Fourth Round SEISS opens for applications



Self-employed workers who lost income due to Covid-19 can now apply for the fourth round of taxable grants under the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS). 


The fourth grant covers the three-month period between 1 February and 30 April 2021, and an additional 600,000 individuals are expected to be eligible for the first time. 


Those who are eligible should have been contacted by HMRC, assuming they filed a 2019/20 tax return, with a date from which they can submit claims. Applications are open until 1 June 2021.


As with the previous SEISS grant, applicants can get 80% of their average trading profits up to £2,500 per month, or £7,500 in total from the fourth instalment. HMRC has been taking total trading profits and losses of the last five tax years for the last instalments to work out average trading profits, and will also take the 2019/20 tax year into account for the fourth payment.


A fifth round of SEISS grants will also open sometime in late July to cover the period from 1 May to 31 July 2021. This will offer eligible individuals the same 80% grant - but only if their turnover has fallen by 30% or more, diverging from how previous SEISS instalments were administered.


The grant is targeted at self-employed individuals who have "reasonable belief" that their trading profits suffered a "significant reduction" because of the pandemic, according to HMRC.


To be eligible, trading profits must be no more than £50,000 and equal to or more than an applicant's non-trading income, such as dividends and property income.


Individuals in partnerships can also claim but must only use their share of the profits to calculate their SEISS claim.


Applications can be made through HMRC's online portal, where claimants should have the following information to hand:

  • self-assessment unique taxpayer reference (UTR)
  • National Insurance number
  • government gateway user ID and password
  • UK bank details including account number, sort code, name on the account and address linked to the account.


Records must be kept to prove a business has had reduced activity, capacity or demand, including business accounts and records of reduced/cancelled appointments due to the pandemic.


If a business was temporarily closed, you may want to have a record of dates where it was closed due to Government restrictions, or retain your test results if you stopped working because you had COVID-19.


After a claim has been submitted, HMRC will check it and pay the grant into your bank account within six working days, sending an email to let you know it's on its way as well.


Applicants must make their claims themselves; asking a tax agent or adviser to claim on your behalf will trigger a fraud alert, which will delay your payment.


It is important to be aware of any scams, especially as HMRC have been notified of a spam email posing to be HMRC as the fourth round gets underway. The email has a subject line similar to “HMRC SEISS Tax Refund Notification” and prompts readers to follow a fake self-assessment link and enter their bank details and details from their passport and driving license.


Blog post uploaded 4 May 2021