How to reclaim your Employees’ Furlough Payments

Coronavirus, Payroll,

Updated 20th April 2020

HMRC confirmed to Accountants on the 8th April the date from which Employers will be able to access the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme portal. This will enable Employers to reclaim the salaries paid to furloughed staff and will be accessible from 20th April 2020.

HMRC have made clear that they will NOT have telephone support available for the process, as they anticipate demand being too high. The claim process will therefore be designed to be ‘self-serve’ with guidance in place. The helpline number is 0800 0241222, though HMRC are asking taxpayers not to call unless they really have to.

Businesses and their PAYE agents will be able to access the portal and submit the claim. If you use a payroll provider, such as one of our payroll partners, they will be able to submit the Job Retention Scheme claim on your behalf. If you process your own payroll, we can help you with the process should you need support.

There are key pieces of information that HMRC will want for any claim. NOW is the time to ensure that you have this information available!

To make a claim you will need the following information:

  • your Government Gateway ID and Password
  • your employer PAYE reference number
  • the number of employees being furloughed
  • National Insurance Numbers for the employees you want to furlough
  • Names of the employees you want to furlough
  • Payroll/works number for the employees you want to furlough
  • your Self Assessment Unique Taxpayer Reference or Corporation Tax Unique Taxpayer Reference or Company Registration Number
  • the claim period (start and end date)
  • amount claimed (per the minimum length of furloughing of 3 consecutive weeks)
  • your bank account number and sort code
  • your contact name
  • your phone number

As you can see, these details should be easily accessible.

There is going to be a huge surge in applications as soon as the portal becomes available. Please make sure that you are prepared to access it as soon as possible.

When will claims be paid?

In a notice issued on the 15th April, HMRC have stated that they expect claims to be paid within six working days. There is going to be a HUGE demand for access to the portal however, so the sooner you submit your claim, the sooner you will receive funds!

Do I need to consider anything else?

If you use a payroll provider, we would expect they would be able to submit the claim on your behalf. We would advise that you confirm in good time whether this is the case, and that they are clear exactly who has been furloughed. They will obviously be submitting numerous claims, so please be realistic that they will need to prioritise submissions.

The process for claiming is going to laborious and time consuming, as the information for each employee will need to be input individually if there are less than 100 furloughed staff per employer. There is no provision to upload an excel spreadsheet or other bulk file below this level, so it is going to take some time to get all of these submissions in.

The Job Retention Scheme Portal will open at precisely the point of the month when payroll agencies are at peak processing time for monthly payrolls.

Many payroll processors may be short staffed if they have team members who are self isolating or unwell with Coronavirus, so please be realistic in your expectations, and if you have salary information to provide for those team members who aren’t furloughed, please make sure that is provided in plenty of time this month!

You can find the latest guidance on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme here.

You can access HMRC’s step by step guide to claiming here.

If you need our help on any of the above, please get in touch.

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