HMRC has announced that the web portal for handling Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme claims will go live on 20 April.
Under the scheme Government will cover 80% of the salaries of ‘furloughed’ workers, up to a total of £2,500 a month (further details).
Late on Friday 17 April, the Government announced the scheme will be extended until 30 June and rushed out further guidance ahead of the launch at 8 am on Monday 20 April. We will update this page soon. Meanwhile, here are the links:
The kick-off date was revealed by HMRC Chief Executive Jim Harra who appealed to accountants and bookkeepers to help prepare employers for the launch.
“We need your help in this important work. Your influence and your reach across the business sector are instrumental in helping us ensure employers know what they can do to get ready to make their claim.”
Above all, HMRC wants to spread the word that claims should not be made by phone – only via the web portal.
It is believed that up to 9 million workers could be furloughed – three times more than the Government originally envisaged.
Such huge numbers of applications would totally overwhelm HMRC’s dedicated coronavirus hotline, which is meant for general queries.
“Claims should not be made by phone, it will be an online service,” stressed Harra.
More details of the scheme
HMRC has announced that businesses, and agents that are authorised to act on behalf of clients for PAYE matters, will be able to claim. However, file-only agents, including payroll bureaus, will not be able to access the service due to data protection reasons.
“If you are a file only agent, we still need your support. You will need to help your clients, as you might hold information that they need to make their claim. Businesses will need the following information on each of their furloughed employees: National Insurance number, salary, National Insurance and pension contribution information that allows business to calculate the claim amount.”
Harra confirms the scheme will be ready this month:
“We are ready to launch on 20 April. This will be made public shortly, at which point we will be contacting businesses to advise them what they need to do. We would welcome you also contacting your clients and offering yourselves as vital support during this process, either directly, if authorised, or indirectly if you are a file only agent.
“We are expecting phone demand to be beyond our capacity to offer a normal service. Therefore, the service is designed to be self-serve with guidance in place. Again, your support in helping us achieve this is called on.”
Read more on Knowledge Hub
- Guide to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (login required)
- Template furlough letter (login required)
David Nunn is Content Manager at AAT.