The Chancellor’s Self-Employment Income Support (SEISS) program will provide up to £ 21,570 in three grants until January 2021 to help sole proprietorships weather the crisis. A fourth grant is due in the spring.
But there is a long list of conditions – including that self-employment must be at least half of a person’s historical income.
Mr. Jones accidentally recorded his profits as employment income on his 2018/19 tax return.
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This meant that HM Revenue and Customs was preventing him from getting even a dime under SEISS.
Despite the decision of the Independent Arbitrator’s Office, this was a “real mistake” and there is “clear evidence” that he was self-employed, the government has not budged.
This is because the law says that people cannot apply for using a tax return that was amended after March 26.
Instead Mr Jones, who worked for a sports modeling agency as an administrative assistant but was fired in the first week of March, will only be paid £ 100 as compensation for poor customer service.
“It has sparked concerns and tensions over the months,” said Mr Jones, of Wandsworth, south London.
He relied on money sent by aunts and uncles who “feel sorry for me” and use up their savings to get by.
He added: “You expect better from these people. You have just understood that these people do not care.
“You’re just a person in their armor and they don’t care.
The UK estimates that 3 million people, including 1.6 million self-employed, have been excluded from Covid support programs.
Mr Jones started filing tax returns as a teenager and reported trading profit of £ 11,625 in 2017/18 and £ 13,093 in 2019/20.
But in 2018/19 he accidentally declared his self-employment benefit at £ 0, leaving him ineligible for the scheme.
The arbitrator’s office, which investigated the case, told him, “I appreciate that you made a real mistake and only knew about it after the March 26, 2020 deadline.
“However, the Treasury Directorates have the force of law and HMRC is required to follow them when making decisions about granting grants under the program.
“HMRC cannot under any circumstances grant discretion and there is no right of appeal.”
After giving him incorrect information, HMRC said it would pay Mr Jones £ 50 – which he described as ‘tiny and disrespectful’.
The umpire’s office ordered HMRC to pay him an additional £ 50.
A spokesperson for the Treasury said: “We have supported millions of people with our unprecedented support programs and have done everything we can to help as many people as possible.
“While we cannot comment on individual cases, in certain circumstances individuals may not be able to access a system due to restrictions designed to mitigate the risk of fraud.”