The Government plans to give businesses a 30-day window of opportunity to confess to furlough fraud, after thousands of workers have reported their employers for cheating the system.
Nearly nine million people have been furloughed under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme since March, costing the Government a staggering £19.6bn in payouts. Meanwhile, £7.5bn has been paid out to 2.6 million self-employed claimants during the same period.
New draft legislation is being rushed through Parliament and is expected to become law early next month as part of an initiative to target those submitting incorrect or fraudulent claims on behalf of employees.
In a draft legislation HM Revenue & Customs has warned employers that it will be able to charge a penalty for any deliberate non-compliance.
The Government’s furlough scheme was designed to step in and pay people’s wages in a bid to protect jobs amid the coronavirus fallout, however there are growing concerns that employers are taking advantage of the system.
An online fraud hotline set up by the Government has received more than 1,900 claims of furlough fraud, while whistleblower charity Protect has seen a spike in calls to its advice line.
Most employers who have abused the scheme during lockdown have done so either by claiming on employees' behalf without their knowledge, or by expecting employees who have been furloughed to continue working.
Dawn Register, of tax firm DBO, said she expects HMRC to follow up whistleblower reports, using its Connect computer system to flag anomalies in claims.
“It is clear that HMRC is now gearing up to tackle incorrect and fraudulent claims for Covid-19 support payments. For those where HMRC suspects fraud, we can expect serious investigations,” she said.
“The draft legislation includes powers to pursue company office holders where businesses become insolvent, with joint and several liability.”
Read the full story here: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/consumer-affairs/employers-given-30-days-confess-abusing-furlough-bailout-scheme/
ExcludedUK is a newly formed non-profit NGO and serves as a collective platform for those entirely or largely excluded from the UK Government's Covid-19 financial support measures.
We are a rapidly growing organisation and an inclusive community, representing a broad spectrum of individuals and businesses, but all sharing one common thread: we are excluded.As an organisation we will play a crucial role in facilitating support and assistance on multiple levels, both for now and into the future.Our aim is to build a stronger platform, raise awareness, lobby for support, raise funds for legal challenges and help enable the changes that are needed for those excluded.Most importantly, our hope is that our efforts can help propel affected individuals and businesses forward in the face of adversity resulting from Covid-19 and being excluded from Government support, while equally ensuring we are all able to help each other emerge from this crisis.