30-day Window to Admit Furlough Fraud

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Plans are currently being fast-tracked through Parliament to give employers a 30-day period to confess to any errors or misuse of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).

Almost £20bn was paid out to over a million employers in furlough grants by 7th June 2020, and HMRC have made no secret that they would be investigating incorrect and fraudulent claims for grants under the scheme.

It has been a clear condition of the scheme that, until 30th June, anyone on furlough leave must not carry out any work for their employer. However, to the end of May, HMRC had received almost 2000 reports to its digital reporting service of fraudulent use (claims to the reporting service can be made anonymously online). A spokesperson from HMRC said: “We’re not trying to catch people out – if it turns out to be a genuine mistake then we’ll help put it right, and if it’s more serious then we’ll step in.”

Guidance updated on 12th June states that the claims portal will allow employers to declare mistakes made in previous claims, which can then be offset in their next claim. If they don’t, HMRC will be given the power to reclaim furlough grants that have been overpaid or not spent on employee wages as intended.

If you’ve made a claim, it’s important you review them to make sure they have been submitted correctly and make an adjustment if necessary. If you’re unsure or would just like peace of mind, feel free to contact us for a review of your claim.

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