We are now aware of important information regarding the HMRC portal being created to process claims under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). Whilst the government and HMRC are yet to release any formal announcement, yesterday, senior representatives from HMRC appeared before a Parliamentary Select Committee to answer questions about the CJRS. During the two hour meeting the representatives provided the select committee with a lot of extremely useful information which we expect to be formally released in the coming days:
- The portal will be open from 20th This date has been brought forward from 30th April which was the original date provided by the government.
- The first payments to employers will be made on 30th.
- The aim is that payments will be made within 4-6 working days of submission of the data to HMRC via the portal. This is to allow HMRC a small chance to test for fraudulent claims.
- Apparently, live testing started yesterday and HMRC are confident they can cope with a large volume of claims and have tested up to 450,000 claims an hour.
- A guidance document explaining the process for submitting claims will be released next within the next week so employers can get claims ready for submission.
- Employers who pay weekly can submit a claim weekly but only one claim can be made per pay period ie one each week for weekly payroll schemes and one each month for monthly schemes.
- A high proportion of the first claims can expect to include payments of salary backdated to 1st March.
- Employers can submit claims 14 days ahead which means that if a monthly pay period involves paying salary on the last day of the month, employers can submit their claims 14 days beforehand and presumably therefore receive the payment from HMRC 4-6 days later and still have it several days before pay day.
- There are no plans to extend the scheme to those who started employment after 28th
- HMRC are alert to the possibility of employers abusing the scheme, (a common issue likely to be employees still working whilst furloughed). As a result of this, there is an employee hotline for employees to report employers who abuse the scheme.
- If there is evidence of a breach of the rules now, claims will not be paid out.
- In the future, HMRC will continue to check that claims they have paid were correct. We already know that employers are required to keep written records of those furloughed for 5 years. As a result of this it is likely that retrospective investigations will probably last a long time
- HMRC stated that depending on the severity of employers’ conduct, some investigations could result in criminal proceedings being considered.
Russell is a Partner and Head of Glaisyers' Employment Team.
Russell Brown - Partner
To discuss how Glaisyers can assist you contact Russell Brown on Russell.Brown@glaisyers.com or via 0161 832 4666.