In my recent video I discuss the latest issues we’re seeing emerge as employers and HMRC review Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) claims. You should keep these in mind when you’re finalising any claims under the previous CJRS, and as you navigate the claims process for the new scheme from 1 November.
Netting off over and underclaims – more than meets the eye
In some circumstances, HMRC allows employers to offset over and under claims of CJRS grants. This avoids the two-step process of the employer repaying an overclaim, only then to claim an additional amount from HMRC to correct an underclaim.
However, it’s important employers don’t confuse correcting over and under claims with correcting over and under payments. Where HMRC allows claims to be corrected by netting off, employers still need to calculate the under and over payments for each worker to demonstrate that:
- employees received at least the minimum amount due to them under the CJRS
- the full value of the CJRS grant received was used to pay workers.
If you identify workers who didn’t receive the minimum amount they were entitled to under the CJRS because you underclaimed for them, you will now find yourself in a position of having to make extra payments to these workers to make up the difference. Not doing so may invalidate your claim.
This might be particularly concerning for employers who excluded variable pay elements such as overtime, allowances and commission when calculating the amounts furloughed employees were entitled to because of uncertainty in how the rules should be applied. It’s vital that employers reassess those decisions to test whether they can be defended as a reasonable interpretation of employees’ terms and conditions and the current guidance.
Are your PAYE and NIC remittances up to date?
We also recommend you ensure that pay as you earn (PAYE) and national insurance contributions (NIC) due on CJRS-funded payments to furloughed employees have been paid to HMRC. If your PAYE and NIC remittances aren’t up to date it may place your claim in jeopardy.
Can you demonstrate furloughed employees weren’t working?
Finally, employers are being asked to demonstrate that workers weren’t working during furlough periods. This can be difficult to prove. If you haven’t already done so, start gathering evidence to support this. This could include details from time and attendance systems, IT system and email account activity, vehicle tracker records, expense claims or security gate data.