Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme compliance reviews
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) was first introduced back in March 2020 to aid employers to keep their workforce in employment whilst the country tackled the challenges faced due to the pandemic. Initially, the scheme covered 80% of the employee’s regular earnings and the associated employer National Insurance and Pension costs.
The announcement of the flexi furlough scheme (or as we call it “FFS!”) saw the first major rule changes, allowing employees to return to work on a part-time basis whilst the employer pays furlough for the hours not worked.
In the months that followed, we saw a winding down of the scheme, with employers expected to contribute towards the furlough payments before its planned demise on 31 October 2020. A replacement scheme, the Job Support Scheme was all but ready to go, however, after a dramatic deadline day, the Government U-turned and extended the CJRS scheme.
During the Spring Budget, the Chancellor confirmed that the scheme would run until 30 September 2021 before ending for good. The employer contribution would once again be brought in as we came closer to that end date.
Where are we at today?
As we enter the final month of the CJRS scheme, there have currently been around 12 million employees furloughed, with over 1.3 million employers claiming through the scheme. Although the scheme, unfortunately, did not capture everyone, overall, it has been a tremendous success and a welcome support by many employers & employees across the country.
With life returning to a semblance of pre-Covid normality for many of us, the same applies to the engine rooms at HM Revenue & Customs. As of 30 June 2021, HMRC had opened 6,150 inquiries into suspected overpayments through the CJRS scheme due to error or fraud. It goes without saying that compliance reviews of all the Covid support schemes are going to be top of HMRC’s agenda for the coming years, so being prepared for an inquiry should you be chosen is crucial.
HMRC are encouraging all employers to review their claims submitted in case of mistakes. If an error is found and an overclaim has taken place, this can be offset against your next furlough claim or paid back directly to HMRC.
What can we do to help?
Getting your head around the CJRS rules has been but one complication faced by businesses over the past 18 months, thankfully we have a team full of experts that want to help. If you have received a letter from HMRC regarding your furlough claim, or you just want peace of mind that your claims have been completed in line with Government guidance, contact us today to get a quote on a full CJRS review.