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SELF EMPLOYED grants – HMRC update

SELF EMPLOYED GRANT UPDATE

Sorry to bother you on a sunny Sunday evening – however, having been asked a question about self-employed and whether there was any additional news today, I decided I would log on to HMRC web site and see if there was any new news!

The following link gives some better clarity on what the self employed can expect when making a claim.

The link is here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme

Things to note in my opinion are the fact they are going to make you ‘make a claim’ i.e. they will not just give handouts willy-nilly. My gut feeling was true in that, HMRC want u taxpayers to make a claim. What that means in reality is that if someone makes a claim when they are not entitles, it will mean HMRC would have some form of recourse.

The key points from the link are:
You can claim if you’re a self-employed individual or a member of a partnership and you:
• have submitted your Self Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018 to 2019
• traded in the tax year 2019 to 2020
• are trading when you apply, or would be except for coronavirus
• intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020 to 2021
• have lost trading profits due to coronavirus

You will need to confirm to HMRC that your business has been adversely affected by coronavirus. HMRC will, as usual, use a risk-based approach to compliance. Note the word ‘adversely’ – a slight downturn in my opinion will not count as adversely. Maybe comparing it to a bad winter, or short period in between contracts/jobs will help you decide if this is adverse. I wouldn’t be surprised if when people come to submit there 2020/21 tax returns HMRC will look at profits and compare to prior years (excluding the grant) to decide whether you were ‘adversely’ affected by coronavirus!

I am aware of many self-employed persons able to continue to trade throughout this pandemic, and originally it wasn’t clear if they would simply receive a grant in to their bank account – despite not losing any income. This is now clarification that this would not be the case and that everyone entitled to the grant must claim – how we will do this is not yet 100% clear but it does indicate that a claim can be made through your Government Gateway Account.
For instruction on how to set up your Gateway please follow the guidelines per my email of 9 April 2020 about claiming Furlough pay for employers. A quick cap of how to set the account up is below. There may well be the chance for us as agents to make a claim for you, however, to cover all basis please set up your account accordingly. It is useful anyway as it allows you to view your tax position as well as other related HMRC matters.

Email of 9/4/20

HOW TO CREATE YOUR GOVERNMENT GATEWAY ACCOUNT
If you click on the following link https://www.gov.uk/log-in-register-hmrc-online-services , click ‘SIGN IN’ then on the sign in page select ‘CREATE SIGN IN DETAILS’ (just below the sign in boxes).
Follow the steps accordingly and make a note and keep safe your gateway ID and password!
Please appreciate that we have hundreds of clients that this effect, so our ability to easily help everyone with this process is limited, so please give it a go and only contact us if you are completely stuck.
Some of the common issue’s people have are where HMRC thinks you already have an account. This often is accurate, but people didn’t realise they or an old accountant set it up for them. Click forgot details if this happens.
Occasionally HMRC also have the wrong address details for you (an old one) – if this is the case please contact HMRC here https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/hm-revenue-customs/contact/online-services-helpdesk
Note the change in colour scheme from green/black on log in, to blue/black once in!
______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Once logged in, if not defaulted to, please go to the business tax account summary (as below) .
Please select manage account, and if there is no reference to self-assessment here, please select the link to ‘get online access to tax….’. Follow the steps to ensure this section is activated correctly as I believe this is where you will be able to make you claim!

PLEASE NOTE:
At this stage, the above is my interpretation of what HMRC will expect of you to make a claim. This is similar and in line with what employers are having to do for Furlough claims.
Some clients have experienced difficulties logging in, but unfortunately in these instances we are unable to help. You will need to contact HMRC. We have found from feedback that using their ‘online chat’ to be the quickest way.

Please be persistent and patient with this process, it is not easy for all. But also please appreciate we are under great strain to help as many clients as possible, especially this coming week with Furlough Claims, so it won’t be easy for us to quickly and efficiently get around to helping everyone with their issue’s. Again – HMRC is probably the best support line as generally clients issue’s are technical ones related to creating their gateway accounts, or adding the self employment taxes section – these are not issue’s we can help with I am afraid. One tip – many clients have found they have an account already, but didn’t know. Don’t be afraid to select the forgot password, or forget credentials option if need be. Other are finding that HMRC also have the incorrect address. Only calling HMRC in this instance will help.

Good luck!

 

(please note that other than the link to the HMRC web site – my views and opinions are of my own.  Please seek professional advice when it comes to acting upon any of the guidelines above).

Rob Lamey

Rob Lamey

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