MJB Avanti discuss the risks business owners are taking when filing fraudulent CJRS claims
8/06/2020 - MJB Avanti
The CJRS (Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme) was implemented by the Government to avoid millions of employees falling into unemployment as businesses were forced to close their doors to comply with enforced lockdown measures. Sadly the support measures offered also created opportunities for dishonesty and abuse. In particular CJRS grants, aimed at helping employers to pay the costs of keeping employees on furlough, and HMRC have released figures of 2,000 furlough fraud cases being reported by whistleblowers.
Examples of dodgy claims by business owners include;
- A landlord who wanted to submit a claim for his partner, who he suddenly decided should be on a salary of £12,500 to collect rent.
- A business owner who furloughed two employees and then took on family members to work for the company.
There have also been concerns raised over incorrect advice or perhaps misinterpretation of advice given online suggesting that a Limited Company Director may furlough themselves and then complete the work of the Limited Company as a sole trader.
MJB Avanti have been helping clients to navigate the various Government support packages available and Director Victoria Sharp, warns “Ultimately business owners need to remember that ‘advice’ from non-qualified ‘experts’ is often a generalisation and as with most tax matters it is not a one size fits all situation. Therefore you should always consult your accountant for the correct advice that is relevant to you.”
Ignorance of the rules will not be treated as a sufficient excuse for fraudulent activities in the eyes of HMRC who have already warned of some circumstances they will be paying particular attention to;
Employers not paying the amounts received to the employees
Asking an employee to work while on furlough
Making backdated claims to cover periods which include periods the employee was actually working
MJB Avanti offer the following advice;
- If it’s not on the HMRC website in black and white, question it.
- If you don’t understand it, ask a qualified expert
- If you think you have made a genuine error, an early declaration is prudent.
If you need help from a trusted qualified source, contact MJB Avanti (08000) 388 799) for correct advice on all Payroll matters including CJRS claims and compliance.
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