HMRC will step up investigations into furlough fraud as more than 26,000 cases of suspected fraud have been reported since the scheme began last year

Last year, the government introduced the official Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) to offer support for those businesses who have been forced to close during the pandemic. The scheme allows for employers to claim for 80% of employee’s wages for hours not worked.

Unfortunately, furlough fraud has proven to be a widespread issue over the past year, with recent figures showing 26,232 instances of suspected furlough fraud being reported to HMRC.

Under the furlough scheme, employees are not permitted to work during the time in which they have been furloughed. However, there have been reports of companies forcing their employees to work whilst being furloughed.

Another form of furlough fraud involves instances where employers have failed to inform employees that they have been placed on furlough. Employees have only been made aware when they notice a reduction in their pay.

During the 2021 Budget announcement, Rishi Sunak confirmed £100 million will be allocated to HMRC to help tackle those instances where people have claimed money they are not entitled to.

The cost of furlough fraud is extensive therefore, HMRC will be stepping up investigations into those who fraudulently claim under the furlough scheme.

The government is also asking anyone who suspects furlough fraud to report the issue by visiting the ‘Report HMRC-administered coronavirus relief scheme fraud’ page on their website or by calling the COVID fraud hotline.

At STS (Europe) we can offer help and advice for your business to ensure you are meeting the requirements of the furlough scheme and not committing any acts of fraud. If you suspect you have falsely claimed under the furlough scheme, our experts can guide you through the process and make disclosures to HMRC on your behalf.

Get in touch with us today by using our contact page or give us a call on 01704 891676.