Furlough Scheme Update: HMRC to Publish Details of Employers Using Scheme
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (“CJRS”) has assisted over one million employers since its announcement by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in March 2020. The scheme has been a lifeline for many businesses and the scheme has been extended further until 31 March 2021.
Despite this, there has been widespread reports that the CJRS has been targeted by fraudulent claims and claims made in error. Previously speaking in September 2020, Jim Harra, HMRC’s Permanent Secretary, stated to MP’s:
“We have made an assumption for the purposes of our planning that the error and fraud rate in this scheme could be between 5% and 10%” …”That will range from deliberate fraud to error”.
HMRC have recently updated its CJRS guidance (which can be found here) and, in a bid to provide transparency and to deter fraudulent claims, are now taking steps to publish information about employers who are using the CJRS. This guidance provides that from 01 December 2020, those employers who are seeking to utilise the CJRS will have to accept that HMRC can publish information about them including:
- The name of the employer;
- An indication of the value of the claim within a banded range (ranging from £1 – £10,000 to £100,000,001 and above);
- The company number for companies and Limited Liability Partnerships (if applicable).
In addition to this, the guidance states that those employees who have been furloughed by their employers will be able to see the claims made for them in their Personal Tax Account on GOV.UK for claim periods starting on or after 1 December 2020.
Exceptions to Publishing
However, employers should note that the CJRS guidance specifies that HMRC will not publish this information on the employers if they can show that publicising this information would result in serious risk of violence or intimidation to certain relevant individuals, or any individual living with them. The CJRS guidance provides further details of who this could include.
If an employer believes that there is a serious risk of violence or intimidation that will come from publishing the above information, the CJRS guidance states that the employer will need to notify HMRC of the reason for this and supply them with evidence to support this claim. The guidance states that this evidence could include:
- A police incident number if they have been threatened or attacked;
- Documentary evidence of a threat or attack (i.e. photographs or recordings);
- Evidence of possible disruption or targeting.