Time Limits for Furlough Claims
Blog | 30th November 2020
The extended CJRS scheme has tight deadlines for making claims and it appears that HMRC will only tolerate very limited excuses.
The extended furlough scheme has introduced tighter timescales for employers to comply with when lodging claims with HMRC. While 30th November 2020 is the last day for submitting or changing claims for periods ending on or before 31st October (under the previous scheme) claims for furlough days from November onwards must be submitted, generally speaking, by 11.59pm 14 calendar days after the end of the month they relate to. The exception to this is where that date falls on a weekend or a bank holiday, in which case the claims should be submitted the next working day as set out below.
- Claim for furlough days in November 2020 must be submitted by 14th December 2020
- Claim for furlough days in December 2020 must be submitted by 14th January 2021
- Claim for furlough days in January 2021 must be submitted by 15th February 2021
- Claim for furlough days in February 2021 must be submitted by 15th March 2021
- Claim for furlough days in March 2021 must be submitted by 14th April 2021
However, the best laid plans sometimes don’t work out and because of this HMRC have updated the guidance on claiming wages through the CJRS to set out examples of what may amount to a reasonable excuse for failing to lodge the claim on time.
The list of examples is as follows:-
- your partner or another close relative died shortly before the claim deadline;
- you had an unexpected stay in hospital that prevented you from dealing with your claim;
- you had a serious or life-threatening illness, including Coronavirus related illnesses, which prevented you from making your claim (and no one else could claim for you)
- a period of self-isolation prevented you from making your claim (and no one else could make the claim for you);
- your computer or software failed just before or while you were preparing your online claim;
- service issues with HMRC online services prevented you from making your claim;
- a fire, flood or theft prevented you them from making your claim;
- postal delays that you could not have predicted prevented you from making your claim;
- delays related to a disability you have prevented you from making your claim; or
- a HMRC error prevented you from making your claim
While this list is not exhaustive, it is clear that the excuses HRMC are likely to accept will be very limited. If a deadline is missed then the employer making the claim will, in addition to having a reasonable excuse, also have to show that they took reasonable care to make the deadline and that they claimed without delay after the excuse no longer applied. HMRC will also not consider reasonable excuses in advance of a claim deadline.
It is essential that employers take the time to put in place a procedure for making a claim that works for their business and is as straightforward and robust as possible.