While the Government has recently tried to help with the ongoing challenges of Covid 19 by extending the Job Retention Scheme until (at least) 31 March 2021, it is worth bearing in mind that there are certain steps that need to be taken to make sure employers get the money they are claiming from HMRC. Leaving aside the direct link with the employee and the need to have a written agreement in place to be on furlough in the first place, employers should not lose sight of the fact that there are new timescales in place for lodging a furlough claim with HMRC. On any view, those timescales are tight and failing to meet them will be costly for employers so they are worth highlighting.
As a general rule, claims must now be submitted within 2 weeks of the end of the previous calendar month unless there is a “reasonable excuse for failing to make a claim in time”.
For your diaries, these are the deadlines:
Claim for furlough days in:
Claim must be submitted by:
14 December 2020
14 January 2021
15 February 2021
15 March 2021
14 April 2021
Having to rely on the excuses is risky but for employers who do, the latest HMRC guidance says the following examples ‘may’ amount to a reasonable excuse for missing the deadline:
- your partner or 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, 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 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;
- an HMRC error prevented you from making your claim.
Looking at that list reinforces how difficult it will be to use an excuse so employers should take steps now to make sure they get claims in on time.
If you have any questions on any of the issues mentioned in the above article, please contact Russell Eadie.