Arrests made in connection to £3.4 million furlough fraud

10 May 2021

Reports in the media confirm that two individuals have been arrested in connection with a HMRC investigation into suspected fraudulent use of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) believed to equate to £3.4 million.

Whilst the pair have been released under investigation, they had previously been arrested last month in relation to suspected multi-million-pound tax fraud.

Bank accounts holding over £6 million belonging to the individuals have been frozen by HMRC, following a search warrant that was carried out by its Taxpayer Protection Taskforce staff on 28 April 2021.

The Taxpayer Protection Taskforce was announced in the Budget, delivered by Chancellor, Rishi Sunak on 3 March 2021. The Government committed to investing more than £100 million into this new department which will consist of 1,265 HMRC staff, and is intended to fight fraud across the Government schemes designed to help businesses and individuals through the pandemic, e.g. the CJRS and the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS).

Recent HMRC statistics reveal that over £61 billion has been claimed through the CJRS since its introduction, supporting 11.5 million furloughed jobs across 1.3 million employers.

CIPP comment

The CIPP’s Policy team has advised that, where possible, any employers utilising the CJRS check their claims and the documents that they hold in relation to those submissions. We know that the next big activity from HMRC will be on compliance so the key message is to be prepared. Have you been checking your claims for errors, and if so, have you identified any? Take our latest Quick Poll today.

The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication. For all the latest information, news and resources on how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting payroll professions, visit our Coronavirus hub.