Repaying furlough grants if overclaimed
Any business that has overclaimed a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) grant must pay back the overpayment to HMRC. The rules outlined below for paying HMRC back an overclaim also applies to businesses that would like to make a voluntary repayment because they do not want or need the CJRS grant. The CJRS is currently due to continue until 30 April 2021.
Any overpayments can be corrected in your next claim. If you confirm that your business has been overpaid, the new claim amount will be reduced to reflect this overpayment. You will need to keep a record of this adjustment for six years.
Alternatively, if you are not making another claim under the CJRS then you can request a payment reference number and pay HMRC back within 30 days. This request needs to be made online.
HMRC’s guidance states that if you have overclaimed a grant and have not repaid it, you must notify HMRC by the latest of either:
- 90 days after the date you received the grant you were not entitled to
- 90 days after the date you received the grant that you were no longer entitled to keep because your circumstances changed
Late notifications of overclaimed grants could see the imposition of penalties. Any claims based on inaccurate information can be recovered by HMRC. However, HMRC has stated that they will not be actively looking for innocent errors in their compliance approach.
Having to repay HMRC is unlikely to be a cost that employers will have thought about, so it is important to ensure that all claims made for furloughed employees are accurate. Employers are required to keep full records relating to any CJRS claims (including adjustments) for a period of six years.