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Job Retentions Scheme (CJS) - Service launch date announced

Most people will know that in response to the coronavirus covid-19 pandemic, the Chancellor announced a series of measures to support businesses and their employees. One of those measures is the CJRS. The scheme allows employers to claim 80% of the wages of staff (up to a maximum of £2,500 per employee) that they have furloughed (been put on temporary leave). 

HM Revenue & Customs have now announced that the service launch for the online system that will enable employers to make claims in relation to furloughed employees will be on the 20th April 2020. 

HM Revenue & Customs are expecting telephone and employer contact demand to be beyond their capacity and have called upon agents, such as accountancy firms, to contact their clients and offer vital support during this process.

Morris & Co payroll clients

Where Morris & Co are your payroll service provider, we will have previously obtained your authorisation to use the PAYE for Agents online service, and initial indications are that we will be in a position to process the CJRS reclaims on your behalf.

Unless you advise us otherwise, we will deal with the processing of your CJRS reclaims via the new online system as part of our payroll services when the system becomes live. 

This will of course involve further time costs and hence additional fees being invoiced for this service activity extension. 

Morris & Co - support to clients operating their own payrolls

Where clients payroll schemes are operated by other third party providers, we presume that any required assistance will be provided by the third party, however we would like to make everyone aware that we are here to assist those who operate their own payroll schemes or require any general assistance with the CJRS service launch.

Again, you will hopefully appreciate that this will involve advisory time costs on our part and additional fees will be invoiced for this general advisory service.

How much can you claim 

  • You can only claim for furloughed employees that were on your payroll on or before the 28th February 2020

You can claim:

  • 80% of your furloughed employees’ wages up to a maximum of £2,500
  • Employer’s national insurance on the furloughed wage
  • Minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contribution on the furloughed wage

There are other more specific issues and circumstances that will vary depending upon particular client circumstances.

What will be needed to make a claim

Initial guidance suggests that the following details will be needed to make a claim:

  • ePAYE reference number
  • The number of employees being furloughed
  • The claim period (start and end date)
  • Amount claimed (per the minimum length of furloughing of 3 consecutive weeks)
  • Your bank account number and sort code (this information will be requested from you in a separate email)
  • Your contact name
  • Your phone number

Between now and the 20th April we will need to develop our own internal systems to deal with the CJRS claims and we will advise existing payroll clients of the additional details that are required in due course.

Background to HM Revenue & Customs system launch and verification procedure 

HM Revenue & Customs have explained that they have four lines of defence to prevent fraudulent claims, including:

  • The key safeguard that the employee has to have been on the payroll on the 28th February
  • The requirement for an employer to have already been authenticated by HMRC – essentially having a payroll scheme in place and payroll scheme reference
  • A four to six-day processing period to make background checks
  • Checks made after pay-out to verify if the claim was correct

HM Revenue & Customs have had to rapidly set up a scheme to get the right balance between protecting the exchequer from abuse and the need to get help out to businesses as fast as they can.

HM Revenue & Customs have commenced testing on the system before the full launch on the 20th April and have indicated a “high level of confidence” that the online system would not crash and have apparently tested the system on up to 450,000 claims per hour. 

The expectation is that there would be a very large number of claims in the first few days, claims would be queued but claims can be made online 24 hours a day each day of the week.

In summary

Now that we are aware of HM Revenue & Customs system launch on the 20th April and on the presumption that more details will be released shortly, we are working towards setting up our own internal systems to deal with the CJRS claims, which you will appreciate cannot be made until the 20th April.

In order not to overwhelm our already busy payroll department, we would encourage existing payroll clients not to contact us specifically in connection with the above once you receive the general public notifications from HM Revenue & Customs, but rest assured that once we are in a position to explain our systems and the information that we will be required to collect from you, we will contact you.