HMRC Update: glitch with furlough claims calculator

HMRC is alerting employers about a glitch in its online calculator for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), which may have led to errors in January claims.

The glitch has now been rectified.

If the calculator was used before 21 January to work out January claims for employees that are not on a fixed salary the claims will need to be checked if: 

  • they used an employee’s pay for January 2019 as reference pay, instead of 2020, and
  • their pay was different in January 2019 to January 2020.

If claims were based on the employee’s January 2020 pay, no action is required.

Dealing with errors

Where a claim is re-calculated and found to be incorrect, take the following action:

  • Where too much has been claimed – either amend the next claim to compensate or let HMRC know as soon as possible and make a repayment online, through its card payment service or by bank transfer on GOV.UK.
  • If too little has been claimed, call the helpline (0800 024 1222) to amend this by 1 March. 

Go to get help with the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for more information on how to amend a claim.

January claims – submit now

The final deadline to make January claims is Monday 15 February.

As a reminder, the UK Government will pay 80% of employees’ usual wages for the hours not worked, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. Employers and their employees do not need to have benefited from the scheme before to make a claim if employers and employees meet the eligibility criteria.

Bounce Back Loan payment holiday

A change has been made to the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS), which helps smaller businesses gain quick access to finance during the coronavirus crisis.

A repayment holiday of up to 6 months is now possible once at any point during the term of a Bounce Back Loan.

More information is available here.

Cracking down on fraud

Details of CJRS claims will now be published monthly as part of HMRC’s commitment to transparency and to deter fraudulent claims. 

If an employer thinks publishing these details would result in serious risk of violence or intimidation to them or others, they can request that details of their claims are not published.

Starting from 25 February, on a monthly basis HMRC will publish the names and Company Registration Numbers (for those who have one) of employers who make CJRS claims for periods starting on or after 1 December, together with an indication of the value of their claims.

HMRC will publish the band within which claims fall; for example £0 – £10,000, £10,000 – £25,000, or £25,000 – £50,000. You can find a full list of these bands on GOV.UK. The details HMRC publishes will not include information about the employers’ employees.

Employees will also be able to check if a CJRS claim has been made on their behalf through their online Personal Tax Account from 25 February. If they do not already have a Personal Tax Account, they can set one up on GOV.UK.

Latest frequently asked questions about the CJRS

How do employers ask HMRC not to publish their claim details?

If publishing an employer’s claim details could leave someone at risk of violence or intimidation, they can request for these not to be published by completing the online application form.

HMRC will not publish an employer’s details until it has informed them of its decision on their application. Employers only need to apply once, as the decision will cover all CJRS claim periods starting from 1 December 2020.

Applications must be made by an employer and they can’t be made by an agent on their behalf.

Can employers claim for employees who are training?

Employers can claim for employees who undertake training while they are furloughed, as long as they don’t provide services to, or generate revenue for, their business or a linked or associated organisation. More information is available on GOV.UK.

Can employers furlough an employee if they are unable to work because they have caring responsibilities or are classed as clinically extremely vulnerable?

If an employee asks to be furloughed, employers can claim for them under the CJRS if;

  • they have caring responsibilities resulting from coronavirus, such as caring for children who are at home as a result of school or childcare closing, or
  • they are clinically extremely vulnerable, or in the highest risk group for severe illness from coronavirus according to the public health guidance for their area.

Go to here to check which employees can be put on furlough.

The decision to offer furlough rests with the employer.

David Nunn is Content Manager at AAT.

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