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SEISS claims portal opens

13 May: The Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) has opened for claims with payments expected by 25 May. Initial reports to ICAEW’s Tax Faculty indicate that the process is straightforward.

Ahead of the launch of the SEISS application portal, those who tested the system were positive about the process according to reports to the Tax Faculty. 

Technical Manager Caroline Miskin explains: “Although it is disappointing that agents do not have access to the system, ICAEW members whose clients have tested the system in the last few days have reported that the process is straightforward. The process involves reading and accepting the eligibility criteria, viewing the calculation presented, providing bank details and making a declaration.” 

Individuals have been allocated a specific date between 13 and 18 May from which they can make a claim. The eligibility checker can be used at any time to check that date and time. There is, at the moment, no deadline by which claims must be made. Payments will be made by 25 May or within six days of the claim being submitted.

HMRC has updated its guidance on how different circumstances affect claims with additional information for non-residents and those who claim the remittance basis. This guidance also confirms that although SEISS grants are state aid granted under the European Commission’s Temporary Framework, they fall under aid in the form of wage subsidies (section 3.10) and therefore the caps do not apply.

Those that are unable to claim online should contact HMRC for help on 0800 024 1222. This helpline is also available for other SEISS related queries, but demand is likely to be high and it should be used only where it has not been possible to resolve queries or to request a review using the online guidance and systems. HMRC has asked that webchat be used in preference to phoning, to help it manage demand. 

The Tax Faculty advises taxpayers to keep a copy of the calculation and a record of the claim reference number. It is also important to keep evidence that the business has been adversely affected by coronavirus such as:

  • business accounts showing a reduction in turnover;
  • confirmation of any coronavirus-related business loans;
  • dates the business had to close due to lockdown restrictions;
  • dates the taxpayer or their staff were unable to work due to coronavirus symptoms, shielding or caring responsibilities due to school closures.

Caroline Miskin, says: “There was an issue which affected those that filed a self assessment tax return between 26 March and 23 April but HMRC has now updated the system. 

“As with any new system, and particularly given the speed at which it has been developed, there are likely to be some glitches in particular cases, but HMRC is to be commended for delivering the system ahead of the original schedule.”