A claim under the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) was denied by the First Tier Tribunal (FTT). Despite receiving invitations to apply for SEISS from HMRC, the taxpayer was never entitled to claim under the scheme.

Corona virus

In Shane Ellis v HMRC [2024] TC 09087, the taxpayer’s Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) claim was rejected.

  • At the time of the claim, the taxpayer was no longer a sole trader but operated through a limited company, of which he was a director and shareholder.
  • Despite notifying HMRC of the change in status, the taxpayer continued to receive SEISS claim invitations.
  • The taxpayer made claims under SEISS during 2019/20. 
  • HMRC issued an assessment to recover £14,070 for incorrectly claimed SEISS payments.
  • The taxpayer acknowledged the error in their claim but proceeded to file an Appeal, arguing that the wording on the form was confusing. They had interpreted 'continue to trade' to encompass trading through a company. Additionally, they contended that HMRC, having been informed of the status change, should not have sent SEISS invitations.
  • HMRC argued the validity of the Notice of assessment and that the appeal should be stuck out, citing jurisdiction issues and a lack of prospects for success.

The First Tier Tribunal (FTT) found:

  • The assessment was valid.
  • FTT lacked the authority to consider broader public law principles. Its role was to establish facts and apply the law.
  • The appellant didn't qualify for SEISS, allowing HMRC to raise an assessment. HMRC's assessment was valid. 

The appeal was dismissed. 

Useful guides on this topic

COVID-19: Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) (now ended)
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.

How to appeal an HMRC decision
Disagree with an HMRC decision? How do you appeal, what type of decision can you appeal and what are your different options when you disagree with HMRC? What are the key steps in making an appeal?

Time limits for tax assessments, claims and refunds
What are the time limits for claiming a tax refund? How far can HMRC go back and raise an assessment? How many years back can a taxpayer appeal? What are the time limits for correcting a tax return?

External Links

Shane Ellis v HMRC TC 09087 [2024]