Over 20,000 people who claimed income grants under the SEISS self employed income support scheme have received emails directly from the Taxman asking them to prove they were eligible.
People claiming were required to have traded in the 2019/2020 tax year and have the intention to continue trading from April 2020.
HMRC had to rely upon the honesty of claimants as at the start of the scheme they only had data from tax returns submitted for the income period up to April 2019 (this would be the 2018/19 tax return).
People are now receiving a form asking if they ceased trading before claiming their grant - answering yes to this would make them ineligible for receiving the grant.
Additionally, those that took the grant but have no intention to continue trading would also be ineligible.
That second point is a little tough to figure out as people may have had the intention to continue trading but market conditions have left their business nonviable.
People receiving the questionnaire from HMRC must comply and respond by the date required (By November 20th for pre 22/7 claims or 90 days from claim date for others) or expect a penalty fine. Those that are found ineligible for the SEISS grants they received will be asked to repay.
There is a factsheet available describing the procedure for repaying SEISS grants - with the repayment being taken via a tax bill for the grant amount with 30 days to pay, with daily interest charged thereafter.
If people are asked to repay the SEISS grant there is an appeal process which allows them to appeal within 30 days of the notification date.