SEISS rules have recently been extended, as Rishi Sunak ensured that a second wave of grants could be claimed in the coming months. The second and final grant will be capped at £6,570 and eligible claimants will be able to apply in August.
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The scheme has been extremely important for the country as recently released state figures revealed.
As the scheme was extended, the state highlighted that by the end of May 2.3 million claims were made.
In aggregate, all the claims made thus far equate to roughly £6.8billion and as such a similar amount may be awarded in the coming months.
The cost of this scheme, which is ultimately tax payer funded, has been one of the elements that has faced criticism.
Matthew Thorpe, a Managing Partner of Haines Watts Hornchurch, analysed the criticisms levied against the scheme: “One of the biggest criticisms of the self-employed grants scheme has been the possibility of claiming the grant whilst still working and this is certainly something we have seen.
“Many self-employed people in sectors where they have continued to work at near-full capacity throughout have been shocked to find themselves eligible for a grant thus far.”
Despite the abruptness and cost of the scheme, many may have been amenable to the plans due to the direness of the situation.
However, Matthew warned the public’s understanding nature may diminish as they start to assess the extension’s impact.
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As he continued: “I think most people accepted the fact that the Chancellor and his team had a near impossible task to complete in a near impossible timetable to get support to the vast number of self-employed people in need of it.
“That meant that the fact some people not in need of the support could receive it, was accepted as the cost of getting it to those who really did, quickly enough.
“Now however, with two months to review and reflect on the scheme, the decision to extend with so few additional restrictions will be met with outrage from some.”
The grants do not need to be repaid which will add to the overall costs but the government may be able to get some of it back as the payments will be subject to income tax and National Insurance.
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The clarity of the scheme has also faced criticism and this has not been helped by some of the mixed messages people have been getting.
As an example, the government detailed that the SEISS will cover 95 percent of people who get the majority of their earnings from self-employment.
However, the Institute for Fiscal Studies estimated that it just covered 62 percent of self-employed individuals.
There may still be some confusion over who is eligible for the scheme but the government have few criterea rules in place.
The government’s website details that the self-employed can claim if all of the following apply:
- The claimant traded in the tax year 2018 to 2019 and submitted their Self-Assessment tax return on or before April 23 2020 for that year
- They traded in the tax year 2019 to 2020
- They intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020 to 2021
- They carried on a trade which had been adversely affected by coronavirus
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