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COVID-19. Tougher criteria for third SEISS grant

Claims need to be submitted by 29 January 2021

12 Aug 2020

Applications for the third Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant opened from 30 November, and you have until 29 January 2021 to make a claim. Be warned, however, that some of the conditions for this grant are different from those applicable to the previous grants.

Due to Covid-19, you must either:

  • Be currently trading but impacted by reduced demand, or
  • Have been trading but are temporarily unable to do so.

This status must be met during the period 1 November 2020 to 29 January 2021.

Additionally, you must declare that:

  • You intend to continue to trade, and
  • You reasonably believe there will be a significant reduction in your trading profits.

Make sure you keep evidence showing how your business has been unable to operate as normal due to Covid-19, so that your case for a loan is robust. The criteria are defined as follows.

  • Reduced demand – You have fewer customers or clients than you would normally expect, or contracts have been cancelled and not replaced. Simply having increased costs is not a reason for making a claim.
  • Temporarily unable to trade – Your business has had to close due to government restrictions, or you have been instructed to shield, self-isolate, have tested positive for Covid-19 or cannot work due to parental caring responsibilities. You cannot claim if you can work from home or have to self-isolate after going abroad.
  • Significant reduction – There must be a reduction in your trading profit for the whole accounting period, not just between 1 November and 29 January 2021. If you prepare accounts to 31 March or 5 April this shouldn’t be too difficult to establish, although there is a disincentive to work longer hours to make up lost income. It is impossible to apply if you are just starting your accounting period with, say, a 31 October 2021 year end, but it seems likely that HMRC will overlook this as profits will not be reported until 31 January 2023. The first two SEISS grants must be included in your 2020/21 trading profit.

HMRC has further guidance on what is meant by reduced demand and temporary closure, along with some examples.

If you are planning on applying for the third SEISS grant and need clarification, please get in touch.

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