HMRC outlines penalties for SEISS abuse


The government’s Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) is currently in it’s fourth round, and is an important means of support for those self-employed people whose businesses have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. However, HMRC is aware that the scheme is open to abuse and, as a result, has recently outlined exactly how such abuse will be penalised.

Abusing the SEISS means “overclaiming”. This refers to any case in which the grant’s claimant receives more than the amount HMRC said the applicant was entitled to when the claim was initiated. It also refers to those who receive an SEISS grant to which they are not entitled at all. To avoid penalty, claimants who find they have been overpaid in this manner must notify HMRC within 90 days of the grant hitting their accounts.

In deciding how to penalise claimants who do not report being overpaid, HMRC will factor in a number of considerations. Recently published guidance states:

“If you knew you were not entitled to your grant and did not tell us in the notification period, the law treats your failure as deliberate and concealed. This means we can charge a penalty of up to 100% on the amount of the SEISS grant that you were not entitled to receive or keep.

“If you did not know you were not entitled to your grant when you received it, we will only charge you a penalty if you have not repaid the grant by 31 January 2022.”

If you are unsure whether you are in violation of HMRC’s new guidelines, or if you would like more information about applying for a grant under the SEISS scheme, you can contact JW Hinks on 0121 456 0190. Our friendly and professional team of experts can ensure you make the most of the support available to you without incurring any undue penalties.

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