We have just received the latest update from HMRC as to the updated rules and processes with regards to the latest round of COVID support, including the Self Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS)
Firstly, no they have not given a specific date yet for the online portal to apply to open. Indeed 4th round of Self employed grants will work slightly differently than those previous rounds as you will see below from the HMRC guidance.
However as before, and for the benefit of those applying for the first time, it is still up to the individual to apply for the grant themselves, this cannot be done by ourselves as agents as per HMRC's rules.
There is no formal "opening date" to the scheme as yet, with the target still being late April
HMRC imply in their correspondence that they will notify you directly of your application date (late April) if you are eligible to claim, however once the scheme opens we'd advise checking your government gateway account to verify your eligibility and the date from which you can apply as you should be able to obtain your application date from there as before.
If you apply before your individual date, your claim wont be processed and you'll have to reapply on or after your application date.
HMRC are also running checks on eligibility specifically for first time applicants, but this should not deter those who believe they are eligible from applying as and when they are invited to by HMRC.
First time applicants i.e individuals not previously eligible as their first return was year ending 5th April 2020, could now be eligible subject to criteria (read on)
Once open, the 4th round will close midnight 31 May, so applications will have to be submitted by then.
Finally beware of scams and giving information to unverified requests- if you are unsure whether something is correct, contact HMRC directly. These grants involve a lot of personal and sensitive data, so better to ere on the side of caution.
The below is taken directly from HMRC's correspondence received late yesterday (designed as information for us to relay directly to clients) and while quite detailed, it outlines the eligibility (including for those who may have previously not been eligible), the application process and correspondence from HMRC and is therefore worth your attention.
From HMRC 07/04/2021
Fourth SEISS grant eligibility
To be eligible for the fourth SEISS grant, self-employed individuals (including members of partnerships) must:
have submitted their 2019-20 tax return on or before 2 March 2021
have trading profits that are no more than £50,000 and at least equal to their non-trading income, based on their 2019-20 tax return or an average of relevant tax years between 2016-17 and 2019-20
declare that they intend to continue to trade and are either
currently trading but are impacted by reduced activity, capacity or demand due to coronavirus, or
have traded previously but are temporarily unable to do so due to coronavirus (If they’ve been abroad and have to stay in quarantine or self-isolate, this does not count)
declare that they have a reasonable belief that there will be a significant reduction in their trading profits due to reduced business activity, capacity, demand or inability to trade due to coronavirus.
Getting Ready to Claim
Customers will be able to claim at any time from their personal claim date in late April until 1 June. In order to claim, they will need to log in to their Government Gateway account with their User ID and password. If they do not have a Government Gateway account (for example, customers who are newly self-employed), they should create one now to avoid delaying their claim.
To confirm their eligibility and make their claim, your clients will need their:
National Insurance number: If your client doesn’t know this, they can go to the HMRC app or access their online Personal Tax Account (PTA).
Self Assessment Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) number: You can find this on Self Assessment papers or their PTA.
Government Gateway user ID and password: To avoid delays, please ensure your clients check that they can log in to the Government Gateway before their personal claim date. If your client doesn’t have an account, or has forgotten their details, they can follow the instructions on GOV.UK by searching 'HMRC services: sign in or register'. You should check your contact details are correct in your Government Gateway account.
Bank account number and sort code
HMRC will also ask for the address that bank or building society account is registered to. Please note this is your client’s address – most likely their home or business premises – not the address of their bank or building society.
If you haven't claimed before
If this is your first time claiming a SEISS grant, you may be asked additional questions to prove your identity.
Questions could relate to any of the following:
information held on credit file (such as loans, credit cards or mortgages)
Self Assessment tax return (within the last three years)
their tax credit claim
one of their three most recent payslips.
Upcoming customer communications
HMRC have written to some customers where they need to make further checks on their eligibility after processing their 2019-20 Self Assessment returns. We (HMRC) have been contacting these customers using the telephone number provided on their tax return, and we have asked them to provide proof of identity (such as a valid UK passport or UK photo-card driving license) and evidence of trade (three months of bank statements from the business accounts for the 2019-20 tax year).
From mid-April, HMRC will also contact customers by email, letter or SMS if we believe they may be eligible for the fourth SEISS grant, providing them with their personal claim date. Customers can make their claim from this personal claim date in late April, until the claims service closes on 1 June 2021. Please let your clients know that applying before a personal claim date means it will not be processed. This is to ensure the system is fast and easy to use for everyone on their given date, and that telephone support continues to be available for those who need it most.
From mid-April, HMRC will also contact customers that have previously claimed SEISS support but are no longer eligible due to either:
not filing their 2019-20 Self Assessment return on or before 2 March 2021, or
not meeting the eligibility criteria when their filed 2019-20 return is taken into account.
All customers are required to keep appropriate records as evidence of the impact on their business.
We will continue to update clients with regards to any further information we receive on the SEISS grants between now and when they open for application, but in the meantime all the available info can be found here:-