SEISS Grant Authorisation

Coronavirus, HMRC, Personal Tax, Sole Trader,

As part of our set-up process for a new client, we always ensure HMRC have a record of our appointment as agents. This means we can speak to them regarding clients’ affairs should the need arise. Sadly, HMRC have decided this doesn’t include SEISS grants, and they cannot discuss them with us!

Why not?

The existing process of gaining authority as agents requires us to request a code be sent to clients by HMRC, which is then forwarded to us. We enter that into the HMRC system and they acknowledge we’re authorised. Whilst it would appear to be common sense that this be expanded to include any SEISS grants, the decision has been made that because they aren’t specifically INCLUDED, they’re excluded.

HMRC have said that ‘usual taxpayer confidentiality rules apply’, and that additional authority is required.

What needs to happen?

There are two options.

1 If a Tax Return has been filed:

  • As an agent, HMRC can speak to us about anything that is included in the Return.
  • They can speak to us about any boxes that were empty, that they think should have been filled, for example where they know a grant was claimed but that wasn’t declared.
  • Where HMRC have corrected an amount claimed, for example where the amount on their records disagrees with the amount reported on the Tax Return, they can discuss this with us.

2 If a Tax Return has not been filed:

Specific consent is needed for HMRC to be able to speak to us about SEISS grants.

Written consent is preferred, but they will accept verbal consent if the client calls 0300 200 3310 to provide it before we call HMRC.

Written consent needs to include the client’s name, address, UTR (Unique Taxpayer Reference) and signature, as well as our contact details and firm name. This needs to be sent to: National Insurance Contributions and Employers Office, HM Revenue & Customs, BX9 1AN.

How does this affect you?

If you’re a Sole Trader client of ours, we’ll have already submitted your first Tax Return including the initial SEISS grants, so there is a reducing likelihood of needing to put this authority in place. However, we’re very aware that HMRC are incredibly behind in processing anything, and getting in touch with them is difficult.

With that in mind, our aim is to ask our Sole Trader clients to provide this authority and get them submitted to HMRC so they are already in place should we need them. We don’t want to be scrabbling around and asking clients to spend hours on the phone trying to get through to HMRC to provide verbal clearance when life is hectic!

Please keep an eye open for the authority letter to come through to you. All that you’ll need to do will be to print and sign the authority and return it to us by post for submission. HMRC will need an original, hard copy signature, or they won’t accept the authority.

Please get in touch if you have any questions about this or any other aspect of your personal affairs.

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