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Is it unfair to have SEISS cutoff on the 2/3/21?

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From what has been published, people who haven't filed their 2020 return by Midnight on the 2nd of March will miss out on the 4th and 5th SEISS grant.

Is it me, or is this really unfair? Last year, Rishi announced the SEISS and gave late filers until the 23rd of April to file. This was so they could be included in the first SEISS. This year it wasn't widely known (if it was at all) that the 2nd of March was D day. Many people haven't filed simply because they haven't had any money, and now they find out they are not getting any money because they haven't filed.

Replies (34)

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blue sheep
By Nigel Henshaw
04th Mar 2021 09:08

no, its just you, this is perfectly fair and is exactly what we have been telling clients will happen, if they didnt have the money they could still file the return on time like everyone else

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By Duggimon
04th Mar 2021 09:12

I don't think it's unfair at all, the deadline for filing was 31 January and everyone I spoke to about it I told that future Covid support may rely of timely filing.

The tax returns are for the year to 5 April 2020. If in the period from 6 April 2019 to 31 January 2021 you did not earn enough to enlist help in filing your return, you would have been getting 80% of next to nothing anyway so nothing lost.

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Stepurhan
By stepurhan
04th Mar 2021 09:18

Last year this was a completely unprecedented thing. I wasn't exactly overjoyed with the 23 April 2020 extension, but at least it gave feckless idiots who had simply not got their affairs in order for the normal deadline a chance.

This year we are already 3 rounds into the SEISS. Anyone that still hasn't got their tax affairs sorted knowing that the previous rounds relied on filing on time only has themselves to blame. They even had an extension until 28 February already and should have seen that as D day. Why should they get more?

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
04th Mar 2021 09:20

I think you have got to be pretty short of imagination not to see the 19/20 figures coming into the mix at some point. He couldn't do 31st Jan due to the extension so yesterday is as good as any. 28th Feb would have been more than generous.

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By Paul Crowley
04th Mar 2021 10:20

Not unfair
We told all our clients this was happening
But we told them 31 Jan as deadline
Original rule last year was FILE ON TIME. Then changed to permit lates afterwards.
HMRC used the first filing so no amendments: deciding to invent new income, not claim motor expenses or not claim capital allowances on an amendment failed.

As for the trader
He had 9 months of before tax income SEISS and in addition could trade the 10 months as well.
It was not a full period lockdown
We prioritised self-employed over rent income returns
You could even have put in reasonable estimates to secure entitlement
Announcement day of rules was known as Budget day

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By Lucy N
04th Mar 2021 10:46

Not unfair at all
You don't need any money to file a tax return!
They were already given an extension until end of February
If they were sat there moaning about not being given any grants they should have been filing their tax return early in the hope that the rules may have been changed
No sympathy from me!

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By janewanless
04th Mar 2021 11:01

Another vote for "not unfair".

Where there's an obligation to file a return on time, a return should be filed on time. Not complying, then complaining about not getting the resulting benefits is unreasonable. Why should you get the benefits of a society if you're not making your contribution to the society?

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By CazzyT
04th Mar 2021 13:14

Completely fair. The original filing deadline was 31st Jan extended to 28th Feb. Not having money is no excuse for not submitting the form and anyone with a bit of foresight could see that future grants may rely on this information.

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By DaveyJonesLocker
04th Mar 2021 13:24

More than fair. Usual deadline is 31st Jan for filing and that's already a good 9 months after the year end.

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By Paul Crowley
04th Mar 2021 14:07

Those clients were being paid by the State to sit at home for 11 months and in that time could not get around to getting the admin done
BUT did figure out how to open a G Gateway and claim the free money

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By jonkaye
04th Mar 2021 15:02

Well, I am going to stick my neck out and state that, in my opinion too, this is completely unfair.
I accept that the filing deadline was 31 January. However, taxpayers were advised that they would not incur the standard £100 late-filing penalty if they submitted their 19/20 Tax Return by 28 February. No mention was made of the fact that filing after 2 March would make them ineligible for the next SEISS grants. These grants are supposed to help people who are in financial difficulty. Why not be upfront regarding the deadline rather than announcing it after it has already passed? I truly believe that this is unfair. And I state this as an accountant, not as one of those who will now miss out.

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Replying to jonkaye:
Stepurhan
By stepurhan
04th Mar 2021 15:31

jonkaye wrote:
No mention was made of the fact that filing after 2 March would make them ineligible for the next SEISS grants.
Why do you think one would be needed?

They had the original deadline of 31 January. The announcement of the change was quite late, so anyone still not filing their return by then is at least pushing it to the limit.

They had the revised deadline of 28 February. Most people having realised that they have been saved from the normal fine would have got themselves sorted out. The people you are talking about did not.

So they had 2 chances and 10 months to get their affairs in order. They also had the salutary warning that last year's extension was a concession. The original announcement did not allow for it so I don't follow why you think this one should.

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Replying to jonkaye:
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By Paul Crowley
04th Mar 2021 16:08

Fair play for swimming against the tide.

BUT all furlough announcements needed an RTI filed the day before announcement. That is the established pattern

Last year start rule was file on time
Why would it be different this year?

Those clients did not need to pay July 2020 tax and clearly have not paid Jan 2021 tax.

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By keithyates
04th Mar 2021 16:52

I think if the client has a genuine reason that would be acceptable to the Revenue to cancel the late filing penalty then the claim should be allowable

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Replying to keithyates:
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By Paul Crowley
04th Mar 2021 17:27

Not in a million years
Covid excuse gets rid of £100
But return still filed after entitlement day

There is a fixed rule. Filed by 2 March 2021
6 months support lost through indolence
Money not the issue
Any decent accountant would accept fee paid once support paid.
Not much different to getting paid after tax refund by subcontractors

BTW
I do not think Covid excuse is a valid excuse for doing nothing for 11 months

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Replying to keithyates:
Stepurhan
By stepurhan
04th Mar 2021 17:53

What genuine reasons do you have in mind? I cannot help thinking that, with the late shift of the penalty deadline, you would need one that covered the period from 31 Jan to 28 Feb (causing them to both miss the original deadline and not be able to correct things until after the revised deadline) at a minimum.

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Scooby
By gainsborough
04th Mar 2021 17:55

No sympathy. An already generous deadline of 31st Jan, then an extension to 28th Feb for any stragglers, plus time to pay arrangements for those struggling to pay.

Allowing filing after the Budget changes would just leave more room for manipulating figures and be a kick in the teeth for all those accountants and taxpayers who worked hard to file on time.

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By jonkaye
04th Mar 2021 18:33

I have to say that I think most of you are a pretty tough and unsympathetic lot.

Of course the filing deadline was 31 January and of course taxpayers were given an extra 28 days to avoid the late-filing penalty.

However, these are unprecedented times. Lots of people are in desperate need and, for many, their financial difficulties are compounded by mental health issues. Why on earth should the filing deadline for their Tax Return have any relevance to the provision of financial assistance, particularly when this is not explicitly made clear to them in advance? The cut-off date for the 18/19 Tax Return for the purposes of claiming the initial SEISS grants was 23 April 2020, a date for which taxpayers were given advance notice. There will be some people who met that deadline (hopefully, in most cases, having filed their 18/19 Tax Returns by 31 January 2020), but have now failed to deal with their 19/20 Returns, after experiencing a year like no other. Why should the goalposts now be moved without warning? I do sincerely believe that it would have been fairer to give a similar explicit advance warning this year too.

But then again, maybe I care too much.

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Replying to jonkaye:
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By Matrix
04th Mar 2021 19:14

Surely it would not have been too difficult to file a tax return given they all have GG accounts now.

(I am joking as, bizarrely given how desperate they all are are at the moment, none of my clients filed their own returns.)

There have been winners and losers all year.

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Replying to Matrix:
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By Paul Crowley
04th Mar 2021 19:48

Same here for nobody on SEISS filing self
6 or so did file self, but none on SEISS
A couple tried and failed, as in started but did not actually file. But probably think they did. Both of these had a Spouse that started and eventually got it in
Not worried for them as only £100 and they can appeal blaming covid.

A couple dropped out of the system.
Claiming SEISS but still owe me from last year, Ignored all contact from me.
One still owes from July when I did 2 years, only paid one so failed SEISS completely last year and could have got this year, but failed again

Every non payer was offered a deal several times ( get it sorted and pay later ). None accepted

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Replying to jonkaye:
Stepurhan
By stepurhan
04th Mar 2021 20:46

jonkaye wrote:
The cut-off date for the 18/19 Tax Return for the purposes of claiming the initial SEISS grants was 23 April 2020, a date for which taxpayers were given advance notice.

I've said it before and I'll say it again.

This extension was not in the original announcement. It was added later, inadvisably so in my opinion as it allowed unscrupulous late filers to amend their profits knowing doing so could net them some extra cash.

Do you really think offering those same unscrupulous individuals another golden opportunity is a good idea?

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Replying to jonkaye:
Stepurhan
By stepurhan
04th Mar 2021 20:46

jonkaye wrote:
The cut-off date for the 18/19 Tax Return for the purposes of claiming the initial SEISS grants was 23 April 2020, a date for which taxpayers were given advance notice.

I've said it before and I'll say it again.

This extension was not in the original announcement. It was added later, inadvisably so in my opinion as it allowed unscrupulous late filers to amend their profits knowing doing so could net them some extra cash.

Do you really think offering those same unscrupulous individuals another golden opportunity is a good idea?

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Replying to jonkaye:
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By DaveyJonesLocker
04th Mar 2021 21:04

Nothing to do with caring or not. If people's income was down then they had more time than in previous years to get their affairs in order.
If they were busy making money then they don't need the SEISS grant.
Procrastination should never be rewarded.

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Replying to jonkaye:
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By Paul Crowley
05th Mar 2021 16:32

'But then again, maybe I care too much.'

All responders care
That is why we respond, giving back to the community

It is why we gave non payers deals to get their returns in on time despite not being paid for last year filing

We all knew what the rules would probably be

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Replying to Paul Crowley:
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By Cheshire
05th Mar 2021 16:56

Agreed.

Im not sure why folk couldnt see that one coming, based on stance taken all the way through this.

Mostly if folk needed the cash its because they were working less, so they had more time to get their affairs in order.

Must admit though Paul, Im beginning to care much less, given the awful folk posting on here in increasing numbers. I do care about my client base and do often bang on about timescales to th epoint where I've become a big nag. So clients who ignore me, do so at their own peril. Serves 'em right!

Oh and never mind the dilatory bunch, what about those who have had absolutely no ******* support in the first place?

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Replying to Cheshire:
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By Paul Crowley
05th Mar 2021 17:06

'Oh and never mind the dilatory bunch, what about those who have had absolutely no ******* support in the first place?'

Agree quite a few of those
Mainly self-employed just over £50K
Complete zero

Employees on £100k
Still got something, but do not know of any such that went on furlough.
Furlough was people further down the food chain.

No client has advised of insolvency yet.

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Replying to Paul Crowley:
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By jonkaye
05th Mar 2021 17:12

I absolutely understand all that you and others have said. I just feel that it is unfair to impose a deadline without giving advance notice to all taxpayers likely to be affected, including those who are not represented by agents and might therefore not have been aware of the importance of filing their 19/20 Returns for the purposes of the next SEISS grants.

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Replying to jonkaye:
Stepurhan
By stepurhan
05th Mar 2021 17:49

Since you care about unfairness so much, perhaps you could respond to my separate follow-up below.

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Replying to stepurhan:
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By jonkaye
05th Mar 2021 18:09

Apologies for not previously responding directly to your earlier post.

I totally agree with you regarding the unfairness of many other aspects of the eligibility criteria, including those highlighted by you.

Unfortunately I too am aware of a client who has regrettably taken his own life during these difficult times and I fear that many other taxpayers, unable to cope, will feel the need to do the same.

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Replying to jonkaye:
Stepurhan
By stepurhan
05th Mar 2021 18:28

I am sorry for your similar loss.

However, my point is that the lack of a notice of this deadline is, if it can be considered unfair at all, the least of the inequities. Granted, there will be some people whose mental health is such that they will have missed both deadlines because of that. I cannot help thinking that anyone with mental health issues that bad would not benefit from a further deadline extension.

Meanwhile, I think it would be a devastating blow to those that have received nothing through no fault of their own. Seeing others getting a second free extension when they did everything right and still get nothing could push some over the edge. Whilst not happy about the original extension, I could at least see the sense of it when the system was entirely new. That no longer applies.

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Replying to jonkaye:
blue sheep
By Nigel Henshaw
06th Mar 2021 06:50

jonkaye wrote:

Unfortunately I too am aware of a client who has regrettably taken his own life during these difficult times and I fear that many other taxpayers, unable to cope, will feel the need to do the same.

Hopefully we have been lucky enough to be in a position to support clients and others so they did not become this desperate, goes to show that you never know how much an encouraging word to a struggling client can mean, not to speak of helping them access financial support.

Obviously we are not trained counsellors but sometimes we are the ones they turn to when they cannot talk to anyone else.

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boxfile
By spilly
04th Mar 2021 22:56

We spelt it out very clearly to every client who hadn’t filed by the original 31st Jan deadline that it was likely the 2019/20 tax return would be needed to be able to claim the 4th SEISS Grant.
Pleading no money is just plain wrong as many of us have tried their level best to accommodate clients who have had severe cash flow issues over the last year.
So no, I don’t have one iota of sympathy for anyone who didn’t file on time.

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Stepurhan
By stepurhan
05th Mar 2021 09:02

Having thought about this overnight, I would only even consider supporting this if all the following were addressed first.

The amendment of the £50,000 cap to a maximum claimable (like the furlough scheme). People who had a good year that put them just over this get nothing.

The removal of the 50% income requirement. People who had a job when they started out in self-employment, but only have self-employment now get nothing.

The application of a similar scheme for one-man band companies. Given these are the main people Rishi is targeting to fund money spent, it seems only fair that they should be able to benefit as well.

All three of these groups could have fulfilled every tax and accounts requirement to the letter, but they still get left out. They deserve support long before anyone that could not even file a return with 10 months (including a late extension that should have served as a wake-up call) to do it.

If anyone wants to argue that the last group should still not be eligible, they need to tell that to the family of one of the clients at my last firm. When they realised that they could not provide for their family through their company and were not eligible for any of the support schemes, they killed themselves.

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RLI
By lionofludesch
06th Mar 2021 07:10

Eleven months is plenty, surely.

Especially if you're not working.

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