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Furlough missed nightmare

Furlough missed nightmare

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I have a client who provides offshore stock/asset control & inventory services through his Ltd Co. He is the sole director, shareholder, and the only worker and pretty much all company income is paid out to him as payroll (NT).

He has always been difficult to communicate with due to being at sea for much of the year on assignments lasting anything from a couple of weeks to 3-6 months. That said, he is not easy to get hold of when I know he is home!

I have just completed the 31/03/20 accounts (late as usual) and noted that he has received no income from 1 July 2020.

After speaking on the phone, it looks like he has been unable to work on any ships since 1 July 2020 as, due to coronavirus, contractors have not been permitted aboard so he could have been furloughed.

He has acknowledged receipt of my regular Coronavirus support updates and guidance sent including furlough procedures for sole directors along with an additional note regarding furlough claims sent with each monthly payslip that he has approved prior to RTI submission.

He has found UK based work ironically at a Coronavirus testing centre and says that he was not aware that he potentially qualified to make a claim as he is not self-employed (clearly ignored my multiple emails re CJRS).

The reality is that the company ceased to have any income or activity from 01/07/20 due to coronavirus.

Is there any scope for a backdated claim?

Does anyone have any experience/guidance in relation to making one due to client oversight?







Replies (6)

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By Wanderer
30th Dec 2020 10:43

Not sure I'd bother taking this forward in the circumstances you have described. Maybe consider for the future?

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By lionofludesch
30th Dec 2020 10:45

You can always ask.

But I wouldn't ask with confidence.

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By Wanderer
30th Dec 2020 10:47

Actually can't see that he qualifies. Where is the agreement, confirmed in writing, in advance?

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the sea otter
By memyself-eye
30th Dec 2020 11:07

Tell him to start from now, December. The rest is just too bad.

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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
30th Dec 2020 11:59

You say "he has found UK based work ironically at a Coronavirus testing centre".

It's my understanding that a furloughed employee can only take on a new job if their contract of employment so permits. I'm uncertain whether you would need an express clause to that effect, or whether the mere absence of a clause prohibiting the employee from moonlighting would be sufficient. Perhaps the panel know more about the detail.

Either way, that might give you sufficient explanation to present to the client the reasons by which he does not qualify (at least since he commenced alternative employment).

Regarding any such employment contract and its terms, what's the betting none of it might matter anyway because the client has declared on his new starter form that this is his only employment? Like others have said, don't get sucked in. Instead try to use the director/employee employment contract, or lack of it, to extract yourself with a definitive and derriere-covering no dice.

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By Hugo Fair
31st Dec 2020 20:44

As so often, there is far too little info here on which to base advice ... although the chances of a 'backdated claim' succeeding are as close to zero as can be detected by the eye of any HMRC employee.

If "pretty much all company income is paid out to him as payroll" but you've only just noticed "that he has received no income from 1 July 2020", then when is he paid by payroll (frequency) and when was the last FPS submitted?
If frequency is monthly, then has he been submitting a regular 'no pay' EPS for July onwards?
If frequency is annual, then did the timing of the last submitted FPS preclude him from using CJRS anyway?

These (and many other) questions may indicate that he's in deeper doodah than merely missing out on CJRS.

By the way, if he had been properly furloughed at the time then he was quite entitled to start another job at the same time as being on furlough (at least during version 1 of CJRS - I'd have to check my notes for all subsequent variants of the scheme). What you can't do is to retrospectively furlough someone ... hence no scope for a backdated claim.

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