HMRC Compliance Letters – Job Retention Scheme

3rd September 2020

HMRC are now beginning to issue letters to employers where they have concerns as to the legitimacy for the claims made under the job retention scheme (for employees that have been furloughed). It has been reported that HMRC have written to over 3,000 employers who have been over funded under this scheme.

There are a number of reasons why HMRC may doubt the validity of the claims made. This may be down to calculation errors on the initial claims, or cases where claims have been made for employees that in fact are not eligible for the scheme. In some instances HMRC will raise enquiries where it has become apparent the funds were not used for the purposes they were intended for.

If we are authorised to act as agents in regards to your payroll we would receive this letter. If you receive it, we would be grateful if you would please pass on a copy of the letter as we may not be down as authorised agents in this regard.


Any penalties levied under this scheme could fall within the range of 30% – 100% of the over claimed amounts. The penalties may be this high as the reason for the over claim is treated as deliberate and concealed.

Correcting Errors

If you are aware that an error has been made in your claim under the job retention scheme, we would recommend that you seek to rectify this as soon as possible. This is so that penalties may be avoided.

The deadline for amending an over claim under this scheme, is the later of the following:

  1. 90 days from the day you received a grant you were not entitled to.
  2. 90 days from the date you received a grant you are not entitled to keep any longer because your circumstances have altered.
  3. 20 October 2020.

If HMRC are not notified within this time frame then an employer may be liable to a penalty of up to 100% of the amount incorrectly claimed for.

If you have over claimed and you do not plan to make any later claims, you will need to contact HMRC on 0300 322 9430. When doing this you will need your 14/15 digit payment reference number which ends in an X.

Please let us know if you require any assistance with the above.

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