MPs give the tax officer six weeks to settle the Covid funds for freelancers
MPs have given HMRC six weeks to find solutions for freelancers and others excluded from Covid’s financial support.
In its report, the influential Public Finance Committee asked the tax official to explain why 1.6 million freelancers have been excluded from Covid aid alone, let alone the 3 million total.
The MPs blamed the “quirks in the tax system” that groups of workers, including freelancers and self-employed, were not entitled to vacation payments.
> See also: Thousands of self-employed mothers miss COVID-19 SEISS payments
Meg Hillier MP, Chair of the PAC said, “As public spending balloons at unprecedented levels in response to the pandemic, outdated tax systems are one of the barriers to getting help to a significant taxpayer who should be eligible to assist.”
The PAC MPs are just one group calling on the Chancellor to provide financial assistance to freelancers who are excluded from Covid support.
In the meantime, former Brexit secretary David Davis has written to Chancellor Rishi Sunak asking him to ensure that the newly self-employed are included in the final determination of the SEISS (Self-Employment Income Support Scheme) grants.
After all, more than half a million freelancers could qualify for financial support from Covid. This is because they have now filed accounts for the 2019-20 tax year to prove their self-employed status.
However, the Chancellor has repeatedly refused to move on this issue, stating that only those self-employed who have filed tax returns for the 2018-19 tax year by April 2020 would be eligible for assistance.
> See also: Taxman gives self-employed people more time to file their tax returns
The self-employed support program has paid out nearly £ 20 billion to nearly 3 million people in three separate tranches. The government has extended the program to April and will pay out a fourth round of grants next month.
Former APPG Pension Secretary and Co-Chair for Support Gaps, Esther McVey, said: “To many of those who have made the leap into self-employment have been denied much-needed help because the timing was not so good.
“The Treasury Department already has funds that could be used for such a system: supermarkets have returned £ 2 billion in relief for business rates they didn’t need.
“This money has been returned in good faith and must be used to support businesses and individuals who previously had no support at all.”
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