COVID-19: HMRC updates guidance for late furlough claims

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has updated its guidance on late furlough claims, clarifying what is meant by a ‘reasonable excuse’ for submission after the deadline.

Claims must be submitted within two weeks of the end of the previous calendar month unless there is a ‘reasonable excuse’ for failing to claim in time.

The deadlines for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme until the currently scheduled closing date at the end of March 2021 are:

  • November 2020 – 14 December 2020
  • December 2020 – 14 January 2021
  • January 2021 – 15 February 2021
  • February 2021 – 15 March 2021
  • March 2021 – 14 April 2021

The guidance issued by HMRC states that they may accept ‘reasonable excuses’ for claims not being submitted in time, including;

  • A partner or close relative passed away shortly before the claim deadline
  • An unexpected stay in the hospital
  • A life-threatening, or severe illness, including coronavirus-related sickness prevented you from claiming in time, and no one could do so for you
  • Spending a period in self-isolation prevented you from claiming in time, and no one could do so for you
  • The computer or software you use failed just before or while you were preparing the claim
  • HMRC’s online service encountered issues
  • Fire, flood or theft
  • Unpredictable postal-related delays
  • A disability-related issue that caused delays
  • An error by HMRC

The Government announced the extension to the CJRS hours before the scheme was due to end on 31 October, with England entering its second national lockdown.

The scheme is set to continue until the end of March 2021, with England due to return to the tiered system of lockdown measures after the national lockdown ends on 2 December.

For help and advice on matters relating to employment law, including the furlough scheme and redundancy considerations, contact our expert team today.