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Are you claiming furlough? Government plans to publish your details soon

The guidance note check if you can claim for your employees' wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been updated and now includes more information about the information HMRC will publish about businesses receiving the grant. 

To deter fraudulent claims, HMRC will publish information about employers who claim for periods starting on or after 1 December 2020.  This will include the name of the employer (and its company number or LLP) and an indication of the value of the claim. 

Claims are banded in the following ranges:

  • £1 to £10,000
  • £10,001 to £25,000
  • £25,001 to £50,000
  • £50,001 to 100,000
  • £100,001 to £250,000
  • £250,001 to £500,000
  • £500,001 to £1,000,000
  • £1,000,001 to £2,500,000
  • £2,500,001 to £5,000,000
  • £5,000,001 to £10,000,000
  • £10,000,001 to £25,000,000
  • £25,000,001 to £50,000,000
  • £50,000,001 to £100,000,000
  • £100,000,001 and above

HMRC will also be improving the information available to furloughed employees by including details of claims made for them, for claim periods starting on or after 1 December 2020 in their Personal Tax Account on GOV.UK. This may encourage employees to report fraud via the online portal.

HMRC will not publish details of employers claiming through the scheme if they can show that publicising information about them would result in a serious risk of violence or intimidation to certain relevant individuals, or any individual living with them. This sounds similar to one of the grounds employers can use to avoid being named and shamed for underpaying NMW. There's not much published information which sets out how many employers successfully avoided being named and shamed. One newspaper made a freedom of information request which found that in 2016 only 28 companies had avoided appearing on the register, 22 of which because they feared harm to themselves or their family which suggests they were small employers. If this scheme works in a similar way, most employers will not be able to escape publication.

HMRC will set out further details about how employers can ask not to have their details published. 

Claims for December have to be submitted by 14 January 2021 which suggests that publication will not take place until early next year.

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