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Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

client considering claiming even though not adversely affected by COVID-19

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HMRC states that :-

You’ll have to confirm to HMRC that your business has been adversely affected by coronavirus.

As Agent do I have any responsibility if my client claims the SEISS but has clearly NOT been adversely affected by the coronvirus.  I hadn't really given this much consideration but one client is just going over the VAT threshold during coronavirus lockdown and so clearly doing better than this time last year!!

As I am not involved in process of claim I can only advise that this would be unwise to claim.  

Should accountants be making it clearer to clients NOT adversely affected to not claim  (ie in writing)?

Should accountants whistle-blow any who claim when they shouldn't?!!  We can always resign as accountant if we conclude that this is not acceptable practice (client's actions).

 

Welcome thoughts!  Thank you.

 

Replies (10)

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RLI
By lionofludesch
12th May 2020 18:07

Comparison with last year is not necessarily the measure.

Has he lost money because of the coronavirus ? Would he have applied for VAT registration earlier, had it not been for the virus ?

But if you're convinced he's made a false declaration, of course you should file an SAR.

Be sure of your facts though.

Thanks (2)
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By paulwakefield1
13th May 2020 07:47

It strikes me that "adversely affected" is a very broad term and turnover is not the only measure. Have costs gone up? Have supplies been delayed? Are customers taking longer to pay or is there a higher incidence of bad debts? etc. I would think almost every business in the land could find some way in which they have been adversely affected.

Having said that, there is a clause that says claims must not be abusive or contrary to the purpose of the scheme. Personally I can't see that being used much except in the case of blatant fraud.

Whatever the view of the morality of the claim, I would suspect most eligible businesses could legitimately claim. Whether you wish to continue to act for the client is a separate decision.

Thanks (2)
Replying to paulwakefield1:
By Steve Holloway
13th May 2020 09:55

I agree. It is a very broad term (perhaps on purpose) and will lead to most people claiming. Very few businesses have escaped being adversely affected .. for some it may be short-term and they will recover before their accounts are submitted at the end of the year. Others have been quite busy but are taking fewer orders in to the summer.

Thanks (0)
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By PCAS
13th May 2020 10:43

I have a similar issue. Client lost two weeks work so definitely adversely affected but will be paid much more than that if he makes a claim. Is it possible to restrict the amount that HMRC pay?

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Replying to PCAS:
RLI
By lionofludesch
13th May 2020 10:52

No. Why ?

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Replying to lionofludesch:
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By PCAS
13th May 2020 10:58

He is concerned that he will be paid considerably more than he lost.

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Replying to PCAS:
RLI
By lionofludesch
13th May 2020 11:17

PCAS wrote:

He is concerned that he will be paid considerably more than he lost.

Well, them's the rules.

Sometimes they work for you, sometimes against.

But I applaud his public spiritedness.

He can, of course, send a wedge to three of my clients - all pensioners - who are a few hundred quid the wrong side the 50% test. There are a lot of hard cases out there

Thanks (2)
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By Stalytax
13th May 2020 12:51

He's doing better than this time last year, yes - but who are we to say if he would not have made even more if not for the virus?

His call, and he's taking responsibility for it by making the declaration, not you.

Thanks (1)
Glenn Martin
By Glenn Martin
13th May 2020 14:17

I think the mood as shifted to "we are going to be paying for this for years" so we need to get what we can while we can.

There is a little bit of me that is pleased HMRC have not involved us in this although I guess we will still get pulled into.

Thanks (1)
Glenn Martin
By Glenn Martin
13th May 2020 14:17

I think the mood as shifted to "we are going to be paying for this for years" so we need to get what we can while we can.

There is a little bit of me that is pleased HMRC have not involved us in this although I guess we will still get pulled into.

Thanks (0)
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