Paying back a Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant

by Gavin Hooker

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There is a new section in the SEISS guidance called ‘If you still need to make a claim’. If you’ve not been able to make a claim due to an HMRC error or other exceptional circumstances, you must contact HMRC by 28 February 2022.If you think your grant amount is too low, you must also contact HMRC by 28 February 2022.

You must tell HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) if, when you made the claim, you were not eligible for the grant. For example:

  • for the first or second grant, your business was not adversely affected
  • for the third, fourth or fifth grant, your business had not been impacted by reduced activity, capacity or demand or inability to trade in the relevant periods
  • you did not intend to continue to trade
  • you have incorporated your business

You must also tell HMRC if you:

  • received more than HMRC said you were entitled to
  • amended any of your tax returns on or after 3 March 2021 in a way which means you’re no longer eligible or are entitled to a lower fourth or fifth grant than you received
  • made a mistake reporting your turnover in your claim for the fifth grant which means you are entitled to a lower grant than you received
  • have received a letter or email from HMRC that says you need to pay back some or all of a grant

When you must tell HMRC

In most cases, if you are not eligible and have to pay the grant back, you must tell HMRC within 90 days of receiving the grant.

For the fourth and fifth grants the rules for when to tell HMRC are different if amending your return affects your eligibility or grant amount. 

If your return has been amended
You must tell HMRC if there is an amendment to any of your tax returns on or after 3 March 2021 which either:

  • lowers the amount of fourth or fifth grant you’re eligible for
  • causes you to no longer be eligible for the fourth or fifth grant

If your return has been amended before claiming your grant, you must tell HMRC within 90 days of receiving your grant.

If your return has been amended after receiving your grant, you must tell HMRC within 90 days of making the amendment.

If you do not tell HMRC, they will write to you to recover the grant and you may also have to pay a penalty. Find more information on how HMRC will recover your overpaid grant.

You do not have to tell HMRC if the grant amount:

  • you are eligible for has lowered by £100 or less
  • was £100 or less

If you are not sure, you should still tell HMRC about the amendment using the online form.

If you made a mistake when reporting your turnover
You need to tell HMRC if you:

  • made a mistake reporting your turnover in your claim which means you are entitled to a lower grant than you received
  • later realise you should have reported a different turnover figure in your claim which means you are entitled to a lower grant than you received

Voluntary repayments
You can also tell HMRC if you want to voluntarily pay back some or all of the grant you received. You can do this at any time.

You will need your:

  • Government Gateway user ID and password that you used when you made your claim
  • grant claim reference - you'll find this in the online service or on your copy of the grant claim
  • Self-Assessment Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) number.

See: Return to your claim for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

The content in this blog is correct as at 17 January 2022.

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