Third SEISS Grant. Help for Drivers

As an accountant that services the passenger transport industry, I have been asked to comment on the recent article in the Express magazine and the questions from many of you about whether or not self-employed people will be entitled to the next SEISS Grants if they have not returned to work. Now this is a problem for two reasons:

  1. This legislation is being done at speed which means it’s not always super clear, and…
  2. Some accountants are rubbish at looking after their clients, believing that their job is to merely be the HMRC or govts mouthpiece.

So here is my spin on things…

  • It seems to me that the main query is about renewing licenses…
  • If you do not intend to renew your licence, can you still claim? The question is really whether you intend to continue to be self employed even if you are not earning money.

I must be a little careful about what I say here but

  • If you have gone and got yourself a job, absolutely you can’t claim SEISS.
  • But not renewing your licence is not ending your self-employment. If for instance you cannot afford to renew your licence but intend to do parcel work, which will allow you to purchase a licence when the trade returns you are still self-employed. You will still do a tax return even if you do not end up earning much more money, therefor you can legitimately claim your SEISS.
  • The point is intent. Technically self-employment is the indicator, not your licence renewal. If someone wants to continue working in a similar field (parcel work) without a licence but does not earn money…is that still working.
  • It is important to note that there is the option of universal credit that is available. Please remember from the governments perspective, the SEISS grant is there to help you put food on the table and not put you ‘ahead of the game’, so once again if you get paid employed work, you are not entitled.

Just to remind you, this is what the HMRC Says:

Who can claim:

To be eligible for the grant extension self-employed individuals must:

  • have been previously eligible for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme first and second grant (although they do not have to have claimed the previous grants)
  • declare that they intend to continue to trade and either:
  • are currently actively trading but are impacted by reduced demand due to coronavirus.
  • were previously trading but are temporarily unable to do so due to coronavirus

So, in conclusion my interpretation is that regardless of giving your taxi/Private Hire licence back, they are asking you if you intend to continue as self-employed, or intend to get your licence when you can afford it.

Stay Safe

Gary