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Take the heavy-lifting out of furlough audits

Article

Take the heavy-lifting out of furlough audits

8 Jul 2022

1 minute read

The furlough scheme reportedly cost £70bn and it is therefore unsurprising that HMRC are looking to claw back mis-claimed amounts.

Take the heavy-lifting out of furlough audits - news article image

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough) is said to have saved many businesses from going under during the height of the Covid pandemic and country-wide lockdowns. Reportedly the scheme cost £70bn and it is therefore unsurprising that HMRC are looking to claw back mis-claimed amounts.

The guidance for the scheme changed at a rapid rate and involved complex calculations and often unclear guidelines. As payroll professionals, it was part of our role to keep abreast of the changes and advise our clients accordingly. Needless to say that this was some task and there were a few sleepless nights in my team.

HMRC announced an easing of paying back accidentally over-claimed monies in September 2021 as there was recognition that there are only a few companies who can say with absolute confidence that they have not unknowingly over-claimed. Whilst HMRC are not looking to penalize innocent people, they can recover amounts of CJRS grants you’ve over-claimed and may charge penalties and publish details of deliberate fraud.

If HMRC does get in touch to conduct an audit, they are likely to give tight deadlines for employers to provide the relevant documents. Having recently helped a client with a furlough audit, liaising with HMRC on their behalf and helping them to gather the relevant information, it highlighted the importance of clients keeping all records for each furlough claim. The information HMRC requested was extensive including personal details for employees and details of calculation per staff member, per claim.

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