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It's official ... HMRC go soft on Covid grants

Too much effort to chase after individual fraudsters

Didn't find your answer?

CJRS and BBLs are both back in the news today.

 

CJRS: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/pay-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme-grants-... - If you’ve not paid your employees enough:

For each claim period in which you’ve claimed the grant, you must have paid your employees the lower of either 80% of their wages for the hours they did not work, or a rate of £2,500 (or the equivalent where the claim period is not a month) for the hours they did not work.

If you did not pay your employees enough, you must either top up their wages to the required level, or pay the grant back.

If you intend to top up wages, you must do so within a ‘reasonable period’. This period is usually no later than:

* 31 January 2022 for payments received in the 2020 to 2021 tax year, for customers who file an Income Tax Self-Assessment return

* 31 January 2023 for payments received in the 2021 to 2022 tax year, for customers who file an Income Tax Self-Assessment return

* 12 months after the end of the relevant accounting period if you file a Company Tax return

If we contact you about an error in your claim, we’ll tell you by when this needs to be corrected.  If errors are not corrected by the date we give you, you may need to repay the grant and pay a penalty.

 

BBLs: FT of 3rd Dec - Attempts to recoup fraudulent Covid loans are 'inadequate', says watchdog:

* HoC PAC says that government's efforts to prevent fraud in BBLs for small businesses are "inadequate"

* The NAO warned that BEIS had focused on organised crime's exploitation of the loan scheme, raising the risk that smaller fraudsters would escape unpunished

* Meg Hillier, chair of the HoC PAC said the NAO report showed that counter-fraud measures had been "too little, too late.  It's now focussing on recovering money from organised crime, yet many of the smaller-scale fraudsters will have slipped through its fingers."

 

There's plenty more damning indictment of both the initial lack of care in 'handing out' monies and the resources/focus in getting back fraudulent claims ... but the overarching impression is that they are more interested in trying to gain a few newsworthy wins (by tackling foreign gangs) than in really chasing down the mere tens of thousands of ill-begotten 'bonuses' of £50k or employment support monies actually retained by the employer.

So there's a clear moral when/if there's a next time ... don't be too greedy and you'll be fine (after all everyone else is doing it)!

Replies (12)

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By Paul Crowley
03rd Dec 2021 14:16

MTD takes priority over getting fraudsters to repay
Organised crime knows how to get big sums hidden away and unrecoverable leaving a man of straw to carry the can

Usual HMRC incompetance

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Replying to Paul Crowley:
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By Hugo Fair
03rd Dec 2021 14:37

Even with CJRS ...
HMRC already have the powers (where the correct amount hasn't been paid to employees) to demand immediate repayment of the grant and to charge a penalty.
But they are now offering a 'way out' for employers by them topping-up wages retrospectively - within a ‘reasonable period’ (which is a *minimum* of nine months *after* the failure to pay their employees properly)!
Not so much carrot & stick, as honey & twig.

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
03rd Dec 2021 14:34

It was clear within about 30 seconds of the announcement that it was a fraudsters charter as the banks had no skin in the game, and make no checks.

it was a very poor policy from the treasury.

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Replying to ireallyshouldknowthisbut:
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By Paul Crowley
03rd Dec 2021 14:46

No money back, no Guarantees.

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Replying to Paul Crowley:
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By Hugo Fair
03rd Dec 2021 14:56

God bless Hooky Street (or 100 Parliament Street as it's officially known).

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By Leywood
03rd Dec 2021 15:26

It make you wonder why we bother trying to get anyones Accounts and Tax right.

Their incompetence really does know no bounds.

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Replying to Leywood:
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By Hugo Fair
03rd Dec 2021 19:26

The bit I find most interesting (when not personally wrestling with the result of yet another breakdown in HMRC systems or communications) is *why* they remain without direct accountability to Parliament i.e. no Minister 'in charge'?

They have more direct power over our lives than any other arm of government (and get new powers almost on demand when it suits them), and yet take no responsibility for policy decisions or operational performance (except when only they have access to the underlying 'data').

They fail to liaise effectively with DWP (on NICs and UC) or the SLO or the Courts services - and don't even mention Co House - whilst ignoring the fragile nature of their flawed and very out-of-date core systems.
A human behaving like this would be put into intensive care, and a private sector company would spend most of its time fighting litigants in the Courts, so why are they allowed to run amok unhampered by the usual standards of objectives and measurements?

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Replying to Hugo Fair:
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By Leywood
03rd Dec 2021 20:21

Probably in part because no one wants the poisoned chalice of that job. Could you imagine taking that on? What a nightmare.

If I had the time I would be making lots of very loud noises about the lack of minister.

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Replying to Hugo Fair:
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By Justin Bryant
06th Dec 2021 15:52

Yes (although BBLs weren't HMRC's responsibility - that was BEIS as stated above). I also thought the Treasury's recent criticism here was rather rich: https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/practice/treasury-highlights-weaknesses-in-...

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Replying to Justin Bryant:
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By Hugo Fair
06th Dec 2021 16:05

Indeed - but the Treasury has always understood the rules of warfare (which is how it likes to think of itself 'fighting for the country's economic future').
From 'Attack is the best form of defence' through to the variety of euphemistically termed 'distraction techniques' taught in the corridors of power.
There's nothing haphazard about the content or timing of such articles!

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By Jim100
06th Dec 2021 13:13

Like VAT refunds and CIS refunds I don't think anyone is bothered giving away tax payers money.

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By justsotax
06th Dec 2021 16:56

watch them chase a little old lady for £300 using a debt collector......yeah that will close the tax gap......

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