HMRC expected to come down hard on fraudulent claims made by sole traders and businesses under the government support scheme.
The cut-off date for the first round of the Self- Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) is Monday 13 July, before the launch of phase two of the scheme. For phase two, the grant is reduced to 70% of monthly average trading profits up to a cap of £6,570.
It is the clear that intention of government and HMRC that suspected fraudulent claims made under the SEISS, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), or any other crisis financial support measures, will be rigorously followed up by HMRC. Erroneous claims should be reported to HMRC within 90 days of the claim.
It is believed that some 9 million employees have been furloughed under the CJRS to the end June 2020 and that 3.4 million were eligible to claim under the SEISS for the same period.
Martyn Dobinson, a partner and a member of Saffery Champness’ Landed Estates and Rural Business Group, says:
“We are expecting further details around correcting erroneous claims in the Chancellor’s statement on Wednesday (8 July), as well as announcements around supporting people back to work. A raising of the Stamp Duty threshold and VAT cuts for the hardest hit sectors have also been mooted.
“We have no doubt that HMRC will pursue those that have abused the support, including employers whose employees have been working whilst furloughed.
“People should also be wary of online scams circulating at present related to the government support schemes, and particularly bogus emails purporting to be from HMRC offering a tax rebate or grant support. Any communications should be treated with caution if there is any doubt as to whether they are genuine.”