Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS): support for the self-employed during the Coronavirus crisis. The fifth SEISS grant covering May to September 2021 was open for claims until 30 September 2021. 

At a glance

SEISS grants currently cover the following periods

Name Claim period Claim deadline Grant size
Fifth grant May 2021 - Sept 2021 30 September 2021 Up to £7,500
Fourth grant Feb 2021 - April 2021 1 June 2021 Up to £7,500
Third grant Nov 2020 - Jan 2021 29 Jan 2021 Up to £7,500
Second grant 14 July - Oct 2020 19 Oct 2020 Up to £6,570
First grant March - July 2020 13 July 2020 Up to £7,500

: Company directors are employees for PAYE purposes and not self-employed, see COVID-19: Company directors

Final deadline for claims

Taxpayers who think they have received grants that are too low or who have not been able to make a claim due to HMRC error or other exceptional circumstances must contact HMRC by 28 February 2022.

Fifth grant 

  • A fifth SEISS grant was announced at Budget 2021 covering May to September 2021.
  • The fifth grant has similar qualifying conditions to the fourth SEISS grant. To be eligible:
    • 2019-20 trading profits must be £50,000 or less and at least equal to non-trading income. 
      • Where taxpayers are not eligible based on 2019-20, HMRC will look at 2016-17, 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20. 
    • Taxpayers must have traded in both 2019-20 and 2020-21.
      • The 2019-20 tax return must have been submitted on or before 2 March 2021. 
    • Taxpayers must: 
      • Be currently trading, but impacted by reduced demand due to Coronavirus, or
      • Have been trading but temporarily unable to do so due to Coronavirus. 
    • It will be necessary for grant claimants to declare that they: 
      • Intend to continue to trade, and
      • Reasonably believe there will be a significant reduction in their trading profits due to reduced business activity, capacity, demand or inability to trade due to Coronavirus from May 2021 to September 2021.
    • HMRC expects taxpayers to make an honest assessment about whether they reasonably believe their business will have a significant reduction in profits.
    • Evidence must be kept to demonstrate how the business has been impacted by Coronavirus resulting in less business activity than otherwise expected.
  • The amount of the grant is determined based on how much turnover has decreased in the year April 2020 to April 2021 compared to a reference year: either 2019-20 or 2018-19. 
  • As part of the claim process, it will be necessary to give HMRC details of business turnover, in order to work out the grant amount.
    • This is different from previous rounds of SEISS grants. 
  • Where turnover has decreased by: 
    • 30% or more: the full grant of 80% of three months average trading profits, capped at £7,500, will be paid.
    • Less than 30%: a reduced grant of 30% of three months average trading profits, capped at £2,850, will be paid.
  • As with previous grants, the grant is Taxable and paid in a single instalment.
  • Claims can be made on or after a taxpayer's 'personal claim date'. The online claims portal opened on 28 July 2021.
  • Eligible taxpayers will have been contacted by HMRC from mid-July 2021 to confirm their earliest claim date.
  • Claims can be made no later than 30 September 2021. 

Fourth grant (now closed)

  • A fourth SEISS grant was paid based on 80% of three months average trading profits, capped at £7,500 in total.
  • This was paid in respect of February, March and April 2021.
  • Individuals must have submitted a 2019-20 tax return by 3 March 2021 to be eligible.
  • Other eligibility criteria will be as for the third SEISS grant.
  • Claims could be made from 22 April 2021 until 1 June 2021.

Third grant (now closed)

  • Only those eligible for the first and second grants were eligible for this third grant. 
  • HMRC expected applicants to make an honest assessment about whether they reasonably believe their business will have a significant reduction in profits for the accounting period.
  • To make a claim for the third grant, businesses must have had a new or continuing impact from Coronavirus between 1 November 2020 and 29 January 2021.
  • The grant payable was the lower of:
    • £7,500.
    • 80% of average monthly trading profits, covering a three month period, calculated as for the first grant.
  • The grant is available to self-employed individuals with trading profits up to £50,000 per year whose trading profits are at least equal to their non-trading income.
  • Applications for the third grant could be made from 30 November 2020.
  • The claim deadline was 29 January 2021.  

First and second grants (now closed)

  • Under the original scheme two separate taxable grants were claimable:
    • The first grant for the period ending 13 July 2020.
    • The second grant for the period from 14 July 2020.
  • The grant payable was the lower of:
    • £7,500 (if claiming for the first grant) or £6,570 (if claiming for the second grant), and
    • 80% of your average monthly profits, for three months, over the three years 2016/17, 2017/18 and 2018/19 for the first grant reducing to 70% of the same average profits for the second grant.
  • A variation of the second grant was announced on 23 June and applied to new parents.
  • The grant was available to self-employed individuals:
    • With trading profits up to £50,000 per year whose majority of income comes from being self-employed.
    • Who have been adversely affected by the Coronavirus crisis.
  • If you received the grant you could continue to work or take on other employment including voluntary work.
  • You did not have to have claimed the first grant to be able to claim the second.
  • Claims for the first three months commenced on 13 May 2020, with the first payments arriving from 25 May 2020 and within six working days of claims being made.
  • The deadline for claiming under the first round was 13 July 2020. Claims for the second round of grants at the lower rate could be made from 17 August with a deadline of 19 October 2020.  

What's new?

  • During November 2021 HMRC began writing to individuals who received one of the first three grants but who had either not yet completed a Self Assessment return for 2019-20 or had filed a return with no self-employment or partnership income included. The letters advise that a return must be either submitted or amended within 30 days, or the grants must be repaid in full.
  • HMRC's Self Assessment Application Programming Interface (API) which feeds taxpayers' SEISS grant details into their Self Assessment (SA) returns has been experiencing glitches resulting in the wrong amounts being pulled through.
    • In many cases pounds have been converted into pence resulting in multi-million pound claims being included in some returns.This issue appears to affect most commercial software and does not affect those who file their SA return using HMRC's online portal.
    • Other issues include grants being missed because HMRC's system is showing them as not having been paid and grants being included twice.
    • HMRC are aware of these problems and hope to resolved it by the end of August 2021. In the meantime they advise deleting incorrect pre-populated figures and manually entering the correct amounts.
  • MTD for Income tax pilot: SEISS grant applicants are currently unable to participate in HMRC's MTD pilot.
  • Legislation was introduced in Finance Act 2021 to tax SEISS grants received on or after 6 April 2021 in the year of receipt.
  • Finance Act 2021 updates provisions in Finance Act 2020 which specify that an individual is subject to a 100% tax charge if they receive payments to which they are not entitled.
    • This will allow HMRC to recover payments where an individual was entitled to the grant at the time of claim but later ceases to be entitled to all or part of it due to a change in circumstances.

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