Extension of the Self Employed Income Support Scheme

June 1st 2020

Rishi Sunak announced an extension to the SEISS scheme in his speech of May 29.

The scheme will now include a second and final grant payable in respect of the period 1 June to 31 August. As opposed to being another 80% of three months averaged profits up to a maximum of £7,500 this second grant will pay 70% of three months averaged profits up to a maximum of £6,570.

The eligibility criteria are identical to the original grant and, as before, the self employed individual can continue to work, start a new trade or take up another employment whilst claiming.

You do not have to have claimed the original grant to be eligible to claim the second grant.

Applications for the first grant will close on 13 July 2020 and applications for the second and final grant will open in August 2020.

‘Adversely Affected by COVID’
HMRC have not offered any more detail on what it is to be ‘adversely affected’ and no definition has been provided. The guidelines are very vague in this area. Unlike other grant schemes there is no evidence that has to be provided to HMRC to vouch for the impact COVID has had on your business.

As before, anyone claiming the grant should be able to support the claim that they have been adversely affected by COVID. It would be wise to document your thought process in making the declaration that you have been affected. In certain circumstances claims will be made on an anticipatory basis if your income is seasonal and in that case you will need to have a genuine concern about future income to make a claim.

It would be wise to make notes of any additional costs incurred due to COVID, so that if a ‘day of reckoning’ should come you have evidence to back up your claim. Increased price of supplies, higher delivery charges, costs to protect your staff members – all such expenses should be recorded and held with the other details relating to your claim. Likewise, any periods during which you or your workers were unwell, or ‘shielding’ should also be noted and retained.

In particular caution has been advised in the farming sector by NFU and others. Milk prices have been impacted by COVID and so some or most dairy farmers should have a clear-cut case. Animal marts have also been affected and buyer numbers will be reduced with a likely impact on prices. Many farmers will not be in receipt of income at this time of the year and so they can only speculate on the impact that COVID might have on their business but where there is a genuine concern about future income streams it appears that an argument can be made.