Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Portal Launches On 20 April

HMRC has announced that the web portal for handling Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) claims will go live on April 20.

Under the scheme Government will cover 80% of the salaries of ‘furloughed’ workers, up to a total of £2,500 a month

HMRC chief executive Jim Harra told the Treasury select committee the CJRS will be ready to go on Monday April 20. His announcement was accompanied by an HMRC note to tax agents setting out further details:

  • The scheme is due to go live on 20 April with first payments being made 10 days later
  • Future claims will be paid within four to six days
  • The online CJRS service is now undergoing beta testing with a group of selected employers
  • Applicants will access the system using their current government gateway login
  • Further guidance will be issued by HMRC next week (week commencing 13 April) explaining on how to use the system
  • Following the initial backdated claims, claims can be made no more than 14 days before payrolls are run but will be accepted for the different pay periods
  • Tax agents who are authorised to act for PAYE matters will be able to file claims on behalf of their clients
  • File-only agents and payroll bureaus will not be able to access the service “due to data protection reasons”.

CJRS is intended to run for at least three months from 1 March 2020, but it will be extended if necessary. The JRS will cover the cost of wages backdated to 1 March 2020 and is open for workers who were in employment on 28 February.

To access the scheme empoyers will need to:

  • Designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers’, and notify your employees of this change – changing the status of employees remains subject to existing employment law and, depending on the employment contract, may be subject to negotiation
  • Small businesses need to classify employees as a furloughed worker, which means they should not undertake any work for the company while furloughed, including answering calls or emails
  • Submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings through a new online portal (HMRC will set out further details on the information required)

For further details https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme