The pace of the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) roll-out, combined with changes to the rules along the way, could lead to claim errors. Here’s a helpful checklist to ensure you are paid the right amount.
The SEISS grants have been a life-line for many self-employed individuals whose turnover was hit by coronavirus. There have so far been four rounds of grants paid out but the rules for who can claim and for what have changed over time. It’s important to ensure you were eligible to claim and were paid the correct amount.
Penalties for SEISS overpayments
HMRC may charge penalties if you are paid too much and fail to notify it of the fact within the correct timescale. Notification should be made within 90 days after the date you receive an amount to which you were not entitled.
HMRC states that it is not looking for innocent errors or small mistakes. In cases where someone didn’t know they were ineligible for a grant when they received it, HMRC will only charge a penalty if the grant is not repaid by 31 January 2022.
Here are some key areas worth reviewing:
- How much you received – Check that there isn’t a significant discrepancy between the amount(s) HMRC advised you were due and amount(s) received.
- Whether the business is/was still trading – Overpayment could potentially occur if you have a business that has permanently stopped trading.
- The status of the business – Companies aren’t eligible for SEISS. If you have incorporated a sole trader or partnership business since 5 April 2018, you would not qualify for the grant.
- The rules for who could claim – It’s worth making sure that you fully understood the rules and were eligible to make the claim.
How to pay back an overpayment
You can notify HMRC of an error, or to make repayment, by completing an online form, then making payment. HMRC is unlikely to contact you unless it needs more details or there is a problem with your payment.