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HMRC declares furlough fraud has surpassed 6K cases

MP Jesse Norman has revealed to date HMRC has opened 6,150 inquiries into suspected overpayments through CJRS.

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Since the government introduced its support scheme known as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) at the beginning of the pandemic last year, concerns have risen regards an increase in fraud.

 

Under the scheme, employers have been able to pay the wages of staff who have been furloughed, which has now been extended until September 30, 2021, where the government will fund 70% of wages.

 

Now the number of suspected overpayments being reviewed have been confirmed.

 

Responding to a question from MP Gregory Campbell, MP Jesse Norman revealed that to date, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has opened 6,150 inquiries into suspected overpayments through CJRS due to error or fraud as of 30 June 2021.

 

The Conservative MP Norman shared that a total of 1.3m employers have claimed under the CJRS and 11.6m employments have been placed on furlough for at least part of the duration of the scheme.

 

Following this revelation, the Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals (CIPP) has shared that “we know that the next big activity from HMRC will relate to investigations into the government assistance schemes introduced throughout the pandemic”.

 

During his March budget, Chancellor Rishi Sunak acknowledged that fraudulent activity posed a problem and stated that action would be taken, the Express reported.

 

“We’ll also tackle fraud in our Covid schemes, with £100million to set up a new HMRC taskforce of around 1,000 investigators as well as new measures, and new investment in HMRC, to clamp down on tax avoidance and evasion,” Sunak said.

 

Since the CJRS was introduced, Staista reported that as of 14 June 2021, the overcall cost was £65.9bn.

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