The fourth SEISS grant will be open to some taxpayers who became newly self-employed in 2019/20. To protect the scheme from fraud, HMRC is writing to up to 100,000 of these taxpayers, asking them to complete pre-verification checks.
HMRC is asking some of those who started self-employment in 2019/20 and who wish to claim the fourth and fifth self-employment income support (SEISS) grants to complete pre-verification checks to confirm their identity and provide evidence of trade.
Taxpayers will receive a letter between 8 March and mid-April 2021, notifying them that they will receive a phone call from HMRC within 10 working days.
On the call, HMRC will ask the taxpayer to confirm their email address and agree to receive a link to a secure Dropbox. They will then have two days to upload one form of identity and three months’ worth of bank statements to demonstrate their business activity, before the link expires.
HMRC has confirmed it will make three attempts to phone, therefore taxpayers who receive the letter should check that HMRC holds the correct telephone number for them. If the number needs to be updated, they must contact 0800 024 1222 (this line is for updating telephone numbers only and will not be able to deal with any other queries).
If HMRC is unsuccessful in reaching the taxpayer, they will write a further letter.
Taxpayers who receive the letter but do not complete the checks will be unable to claim a grant.
ICAEW’s Tax Faculty anticipates that many taxpayers, particularly the digitally excluded, will have difficulty completing these verification checks and is in discussions with HMRC.
The faculty is also raising with HMRC what happens in a situation where, due to local postal delays, taxpayers receive a phone call before their letter arrives and does not comply for fear that it is a COVID scam.
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