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SEISS claim window still open for some self-employed

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Self-employed people have been given one final chance to claim SEISS grants if they failed to apply by the original deadlines. But you’ll need to be quick, and have a very good reason.

HMRC has confirmed that late claims for the Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) can be made by Monday 28 February 2022, “but only where the original claim window was missed because of exceptional circumstances”.

The SEISS grants were designed to cover lost self-employed earnings as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

There were five grants available in total between May 2020 and September 2021, with variations on eligibility criteria, dates of lost or reduced profits, funds available, and deadlines for applications.

Up to 28 October 2021, £28.1bn has been paid in SEISS grants. Across the five grants, 2.9 million people received 10.4 million grants, official HMRC statistics revealed. Of those 2.9 million people who claimed at least one grant, one million claimed all five. 1.6 million claimed each of the first four grants.

‘Exceptional circumstances’

While the fifth and final SEISS claim could be made up to 30 September 2021 before the scheme was closed, HMRC has now confirmed it is accepting late claims and review requests for any or all of the tranches.

People must meet all the previous SEISS eligibility criteria and it will consider a late claim where the original deadline was missed because of ‘exceptional circumstances’. It confirms successful claims for a late grant will be calculated in the same way as they were for each grant, in line with the scheme rules.

A spokesperson said: “HMRC has limited discretion to allow late claims. We can consider a late claim if there has been an HMRC error, or if there were exceptional circumstances which prevented someone from making their claim by the original deadline.

“Late claims will be considered individually on the facts of the particular case.”

According to the Low Incomes Tax Reform Group (LITRG), it’s not possible to be prescriptive about the kind of circumstances HMRC would consider to be ‘exceptional’, but it may include someone who:

  • become seriously incapacitated towards the end of the relevant claim window; and
  • was unable to contact HMRC before now or arrange for anyone else to contact HMRC on their behalf.

If you think you may still have a claim, you’ll need to call its helpline on 08000 241 222 where you’ll be asked to give evidence. You can’t do this online, though you can still access SEISS grant information to help with tax returns.

For successful claims, money will be paid into bank accounts within six working days of the claim being completed.

HMRC will not reconsider cases that have already been the subject of a review.

HMRC added: “We can’t predict the number of late claims we will receive but we don’t expect many given the scheme closed 30 September 2021.  However, we wanted to give anyone with a genuine reason for not having come forward sooner a last opportunity to contact us.”

SEISS grant summary

Below we outline the main points of each of the five SEISS grants to help you with a potential late claim:

SEISS one: Open for claims between 13 May and 13 July 2020. Maximum £7,500. Taxable grant worth 80% of average monthly profits based on the last three years of tax returns, up to £2,500 a month. Eligibility based on trading profits up to £50,000 a year.

SEISS two: Open for claims between 17 August and 19 October 2020. Maximum £6,570. Taxable grant worth 70% of average monthly trading profits.

SEISS three: Open for claims between 30 November 2020 and 29 January 2021. Maximum £7,500. Taxable grant worth 80% of three months’ worth of average monthly trading profits, up to £2,500 a month.

SEISS four: Open for claims between 22 April and 30 May 2021. Maximum £7,500. Taxable grant worth 80% of three months’ worth of average monthly trading profits, up to £2,500 a month.

SEISS five: Open for claims between 29 July and 30 September 2021. Maximum £7,500. Taxable grant worth 80% of trading profits but there were two levels of grant based on how much your turnover was down by after it has compared your two turnover figures.

If your turnover is down by 30% or more, you’ll get 80% of three months’ average trading profits up to a maximum grant for £7,500. If your turnover is down by less than 30%, you’ll get 30% of three months’ average trading profits up to a maximum of £2,850.

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