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HMRC wants back taxes from business furlough claimants

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HMRC has warned more than 1,200 companies that unpaid employment taxes racked up during the pandemic must be reimbursed.

7th Jul 2021
Journalist
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The tax office said businesses will not be able to claim furlough cash in future unless they reimburse the backlog of income taxes and national insurance payments.

Businesses that owe more than nine months of back payments to HMRC were the target of the letter campaign.

The furlough scheme requires companies to pay associated employee taxes and national insurance contributions when they make claims. Other debts do not impact a firm’s ability to tap into the support available, HMRC said.

‘Ensure employers pay the correct tax’

According to the Financial Times, a government official briefed on the matter said while at the start of the pandemic providing immediate help to those who needed it was the priority, that has shifted over time.

“As we now move through the pandemic, it is only right that we continue to ensure employers pay the correct employee tax and national insurance contributions they agreed to pay when applying for the grant,” the official said.

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Replies (8)

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By Hugo Fair
07th Jul 2021 19:51

Mind-blowing!

“As we now move through the pandemic, it is only right that we continue to ensure employers pay the correct employee tax and national insurance contributions they agreed to pay when applying for the grant,” the (HMRC) official said.

So, despite the clear rules for CJRS, HMRC continued to pay claims from employers who they could see were not making their monthly Tax/NI payments?

And they wonder why the honest taxpayer no longer has any respect for them (which state is the natural precursor to starting on the slippery slope that begins by 'bending the rules just a little')!

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Replying to Hugo Fair:
By Duggimon
08th Jul 2021 10:36

I don't disagree with anything you've said, but all that has to be balanced out with some consideration of who the ultimate losers would be had the grant claims been stopped sooner.

There may be a few out there who are not passing anything on to their staff but I would imagine for most of the businesses to whom the article refers, the net wage portion is at least being passed on to furloughed staff who need it, and stopping the claims under CJRS would put them out of a job.

Clearly with restrictions lifting and most businesses back in business, this is the time to start squeezing those who ought to have already paid their debts and not give them any more, but to do it much earlier would have been problematic.

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By ksagroup
08th Jul 2021 11:15

It is all about preserving jobs at the moment so we don't have a complete melt down of confidence after the pandemic. But HMRC will start to collect taxes soon https://www.companyrescue.co.uk/guides-knowledge/guides/taxes-due-soon-4...

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By SJH-ADVDIPMA
08th Jul 2021 12:43

What a mess.

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By Paul Crowley
08th Jul 2021 15:34

The scheme really is pointless from 1 August
If there has been little or no work for 16 months the job really does not exist

Little or no income for employer, but then paying 25% of furloughed wages? ERNIC and ER Pension already being paid by employer for a year now.
Just not a commercial decision to keep employees if their job has disappeared.

Agree in part with HMRC
The CJRS grant was to pay wages and and deductions from wages

But CJRS does not cover ERNIC.

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Replying to Paul Crowley:
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By stjean
08th Jul 2021 20:29

It's good to know that you feel that all the highly skilled lighting and sound engineers who work on gigs often on major tours jobs just don't exist anymore because they haven't worked for 16 months. It's going to take a lot longer for the many small very specialised companies who do this work to get back to anything like the taxable income they were previously earning pre pandemic. This was lost through no fault of their own. Are you advocating that they all change skills and become cake decorators as one to my knowledge was offered on the government retraining scheme. Seriously there are some situations where the businesses are having to take a long hard look at the situation and think carefully about what danger they are potentially putting themselves/their employees in if they actually get offered any of the very very scarce work available in their field at the moment.

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Replying to stjean:
By Duggimon
09th Jul 2021 13:55

stjean wrote:

It's good to know that you feel that all the highly skilled lighting and sound engineers who work on gigs often on major tours jobs just don't exist anymore because they haven't worked for 16 months. It's going to take a lot longer for the many small very specialised companies who do this work to get back to anything like the taxable income they were previously earning pre pandemic. This was lost through no fault of their own. Are you advocating that they all change skills and become cake decorators as one to my knowledge was offered on the government retraining scheme. Seriously there are some situations where the businesses are having to take a long hard look at the situation and think carefully about what danger they are potentially putting themselves/their employees in if they actually get offered any of the very very scarce work available in their field at the moment.

Add up all the people in all the industries who are still not able to work due to specifically to government restrictions and tell me if it comes to even 1% of the working population of the country.

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Replying to Paul Crowley:
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By bendybod
09th Jul 2021 12:16

It did cover ERNI and pension contributions in the original guise, so if employers have not paid that over to HMRC then they have received the funding but not paid the expense. I would have more sympathy for companies who have had to fund ERNI in later iterations of CJRS but not had the income to cover the expenditure.
Whilst I agree that there are many instances of companies using CJRS to put off the inevitable redundancies, I think it is short sighted to say that there is no legitimate need for CJRS after 19th July, especially as many employees are flexi furloughed rather than on full furlough. Many employers will find their work increasing on a gradual basis as people, hopefully, become more confident about going out with no social distancing in place. Equally, in the entertainment industry, not every show is going to return immediately on 19th July.

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