria set out below:
You can claim if you are a self-employed individual or a member of a partnership and:
- you carry on a trade which has been adversely affected by coronavirus
- you traded in the tax year 2018 to 2019 and submitted your Self-Assessment tax return on or before 23 April 2020 for that year
- you traded in the tax year 2019 to 2020
- you intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020 to 2021
To work out your eligibility HMRC will first look at your 2018 to 2019 Self-Assessment tax return. Your trading profits must be no more than £50,000 and at least equal to your non-trading income.
If you are not eligible based on the 2018 to 2019 Self-Assessment tax return, HMRC will then look at an average of the tax years 2016 to 2017, 2017 to 2018, and 2018 to 2019.
HMRC have told us that they will contact all who are eligible and invite you to make a claim, however, they have also released an online tool to allow you to check your eligibility and make the claim.
We believe that taking the proactive option and checking your eligibility online is the better option, as it is likely to lead to an earlier payment of the grant.
Unfortunately, HMRC are not permitting us, as your agents, to make the claim on your behalf, they are requiring taxpayers to do it themselves. They may subsequently allow postal applications, however, their preference appears to be for online and no guidance has yet been issued around postal applications.
You can check your eligibility and make your claim here https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme#claim but in order to complete the process, you will need a Government Gateway account. Assuming you haven’t set one up before, you can set one up as part of the process, however, to do that you will need access to your passport, an email address and a mobile phone. Even if you already have a Government Gateway Account, you will need your UTR (Unique Taxpayer Reference Number), National Insurance Number, bank account number and sort code.
Slideshow showing screenshots involved in using HMRC Eligibility Checker
If you need our help during the process, we will be happy to share your computer screen and help you through the process, simply call the office and we will schedule a suitable time. The process is likely to take up to 30 minutes.