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Self-employment Income Support Scheme

Question for Treasury

UIN 156604, tabled on 20 April 2022

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what plans he has to support self-employed workers facing (a) financial hardship or (b) bankruptcy due to tax repayments on SEISS grants.

Answered on

25 April 2022

The Government has supported UK households throughout the pandemic with nearly £400 billion of COVID support, including through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) which provided over £28 billion in grants to 2.9 million individuals.

The SEISS was designed to support those whose income had dropped temporarily due to COVID-19. Like self-employed income, SEISS grants are subject to Income Tax and self-employed National Insurance contributions at the recipient’s rate of Income Tax in the year the grant was received. This was set out by the Chancellor when announcing the scheme in March 2020, and in subsequent SEISS guidance throughout the scheme’s lifetime.

The Government does not think it is right to allow SEISS recipients to alter the rate of tax paid on that income over time. This is to ensure fairness for recipients of support across various schemes and for the taxpayers who are funding the schemes.

The Government has implemented an unprecedented package of support for taxpayers struggling with paying tax liabilities. HMRC has scaled up its longstanding Time to Pay policy, which allows any business or individual in temporary financial difficulty to schedule their tax debts into affordable, sustainable, and tailored instalment arrangements.

Anyone experiencing difficulties paying their tax bill can discuss payment options with HMRC, who are committed to supporting taxpayers through difficult times and will agree a Time to Pay arrangement wherever possible. There are further details available on GOV.UK.

Answered by

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