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Application process for the Self Employment Income Support Scheme

Application process for the self employment income support scheme.

Emails, SMS messages and letters are being sent to taxpayers who HMRC thinks may be entitled to claim an SEISS grant. These are expected to arrive during the week beginning 4 May 2020, some letters may not be received until the following week.

Each taxpayer will receive one form of contact:

  • where HMRC holds an email address it uses that;
  • SMS is used where HMRC holds a mobile number, but not an email address; and
  • a letter is sent where HMRC holds neither. 

Note that to guard against fraud the emails and SMS messages from HMRC do not include active links. If a taxpayer receives an email or SMS purporting to come HMRC which includes an active link, that email or SMS is a scam.

This initial contact explains what the taxpayer needs to do to be ready to claim when the claims portal opens. 

HMRC is contacting all those who may be eligible, but not all recipients will in fact be eligible. HMRC has selected the cases based on the information in the self assessment tax returns filed by the taxpayers and has carried out the necessary calculations and eligibility checks based on those figures. However, HMRC will not necessarily know whether the taxpayer meets the following conditions of the scheme:

  • traded in the tax year 2019/20;
  • are trading when they apply, or would be except for coronavirus;
  • intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020/21; and
  • have lost trading profits due to coronavirus.

HMRC is providing an eligibility checker to help taxpayers to confirm whether they are eligible.


Eligibility checker

The eligibility checker is available on gov.uk and is open to anyone to use, not just those who have been contacted by HMRC.

The taxpayer enters their self assessment UTR and national insurance number and the checker confirms whether they are eligible. The taxpayer does not need to enter any information about their income.

The checker does not give any information about the amount of grant available. The checker does not require the taxpayer to log in to their government gateway account but, in the background, it does look at the tax return information held on HMRC’s system. The taxpayer is asked to provide an email address for further correspondence.

How to apply

Applications will open to taxpayers on a staged basis between 13 and 18 May, with the portal opening on different days for different taxpayers. HMRC will email taxpayers who have provided an email address (when using the eligibility checker or previously) to confirm when the portal is open for them. Taxpayers can also use the eligibility checker to find out whether the application portal is open for them.

Taxpayers then log in to their government gateway account (or select the option to create an account) to complete the application process. They are presented with a detailed calculation and are asked to:

  • read and accept the eligibility criteria;
  • complete declarations, including to confirm that the business has been adversely affected by coronavirus; and
  • supply the bank account details into which they would like the grant to be paid.

The taxpayer does not need to provide any information about their income – the calculations are all done by HMRC based on the tax returns submitted. HMRC will check the claim and expects to make payments from 25 May 2020 within six working days of the application being submitted. 


Here to help


Whilst our professional body, the ICAEW, has pressed HMRC on allowing agents to claim on behalf of clients, this has not proven possible – giving agents access would have delayed the delivery of this one-off application service.

However, we can use the eligibility checker and request a review for those that the checker says are not eligible and our clients can send us a copy of the calculation for us to review.

Please contact your usual person at robinson+co for more details or any assistance.

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