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Job retention scheme to launch on 20 April

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HMRC has confirmed it intends to launch its online service for making claims under the coronavirus job retention scheme (CJRS) on 20 April. In a letter being issued to agents, HMRC explains that businesses and agents authorised to act on their behalf for PAYE matters will be able to claim. For reasons of data protection, file-only agents, including payroll bureaux, will not be able access the service.

At a hearing before the Commons Treasury committee on 8 April, HMRC chief executive, Jim Harra, announced the setting-up of an online ‘whistleblower’ service workers can use to report employers who abuse the job retention scheme. HMRC will be on the lookout for employers who claim grants while asking ‘furloughed’ staff to carry on working. The department will be able to audit claims retrospectively and prosecute fraud.

The CIOT’s low incomes tax reform group (LITRG) welcomed the move, describing the setting up of a reporting facility before any grants are paid as a ‘vital safeguard’.

‘We await further details from HMRC to help us get the message out to workers that the hotline exists’, commented Victoria Todd, head of the LITRG.

The government has consolidated its guidance on support for businesses affected by Covid-19 at its coronavirus business support pages. The Law Society has also published guidance and FAQs for law firms.

Issue: 1483
Categories: News