Accountancy News

HMRC Is Speeding Up on Furlough Claims

In order to streamline the processing of those who are making claims under the coronavirus job retention scheme (CJRS), specifically for 16 to 99 employees, HMRC has come up with a time-saving template. Unfortunately, for some people, the arrival of the template is a bit too late. 

Payroll professionals and agents will no longer be manually inputting CJRS data, particularly for clients making a claim of up to 99 employees. Now, all they need to do is upload all the details by using a single template.  

The template was first introduced on May 27, but it seems that some people are not aware of it. Fortunately, some users discovered the template option after they were processing several CJRS claims manually.

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In this template, agents and employers are given the chance to upload the information of the claims of 16 to 99 employees. However, if you are making claims for less than 16 employees then you will have to use the existing manual method. 

The other reason for extending spreadsheet uploading to fewer employees is that if you have a missing national insurance number, this does not stop you from including that employee since you can use their employee number.

On the other hand, if employers or agents upload less than 16 employees then they will have to exclude an employee who does not have a national insurance number and separately telephone their claim so it can be included by the telephone operator.

Indeed, this is wonderful news. The fact is, it has taken a long time for the threshold to be reduced. Regardless if the number of claims have significantly dropped, it can still be valuable to some people.

What Does the CJRS Template Consist of?

For those who are interested in using the template, HMRC requires that the file should be uploaded along with the following information for every employee:

  • Complete name
  • National Insurance number (If it’s not available, you may use the payroll reference number of the employee.)
  • Payroll reference number (Sometimes known as the staff number or the pay identify.)
  • Start and end date of the furlough (Use the format DD/MM/YYYY only.)
  • Full amount to be claimed (The format should be in pounds and pence.)
  • Regular hours (The format should be in decimals, for instance, 8.5 hours)
  • Actual hours worked. (Again, it should be in the form of decimals.)
  • Furloughed hours (Use the decimals format.)
  • If the employee has just returned from statutory leave, then place them under furlough.
  • Keep in mind that HMRC may not accept the template if the right format is not used in providing information. A warning will immediately be shown on the screen to let the employer or agent know that HMRC will not be able to process the claim. 

HMRC advised that the users must do the following to prevent the template from being rejected:

  • The employee information needed should only be the ones that you will  provide. If not, then your template will likely be rejected or HMRC will be asking you again for some information.
  • For each employee, submit only one line for the entire period.
  • Within a claim, the computation should not be broken down into several periods. 
  • Avoid splitting up the data by contract type. (For instance, those that are paid weekly should be claimed together with those that are paid monthly.) 
  • Avoid adding or subtracting columns than what is necessary. 
  • The file that you will upload should be saved as an .xlsx. Use only the template that is provided by HMRC when making a claim.

The Process is Much Quicker

  • Based on the experience of one user, it only took her less than 5 minutes to process the claims of 35 employees. Usually, this task will take about 30 minutes to complete. Although, at the beginning, it will take time to get used to the template. However, once it’s done, making claims will be much easier and quicker.
  • The only thing that worries the user is that she can’t see what has been uploaded, in contrast to doing it manually wherein every information will be checked before moving on to the next employee. When the process is done manually, you will be able to see each employee’s name. However, as long as the records are well maintained, it will work just fine.

The Template Is Too Late for Some People

For the past year, payroll personnel and agents have been trying to avoid making furlough claims for several employees. The struggle of accomplishing this task has become the constant complaint of most users.  

However, as new users are welcoming the template, the news was a bit too late for those agents and payroll staff who have been working so hard for months on making CJRS claims. Furthermore, this time saving tool was launched just as the lockdown restrictions were not so strict anymore.

According to one user, now that the country has started re-opening and employers have ceased furlough and only made fewer claims, HMRC launched a template for 16 to 99 employees. It seems that they are 12 months late. This is actually true for agents who have clients that now have less than 16 employees on furlough. 

On the other hand, another user was not impressed by the launching of the template because it seems that Gov.uk kept it hidden without any announcements. In fact, it has caused a tremendous wasted time of many people over a period of one year. HMRC just makes the situation even worse by telling us that the template only works for fewer employees. If you are interested in using the template, then you can download the template here.

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Daniel is the co founder of More Than Accountants and an ACCA Chartered Accountant. He will be more than happy to help More Than Accountants clients implement any guides or strategies that he has posted to the blog. If you would like to learn more about becoming a More Than Accountants client you can quote online by using our Unlimited Accountancy Services Quoting Tool.

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