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Abuse of coronavirus job retention scheme (CJRS)

HMRC is sending compliance letters to some employers about the claims they have made under the CJRS.

Compliance letters are triggered if an employer has apparently made a claim for ineligible employees, or a claim has been miscalculated.

HMRC will focus on fraudulent claims and not cases where the employer has made an innocent error. However, the difference between a genuine mistake and an apparent fraud may not be discernible to the HMRC computer without further investigation.

There are penalties for submitting an excessive CJRS claim, as set out in Notice CC/FS48. The penalty is not applied if the over-claim is corrected within the later of; 90 days from the receipt of the grant, and 20 October 2020. There are no penalties for submitting an inaccurate CJRS claim which resulted in a grant that was lower than the employer was entitled to.

Where employers are making CJRS claims for 100 or more employees at one time they can submit the data on a spreadsheet. HMRC provides a template for this purpose. The HMRC guidance says that files submitted as .xls .csv and .ods are all acceptable, but recently the .xls files have been rejected. If you get an error message submitting an .xls file, convert it to .cvs and resubmit it.

Useful links:

Penalties for not telling HMRC about Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grant overpayments – CC/FS48

How to correct CJRS claims

Please contact Mark Wildi or Sherry Taylor if you would like to discuss any of the above information; on 1689 877081 or complete our online form.

This article, whilst provided to the best of our knowledge, is for general guidance only. More specific advice should be obtained before acting. We accept no liability for any action taken based on the above information.


Registered as Auditors in the United Kingdom by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.

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