Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme rejects claims after employer accounting errors

The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) has warned businesses to get “their data right” or face delays receiving grants under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).

The warning comes after a number of firms’ applications were rejected for using ‘xls’ or ‘xlsx’ file types to upload financial data.

HMRC guidance states that from 25 August, any files uploaded to claim a grant under the CJRS containing the details of 100 or more furloughed employees “may be automatically rejected” if an incorrect format or file type is used.

Your claim could be rejected, for example, if the file contains too many or too few columns or sheets or is uploaded in an ‘xls’ or ‘xlsx’ file type.

The ICAEW advises that employers claiming for 100 or more employees should use the ‘CSV’ or ‘ODS’ file types or use the HMRC template provided.

The warning follows immediate changes to the way CJRS usual hours are calculated. According to the regulator, HMRC has updated its guidance on “how to perform usual hours calculations where employees come off furlough or flexible furlough partway through a claim period”.

The change comes after confusion about how to calculate an employee’s usual hours, particularly where an employer is claiming for multiple employees and some employees remain furloughed.

The new guidance, found here, now states that if your employee stops being furloughed or flexibly furloughed partway through a claim period when calculating the number of furloughed hours you can claim for, you must ensure:

  • That you only calculate the employee’s usual hours up to the last day of furlough, instead of to the end of the claim period, and
  • That you do not include any working hours after the last day of furlough.

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