The SEISS Grant
What is SEISS Grant?
SEISS (Self-Employment Income Support Scheme) came as good news for several sole traders in the UK. Chancellor Rishi Sunak extended the scheme on 3 Mar 2021 while presenting the budget. It will now remain in force till Sep 2021. The government introduced this policy in May 2020 as a temporary measure for self-employed people who suffered financially due to the covid 19 pandemic and the first lockdown in the country.
We have already seen three rounds of this grant. The fourth round can grant up to 7500 per sole-trader, accounting for 80% of earning losses in Feb-Apr 2021. Self-employed people can claim the fifth round of grants also in Jul 2021 for covering their losses from May onwards. It would cover 80% of your loss if you suffered a fall in turnover by 30%.
Who Is Eligible for A SEISS Grant?
You can apply subject to the following conditions:
Annual trading profits below 50,000
Most of your income comes from self-employment
Completed self-assessment tax return
An ordinary partnership can claim based on an individual share in profits.
Those who earn income from property cannot apply
The sole trader’s profits reduced significantly due to decreased demand or capacity or inability to trade due to the pandemic
You must declare that you want to continue trading
You can apply for the SEISS grant online, and HMRC will get in touch with you with the claim dates. You can expect the SEISS grant within six working days.
What Is Different in The Fourth Seiss Grant?
Even if you did not qualify in previous rounds, you could still apply provided you have filed the self-assessment tax return by 2 Mar 2021. Remember that late filers are not eligible. Moreover, if you claimed in any of the first three rounds, you cannot apply this time.
The scheme promises to help about 600,000 sole traders who could not get any grant so far. The system will consider the tax return of 2019-20. If you were self-employed in that tax year, you could apply by 31 May 2021.
Reporting In Your Self-Assessment Return
SEISS grant is not a loan, so there is no need to repay it. Nevertheless, it is subject to class 4 national insurance contributions and Income tax.
These grants are taxable in the year of receipt. Hence, if you got the first three grants, you will have to pay tax on them in the 2020-21 taxation year and report in the self-assessment year 2020-21
Similarly, if you are a self-employed person (aka sole trader), your 4th/5th SEISS grants will be taxable in 2021-22 tax year, and you must report them in 2021-22 self-assessment.
HMRC has included a specific box to enter the amount received from SEISS grants for self-employed people in tax return forms of these two years.
Other Features Of SEISS Grants
If you received a grant more than you should have or were not entitled to, please notify HMRC within 90 days to return the grant value, failing which HMRC may impose a penalty.
Remember that SEISS does not constitute a part of taxable turnover for the calculation of VAT. Hence, if grant money increases the VAT threshold above 85,000, you still need not register for VAT.
If you could not pay your self-assessment tax due to covid 19, you can pay in affordable instalments, including delayed payments due in Jul 2020.
If you do not fall under the purview of SEISS grants, you can apply for other cash grants, tax reliefs, or govt loans, even if your business is closed.
You may check the GOV.UK website for further information.