CJRS: HMRC adds Employment Allowance section, cuts FPS detail

The taxman has quietly tweaked his furlough scheme guidance – for the umpteenth time, in two largely technical areas; Full Payment Submission and the Employment Allowance.

Spotted by Grant Thornton tax manager Edmund Paul, the tweaks were both made on January 13th but follow a third change to the CJRS guidance which he noticed.

“[HMRC has now also] provided details on how to ask HMRC not to publish claim details,” Mr Paul posted, “if the employer meets the limited conditions set out by HMRC.”

'Overlooked'

But addressing the two other changes, HMRC dispute advisory Tax Resolute said the FPS and EA updates could be “easily overlooked” -- and “obviously [were] by the government.”

For example, the EA update points out that when calculating how much employer NICs firms could have claimed back from the CJRS, they “should have” subtracted any EA they used. 

With the FPS update, HMRC had to remove guidance it was giving on another Full Payment Submission when employers kept paying employees before receiving scheme payments.

'Maintain records'

Helpfully, there are at least some threads of the CJRS which limited company directors and other furlough-using taxpayers can rely on as not going to change, according to Chartergates

“The various versions of the Treasury Direction as well as HMRC’s iterations of the CJRS guidance have [all] advised employers to maintain records,” the law firm’s Naseerah Mussa told ContractorUK.

“This includes keeping a copy of CJRS agreements for a period of five years and copies of any claims/adjustments for a period of six years.

“So there is scope for HMRC to open enquiries within this time period. And we would advise anyone claiming under the furlough scheme to ensure that they have all relevant evidence to hand.”

'Stick will follow soon'

Her advice is all the more necessary to heed, now that the light-touch in penalising anything less than adherence to the scheme’s many conditions has expired, hints Fieldfisher tax dispute lawyer Matthew Sharp.

He told ContractorUK: “A quasi-amnesty was introduced [by HMRC] in relation to mistakes made. And large numbers of businesses voluntarily declared receipt of overpaid furlough payments. With that carrot over, it is all but inevitable that the stick will follow soon.”

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Written by Simon Moore

Simon writes impartial news and engaging features for the contractor industry, covering, IR35, the loan charge and general tax and legislation.
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