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Client missed second SEISS claim deadline

Any hope of getting it at all? Is it my fault??

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Client called today asking, among other things, if they were too late to claim the seocnd SEISS grant.  They had not originally claimed as they wanted to be sure they were eligible, the business re-opened on 4 July and they wanted to be sure they had been adversely affected as at 14th July.

In August I sent details of the scheme to all eligible clients, told them the claims portal was open and sent links to HMRC pages about the grant, how to decide if your business is adversely affected and the claims portal.  I did not explicitly say the claims deadline was 19 October, although it was on the main HMRC page that I had linked to.

In the summer, I remember having a conversation with this client as they were unsure about whether they had been affected at 14 July.  We discussed how they had until mid October to claim and it was fair enough to wait a little while to claim if they wanted to be sure they had been affected.  I do usually keep a log of every phone call but typically can't find that one.  That was the last I heard until today.

Ok, in an ideal world I would have chased everyone up and checked they had claimed and reminded them of the deadline.  With everything going on, that totally slipped my mind as once I'd told them it was open and how to access it I had put it to one side.  I feel really bad for them but I did tell them how to claim etc with details of dates on the links. I just wish I could find my telephone conversation notes...

So, two questions:

Is there any hope at all of them being able to claim it?

I know in an ideal world I would have reminded people but surely as I had given all the info about claims, I can't hold that much responsibility for their lack of claim? Or is it my fault?

Replies (20)

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By Matrix
02nd Nov 2020 16:58

I asked a client to forward the email that HMRC sent out for the second claim.

It was very clear in what the client needed to do so I made a decision that I didn’t need to send a reminder. So just one email like you.

I don’t think you can be blamed at all. Is the client trying to say you are at fault?

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By Paul Crowley
02nd Nov 2020 17:03

https://www.accountingweb.co.uk/any-answers/missed-2nd-self-employed-gra...

We were not allowed to claim
Client's problem
Your Email linked to HMRC

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Replying to Paul Crowley:
Giraffe
By Luke
02nd Nov 2020 17:10

Thank you, I had not seen that one. At least I didn't post anonymously :-)

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By Paul Crowley
02nd Nov 2020 17:03

I do wonder if client decided that not entitled, but now regrets.
All his mates claimed it

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Replying to Paul Crowley:
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By Open all hours
02nd Nov 2020 17:25

There’s a lot of that about. Farmer said his neighbour claimed SEISS 1 so why shouldn’t he? Asked how he has suffered. ‘10 beasts held back for a week’. ‘And how was trade when they sold?’ ‘Good price, really pleased’ ‘Then stop being such a *fool* I thought rather than said. No claim made.

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Giraffe
By Luke
02nd Nov 2020 17:15

Thanks all

I don't think it is my fault really but you start to question yourself with everything going on at the moment. If I didn't have so much else going on I might have remembered that they had delayed their claim and thought to check in but mainly it was a case of I've given them the info, so it's job done.

Not thinking it's my fault doesn't help the feeling of listening to their disappointed voice that is gutted to miss out on several thousand.

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Replying to Luke:
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By Open all hours
02nd Nov 2020 17:31

Go easy on yourself. System was designed for clients to self serve. If claims were made through agents, different matter.

We cannot do everything for everybody especially when HMRC specifically exclude us.

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By Crouchy
02nd Nov 2020 17:28

you can't nanny clients, we're all adults, clients have to take some responsibility for things, SEISS was claimable by them not you

HMRC sent out reminders to all those who could claim, if the client disregarded this its their fault

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Replying to Crouchy:
Giraffe
By Luke
02nd Nov 2020 17:36

Did HMRC actually send reminders out? I didn't realise that, do you know when that would have been?

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Replying to Luke:
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By Diana Miller
04th Nov 2020 12:01

I have a sneaking feeling many did not get notified by HMRC. Personally I received nothing official at all so when clients say they did not get a letter I believe them. Then of course there are the ones with no computer who got the letter but it had no phone number on it for them to ring and claim -brilliant

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Replying to Luke:
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By Diana Miller
04th Nov 2020 12:01

I have a sneaking feeling many did not get notified by HMRC. Personally I received nothing official at all so when clients say they did not get a letter I believe them. Then of course there are the ones with no computer who got the letter but it had no phone number on it for them to ring and claim -brilliant

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Replying to Luke:
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By Diana Miller
04th Nov 2020 12:01

I have a sneaking feeling many did not get notified by HMRC. Personally I received nothing official at all so when clients say they did not get a letter I believe them. Then of course there are the ones with no computer who got the letter but it had no phone number on it for them to ring and claim -brilliant

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Replying to Crouchy:
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By Paul Crowley
02nd Nov 2020 17:39

Agree
All eligible clients contacted directly by HMRC at least twice

Most calls from clients were from the not entitled, making a claim and then reading the HMRC response as:
Tax return not filed on time

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Replying to Paul Crowley:
Giraffe
By Luke
02nd Nov 2020 17:42

Fantastic, thank you for the clarification.

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By Matrix
02nd Nov 2020 17:29

SEISS 3 they have to confirm there is reduced demand so slightly different.

Leave the SE clients to it, we have enough to do and they get emails from HMRC directly which we don’t get.

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Morph
By kevinringer
04th Nov 2020 14:30

What does your letter of engagement say? I suspect your letter of engagement only deals with accounts prep, tax return, and maybe vat, paye? You can't be held responsible for something you've not agreed to be responsible for. You've been very proactive and notified your clients and actually had a conversation with this specific client. I have done the same as you but I suspect many accountants have done done less than you. In any case, you couldn't do the claim for them. Unfortunately, we're going to hear a lot about this over the coming year eg businesses that took our advice to incorporate thus loosing their right to claim SEISS, people who decided they didn't qualify for SEISS and didn't claim but after speaking to their mate down the pub now wish they did claim. It doesn't mean we are to blame because who could have predicted SEISS at the start of 2020. But it does mean there will be a lot of disgruntled clients around.

We've also made a rod for our own backs. SEISS3 will be when we're in the thick of SA for 31 January. We've already lost a lot of time supporting clients with SEISS, CJRS, JSS, business rates grant, BBL and all manner of covid help, and we're going to have to find time to support them with SEISS3 too. And keep in mind the conditions for SEISS3 are different to SEISS1+2 so that means a whole lot of new conversations. But if it isn't in our letter of engagement would we have been wiser to not even tell clients?

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Replying to kevinringer:
Giraffe
By Luke
04th Nov 2020 14:49

kevinringer wrote:

What does your letter of engagement say? I suspect your letter of engagement only deals with accounts prep, tax return, and maybe vat, paye? You can't be held responsible for something you've not agreed to be responsible for.

Surprisingly enough the engagement letter doesn't cover SEISS at all :-)
(I did do a letter with ts & cs for CJRS claims, as per ICAEW guidance though)

kevinringer wrote:

But if it isn't in our letter of engagement would we have been wiser to not even tell clients?

Nice idea, but can you imagine the furore if we didn't mention it at all?

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Replying to Luke:
Morph
By kevinringer
04th Nov 2020 14:55

Agreed Luke, which is why I have been very proactive and told clients and actually contacted each one to make sure they understood SEISS and had either decided to claim or not to claim.

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By Southwestbeancounter
04th Nov 2020 15:19

Definitely not your fault firstly because the self-employed were supposed to be doing it themselves (but like the rest of us you were proactive and held your clients hands and advised them of the rules and sent links etc).

Secondly, with this particular client it sounds like as well as the links you sent etc that you also had a conversation on the matter and advised them that they had until 'mid October' to assess whether they wanted to use the links you had already given them to claim or not - well mid October is definitely before the 19th October deadline in my book so I fear that time ran away with him/her and missing the deadline was totally their fault!

I know how you're feeling as I think we are so conscientious that we try too hard sometimes and blame ourselves when we only achieve 90% not 100%.

Some of my clients create all sorts of mess with their accounts and when I challenge them on it they say that they knew what they did wasn't necessarily orthodox or the best way to do it but they knew that I would sort it out!! Eek!!

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Replying to Southwestbeancounter:
Giraffe
By Luke
04th Nov 2020 15:30

Thanks

Southwestbeancounter wrote:

I know how you're feeling as I think we are so conscientious that we try too hard sometimes and blame ourselves when we only achieve 90% not 100%.

Some of my clients create all sorts of mess with their accounts and when I challenge them on it they say that they knew what they did wasn't necessarily orthodox or the best way to do it but they knew that I would sort it out!! Eek!!

I definitely know that feeling!!

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