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21 Sep 2020

Furlough fraud: Reminder to employers to review their position

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HMRC recently estimated that furlough grants of up to £3.5 billion may have been fraudulently or mistakenly claimed.  They have identified about 27,000 “high risk claims” and tax officers plan to contact those employers to give them an opportunity to correct their claims before taking further action.

The fact that approximately 8,000 of these cases have been reported via the HMRC’s furlough fraud hotline should alert employers to the possibility of being reported by disgruntled employees (or ex-employees) and reinforce the importance of having robust whistleblowing and grievance policies in place. 

Given these latest figures, we remind employers who claimed under the furlough scheme to take steps to review their position and ensure that they are prepared should they become the subject of HMRC interest (e.g. did employees answer emails or calls while furloughed and line managers turn a blind eye?).  

Please click here to see our previous alert on furlough fraud including the following topics:
 

  • The time limits for notifying HMRC of any overclaiming under the furlough scheme
  • Penalties for employers who fail to notify HMRC within the notification period
  • Practical steps for employers to take in light of furlough fraud enquiries
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