HMRC’s guidance makes it clear that any business that makes an error in making a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) claim must pay back any amount overclaimed. Any claims based on inaccurate information can be recovered by HMRC.
If you’ve overclaimed a grant and have not repaid it, you must notify HMRC by the latest of
- 90 days after the date you received the grant you were not entitled to
- 90 days after the date you received the grant that you were no longer entitled to keep because your circumstances changed
It is important to note that there may be interest and penalties if overclaimed grants are not repaid within the stated timeline.
The CJRS claim form allows businesses to advise HMRC if they have identified previous errors and over-claimed. If you use this form to confirm that your business has been overpaid, the new claim amount will be reduced to reflect this overpayment.
If you have made an error in a CJRS claim and do not plan to submit further claims, then you should request a payment reference number and pay HMRC through their card payment service or by bank transfer.
The same options can also be used by employers who would like to make a voluntary repayment because they do not want or need the CJRS grant.
Having to repay HMRC is unlikely to be a cost that employers will have thought about, so it is important to ensure that all claims made for furloughed employees are accurate. Employers are required to keep full records relating to any CJRS claims (including adjustments) for a period of six years. HMRC has said that they will not be actively looking for innocent errors in their compliance approach.