Man, 22, denied thousands in Covid cash after making one mistake on his tax return

Jay Jones is among more than a million people who’ve been left out of Covid support schemes

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A man has been denied thousands of pounds in Covid bailout cash after making one mistake on his tax return a year ago.

Jay Jones, 22, is among 1.6million self-employed Brits who have fallen through the cracks of Rishi Sunk’s help for strivers.

The Chancellor’s Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will pay up to £21,570 in three grants to January 2021 to help sole traders through the crisis. A fourth grant is due in spring.

But there is a long list of conditions – including that self-employment must be at least half of someone’s historic income.

Mr Jones accidentally put down his profits as employment income in his 2018/19 tax return.

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That meant HM Revenue and Customs blocked him from getting even a penny under the SEISS.

Despite the independent Adjudicator’s Office ruling it was a “genuine mistake” and there is “clear evidence” he was self-employed, the government has not budged.

That is because the law says people cannot claim using a tax return that was amended after March 26.

Instead Mr Jones, who worked for a sports modelling agency as an admin assistant but was let go in the first week of March, will be paid just £100 as compensation for poor customer service.

“It’s triggered worries and stresses as the months have gone on,” said Mr Jones, from Wandsworth in south London.

Jay Jones said: "You just come to understand these people actually couldn’t care less"

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He has relied on money sent by aunts and uncles who “feel sorry for me” and is draining his savings to get by.

He added: “You expect better from these people. You just come to understand these people actually couldn’t care less.

“You’re just one person in their armour and they don’t care.”

Excluded UK estimates 3million people, including 1.6million self employed, have been left out of Covid support schemes.

Mr Jones began filing tax returns as a teenager and declared trading profit of £11,625 in 2017/18 and £13,093 in 2019/20.

But in 2018/19 he accidentally declared his self-employment profit as £0, leaving him ineligible for the scheme.

The Adjudicator’s Office, which investigated the case, told him: “I appreciate that you made a genuine mistake and that you were not aware of this until after the deadline of 26 March 2020.

“However, the Treasury Directions have legal force and HMRC are bound to follow them when making decisions about issuing grants under the scheme.

“HMRC are not able to allow discretion in any circumstances and there is no right of appeal.”

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After giving him incorrect information, HMRC said it would pay Mr Jones £50 – which he branded “miniscule and disrespectful”.

The Adjudicator’s Office has ordered HMRC to pay him a further £50.

A Treasury spokesman said: “We have supported millions of people with our unprecedented support schemes and have done all we can to help as many people as possible.

“While we cannot comment on individual cases, in some circumstances people may not be able to access a scheme as a result of restrictions designed to mitigate the risk of fraud.”

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