HMRC has been risk assessing Coronavirus Job Retentions Scheme (CJRS) applications as they have been received and it is now moving into the next phase of its compliance activity by getting in touch, by letter, with employers it believes may need to repay some, or all, of their grant.
The government agency has explained that letters are going out to businesses where:
- The business may have claimed more CJRS grant than they are entitled to
- The business may not meet the conditions to receive a CJRS grant - for example, by including employees in their CJRS claim who are not eligible.
The letter is asking businesses to review their claims and to get in touch with HMRC regardless of whether they believe there has been a mistake or not. HMRC have given a 90 day time period to notify them of overclaimed COVID grants. If businesses who have been contacted get in touch within that time, they will not be charged a penalty for the error in their claim. Conversely they will take action against those who set out to defraud the system.
The key risks businesses need to be aware of with entitlement of CJRS grants are:
- grants not used for the purposes for which they are intended
- calculation errors
- employees working during periods that they are on furlough
There is guidance on the government website for if you've claimed too much, or not enough from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: