HMRC PORTAL OPENS 20 APRIL 2020

We now have some much needed guidance on the Job Retention Scheme which will allow employers to recoup 80% of furloughed employees’ wages or salaries, up to £2,500 per month.

The portal for making the claim is currently in beta testing and HMRC say it will be up and running by 20th April 2020 so now would be a good time to run through the process for claiming:

Before you claim

Although we don’t know exactly what the claim process will be, we’ve dealt with HMRC for decades, we can have a stab at what information will be required. So now might be a good time to get this information pulled together:

  • your ePAYE reference number
  • the number of employees being furloughed
  • the claim period (start and end date)
  • your UTR if you operate a sole trader or partnership, or your Corporation Tax reference if you run a limited company
  • the name and NI number for each employee being furloughed
  • amount claimed (per the minimum length of furloughing of 3 consecutive weeks)
  • your bank account number and sort code
  • your contact name
  • your phone number

How to Claim

When the portal is open, you will need to log in, and provide the above information. Note that this claim will not be linked to your payroll software so you will need to calculate the amount that you are claiming yourself. If your employees earn a fixed amount per pay period, this will be a fairly straightforward calculation. However, if your employees have variable wages then you can claim the higher of either the: 

  • 80% of the same month’s earning from the previous year (up to £2,500)
  • 80% of average monthly earnings for the 2019-2020 tax year (up to £2,500)

This will be particularly relevant to seasonal workers who have higher than average earnings in the spring and summer months.

After claiming

Once you’ve submitted your claim, HMRC will check you are eligible, and aim to pay the grant into your bank account within a target of four to six days.

Is this scheme open to abuse?

Acumenica are among the many professionals in the field who have expressed concerns that the system is open to abuse. The system relies very much on the employers being honest. It’s easy to see where an unscrupulous employer might be tempted to claim for workers who are NOT furloughed and drastically reduce their wage bill. To combat this, HMRC have retained the right to retrospectively audit all aspects of any claim made. They are also in the process of setting up a hotline where suspected breaches can be made – presumably this will be where employees can blow the whistle on fraudulent claims. Employers are reminded that  deliberately defrauding HMRC through the scheme would potentially leave them open to criminal proceedings against them. This is clearly to be avoided at all costs.

How can Acumenica Group help?

Acumenica are committed to helping their clients and the wider business community navigate their way through these difficult and unprecedented times. If you need help calculating or submitting your claim, please contact angela@acumenica.co.uk who will be able to assist you. Contractors and PSCs should find the process extremely straightforward and we encourage you to self-submit any claim you make but if you need our help, we will of course be happy to assist. We ask that you remember that we expect to be extremely busy with this, so priority will be given to businesses who have been worse affected by the outbreak such as businesses operating in the hospitality, tourism and leisure industries.