How to rectify furlough scheme errors

Aug 24, 2020


By Lyndsey Hall


Many businesses may have received too much or too little from the furlough scheme as a result of errors in their claims. Luckily, HMRC announced a 90 day amnesty, during which businesses could admit to claiming too much through the government’s furlough scheme without receiving a penalty, in Finance Act 2020.

If you believe you have made a mistake in your Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme calculations, you can rectify the error with no repercussions for a limited time. In addition, if you’d like to make a voluntary repayment, for example, if your income hasn’t been impacted in the way that you expected before making use of the scheme, you can do this on the Government website.

What do I do if I’ve claimed too much from the furlough scheme?

If you’ve received too much money due to an error in your CJRS claim, you will have to pay this back to HMRC, either as a deduction from your next claim, or as a cash payment.

If you are still making use of the scheme and would like to have the adjustment made via your next claim, you can inform HMRC as part of your next online claim and the overpayment amount will be deducted from your next reimbursement. You’ll need to keep a record of the adjustment for 6 years in case of any future enquiries.

Alternatively, if you won’t be submitting another claim to the scheme, you should call HMRC on 0300 322 9430 and pay the relevant amount back over the phone.

If you’ve overclaimed and haven’t paid it back yet, you need to notify HMRC by the latest of either:

  • 90 days after the date you received the overpayment
  • 90 days after the date you received the payment you were no longer entitled to due to a change in your circumstances
  • 20 October 2020

If you have not informed HMRC of your excess claim by this date, penalties will begin to apply.

What can I do if I’ve claimed too little from the job retention scheme?

If you made a mistake in your claim that meant you received too little money, you should still pay your employees the correct amount. You will need to contact HMRC to amend your claim and as you’re increasing your claim amount, HMRC may need to conduct further checks.

The rules for reporting underpayments changed on 31 July 2020, so now you are:

  • No longer able to add an employee to any existing claims for periods up to 30 June, that should have been included on a claim submitted before that date
  • Still able to make amendments for any other errors that resulted in you not claiming enough

If you’re concerned about your furlough scheme claim and believe you may have made an error, please get in touch as we can provide an audit of your claims to ensure that you were not over or under paid, and help you to rectify any errors before the final closing date of 20 October.

How have you found the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme? Was the claim system simple to understand and use? Did the furlough scheme help you to continue providing employment to staff members that you would otherwise have been forced to make redundant? We’d love to hear from you, leave a comment below or join the conversation on LinkedIn.

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