The job retention scheme - this week’s update

Feb 08, 2021

The deadline for claims under the CJRS for January is next Monday 15 February 2021, unless a reasonable excuse applies. 1 March 2021 is the deadline to amend any claims for this month. See also below about an error in HMRC’s CJRS calculator which may mean some claims need to be resubmitted.

As a reminder, the UK Government will pay 80 percent of employees’ usual wages for the hours not worked, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. Employers and their employees do not need to have benefited from the scheme before to make a claim if employers and employees meet the eligibility criteria.

What you or your clients need to do now

  1. Check if they’re eligible and work out how much they can claim using HMRC’s CJRS calculator and examples;
  2. Submit any claims for January no later than next Monday‌‌ ‌15 February 2021; and
  3. Keep records that support the amount of CJRS grant claimed, in case HMRC needs to check them. ‌

Checking your claims for variable pay if you’ve used the HMRC calculator

HMRC are advising that the CJRS calculator on GOV‌‌‌.UK contained a software error, which has now been corrected. If you used this before 21‌‌ ‌January 2021 to work out January 2021 claims for employees that are not on a fixed salary you’ll need to re-calculate your claims if:

  • you used an employee’s pay for January 2019 as reference pay, instead of 2020, and
  • their pay was different in January 2019 to January 2020.

If you used your employee’s January 2020 pay you do not need to take any action. HMRC apologises for any inconvenience caused.

If after you have made your re-calculation you find out your claim was incorrect and:

  • you have claimed too much, you should amend this in your next claim or let HMRC know as soon as possible and make a repayment online, through HMRC’s card payment service or by bank transfer; or
  • you claimed too little, please call the HMRC helpline to amend this by 1‌‌ ‌March 2021.

Go to get help with the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for more information on how to amend a claim.

Publishing information about employers’ claims

On 26 January, HMRC published the list of employers who have claimed under the CJRS for periods from December onwards. Starting from 25‌‌ ‌February 2021, on a monthly basis HMRC will publish the names and Company Registration Numbers (for those who have one) of employers who make CJRS claims for periods starting on or after 1‌‌ ‌December, together with an indication of the value of their claims.

HMRC will not publish the exact amount of claims, but rather the band within which claims fall; for example £0 - £10,000, £10,000 - £25,000, or £25,000 - £50,000. The details HMRC will publish will not include information about an employer’s employees.

Details of CJRS claims will now be published monthly as part of HMRC’s commitment to transparency and to deter fraudulent claims. 

If your clients think publishing these details would result in a serious risk of violence or intimidation to them or others, they can request that details of their claims are not published.

Employees will also be able to check if a CJRS claim has been made on their behalf through their online Personal Tax Account from 25‌‌ ‌February 2021. If they do not already have a Personal Tax Account, they can set one up by going to GOV‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌.UK.

Handling client information

If you are submitting claims on behalf of multiple clients, it’s really important to take care to use the right employer PAYE reference number, which HMRC uses to record claims. To keep your clients’ data safe, please take extra care to check that the details you enter relate to the client and specific payroll scheme you’re claiming for.

If you do find you’ve made an error, you can delete a claim online within 72 hours of submitting it.

Frequently asked questions about the CJRS

You can find everything you need to know about the CJRS on GOV.UK, but here are some answers to the questions recently asked.

What should I do if I suspect fraud?

HMRC will check claims, and payments may be withheld or need to be paid back if a claim is found to be fraudulent or based on incorrect information. You need to report fraud to HMRC if you have evidence to suggest an employer is abusing the scheme.

How do employers ask HMRC not to publish their claim details?

If publishing an employer’s claim details could leave someone at risk of violence or intimidation, they can request for these not to be published by completing the online application form.

HMRC will not publish an employer’s details until we have informed them of our decision on their application. Employers only need to apply once, as the decision will cover all CJRS claim periods starting from 1 December 2020. Applications must be made by an employer and they can’t be made by an agent on their behalf.

Can I claim for employees who are training?

You or your clients can claim for employees who undertake training while they are furloughed, as long as they don’t provide services to, or generate revenue for, your client's business or a linked or associated organisation.

Can I furlough an employee if they are unable to work because they have caring responsibilities or are classed as clinically extremely vulnerable?

If an employee asks to be furloughed, you can claim for them under the CJRS if;

  • they have caring responsibilities resulting from coronavirus, such as caring for children who are at home as a result of school or childcare closing; or
  • they are clinically extremely vulnerable, or in the highest risk group for severe illness from coronavirus according to the public health guidance for your area.

Check for other circumstances where you can furlough an employee. The decision to offer furlough rests with the employer.

How do I access HMRC online services

To make a CJRS claim, you will need to be registered for an online account with HMRC and have your password and ID to hand. If you need to set up a new account or have lost your login details, search 'HMRC services' on GOV‌‌‌.UK. You'll be sent an activation code after registering which can take up to 10 days to arrive, so please take this time into account if you plan to make a claim.

Where can I get further support?

There’s a list of CJRS monthly claims deadlines on GOV‌‌‌.UK and a step by step guide, summarising the latest information on the CJRS and the steps you need to take to make a claim.

Go to help and support if your business is affected by coronavirus to book a webinar, or to view updated guidance. If you’re booked on a webinar but can no longer attend, please cancel your place where possible to allow space for others to register.

HMRC are advising that phone lines and webchat remain very busy, so the quickest way to find the support you need is on GOV‌‌‌‌‌‌‌.UK.

HMRC has made a number of guidance changes as follows:-

Page title

Changes

Check if your employer can use the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (Employee Page)

  • To update the contact HMRC paragraph and include there is no right of appeal

Check if you can claim for your employee's wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

  • To update the contact HMRC paragraph and include there is no right of appeal

Steps to take before calculating your claim using the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

  • Updated section 'What to include when calculating wages' to clarify non-monetary benefits and employer pension contributions under salary sacrifice schemes

Calculate how much you can claim using the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

  • To update the contact HMRC paragraph and include there is no right of appeal
  • Updated to add a new section 'What you can claim' and clarification on pay increases

Claim for wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

  • To update the contact HMRC paragraph and include there is no right of appeal

Examples of how to calculate your employees' wages

  • New calculation example added for calculating wages for different types of pension scheme (3.18)