Furlough Updates (19 November 2020)
Five of the six main Employer Furlough Guides have been updated; the changes are aimed at bolstering the measures to tackle abuse and tightening the rules around the submission of claims.
Other minor changes have been to the calculation and further examples are set out in the Example documents.
The updated Employer Guides and Examples are:
- Claim for wages through CJRS
- Check which employees you can put on Furlough
- Steps to take before calculating your claim
- Calculate how much you can claim for
- Claim for wages
- Employee Guide
There are a number of noteworthy changes:
- As well as naming the employers the use the Scheme from 1 December 2020, the Guides now state that:
‘HMRC will also be improving the information available to furloughed employees by including details of claims made for them, for claim periods starting on or after 1 Dec ‘20 in their Personal Tax Account on GOV.UK’
This change is reflected in the Employer & updated Employee Guides
- More detail is provided on what is deemed a reasonable excuse for missing a claim deadline, albeit the ‘reasonable’ examples are more aligned to what we would consider to be exceptional circumstances.
This may be a sign that HMRC is tightening the rules and perhaps will more readily reject out of time claims.
Examples of reasonable excuses include:
- Your partner/another close relative died shortly before the claim deadline.
- You had an unexpected stay in hospital that prevented you from dealing with your claim.
- You had a serious or life-threatening illness, including Coronavirus related illnesses, which prevented you from making your claim (and no one else could claim for you).
- A period of self-isolation prevented you from making your claim (and no one else could make the claim for you).
- Your computer or software failed just before or while you were preparing your online claim.
- Service issues with HMRC online services prevented you from making your claim.
- A fire, flood or theft prevented you them from making your claim.
- Postal delays that you could not have predicted prevented you from making your claim.
- Delays related to a disability you have prevented you from making your claim.
- A HMRC error prevented you from making your claim.
It is important to note that HMRC will not consider reasonable excuses in advance of a claim deadline. Therefore you can only apply retrospectively.
- The Guides now confirm that if a claim deadline falls on the weekend or a bank holiday then claims should be submitted on the next working day.
There have also been a number of minor changes:
- There has been a small amendment to clarify how to work out 80% of your employee’s average earnings between the date their employment started and the day before they are furloughed. The section ‘Calculating the number of working and furloughed hours for an employee that is furloughed or flexibly furloughed for part of a claim period’ has been updated.
- Further examples have been provided of how to calculate your employees’ wages, National Insurance contributions and pension contributions’ and a new example has been added to ‘Full examples of how to calculate the amount you should claim for an employee who is flexibly furloughed’.