Coronavirus Self-Employment Scheme applicants exceed one million – check eligibility

Coronavirus support measures have been implemented by the government, with the most recent Coronavirus Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) proving both necessary and popular. The grant enables self-employed people and those who are members of partnerships whose businesses have been affected by coronavirus to claim 80 percent of their average monthly trading profits. In the first few hours of the scheme, 110,000 self-employed people applied for the grant, but this number has now exceeded one million mere days in.


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Tax officials have said the value of claims on the scheme have so far reached more than £3billion. 

However, for those who have not yet made a claim through the service – how can the self-employed check if they are eligible? 

It is likely those who are eligible to make a claim from the grant have already been contacted by HMRC.

However, the First Permanent Secretary and Chief Executive of HMRC has urged those who believe they are eligible but have not been contacted to go to the government website.

Here, they will find the SEISS eligibility checker which will provide them with information as to whether they could receive the grant.

Potential claimants must have their Self Assessment Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) number to hand. 

They must also have their National Insurance number as proof of their right to work in the UK.

HMRC has assigned eligible claimants a specific date to apply on, between May 13 – 18, and this date should be checked before making an application.

The service provides an all but instantaneous response, stating whether or not a potential claimant has qualified for the scheme.

If not, the calculator also provides potential reasons as to why a self-employed person has not met the eligibility criteria.

This can include trading profits exceeding £50,000, trading profits being less than non-trading income, or failing to submit a Self Assessment tax return for the 2018/9 year.

However, those who submitted their return between March 26, 2020 and April 23, 2020 are being actively encouraged to check the system again.

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This is because the online service has been updated with more data.

If a self-employed person still believes they are eligible to claim after rejection from the calculator, they should contact HMRC to review their eligibility.

Those who are eligible for the scheme should provide information as to how their business has been affected by COVID-19.

They should also provide relevant bank account information for the grant to be delivered to if accepted.

SEISS was rolled out weeks earlier than previously announced to help the self-employed with dedicated support. 

The maximum payment from the scheme is to be set at £7,500 – and will cover March, April and May.

Commenting on the scheme, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “We’re working ahead of time to deliver support to the self-employed and from today, applications open for the millions of people eligible for the scheme.

“With payments arriving before the end of this month, self-employed across the UK will have money in their pockets to help them through these challenging times.”

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