HMRC says its furlough portal will be up and running on 20th April, with the first payments to be made by 30th April, and then in future claims will be paid within 4 to 6 days of application. If this works then that’s a pretty impressive achievement in such a short space of time and perhaps a #tootforourtaxman campaign is needed.
HMRC says the portal will be capable of handling 450,000 claims per hour, but they added, ‘if very large volumes of employers have to contact us in the concentrated period of just a few days, then we will really struggle to provide the kind of service that we would want to’. Those of you struggling with online shopping will understand that a certain amount of patience may be required at first.
Access to the furlough portal is either via your Gov’t gateway PAYE portal or our PAYE agent portal.
If we sort your payroll then we plan to arrange the furlough reclaims; but please bear with us should the expected delays come to pass.
If you sort your own payroll out then you’ll need to make sure you have your PAYE portal up and running. If you find you’re struggling with your reclaim then give us a call.
Finally, can we stress 2 points on furloughing.
- The furlough scheme is open to businesses whose ‘operations have been severely affected by coronavirus’, although there is acknowledgement that ‘the government recognises different businesses will face different impacts from coronavirus’. This means you can’t furlough if your business isn’t adversely affected by the virus. The exception being that any business can furlough someone on long term sick or shielding in line with public health guidance, or is unable to work because of caring responsibilities.
- The guidance says that a furloughed ‘employee cannot undertake work for, or on behalf of, the organisation’ This is all or nothing and so if an employee does any work at all then they cannot be furloughed. So make sure that no work is given to furloughed workers.
We’ve been wondering how HMRC intend to police the furlough scheme.
Well, at the same time as HMRC announced the timing of the furlough portal, it also announced the setting up of a whistle blower hotline for workers to report employers who abuse the system and then backed this up with the threat of criminal proceedings. We understand that the police hotlines set up to report your sunbathing neighbours have been very popular and we expect this HMRC hotline to be similarly busy.