On Wednesday 8th July a 57 year old man was arrested in relation to CJRS fraud and money laundering. Computers and other digital devices were seized, and funds held in a bank account relating to his business were frozen. Whilst this was the first arrest, it certainly won’t be the last.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has received more than 4,400 reports of potential fraud related to the Government’s furlough scheme.

Acting director of the Fraud Investigation Service at HMRC, Richard Las, said:

 “The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is part of the collective national effort to protect jobs. The vast majority of employers will have used the CJRS responsibly, but we will not hesitate to act on reports of abuse of the scheme.

This is taxpayer’s money and any claim that proves to be fraudulent limits our ability to support people and deprives public services of essential funding”

Over £27.4 billion has been claimed through the CJRS, and this has supported 1.1 million employers and 9.4 million furloughed jobs.

During an enquiry or investigation, HMRC have the power to inspect documents and assets at your premises. They can request information going back up to 20 years. They may also do a full review of your personal tax affairs, requesting evidence such as bank and credit card statements to support your tax return. This is often disruptive, intrusive and invariably expensive.

Importantly, HMRC also stated “We’re not trying to catch people out – if it turns out to be a genuine mistake then we’ll help put it right, and if it’s more serious then we’ll step in.”

If you’ve over claimed through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, you can either:

  • correct it in your next claim
  • make a payment to HMRC (only if you’re not making another claim)

You’ll need your 14 or 15 digit payment reference number that begins with X. You must contact HMRC to get your payment reference number.

Tax Investigation Insurance

Should you be investigated we will be there to support you. However, a tax investigation is not included in our normal fees and the costs involved can be substantial.

We run a Tax Investigation Service to help protect clients against the professional costs involved in a tax investigation or enquiry. This service is backed by an insurance policy we have taken out in our own name. If this is something you might be interested in please contact us without delay to discuss the details.

Finally, if there is anything you would like to discuss further give us a call or drop us an e-mail. We’d love to grab a coffee and chat over zoom!