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The HMRC portal for the Job Retention Scheme is now live

Employers can, as of this morning, make claims for grants in respect of employees who have been furloughed under the job retention scheme. 

The HMRC portal for making the claim can be found via the Government Gateway – employers will need to be registered for PAYE online and use their Government Gateway login ID and password to access the system.

Unsurprisingly HMRC are warning employers that the system is likely to be slow at times of high demand – given employers have waited some time for the system to be available it is likely the demand will be extremely high in the initial stages.

What you will need to claim?

As a reminder, employers will (as above) need to be registered for PAYE online and will need the following information to claim under the scheme:

  • UK bank account number and sort code
  • Employer PAYE scheme reference number
  • The number of employees being furloughed
  • Each employee’s National Insurance number
  • Each employee’s payroll or employee number
  • The start date and end date of the claim
  • The full amount they are claiming for including employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum pension contributions
  • Phone number

 

Employers also need to provide either:

  • Their Corporation Tax unique taxpayer reference
  • Their Self Assessment unique taxpayer reference
  • Their company registration number

 

Employers who are putting more than 100 employees on Furlough will need to upload a file containing the following information for each employee:

  • Full name
  • National Insurance number
  • Payroll number (optional)
  • Furlough start date
  • Furlough end date (if known)
  • Full amount claimed

 

The format of the file to upload must be either:

.xls

.xlsx

.csv

.ods

 

How to calculate the amount claimed

HMRC have published a step by step guide to making a claim:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/880099/Coronavirus_Job_Retention_Scheme_step_by_step_guide_for_employers.pdf

They have also indicated a calculator will shortly be available to assist employers in calculating the amount they can claim.

 

Updates to the JRS guidance

The guidance on using the JRS has also been updated.  There are detail changes around agency workers and workers on fixed-term contracts (the latter making it clear that employees on fixed-term contracts whose contract ended before being renewed – as opposed to being renewed/extended before it ended - will in effect be treated as new employees under the scheme and will need to be assessed as such in determining whether they qualify or not). 

However, the main change is an explicit statement that HMRC will check claims made through the scheme. Payments may be withheld or need to be repaid in full to HMRC if the claim is based on dishonest or inaccurate information or found to be fraudulent.  HMRC has put in place an online portal for employees and the public to report suspected fraud in the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

WR comment – it is to be hoped that the online system for claiming is sufficiently robust to enable it to withstand the no doubt very high demand it will face in the short term.  Whole the extra detail now available is to be welcomed it is also a little frustrating that the detailed guidance for calculating the amount to claim was only published late on the Friday before the new portal opened. 

The majority of employers will almost certainly have already paid furloughed employees for at least one pay period has made a reasonable attempt to calculate that amount in line with the guidance as it stood at that time. It is further to be hoped that, if and when HMRC review claims, that as long as an employer in this situation has adopted a reasonable and consistent approach to making the claim that HMRC will not insist that the figures are reworked to follow the guidelines that are now published.

 

 

Support for the most R&D intensive companies

The Government has also announced £750 million of targeted support for the most R&D intensive small and medium-size firms which will be available through Innovate UK’s grants and loan scheme.

Innovate UK, the national innovation agency, will accelerate up to £200 million of grant and loan payments for its 2,500 existing Innovate UK customers on an opt-in basis. An extra £550 million will also be made available to increase support for existing customers and £175,000 of support will be offered to around 1,200 firms not currently in receipt of Innovate UK funding. The first payments will be made by mid-May.

WR comment – again information is a little sparse on this scheme and particularly how recipient businesses will be identified.  We assume further detail will become available in due course.

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