According to The Telegraph, HMRC is to reclaim self-employed income support (SEIS) grants that they believe were paid to some 24,000 freelancers in error. HMRC originally sent these freelancers information on the scheme even though they were not eligible, and are now checking that these individuals did meet the required criteria when they applied. They are writing to affected individuals to check their eligibility.
The SEIS grants scheme was intended to save struggling self-employed freelancers intending to make it though the pandemic and continue to operate in 2021, however businesses that claimed after they were forced to close and stop trading will need to reimburse the financial support they received.
The Telegraph goes on to point out that HMRC originally sent information about the scheme to 100,000 freelancers it already knew had stopped trading at some point, 30,000 of whom went on to apply for the grants. HMRC has established that 6,000 of these were trading at the time they applied and were therefore eligible, and is now checking whether the remaining 24,000 were indeed eligible. Those who are still trading and receive one of the letters will need to provide proof that they are still operating, or will likely be required to repay the grant.