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Should Accountants Make the Furlough Claims?

Many clients will expect their Accountant to make the claims on their behalf, should we though?

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When the on-line portal eventually opens, a lot of my clients will expect me to do their submissions on their behalf. My instinct is to agree to this, but should I? I have about 100 clients who require a claim making and I am a sole practitioner. I worry about who do I prioritise and my resources available, as there could be a lot of admin and fall out from each claim made. What would happen if I succumbed to the virus or was ill and was off work for 2 weeks? This would hold the claims up and this could be disastrous for some of my clients. Surely best to request that clients make their own claims and for me to provide the information requested, when required. What are the thoughts of others on this?

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By Accountant A
15th Jun 2020 20:30

ju ]-

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Red Leader
By Red Leader
30th Mar 2020 11:47

Deal with it when it happens!

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By Louisemunro320
30th Mar 2020 12:18

We have decided that we don’t have the capacity to make the claims due to the SA tax return refunds etc going to be important as well. We are providing our clients with a pack of information for them to be able to make the claim. I don’t even have all clients sort codes/ account numbers readily available.

Advised clients already this is what we are doing and they are all poised ready.

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By rockallj
30th Mar 2020 13:08

There is no reason why you should, subject to others' comments.
But your clients will then expect the information from you to do it themselves. The hand-holding could be more onerous than doing the job yourself.

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Replying to rockallj:
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By Louisemunro320
30th Mar 2020 13:15

Yes I know its going to be difficult but these clients need to start helping rather than whingeing. We are all in this together. If we provide the basic data they need then they need to learn how to apply. They manage to google and find out allsorts of information so now it the time to step up.
They all seem quite happy at the moment knowing they are going to be doing this themselves

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By coops456
30th Mar 2020 15:08

We have the bank details for a lot of clients from setting up their NEST schemes, but with a couple of specific exceptions, we won't be touching JRS applications with a bargepole.

Quite apart from not having the capacity to do so - and unlikely to get paid for it either - no doubt there will be a legal declaration for the employer to complete.

If some unscrupulous greedy b'stard director wants to try and screw the system, on their head be it, not ours.

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By mjshort
30th Mar 2020 16:36

I am charging for doing furlough calculations & claims as an addition to normal payroll as one way to cut down the work I need to do.

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Replying to mjshort:
ALISK
By atleastisoundknowledgable...
01st Apr 2020 14:59

mjshort wrote:

I am charging for doing furlough calculations & claims as an addition to normal payroll as one way to cut down the work I need to do.

How much? And how does that compare to a 'normal' payrun?

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By leicsred
30th Mar 2020 21:37

I would hope it links into RTI somehow, in which case it may well be us that has to submit the claim. We would have to have some form of client "signing" any declaration. What that means won't be clear until we actually see the portal.

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By mbee1
31st Mar 2020 10:19

If you're running the payroll, to me it seems the best way to deal with the furlough at the same time. I'm fortunate in that all my payrolls are small so i intend to take that work on.
If they've outsourced the payroll to you, in my opinion it's all part of the payroll process as you will have to work out tho 80% from the February pay. It will be just a matter of HMRC, hopefully, not making the information required in the portal too onerous and, I assume payroll bureaux will have access.
And, we're all in this together so I won't be charging.

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By julie.severn
01st Apr 2020 15:08

Completely agree, all in this together. I won't be charging either and have gone from part to full time at the moment so that I can help my clients any way I can. I am lucky to be in a position where I can still work and earn. Most of them cannot and are small employers who won't get a huge amount of help.

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blue sheep
By NH
31st Mar 2020 15:06

by the time you have given them all the information and dealt with all the questions you could have made the claim yourself 10 times over!
just get your head down, get on with it and hope everyone comes out the other end

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By NYB
31st Mar 2020 16:08

As yet we have no idea what will be required and how it will operateso no point at this time worying and expending energy.

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Replying to NYB:
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By mbee1
02nd Apr 2020 10:18

NYB wrote:

As yet we have no idea what will be required and how it will operateso no point at this time worying and expending energy.


But my payroll clients want to know. They're worried and I want to help them as best I can. I've already sent them a newsletter on what i know so far and I've asked them to let me have details of who has been furloughed and from what date so I have the information when I may need it.
I think we all have to be proactive rather than reactive.
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Replying to mbee1:
RLI
By lionofludesch
03rd Apr 2020 07:18

"But my payroll clients want to know."

So what are you going to tell them? There's no information. At the moment they'll just have to wonder like the rest of us.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
Lone Wolf
By Lone_Wolf
03rd Apr 2020 10:33

That's not very proactive of you Lion.

Clearly the answer is to treat the client like a child, and tell them a wonderful fairy story about how everything is going to be all right, and they are going to get a pot of gold.

Then, when that doesn't materialise, blame it all on HMRC/the government moving the goal posts and sticking it to small business, whilst cosying up to the big boys.

Job done.

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By jonibarnes
06th Apr 2020 09:28

Does everyone have PAYE 64/8 clearance in for their clients? The guidance says that clients will need to be enrolled for PAYE online, I don’t think any of my clients are I hope me being enrolled as agent will be good enough? Also what’s a ePAYE number ?

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Replying to jonibarnes:
ALISK
By atleastisoundknowledgable...
08th Apr 2020 08:40

jonibarnes wrote:

Also what’s a ePAYE number ?

I think it’s ‘employers PAYE reference’.

The HUGE question is whether one can make the claims via an agent portal, or whether each client has to have their own account. I suspect we won’t know that until the day, which is a fuching PITA/joke.

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Replying to atleastisoundknowledgable...:
Psycho
By Wilson Philips
08th Apr 2020 13:52

If you have a PAYE 64-8 in place then you can claim on behalf of client, presumably through agent portal. If filing only service, client needs to do it.

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By jvenegas16
06th Apr 2020 10:37

Do clients need the data? Shouldn't they have already the data as it comes initially from them? They know who they pay, how much they pay them, etc.

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Jennifer Adams
By Jennifer Adams
06th Apr 2020 20:10

I dont have all of their bank details so no...
I've sent an email round to all clients affected telling that it will prob be submission online, that they will have to do it themselves but I'm here to help.

I think that in the circumstances that they should do it themselves not least because if there are any errors then its their error and you cant be blamed.

A thought also... I wonder whether if an accountant does the application and gets it wrong whether the prof indemnity will cover... just a thought...

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By 0098087
08th Apr 2020 13:44

Email from HMRC. Every NI number has to be entered. Great if you do 100 payrolls.
NO point in asking the clients to do it as the time it would take to deal with the idiotic phone calls we may as well do it ourselves..
WHY NOT THROUGH PAYROLL SOFTWARE! If you can build a portal the software could be sorted in the same time..

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By Sanjeev Nanda
09th Apr 2020 10:25

This is a real "Chicken or Egg" question, in my opinion. Short answer - yes! Of course, I mean why not! Accountants are people, theirs is a self-employed profession, they pay taxes as well. When the furloughed clause came forth during the dispensation phase of covid legislation, there was uncertainty about who would qualify and who would not. But the past few weeks have cleared the matters on it massively.
~Sanjeev Nanda

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ALISK
By atleastisoundknowledgable...
09th Apr 2020 11:41

One if my clients had just received this:

'We have been advised that the HMRC portal to process the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) will have the capacity to handle 450,000 claims an hour when it goes live on April 20. Once claims have been submitted, payment for furloughed workers can be expected within four to six working days. Most importantly, companies will be able to claim furlough payments 14 days in advance of an employer’s payroll run, thereby easing immediate cash flow pressures.'

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ALISK
By atleastisoundknowledgable...
09th Apr 2020 11:43

One if my clients had just received this from ‘multiple industry platforms’:

'We have been advised that the HMRC portal to process the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) will have the capacity to handle 450,000 claims an hour when it goes live on April 20. Once claims have been submitted, payment for furloughed workers can be expected within four to six working days. Most importantly, companies will be able to claim furlough payments 14 days in advance of an employer’s payroll run, thereby easing immediate cash flow pressures.'

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By hannahaston
09th Apr 2020 19:59

Have you seen the latest bulletin from HMRC received a few moments ago. Basically detailing what info will be needed and then saying that if you have an authorsied agent who acts on your behalf then they will be able to make the claim for you!!! Gee whizz thanks HMRC for that, passing the buck again.

I’m going to say to clients that I’ve either got to charge or they need to do it themselves.

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Replying to hannahaston:
By 0098087
09th Apr 2020 21:11

Have read this and questions are:
Will agents have to enter all this Info?
We have one pub with 13 employees on a weekly scheme.

If they do then how are employees like ford or McDonald’s going to do it or will they get special privileges because if they do I will go apeshit if we have to enter every employee individually and they don’t.
As I also said before we will have to charge for this which cost business more. Could have been added to rti. Plenty of time to amend things

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Replying to 0098087:
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By jvenegas16
09th Apr 2020 21:37

The easy way would have been for HMRC to use the information from RTI, and the communication of the furloughed employees being done using Payroll software. And leaving the odd cases for a separate claim, for example, those having changed employer, or working in particular sectors where it may not be so straight forward.

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By ABC123Accountant
09th Apr 2020 21:43

Based on information out today the Agent making the furlough claim has to be the PAYE Agent for the company. So this might clarify things as some practises do not prepare payroll for clients just year end etc...and so the PAYE Agent (if set up) has to do furlough claim if not the client directly, anyone else seen this today from HMRC?

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Replying to ABC123Accountant:
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By hannahaston
09th Apr 2020 22:08

When I set up client up on PAYE I automatically request agent authorisation in case of any queries so guessing they’ll expect me to deal with the claims! Yep would have made much more sense to be incorporated into RTI payroll but then again when have HMRC ever done anything straightforward??

I’ve decided that I will email the info such as employee details and NI numbers straight from my payroll software and let them do it and then I’ll turn my phone off....hehe

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ALISK
By atleastisoundknowledgable...
09th Apr 2020 22:30

As we can do it ourselves, we’re doing it for free for our payroll clients and a nominal fee if non-payroll clients want us to do it.

I’d’ve had to charge everyone if we’d‘ve had to set-up and go through BTAs

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By 0098087
09th Apr 2020 22:32

I’m
Sorry but I don’t get this. How can someone like fords or McDonald’s enter everyone’s info every month? Or are they getting special dispensation. We have full authority for around 100 clients and we are expected to enter everyone’s info. No point in asking clients to do it as they won’t have a clue

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Replying to 0098087:
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By hannahaston
10th Apr 2020 09:14

Are you charging for this service or FOC?

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Replying to hannahaston:
By 0098087
10th Apr 2020 09:31

Charging but it’s the time to do it all.

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By Matrix
10th Apr 2020 11:44

I don’t think my clients would know what to do. Most employees were furloughed on full pay from 23 March so I need to calculate the furlough to reclaim. I didn’t separate it on the payslip since it wasn’t required.

One employee has now resigned so I have advised the client can no longer claim the repayment from the date of resignation, so the employer is not happy that they have to fund a month’s notice when the employee isn’t working. Do others agree?

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