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HMRC investigating fraudulent furlough claims

HMRC have confirmed that they have already started investigating furlough claims in their furlough payment guidance published on the Government website (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme).

In the guidance, the HMRC state that they will ‘check claims, and payments may be withheld or need to be paid back if a claim is found to be fraudulent of based on incorrect information’.

Richard Las, the acting director of the fraud investigation service at HMRC, said “The CJRS is part of the collective national effort to protect jobs. The vast majority of employers will have used the CJRS responsibly, but we will not hesitate to act on reports of abuse of the scheme.

“This is taxpayer’s money and any claim that proves to be fraudulent limits our ability to support people and deprives public services of essential funding.”

Employees concerned that their employer is abusing the system are also being encouraged to report them using the Government’s website.

This comes as HMRC announced the arrest of a 57 year old man involved in the first case of ‘furlough fraud’ after an investigation found a suspected £495,000 had been claimed fraudulently in this case alone. The arrest was in relation to other suspected multi million pound tax fraud and alleged money laundering offences.

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