Legislation is currently being fast tracked through to law to allow HMRC to reclaim any furlough money overpaid to employers, or not spent on wages as intended. The legislation talks of ” deliberately ” making an incorrect claim, so should protect the innocent errors due to misunderstandings.
There are 2,000+ employers who have currently been reported to whistleblowing hotlines for furlough fraud. These will be at the top of HMRC hitlists but random compliance checks should also be expected.
Whilst guidance on the scheme has been regularly updated, what has been crystal clear from the outset is that if the employer made a claim then the employee could do NO WORK whatsoever for the employer, or linked employers, until flexible furlough is introduced from 1st July.
Now is the time for employers to re visit the claims that they have made.
The draft legislation states that penalties will apply if the employer fails to notify HMRC about the situation and any incorrect claim within 30 days. It also goes on to add that company officers ( directors and secretaries ) will be personally liable.
Our advice is if you have made a claim, then this should be reviewed by comparing the claim to the guidance freely available on the government website and/or on ACAS website, and checking the accuracy and validity of the claim. If an error is identified, then this should be notified to HMRC without delay.