HMRC sets out process for employers to remedy inflated CJRS claims

29 Jul 2020

HMRC is providing new help to businesses who have claimed too much under the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme (CJRS) or the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS).

HMRC has announced an online process to correct mistakes and avoid penalties, provided the money is repaid on time. That means the latest of the following:

  • 90 days of receiving the CJRS money you’re not entitled to
  • 90 days of when circumstances changed so that you were no longer entitled to keep the CJRS grant
  • 20 October 2020 if you received CJRS money you’re not entitled to, or if your circumstances changed, on or before 20 July.

Fraud screening

HMRC says both CJRS and SEISS schemes will attract fraudsters and that opportunists may seek to inflate claims or make claims where they are not eligible.

It will, therefore, be looking at CJRS claims where the amounts are significantly different to what it would expect to see based on its monthly PAYE data. It will also be following up tips received via the Fraud Hotline.

Earlier this month, police arrested a West Midlands man as part of an investigation into a suspected £495,000 Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme fraud.

However, HMRC believes inflated claims are mostly due to errors, not deception.

HMRC comments:

“We are prioritising work to support our customers, while tackling serious fraud and criminal attacks.

“We understand mistakes happen, particularly in these challenging times, and will not seek out innocent errors and small mistakes for investigation, but rather help customers to put them right.”

How employers can correct mistakes

Employers can let HMRC know of mistakes as part of their next online claim. There is no need to call especially. 

However, if employers do not plan to submit further claims – or they have claimed less than they were entitled to – they need to contact HMRC.  This is also the same for those who have applied under SEISS.

Deadline Reminders

HMRC has also issued a number of deadline reminders this week.

CJRS claims

  • HMRC is reminding parties to submit CJRS claim for periods ending on or before 30 June 2020 by the final date of 31 July 2020. Failure to make a claim by this date means you will be unable to make a claim for periods starting on or after 1 July.
  • From 1 August employers must pay National Insurance (NI) and pensions contributions for employees, including when they are furloughed. CJRS Grants can no longer be used to cover these costs. August claims can be submitted in advance now.

Eat out to help out

  • The scheme starts on Monday 3 August. Businesses can register online  to participate.
  • The service to claim reimbursements will be available on 7 August 2020.

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