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HMRC has confirmed that accountants will not be able to complete SEISS grant claims directly for clients, but it is encouraging people to seek out help from accountants who deal with tax issues when preparing claims.

Responding to the news, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) stated that its members would be disappointed not to be able to access the SEISS online portal themselves. The ICAEW and other professional bodies representing accountants have been pushing hard for their members to be allowed to directly complete claims for clients.

However, according to the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) president Glyn Fullelove, the reason this has not happened is that the additional functionality needed to make it possible would have made development of the online system slower and kept self-employed people waiting longer for the grants.

A major difference between SEISS for self-employed subcontractors and contractors and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) is that those applying for the former do not need to submit pay calculations to make a claim. This is likely to have been a factor that swayed HMRC towards focusing on getting the online system ready as quickly as possible rather than taking the additional time needed to make it feasible for accountants to log into it on behalf of clients.

Despite this, HMRC is still urging self-employed people, whether they are contractors or subcontractors, to seek out the help of a qualified business accountant in Goole, or wherever they are based, to prepare themselves.

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