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HMRC commences CJRS compliance activity

18 August: HMRC has stepped up its compliance activity on Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grants, writing to 3,000 employers who may need to repay some or all of their claim.

HMRC has been risk assessing Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) applications in real time but is now starting the next phase of its compliance activity, writing this week to about 3,000 employers it believes may need to repay some or all of their CJRS grant.

HMRC advises that these letters are going to cases where:

  • The business may have claimed more CJRS grant than they are entitled to
  • The business may not meet the conditions to receive a CJRS grant - for example, by including employees in their CJRS claim who are not eligible.

The letter asks businesses to review their CJRS claims and to contact HMRC - whether they think they have made a mistake or not. If any overpaid CJRS grant is repaid voluntarily within the appropriate time limit, the employer will not be charged a penalty for the error in their claim.

It is clear that HMRC will take action against those that deliberately set out to defraud the system or claim money they are not entitled to. However, its aim is not to target innocent errors.

ICAEW’s Tax Faculty understands that these letters are the first stage of HMRC’s compliance approach and that more employers may be contacted in the future. Agents will receive copies of the letters if they are authorised as the payroll agent.