HM Revenue & Customs has started contacting 3.5 million people who may be eligible for a backdated cash grant worth up to £ 7,500 through the government’s Self-Employed Income Support Program (SEISS) .
Starting this week, eligible people will receive a letter, email or text message from HMRC with information on how to file an online complaint when the SEISS service opens on May 13.
If a complaint is accepted, payments will arrive in bank accounts no later than May 25, or six business days after the complaint, said the HMRC, suggesting that the program will be delivered before the initial “early June” schedule.
The program will benefit independent independent traders or people in partnership whose activities have been affected by the coronavirus.
To qualify for assistance, individuals must earn at least half of their self-employed income and have annual business profits of no more than £ 50,000.
They must have negotiated during the 2018-2019 taxation year and have submitted their tax return for that year by April 23, 2020.
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Those who meet these criteria will be able to apply for a taxable grant representing 80% of their average business profits up to a maximum of £ 7,500 (equivalent to three months of profits) – which will be paid in one lump sum.
The rules of the scheme exclude certain groups, including those who became self-employed after April 2019 and those who have annual business profits of more than £ 50,000. Although managers of public limited companies often see themselves as self-employed, income paid through dividends is not recognized by SEISS or the PAYE worker retention program.
HMRC has opened an online verifier on the Gov.uk website for the self-employed to verify their eligibility by entering their unique taxpayer reference number and national insurance number.
The Association of Independent Professionals and Independents (IPSE), a lobby group for independents, welcomed the announcement, but added that more needed to be done to help those who could not access SEISS.
“It is great news that the government is telling people early if they are eligible for SEISS. This is unexpected and welcome given the complexity of implementing a new initiative on this scale, “said Andy Chamberlain, director of policy at IPSE.
“While many self-employed workers will benefit from a wave of relief by receiving these first notifications, it is essential that we keep in mind the many others who are not getting the support they need. Entrepreneurs of limited companies, new freelancers and those earning just over £ 50,000 a year have been left behind and urgently need more financial support, “he said.
HMRC said that when individuals are not eligible for the scheme, the tax authorities will refer them to advice to help them understand why this is so. He will also direct them to other media that may be available to them. such as income tax deferrals, rent support, universal credit, access to mortgage holidays and the various business support plans the government put in place to protect businesses during the pandemic.