Check before claiming Government coronavirus support

By Ben Carey on 14 August, 2020

Professional services company Optimum is advising self-employed business owners and sole traders to check carefully before applying for the second round of Government coronavirus relief funding.

Thousands of self-employed people benefitted from the first tranche of the self-employed income support scheme (SEISS). The second round of funding opens for applications from 17th August but is aimed only at those who have been adversely affected by coronavirus since 14th July.

If there is an overpayment, HMRC has to be notified of this within 90 days of the claim being submitted. Failing to do so could incur penalties of between 30 per cent and 100 per cent of the overclaimed amount.

Mandy Gibson, Tax Supervisor at Optimum, said, “With the SEISS, HMRC carries out its own assessment and if an individual meets certain criteria they are invited to apply. These criteria are that the business has to have been adversely affected by the pandemic, that the individual traded in 2019/20 and that they intend to continue to trade in 2020/21.

“With the first round of SEISS claims, HMRC had self-assessment returns to base its information on. This second round depends on current trading, only applying to businesses adversely affected on or after 14th July.

“This second round is also more complicated because the onus is very much on the individual to ensure they meet the criteria. If they don’t, and they overclaim and fail to notify HMRC of this, then penalties will be incurred.”

HMRC has issued guidance on what it means by ‘adversely affected’. This includes the business having stopped trading temporarily, being scaled back or having incurred extra costs.

Mandy added, “The rules around SEISS and other support are not as straightforward as they might appear. Throughout lockdown and as we emerge from the restrictions, we have been working closely with clients, including SMEs, business owners and the self-employed, to ensure they understand what they can claim and also to help ensure their businesses are in the best position as we move forward.”

For more information about Optimum Professional Services visit the company website.

Pictured: Mandy Gibson