‘Self-employed need online account to access government support’

Self-employed people need to ensure they have a Government Gateway account set up ahead of Wednesday 13 May, when the system for claiming grants under the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) goes live.

The warning, from the Association of Taxation Technicians (ATT), comes at a time when many self-employed people are working to save their business in the face of the Covid-19 crisis.

The SEISS allows self-employed individuals whose business are affected by the pandemic to claim a taxable grant of up to 80% of their average monthly trading profits, up to a maximum of £7,500. The online system to claim grants under the scheme is due to open next week, on 13 May 2020.

Jeremy Coker, ATT President, said: “In order to claim amounts they are entitled to under SEISS, self-employed individuals will need to have an active online account known as a Government Gateway account. This is the case even if they usually use an agent to handle their tax affairs, as SEISS claims can only be made by the individual taxpayer, and not by an agent on their behalf.

“If individuals do not already have a Government Gateway account, they should take steps to set one up as soon as possible to ensure they are ready to make their claim when the system goes ‘live’ next week.”

Previously, the process of applying for a Government Gateway account involved a letter being sent in the post. To speed things up, HMRC have streamlined the gateway application process for the purposes of claiming under SEISS.

Coker added: “We welcome HMRC’s decision to make the Government Gateway application process quicker and simpler, especially given the short amount of time remaining until the SEISS claim window opens.

“To ensure they can access this streamlined application process, self-employed individuals should use HMRC’s simple online eligibility checker and follow the hyperlinks provided. They will need to have a mobile phone or landline telephone to hand in order to receive a verification code, as well as a copy of their passport or driving licence.

“This process should allow them to set up their much needed Government Gateway account relatively quickly. To ensure there are no unexpected delays we would recommend they do this as soon as possible.”


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