HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will start contacting the approximately 3.5 million individuals who may be eligible for the government’s Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS), to explain the process and get them ready to make a claim.
The claims service will open on 13 May, with payments set to reach successful applicants by 25 May, or six working days after the claim is made.
Despite being referred to as “operationally difficult to deliver” in March, the scheme is being delivered ahead of schedule.
The scheme is designed to benefit self-employed individuals, or those in a partnership, whose business has been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, covering most people who get at least half of their income from self-employment.
SEISS is a temporary scheme that will enable those eligible to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of their average trading profits, up to a maximum of £7,500, equivalent to three months’ profits, in a single instalment.
HMRC is using information provided on 2018-19 tax returns, and returns for 2016-17 and 2017-18 where needed, to determine eligibility.
It is contacting potential claimants via email, SMS or letter, and has opened an online checker to allow customers to check their own eligibility, as well as giving them a date on which they can apply.
Customers are eligible if their business has been adversely affected by coronavirus, if it traded in 2019-20, intends to continue trading, has trading profits of no more than £50,000 per year, and submitted their tax return on or before 23 April 2020.
Where individuals are eligible, HMRC will direct them to guidance setting out the conditions and provide information about other support systems that might be available to them, including rental support and mortgage payment holidays.