An interesting post on furlough fraud and not what you would expect to discover after resigning from a job you had been furloughed from, to go and set up your own exciting and shiny new business. Nevertheless, the BBC reports that this lady's story is among more than 21,000 reports of suspected furlough fraud currently being handled by HMRC. Whether this was a genuine administrative mistake (albeit it seems to be taking a suspiciously long time to rectify!) or a calculated rouse planned by her salon employer, it is a reminder to all employers to get their furloughed 'house' in order in the event that HMRC or an employee for that matter starts asking questions.

HMRC has previously reported that employers may be accidentally committing furlough fraud, so this story is a good reminder for employers to regularly check all furlough claims and ensure that they are up to date and accurate. By way of a brief reminder, since 1 Dec 2020:

  • Claims cannot be made for employees serving their notice period.
  • HMRC will start publishing details of employers and the value of their claims from February 2021.

As part of HMRC’s commitment to transparency and to deter fraudulent claims, it intends to publish information about employers who claim for periods starting on or after 1 December 2020. The first employer names are to be published on 26 January 2021 and from February this will be done on a monthly basis. 

Last night the government updated the furlough guidance to add how an employer might request that HMRC do not publish claim information. HMRC will not publish details of employers claiming through the scheme if they can show that publishing these would result in serious risk of violence or intimidation to certain relevant individuals, or any individual living with them. For more information and how to go about this, check out the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme?