To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of inviting applications for the fourth grant of the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme earlier than mid-April 2021.
The Government also announced a significant change in access to the SEISS. Basing the fourth and fifth grants on 2019-20 Self Assessment tax returns means more than 600,000 people are brought into scope who either became self-employed in 2019-20; or were ineligible for previous grants, but now may be eligible for the fourth grant on the basis of submitting their 2019-20 tax return.
Using these returns requires time to deliver, due to the increased population and new data. In order to allow HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) time to process 2019-20 tax returns it has not been possible to invite applications or open the claims service earlier.
Individuals must have submitted their 2019-20 tax return by 2 March to be considered for the SEISS. This date balances access for the vast majority of eligible self-employed individuals, with the duty to protect the taxpayer against fraud as the details of the SEISS grants became public.
HMRC will open the online claims service for the fourth SEISS grant from late April 2021 and expects to notify potentially eligible people of their personal claim date from mid-April.
The SEISS is just one part of a wider package of support for the self-employed, including Restart Grants, the Recovery Loan scheme, business rates relief, and other business support schemes.