Second self-employed grant: how can I help clients?
2nd Jun 2020
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When the coronavirus crisis first started to bite, there was a chorus of dismayed voices representing the self employed who felt like they had been forgotten.
Thankfully, things changed when a taxable Government grant worth up to £7,500 was unveiled after intense public pressure.
Second SEISS grant
Now, further relief has come with the scheme being extended, offering another non-refundable sum of up to £6,570.
On Friday, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak revealed those eligible would be able to claim a second and final SEISS grant in August at a slightly reduced rate of 70%, rather than 80%, of average earnings. As with the first grant, it will be based on monthly trading profits, and paid out in a single instalment covering three months.
Who is eligible?
Eligibility for the second grant is the same as first. The scheme is open to self-employed individuals and members of a partnership but not to limited companies or those operating via a trust.
An individual does not need to have claimed the first grant to receive the second grant: for example, they may only have been adversely affected by COVID-19 in this later phase.
Those eligible should have the money paid into their bank account within six working days of completing a claim.
The role of accountants and tax agents
Crucially, a claim under the SEISS can only be made by the taxpayer. This means that tax advisers and accountants are not permitted to submit an SEISS claim on behalf of a client. In cases where an agent tries to use their client’s login details to apply for the SEISS grant on their behalf, HMRC’s fraud alert system will trigger, which will delay payment.
However, there is still a role for advisers to play. They can help a client determine eligibility and give them information on how to make a claim. They can also assist when HMRC declines a claim or if the amount appears to be wrong.
How can I identify eligible clients?
Taxfiler created a dedicated COVID-19 report for the first grant that proved to be “a God send” amid a “relentless workload” since the end of March, says Lynn Bell, of Lyn Bell Accounting, who wrote to say: “I just wanted to drop you a quick note to say thank you so much Taxfiler.”
Andrew Miles, Managing Director at MilBen Accounts, says it provided an easy way to find eligible clients that “probably saved me about 30 minutes doing a manual check. Top marks!”
When making final checks that all his clients who were eligible for the grant had applied, he discovered Taxfiler had made a “handy report to list all eligible clients on one dashboard”. He describes it as “a simple yet thoughtful addition to the software”.
Further guidance on the second grant will be published on 12 June. Individuals can continue to apply for the first SEISS grant until 13 July.