UK’s CJRS furlough scheme opens to influx of applications

UK's CJRS furlough scheme opens to influx of applications

UK’s furlough scheme will aim to distribute funds within six working days of a claim being received

UK’s CJRS furlough scheme opens to influx of applications

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) officially went live today, opening 10 days ahead of schedule and receiving 67,000 claims within 30 minutes of its opening. By the close of business, 140,000 companies had applied for the scheme.

The online system can purportedly process 450,000 applications each hour, with each approved claim being distributed by BACS within six working days.

“Our research indicates that two-thirds of firms have furloughed some portion of their workforce,” Adam Marshall, the British Chambers of Commerce’s director general, said in an HMRC press release. “With April’s payday approaching, it is essential that the application process is smooth and that payments are made as soon as possible.”

The head of HMRC, Jim Harra, has said that employers who claim the scheme between April 20 and April 22 should receive their funds by April 30.

CJRS was recently extended to include employees on PAYE payroll on or before March 19, allowing them to claim up to £2,500 per month, per employee, for staff wages.

There are different requirements for filing, split at the 100-employee mark. For employers placing under 100 employees into CJRS, they need to be PAYE online-registered and provide:

  • Their UK bank account number and sort code
  • The employer PAYE scheme reference number
  • The number of furloughed employees, as well as their NI number and payroll/employee number, where applicable
  • The start and end date of the furlough claim
  • The total amount being claimed, including employer NI and minimum pension contributions

Agents can become authorised to file CJRS claims, but they must be registered with the online PAYE for Agents service, holding a PAYE agent code. File-only agents cannot be authorised to file CJRS claims, but can assist in obtaining the information for someone else to file.

Employers placing over 100 employees onto CJRS will need to upload a file with each employee’s full name, NI number, furlough start date and end date, if known, as well as the full amount claimed. Including the employee’s payroll number is optional.

HMRC has issued guidance to mitigate the initial influx of applications, requesting that CJRS users only contact the tax body if their claim has not been processed within 10 working days.

Additionally, there have been reports of phishing emails coming from “HM Revenue & Customs,” using Jim Harra’s name and asking business owners to input their bank account details via email.

HMRC has confirmed these emails are part of a scam, and the website affiliated with these emails is being taken down.

If an email looks suspicious, it can be forwarded to [email protected], and employers who may have fallen victim to the scam can report it to Action Fraud.

This article was updated on April 20 to include the number of businesses to have applied for the scheme by close of business. 

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