Last month, the government announced its Self-employment Income Support Scheme to support the self-employed during this crisis, with an expected launch date of early June. On Monday, HMRC started writing to those who may be eligible to make a claim under the scheme, telling them to be ready to make a claim when the portal opens next week (between 13 - 18 May).
Unfortunately, unlike with the Job Retention Scheme portal, HMRC will not be giving agents access to make claims on their clients behalf. This means if you are contacted by HMRC, you will need to make the claim yourself, as we are unable to do this for you.
Genuine or Scam?
HMRC are specifically making contact with taxpayers by email, or where they do not have an email address, by text message if they have the taxpayers mobile number.
In the case where HMRC does not have either of these, they will send out a letter, which you may not receive until next week.
There are already a number of scam emails around, so please be careful. For example, one email is requesting for confirmation of your UTR number by way of reply - this could be used to make a fraudulent claim on your behalf.
The actual email from HMRC does not include any request for information, or any active link to click on. The contact simply tells taxpayers to be ready to make their claim next week. Should you receive any email or text message that you believe to be fraudulent, please forward these to HMRC’s fraud department and then delete them. Details for whom to contact can be found on the GOV website here.
It is important to note that, despite receiving contact from HMRC, this does not mean that you are definitely eligible for a grant claim. You must meet all eligibility criteria, which includes that:
- 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
- you carry on a trade which has been adversely affected by coronavirus
At present, HMRC only has information about those who traded in the tax year 2018 - 2019 (unless you have already submitted your 2019 - 2020 return). They do not have information about current and future trading intentions, and this will affect your eligibility to claim if you do not meet the above criteria.
Full guidance on other claim criteria can be found on the GOV website here. This page also details how to make a claim, and your requirements once you make a claim. You will be told straight away if your claim has been successful, and if it is you will receive payment into your account within 6 working days.
To help those unsure about whether they are eligible, HMRC have released an online eligibility checker tool, and are encouraging taxpayers to use this. However, this tool only asks for your UTR and NI numbers, and doesn’t ask about current or future trading intentions, so please bear this in mind.
Making your claim
To make your claim, you will only need four pieces of information:
- Self assessment UTR (10 digit number)
- National Insurance number
- Government gateway login details
- Bank account number and sort code for the account you want the grant paid into
Please be aware that HMRC will check claims and take appropriate action to withhold or recover payments found to be dishonest or inaccurate.
If you are unable to easily locate your self-assessment UTR, please use the government guidance here before contacting a member of the team.
If you do not currently have a government gateway account set up, we recommend setting one up as you will not be able to make your claim without one, or you can set up an account as part of the claim process.
If you do have an account, but can’t remember your ID, you can use HMRC’s ID recovery facility here.
Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS)
You may also be eligible for a loan under the government’s new BBLS announced last week, which went live on Monday. Details about the scheme and how to make your application can be found on our blog here.
As always, we are here to support you, so if you have any questions, please get in touch with us, and we will be happy to help however we can.
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