'Furlough fraud'

HMRC now starting to take action

On 7 September HMRC's Permanent Secretary told the Public Accounts Committee that HMRC was looking into 27,000 'high risk' cases where serious errors in claims or fraud had potentially occurred.

HMRC are working on an assumption of a combined 5 - 10% error and fraud rate for scheme payments, which at 7 September put the estimated cost of overpayment and fraudulent claims at up to £3.5bn.

HMRC - has begun writing to selected organisations where it has suspicions that too much money has been claimed through the scheme and this does not appear to be a result of legitimate mistakes.

July saw the first arrests in connection with alleged furlough fraud.

The Furlough Scheme closes on 31 October 2020 

If organisations are concerned that they might have over-claimed on furlough funding, they should consider using the HMRC's 'amnesty' and repay funding accordingly.

The 'amnesty' requires employers to notify HMRC that they have received an overpayment from the scheme by the end of: (whichever is the latest)

  • 90 days after the date the funding was received

  • 90 days after the employer's circumstances changed resulting n the employer no longer being entitled to keep the grant: or

  • 20 October 2020

Overpayments received from the scheme must be repaid within 12 months from the end of the employer's accounting period, or 31 January 2021 if the receiver is a sole trader or a partner.