Job Retention Scheme – HMRC issue compliance letters

It has been reported (by the Association of Taxation Technicians (ATT) here and ICAEW here) that first tranche of compliance letters have been issued by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). These letters should have been received by those to whom they have been issued within the last week or so.

The ATT states that:

“HMRC will be asking questions where they have concerns over the validity of claims. This could be because claims have been miscalculated, or claims were made for ineligible employees.

HMRC have said that they will be concentrating their compliance activity on those who have been abusing the system. They will be focusing on fraudulent claims and not cases where the employer has made an innocent error. We understand that HMRC will be sharing more details of its compliance approach in the coming weeks.

Authorised agents of employers who receive a letter should also receive a copy. Where the employer does not have an authorised agent, the letter will suggest that they show it to their agent if they have one.

The ICAEW say in their report that:

“HMRC advises that these letters are going to cases 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 asks businesses to review their CJRS claims and to contact HMRC – whether they think they have made a mistake or not. If any overpaid CJRS grant is repaid voluntarily within the appropriate time limit, the employer will not be charged a penalty for the error in their claim.”

This clearly signals the commencement of the review stage of the Job Retention Scheme by HMRC.