A Driving Instructor's Blog

COVID imageThere is going to be a fifth SEISS grant. A couple of weeks ago, HMRC sent out an email explaining how it would work this time.

Bear in mind that the SEISS is not – absolutely not – just for driving instructors. That important distinction makes how you interpret the email rather important.

The email makes it clear that the fifth SEISS will be granted depending on how much your 2020/21 turnover has reduced compared to previously. It also makes it crystal clear that you do not have to have submitted a return for 2020/21 (not due until the end of January 2022 at the latest) in order to make a claim.

It states clearly that your 2020/21 turnover needs to have been reduced compared to previous years in order to be eligible for the grant. If you haven’t yet submitted your 2020/21 return, an honest estimate is acceptable, and HMRC will determine how much you get based on the difference between 20201/21 and the previous year(s). Just be aware that your ‘honest estimate’ for 2020/21 is inevitably going to be what you eventually do submit, so be careful if lying comes naturally to you.

HMRC website makes it clear that if you are down by 30% or more, you will get 80% of three months’ trading profits (maximum £7,500), and if you’re down by less than 30% then it will be 30% of three months’ trading profits (maximum £2,850). This is because – as I mentioned – the SEISS is not just for driving instructors. It’s for plumbers, electricians, cleaners, nail bar owners, and all kinds of other self-employed people, etc., as well as instructors. Some of those will have legitimately traded while, ADIs ought not to have been.

I am confident that having only worked for about six weeks at a very reduced rate last summer, I will be eligible for the higher award. My turnover was down by more than 90%. However, if I’d pretended everyone was a ‘key worker’ and crammed in a lot of work I really shouldn’t have been doing last year (whilst claiming ‘hoax’, and boasting about not wearing a mask), then I’d have been at the lower rate – if I was eligible at all. If anyone out there did that, then I wish them well in their dilemma over what to do next – and I’d love to be a fly on the wall watching them complete their 2020/21 self assessment.

But for me, I have no such dilemma. My reduced workload is absolutely transparent. I typically do around 1,100 hours of lesson in a year, but in 2020/21 it was down to about 70 hours – a 95% reduction. And all as a result of following advice, taking this seriously, and not trying to be a smart ass.

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