HMRC are to publish details of any employer claiming under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) over December 2020 and January 2021 following guidance from Rishi Sunak and the National Audit Office.
Guidance on CJRS data to be made public includes the name of the employer and company reference, plus the amount of the CJRS claim. HMRC will post the information within three months of the claim on the gov.uk website. HMRC can withhold publication if they believe it would expose any individual to risk of violence or intimidation.
The published details will only relate to claims made relating to periods later than 1 December 2020.
An employer who only made claims from March to September 2020 and does not intend to request help again will not have their details published. However, employers who started to claim in March 2020 and intend to continue until March 2021 will have their details published for grants covering December 2020 to March 2021.
Publicity seen as a fraud deterrent
The move follows a review by the National Audit Office (NAO) into the CJRS, that such publicity could help to reduce fraud by enabling employees to see whether their employer was making claims on their behalf. It is estimated anywhere between 5%-10% of claims under the CJR Scheme have been made incorrectly.
Many larger businesses have subsequently paid back, or not taken part of the most recent furlough support because of the perceived publicity risk.
Additionally it is seen that the move increases the transparency between employer and employee, such that employers who may have furloughed staff while keeping them at work are more likely to be found out.
The move should not however deter any SME employer from using the scheme if they are in need of support during the current Pandemic and satisfy the criteria for furloughing staff.
Please contact us for more information should you feel you need to discuss your own businesses circumstances in more detail.