HMRC will have new powers to investigate SEISS Claims

The chancellor has announced plans to include in the Finance Act sweeping draconian powers to investigate self employment income  support grant claims ; if investigated  you will have to prove that your business was adversely affected, so keep records and notes of the reasons for making your claim in case they are ever needed

HMRC will  be handed powers to target beneficiaries of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) and small companies that received grants of up to £25,000 to help them through the crisis. If HMRC suspects a business did not actually require a loan, or that a sole trader ceased trading soon after receiving money from the SEISS scheme, it will be able to put the burden on those investigated to prove otherwise.

Once the Finance Act is passed any business or individual that has received cash from the JRS or SEISS schemes, after  31 October you will have 30 days to self-declare a mistaken application and pay the furlough cash or loan back without penalty.

If, however, HMRC decides an undeclared mistake has been made after considering filed accounts for the last financial year and the current one, it will launch an investigation and force those accused to show they did not break any Covid-19 support payment rules.

Ultimately, a failure to pay 100 per cent to cash back to HMRC could result in criminal prosecution.

A spokesman for HMRC said: “HMRC can already refuse to pay claims that they think are fraudulent or abusive, but these measures will ensure we can properly investigate and recover overpayments and penalise deliberate abuse of the schemes.”

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