In July 2022, HMRC published updated figures estimating that £4.5 billion of its COVID-19 support scheme claims were made mistakenly or with fraudulent intent. Of this amount, it is estimated that £3.2 billion of error or fraudulent claims relate to Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).
Having allocated an annual budget of £60 million for 2021/22 to recover overclaims, HMRC plan to allocate 266 extra staff in 2023/24 to perform checks of claims. HMRC reports that checks undertaken to July 2022, have already recovered £425 million from error or fraudulent claims.
It is clear that HMRC are taking the recovery of taxpayer money seriously and say “We will continue prioritising the most serious cases of abuse, and we have up to 20 years to recover this money.”
HMRC is targeting those organisations which it holds intelligence on that points to the more serious and fraudulent claims. This intelligence includes employee and former employee whistle-blowing, which has increased by 70% over the past two years.
However, no business should feel its CJRS claims will not come under the scrutiny from HMRC, as HMRC is also selecting organisations at random to undertake these checks.
We are assisting a number of clients to manage their CJRS risk by undertaking pre-emptive reviews and making an unprompted voluntary disclosure to HMRC, where overclaims have occurred.
We are also assisting clients who have already received a prompted compliance check notice from HMRC.
If you are seeking comfort and reassurance as to whether you have claimed the right amount of CJRS support, a pre-emptive review from Crowe will provide the peace of mind you are looking for.
In performing a review, we draw upon our experience from assisting clients who have undergone an HMRC check.
Voluntarily disclosing any incorrectly claimed amounts pre-emptively, will benefit your organisation when HMRC consider what penalty to charge. We have commented previously on our insight on Furlough enforcement and why employers need to be prepared.
We have already assisted a number of organisations in responding to prompted HMRC compliance checks.
We tailor our support depending on whether you would like us to undertake a full CJRS calculation review and prepare the response to HMRC on your behalf, or provide you with guidance on preparing your own response.
Dealing with HMRC when undergoing a compliance check can be stressful and a drain on resources. By engaging us, we can help ease the burden on your organisations.
If you would to know more about the support we offer and the benefit this brings to your organisation, please get in touch with Glen Huxter or Seb Harding.
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