Self Assessment personal tax return

HMRC to reclaim incorrect pandemic support through tax returns

HMRC has announced that self-assessment tax returns for the 2020/21 tax year will contain a question relating to pandemic support as it seeks to recover incorrectly claimed monies.

If you are required to complete a self-assessment tax return then you will recently have received a notice reminding you to complete your return for the tax year that ended on 5th April 2021. With the usual deadlines now back in place, your tax return, if submitted online, will need to be filed and paid by the end of January 2022.

But this year’s tax returns will be slightly different as they will contain a specific question regarding pandemic support payments which may have been incorrectly claimed/paid at the height of the lockdown in summer 2020. HMRC has said that many of those who made incorrect claims may have done so honestly at the time, only finding out later that their earnings were better than expected.

The question, which asks taxpayers about incorrectly claimed coronavirus support scheme payments across the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) or any other applicable HMRC coronavirus scheme; provides something of an ‘honesty amnesty’ for taxpayers who may be wondering how best to hand back excess grant payments.

This is the second such attempt by HMRC to recover overpaid or incorrectly claimed grants following an initial 90-day amnesty announced in summer 2020, when it was thought that the support given up to that point would be sufficient to see the country through the pandemic.  

Despite being applauded by many for its rapid response at the time, the Government is now facing a slew of news articles suggesting that insufficient checks resulted in million-of-pounds being claimed/paid to individuals or businesses that did not require it or who had submitted false claims.