HMRC launched the much-anticipated Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) portal, accessed via the Government Gateway. It went live on Monday (20 April 2020) allowing businesses to claim support for their furloughed staff to cover up to 80% of their salary.
We have spent much of this week making claims on behalf of our clients. At the very start, the website did crash (which was hardly surprising given the number of claims being submitted) but, in fairness to HMRC this was soon rectified and the site was up and running smoothly again.
We have found that it pays to be fully prepared before starting your claim as the process is time consuming.
Below are some pointers to bear in mind if you are planning to submit a claim via the portal:
- You are asked to submit a Unique Tax Reference (UTR) number, Corporation Tax (CT) reference or Companies House reference so make sure you have this to hand.
- Make sure that all your employees do have a National Insurance (NI) number – you may have a relatively new employee that has only just applied for their NI number. This is a problem for companies with less than 100 employees. HMRC has turned off the validation in respect of NI for employers uploading files for more than 100 employees but it is still there for those with less than 100.
- If you have less than 100 employees, you must key in data at the employee level. This is a huge task, especially if you operate a weekly payroll. If you have more than 100 furloughed employees, you can upload a file.
- You can only claim for furlough periods that end 14 days in the future – no more.
- You need the postcode of the company’s bank account where the funds will be paid, i.e the postcode that is shown as part of the company’s address on the bank statements.
- It will take six days for payments to be made into the company bank account so plan this in for cashflow purposes.
- The service times out after 15 minutes of inactivity not 30 minutes as the guidance stated.
- There is no confirmation email sent after the submission of the claim. We recommend that you screenshot and/or print the screen with the claim reference number on it as your proof that you made a claim.
- If you make a mistake you have to start again – this happened to us and it was very frustrating!
If you need any help or advice in regards to the furlough and claim process please don’t hesitate to contact me firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07711 418 932.