Claims for the self-employed income support scheme (SEISS) need to be submitted by the taxpayer themselves, as there is no facility for tax agents to claim on behalf of their clients. As a result, some traders may have overlooked the conditions for the scheme which include the requirement to:
- have carried on a trade in the tax years 2018/19 and 2019/20; and
- intend to continue to carry on a trade in the tax year 2020/21.
As HMRC will have only received the 2018/19 tax return at the time of the SEISS grant applications, it may not know whether the trader continued to trade beyond 5 April 2019 or not. Where the business is VAT registered and has continued to submit VAT returns to date, HMRC will have a good idea that the business is still trading.
Where HMRC suspects that the business has ceased trading, it has dispatched an email to the business owner asking for confirmation that the business has not permanently closed.
You need to look out for this email as you need to respond to HMRC online by 20 November or within 90 days of receiving the SEISS grant. You need to sign into the Government Gateway you used to make the SEISS claim and complete a form. We can’t do this on behalf of our clients.
A business may have closed temporarily during the coronavirus pandemic, but the owner has every intention of reopening, in which case the owner remains eligible for the SEISS grant and the future SEISS grants. If not, one or both of the SEISS grants already claimed may need to be repaid.
The intention to trade condition is difficult to pin down, but if on the day the trader applies for the SEISS grant she genuinely intends to recommence trading, the intention condition is met.