Tight New Timescales For Furlough Claims

Dylan Loughlin

There are tight new timescales for lodging a furlough claim with HMRC. Broadly, the claim has to be submitted within two weeks of the end of the previous calendar month (see below) unless there is a “reasonable excuse for failing to make a claim in time”. These are the deadlines:

The HMRC guidance states that the following examples ‘may’ amount to a reasonable excuse for missing the deadline:

  • your partner or another close relative died shortly before the claim deadline
  • you had an unexpected stay in hospital that prevented you from dealing with your claim
  • you had a serious or life-threatening illness, including Coronavirus related illnesses, which prevented you from making your claim (and no one else could claim for you)
  • a period of self-isolation prevented you from making your claim (and no one else could make the claim for you)
  • your computer or software failed just before or while you were preparing your online claim service issues with HMRC online services prevented you from making your claim
  • a fire, flood or theft prevented you them from making your claim
  • postal delays that you could not have predicted prevented you from making your claim
  • delays related to a disability you have prevented you from making your claim
  • a HMRC error prevented you from making your claim

Further details which Dylan stresses you make yourself aware off;

  • It is now a condition of making a claim that the employer accepts that HMRC will publish information about CJRS claims on the internet. This includes the name of the employer and a “reasonable indication” of the amount claimed. An exception may be made for employers who can show that publication would expose their workforce to “serious risk of violence or intimidation”.
  • Furlough agreements must be in place before the start of the relevant claim period (but may be varied during the claim period). It should be sufficient to update an earlier furlough agreement, provided it is done before the employee is furloughed under this phase of the CJRS. There was a small window of opportunity for employers to backdate agreements, but this has now passed.
  • Claims may not be made for any day that an employee is serving notice between 1 December 2020 and 31 January 2021 (and the latest guidance says this means both statutory and contractual notice periods).

As always, contact us if you need any advice to help you Cope with Coronavirus.