HMRC commences publication of CJRS claimants from December 2020
Justine Riccomini explains HMRC’s latest initiative to tackle fraud within the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).
On 26 January 2021, at the behest of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, HMRC published the names of employers who have claimed CJRS since 1 December 2020. The intention is to publish monthly listings going forward until the end of CJRS.
What’s in a Name
The name of the employer which has been published is that under which its relevant PAYE scheme(s) is registered. This name may be unfamiliar to the employees themselves.
The listing excludes employers who have either successfully claimed an exemption, or whose application is pending. The strict criteria for exemption are that evidence exists to show that the employer and its employees would otherwise be subject to violence or intimidation. Another category which is exempt is the employer who has paid back the grant in its entirety prior to publication (e.g. IKEA UK).
Further information is due to be published in February 2021 which will include additional data such as a 14-band range of claim values, as well as the company number (applies to limited companies and LLPs).
What are the banded ranges?
|£1 - £10,000||£10,001 to £25,000||£25,001 to £50,000|
|£50,001 to 100,000||£100,001 to £250,000||£250,001 to £500,000|
|£500,001 to £1,000,000||£1,000,001 to £2,500,000||£2,500,001 to £5,000,000|
|£5,000,001 to £10,000,000||£10,000,001 to £25,000,000||£25,000,001 to £50,000,000|
|£50,000,001 to £100,000,000||£100,000,001 and above|
HMRC has stated that they will check claims to search for incorrect and fraudulent claims. Businesses may be required to pay them back.
What about claims made under CJRS 1 & 2?
Those employers who made claims under the first and second iterations of the CJRS scheme (i.e. March to September 2020) will not have their details published. Anyone who makes a claim within the third period from December 2020 to the closure of the CJRS scheme will be on the listing unless they can agree an exemption with HMRC or have repaid the full amount of grant funding they have received.
The NAO concluded in a recent report that in the region of £4bn (an estimate of between 5 and 10% of the total claims made) may have been claimed by fraudulent means by employers during the first and second phases of CJRS, who, recognising that the government was acting at pace to roll out assistance and checks were not made in advance, claimed the grants whilst employees were in fact working and the business was continuing to trade as they did before the pandemic.
Individual employees are encouraged to report fraud to HMRC where they possess evidence that suggests that their employer is on the list and has been abusing the scheme. From February 2021, furloughed employees who appeared on claims made by employers will also be able to view claims made for them in their personal tax account. This will cover all claim periods starting on or after 1 December 2020.