Misuse of Furlough Scheme

Almost 2,000 claims of furlough fraud have been made against employers since the coronavirus job retention scheme (CJRS) was introduced in March. But the number of reports could spike dramatically when the scheme comes to an end, with disgruntled employees looking to get their own back.

There may be businesses which have seen the scheme as a way of getting the Government to pay their employees’ salaries while expecting them to work at the same time. While many employees may feel scared to report their employer right now, if they were to be made redundant that may well change.

While some employers may have been exploiting the scheme, some others have refused, as a matter of principle, to take Government money from the CJRS, which makes the response from businesses varied.

Given that this is a completely new scheme, with many iterations of guidance, of course some employers may have made genuine mistakes. Employers should take advice from their accountants and make sure they have put in the correct claims.

Employers that have misused the CJRS may be subject to investigation by HMRC. Ignorance is no excuse, and with HMRC warning that individual directors will be ‘jointly and severally’ liable, it is essential that businesses make sure they have been claiming correctly.

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