During my Chancellor’s Budget presentation, I briefly talked about the extension of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme into 4th and 5th grants.

Those of you who joined my event will know the interesting thing about these latest grants is that applicants who were previously ineligible because they didn’t have self-employment income on their tax returns, may now qualify for financial support if they submitted a 2019/20 tax return by midnight on 2 March.

HMRC pre-verification checks

As I also mentioned, we’ve very recently received some information from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) to let us know that HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) are starting to send some pretty onerous requests to potentially eligible taxpayers, asking them to complete pre-verification checks that prove their identification and entitlement.

As we understand it from the ICAEW, some taxpayers can expect to receive letters from HMRC between now and mid-April 2021, notifying them of a phone call within 10 working days. During the calls, taxpayers will be asked to confirm their email addresses and agree to receive secure Dropbox links, after which they will have two days before the links expire to upload one form of identity and three months’ worth of bank statements. Somewhat worryingly, we are led to believe that taxpayers who receive a letter but do not comply with the verification checks will not be able to claim a grant.

Exercising caution

In a world where scams are becoming more common and we are increasingly prevailed upon to exercise caution, HMRC’s approach has caused some concern. The ICAEW are raising this with HMRC on behalf of taxpayers and we will of course let you know if there are any further developments. In the meantime, it makes sense to be as informed about this as possible so please read the ICAEW’s full statement for further details about the process and to see a sample of HMRC’s letter. The government website includes additional useful information, click here to read more about SEISS, including who can claim and what the 4th grant covers.

Unfortunately, agents are unable to complete SEISS applications on behalf of taxpayers but as always, please get in touch with your usual Sagars contact if you have any queries.

Kate Naylor
Kate Naylor
Tax Partner

Kate works with businesses and their owners on tax strategies and mitigation, looking at business and personal tax structures to achieve long term goals.

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