Guidance from HMRC has now been issued that aims to clarify if claimants of the Self Employed Income Support Scheme grants pass the “Adversely Affected” test.
A troublesome aspect of the SEISS scheme is that claimants need to confirm that they have been adversely affected by the coronavirus outbreak in order to make a valid claim.
Will this condition come back to haunt us?
Guidance has been published on the GOV.UK website on this very subject. A summary of pertinent comments included in the guidance are as follows:
- Adversely affected is typically when your business has experienced lower income or higher costs due to coronavirus.
- HMRC expects you to make an honest assessment about whether your business has been adversely affected. There is no minimum threshold over which your business’ income or costs need to have changed.
- Keep records of how and when your business has been adversely affected.
The guidance then lists several factors that may provide evidence that a claim was justified:
You are unable to work because you:
- are shielding
- are self-isolating
- are on sick leave because of coronavirus
- have caring responsibilities because of coronavirus
You have had to scale down, temporarily stop trading or incurred additional costs because:
- your supply chain has been interrupted
- you have fewer or no customers or clients
- your staff are unable to come in to work
- one or more of your contracts have been cancelled
- you had to buy protective equipment so you could trade following social distancing rules
And then the guidance states that if your business recovers after you have claimed, your eligibility will not be affected.
It is not clear if the same issues will apply to the CJRS as the guidance published refers specifically to SEISS.
It will be interesting to see how HMRC will enforce eligibility for these major grants in the coming months. One thing is clear, when accounts are submitted for 2020-21, this will provide basic evidence of how income and expenses have fared compared to the previous year.