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Late change to turnover test for partnerships as SEISS claims portal reopens


Published: 29 Jul 2021 Update History

The claims portal for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme has reopened for the fifth time, following subtle changes to the legislation covering the turnover test for partnerships.

Self-employed individuals whose trade has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic since the 1 May can now start to apply for support under the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS).

Within the past week, HMRC has contacted every taxpayer who may be eligible for the fifth grant, to tell them their personal claim date. Taxpayers can claim from this date up until the claims service closes on 30 September 2021.

Claims made before the taxpayer’s personal claim date will not be processed. HMRC has phased the claim dates once again 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.

The claims portal reopened on 29 July for claims for grants covering 1 May to 30 September, but the amount that can be claimed varies based on a turnover test.

Turnover test

The level of support that can be claimed under the fifth, and final, set of grants is dependent on the scale of the impact that COVID has had on the claimants’ business, and a turnover test now applies.

For those whose turnover has been reduced by 30% or more due to the pandemic the grant remains 80% of three months’ average trading profits capped at £7,500.

However, for those with a turnover reduction of less than 30% the grant will be based on 30% of three months’ average trading profits, capped at £2,850.

Details of how the turnover test will be applied for the fifth grant were published on 6 July and are available on icaew.com/SEISS.

Webinar: SEISS grants update

In this webinar Caroline Miskin, from ICAEW's Tax Faculty, navigates the significant changes to the fifth SEISS grant and covers related tax return and compliance issues.


Amended direction

A modification to the direction covering the fifth SEISS grant was issued on 28 July 2021 to cover claims made on or after 29 July 2021. The change appears to be a very subtle one and HMRC has updated its guidance on the direction.

For the purposes of the turnover test for the fifth SEISS grant, partners use turnover for the partnership as a whole except if they have another business (either a sole trade or partnership), in which case they use their share of partnership turnover when making the comparison.

The modified direction clarifies that the profit share rules apply only when the partner has multiple trades in either 2019/20 or the pandemic period (a 12-month period starting on any date between 1 and 6 April 2020).

The original SEISS 5 direction referred to multiple trades in the reference period. While in most cases the reference period will be 2019/20, there is an option to use 2018/19 as the reference period, so the original wording had the potential to bring cases where a partner had multiple trades in 2018/19 (but not 2019/20 and the pandemic period) within its scope.

The revised wording clarifies that the 2018/19 period is excluded. 

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