Mike Purcell Accountant and Software Consultant

Monday marked the first day (20th April 2020) that you can claim for 80% of your employees' wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, if you have placed them on furlough because of Coronavirus (Covid-19)

The scheme is designed to help employers retain staff during the coronavirus pandemic, even if they have been forced to temporarily close their business and furlough their employees. It is important to note, you can only claim for furloughed employees that were on your PAYE payroll on or before 19 March 2020 and which were notified to HMRC on an RTI submission on or before this date. You can read more about the Job Retention Scheme here. 

There has been lots of confusion on the steps required to make the claim and how long it will take to receive payment. Please read our simple guide below to ensure you and your furloughed employers are paid quickly and efficiently. 

How to prepare to make your Job Retention Scheme claim

You can claim via HMRC from 20th April 2020. Within 6 working days of making your claim, you should receive payment. If you wish to be paid on an alternative date, you need to submit your claim at least 6 working days in advance. 

If you are lucky enough to utilise the services of an agent that has authorisation to act for you on PAYE matters online, they can make a claim for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme on your behalf. All you will need to do, is confirm the bank account you would like the funds to be paid into. We’ve already successfully completed this for several of our clients today! 

If you are not in the position to pass this task on to an agent, you must gather the following information on each of your furloughed employees before you make your claim:

  1. Name
  2. National Insurance number 
  3. They dates they have been furloughed to and from. This is the from the date the employee was sent home, and not the date the decision was made or the date they were written to.
  4. Claim amount. HMRC have released a useful Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Calculator to work out the figures you’ll need when you complete an online claim through the scheme. If you cannot use the calculator, you can work out what you need to claim manually by using the calculation guidance here.
  5. PAYE/employee number (optional)

If you have fewer than 100 furloughed staff – you will need to input the information directly into the system for each employee. If you have 100 or more furloughed staff – you will need to upload a file with information for each employee (i.e. xls .xlsx .csv .ods).

You should also gather the following information about your business:

  1. The number of employees that have been furloughed
  2. Your employer PAYE scheme reference number
  3. Your Corporation Tax Unique Taxpayer Reference, Self-Assessment Unique Taxpayer Reference or Company Registration Number as appropriate
  4. Your UK bank account details and associated UK post code and address to that bank account

You must ensure that you have a Government Gateway (GG) ID and password. You can apply for this online, or by going to GOV.UK and searching for 'HMRC services: sign in or register'. You must also be enrolled for PAYE online. If you aren’t registered yet, you can do so now, or by going to GOV.UK and searching for 'PAYE Online for employers'.

Making your claim

Now you are ready to make your claim for the Job Retention Scheme, go to GOV.UK where you will be taken through a series of steps in the online system. You will be asked to input the information about your organisation and your furloughed employees, including the amount of the claim – split into the total amount to be paid to furloughed employees and the total pension and national insurance contributions.

After you've claimed  

Once you’ve made your claim, you’ll see a confirmation screen with a claim reference number. It is important that you retain your calculations and take a note of the claim reference number provided as you will not receive a confirmation email. If you are using an agent, ensure that they share with you the calculations that form the basis of your claim and the claim reference number provided. 

HMRC will then check that your claim is correct and pay the claim amount by BACS into your bank account within 6 working days. You can then tell your furloughed employees that you have made a claim and that they do not need to take any further action.

For more support

If you need more support in submitting your Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme claim, please contact our dedicated COVID-19 helpline.