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Late tax-filers won’t be eligible for self-employed grant

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Hopes have been dashed as the government re-confirmed the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) won’t be reopened for people who missed the extended deadline to submit their tax returns.

In March, the government announced it would introduce a Self-Employment Income Support Scheme offering eligible workers up to £7,500 as part of its package of financial help amid the coronavirus pandemic.

This first grant could be claimed up until Monday 13 July and a second and final grant is now available to those who can prove they’ve been adversely affected by coronavirus on or after 14 July 2020. However, it’s a lesser amount, up to £6,570.

There are a number of criteria to meet, and one of them was that a 2018/19 tax return must have been filed by an extended deadline of 23 April 2020. See Yourmoney’com’s SEISS guide for more on eligibility.

Drew Hendry of the Scottish National Party, tabled a question to the Treasury.

He asked whether the chancellor “had made an assessment of the potential merits of reopening phases one and two of the SEISS to provide access to the scheme for individuals unable to use it as a result of late filings by accountancy firms of self-employment tax returns for their clients”.

However, in a response by financial secretary, Jesse Norman, he stated that individuals who didn’t file their 2018/19 tax return are not eligible for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS).

“Special provision was made for those who missed the deadline in January, and they were given until 23 April 2020 to submit a return to be included in the SEISS. The SEISS legislation (Direction) clearly states that, for the purposes of SEISS, amounts of trading profits and relevant income are determined by reference to a person’s tax returns as at 23 April 2020.

“The Chancellor of the Exchequer has said there will be no further extensions or changes to the SEISS,” he responded.

Norman added that for those who missed the filing deadline, they may still be eligible for other elements of the package of financial support provided by the government.

“This package includes Bounce Back loans, tax deferrals, rental support, increased levels of Universal Credit, mortgage holidays, and other business support grants.”

He directed Brits to the government page on financial support for more information.

Nearly a million taxpayers missed the 31 January 2020 tax return deadline so they were hit with an automatic £100 penalty, even if there was no tax to pay or if the tax due was paid on time.

HMRC wasn’t able to confirm how many 2018/19 tax returns are still outstanding.

However, statistics revealed that of the five million who reported income from self-employment, 3.4 million were found to be potentially eligible while 1.6 million weren’t eligible.

Between 13 May and 31 July 2020, HMRC received 2.6 million claims for the SEISS. These claims totalled £7.6bn with an average award of £2,900 per claimant.

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