Technical Officer Association of Tax Technicians
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SEISS: When and how to notify tax return amendments

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In April Emma Rawson explained that amending tax returns may mean repaying SEISS grants. HMRC has now provided more details on which amendments need to be reported and how to do this.

18th Jun 2021
Technical Officer Association of Tax Technicians
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For the fourth SEISS grant (SEISS 4) HMRC worked out both eligibility and the amount of grant based on submitted tax returns, and any amendments made to those returns, which were received by 2 March 2021.

If an amendment is made on or after 3 March 2021 to tax returns for any of tax years 2016/17 to 2019/20, the taxpayer must consider whether that amendment has an impact on the amount of the SEISS 4 grant they should have received:

  • If, once the amendment is taken into account, the taxpayer would no longer be eligible for the grant, they will need to pay it back in full.
  • If the amendment means the taxpayer would have received a lower grant, the taxpayer will need to repay the excess.

In both cases, the taxpayer needs to notify HMRC to make arrangements for payment.

Unfortunately, this treatment of amendments is very much a one-way street – whilst taxpayers need to tell HMRC if an amendment would mean the taxpayer should receive no, or a lower, grant, there is no scope to claim a higher SEISS grant as a result of an amendment submitted on or after 3 March 2021.

What is an amendment?

For the purposes of the SEISS 4 Direction, an ‘amendment to a tax return’ has a fairly wide definition. HMRC says that anything which has the effect of modifying a person’s tax return is a relevant amendment for SEISS purposes.

This means that a requirement to notify and repay can arise where the taxpayer or HMRC amends the tax return. HMRC amendments include those made following a tax enquiry, or corrections of returns made under s9ZB TMA 1970.

By contrast, HMRC have confirmed that where a person’s tax position is instead amended via contract settlements, revenue assessment, raising a charge etc. (such that their tax return is not modified) there won’t be an impact on their SEISS grant.

Which amendments need to be notified to HMRC?

Only SEISS 4 and SEISS 5 grants are affected. There is no requirement to pay back any amounts of grant received under earlier rounds of SEISS, where the rules any tax return amendment made after 26 March 2020 is effectively ignored. 

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Replies (5)

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By Paul Crowley
18th Jun 2021 23:05

Well done HMRC
Agents do returns but you are too bone idle to bother sorting out SEISS issues and in addition prevent agents helping out

Whoops forgot. Clearly a brand new penalty farming arrangement.

Thanks (3)
By Duggimon
21st Jun 2021 10:23

One would have thought amending a tax return is already notifying HMRC. Why have we got a situation where a taxpayer files a return notifying HMRC of a change to their tax position for the year in question, then has to notify HMRC that they have done so again with a separate form?

The whole point of a computerised tax system is to automate these things.

HMRC know who has claimed the grants, and know what the grant income is based on as they did the calculations. It's not much of a leap to check return amendments for any impact to the grants.

Did this UTR claim a grant?
What taxable income was the calculation based on?
Has it gone up or down?

Instead, the taxpayer has to do this, work out how much if any impact the change to the return has on their grant income, and file an extra form to report it if required, and any failure to do so, or presumably mistake made in doing so, will result in potential penalties and interest from HMRC.

It's almost as if they designed the process to maximise the potential for additional penalties. Presumably they'll do their utmost to fail to adequately communicate this to those to whom it is relevant as well.

Thanks (2)
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By Ian McTernan CTA
21st Jun 2021 10:36

As the notification form is behind the government gateway log-in it must be completed by the taxpayer themselves, and cannot be completed by their tax agent.

Yet again, agents being excluded by HMRC and forcing clients, many of whom have zero interest in even having an account with HMRC, to set one up just so they can do something which they expect us to be able to do...

Thanks (2)
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By DavidAWilks
21st Jun 2021 11:32

Dear Jim Harra

If you think any of my clients has overclaimed SEISS, based upon information already submitted to you, please contact them with a clear and precise calculation as to how you have arrived at your figure. Be aware that this will be passed to me for checking.

Yours ever,
David

Thanks (3)
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By petestar1969
21st Jun 2021 13:59

This should keep HMRC busy. I know of building sites where pretty much every "self-employed" person has claimed the grants regardless of whether they were entitled to them.

Thanks (0)