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OCL Accountancy: SEISS checks are coming – be ready

If you claimed a Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant be aware that HMRC will be checking claims in future and that you should have records to support your claim.

HMRC published more information about record keeping for the scheme in late June and there are two components – the claim, and how coronavirus affected your business. As expected, HMRC said that you should keep a copy of records in line with normal self-employment record keeping, including how much you claimed under SEISS and the claim reference number (and this should be kept for at least five years after the 31st January tax return deadline or, if later, four years after you send your tax return). The SEISS grant is business income and taxable, so keep a copy of the calculation.

The second element of the requirements is not so easy, as HMRC advise you must keep evidence of how your business was adversely affected by coronavirus. Originally it appeared that making a claim and confirming that your business was “adversely affected” by coronavirus was sufficient, but now it appears you must have records evidencing the nature of the adverse effects to your business. HMRC suggest that evidence could include your accounts showing a reduction in turnover, coronavirus-related business loans you have received, dates you were closed because of lockdown, and dates you/staff couldn’t work because of coronavirus symptoms, shielding or caring responsibilities.

Best advice has to be to keep a more detailed record of the negative impacts. Think about historic business patterns and record the difference; point to jobs you expected to be working on, or customers you expected to have; show cancellations and delays; where you have regular clients, show what you would usually be doing and invoicing but haven’t because of the pandemic. The more detail you can supply (dates, names, addresses, usual charge-out rates etc) the more credible you will be.

For tax saving tips contact us – call Marie Sheldrake, Tom Hulett or Mike Wilcox on 01225 445507.

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