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HMRC launched its online claim service and portal for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) on 20th April 2020 and the online portal was updated on 11th November to allow new claims on the extended CJRS. Employers can continue to make existing claims or make new claims for employees who have previously been furloughed if they are eligible.
In advance of the March 2021 Budget, the Chancellor announced the extension of the furlough scheme (Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme or ‘CJRS’) until the end of September 2021. Workers will continue to receive 80% of their current salary for hours they do not work due to furlough. This will be provided by a grant to their employers.
Employers will need to make a contribution of 10% of the worker’s salary for unworked hours in July 2021, and a 20% contribution in August and September 2021. The £2,500 monthly limit for the grant remains in place.
You can use our guide to help you make a claim using the government’s online portal.
On 31st October 2020 as a result of the ongoing pandemic, the government announced that the CJRS furlough scheme was being extended for six months and will remain open until 31st March 2021, on 17th December the scheme was extended for a further month to 30th April 2021 at the 80% level, then in the Budget on 3rd March 2021, the scheme was extended againto the end of September 2021.
The extended scheme is available throughout the UK and is open to new entrants who have not previously claimed. Existing claimants can also continue to claim under the extended scheme.
Businesses will have the flexibility to use the scheme for employees for any amount of time and shift pattern, including furloughing them full-time or part-time.
For claim periods running to the end of June 2021, employees will receive 80% of their usual salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month. There is no employer contribution to wages for hours not worked. Employers will continue to pay employer’s National Insurance Contributions (NIC) and any minimum pension auto-enrolment contributions for the hours the employee does not work.
From July 2021, employers will be required to contribute towards the worker’s salary, with a 10% contribution in July 2021, and 20% in August and September.
The £2,500 cap is proportional to the hours not worked. This means that the previously announced switch to the Job Support Scheme will be postponed until the extended CJRS is closed. Further details on the changes from July 2021 will be updated in this article, once available.
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) allows UK employers to furlough employees and apply for a grant from the government covering up to 80% of the affected employees’ usual monthly wage costs up to a maximum of £2,500 (per month).
The latest extension to the scheme was announced in March 2021, but the original scheme was launched back in March 2020.
Employers small or large, charitable or non-profit, are eligible for the extended Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), which will continue until September 2021.
The level of the grant will mirror levels available under the outgoing CJRS in August 2020, so for claim periods running to the end of September 2021, employees will receive 80% of their usual salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month. The £2,500 cap is proportional to the hours not worked. The government will pay the salary for employees, and employers will pay employer National Insurance Contributions (NICs) and pension contributions only for the hours the employee does not work.
The government announced at the March 2021 Budget that employers will need to contribute 10% towards the payment in July 2021, and 20% towards the payment in August and September. Employers will continue to be asked to pay employer’s National Insurance Contributions (NIC) and any minimum pension auto-enrolment contributions for the hours the employee does not work.
Further details, including how to claim this extended support through an updated claims service, are detailed below. You must make a claim each month for all employees you are furloughing (see later in this article for how to claim).
The extended CJRS will operate as the outgoing scheme, with businesses being paid upfront to cover wages costs.
Businesses have the flexibility to bring furloughed employees back to work on a part-time basis or furlough them full-time, and will only be asked to cover National Insurance and employer pension contributions which, for the average claim, accounts for about 5% of total employment costs.
For periods starting on or after 1st May 2021, you can claim for employees who were employed on 2nd March 2021, as long as you have made a PAYE Real Time Information (RTI) submission to HMRC between 20th March 2020 and 2nd March 2021, notifying a payment of earnings for that employee. You do not need to have previously claimed for an employee before the 2nd March 2021 to claim for periods starting on or after 1st May 2021.
Employees that were employed and on a company payroll on 23rd September 2020 who were made redundant or stopped working afterwards can be re-employed and claimed for under the extended CJRS. To be eligible the employer must have made an RTI submission to HMRC from 20th March 2020 to 23rd September 2020, notifying a payment of earnings for those employees.
The extended CJRS will continue to run until the end of September 2021. The Job Support Scheme, which was scheduled to come in on 1st November 2020, has been postponed and it is not clear if it will be implemented at all.
The government announced that the last day for making or amending any existing claims under the previous version of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) was 30th November 2020. This covered claims for the period 30th June to 31st October 2020. Any claims for the period from 1st November 2020 will be made under the extended CJRS rules.
On 24th September 2020, the government announced a new Job Support Scheme (JSS) to replace the outgoing Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). As a result of the ongoing pandemic, the new JSS scheme will now not be introduced until the extended CJRS closes (currently not before 30th September 2021).
The JSS scheme when it comes in will not be a direct replacement for the CJRS. Employers will continue to pay an employee for time worked, but the costs of hours not worked will be split between the employer and the government (through wage support) and the employee (through a wage reduction). Importantly, the employee will keep their job.
Crunch has prepared a guide with more information about the proposed Job Support Scheme, who is eligible and with worked examples of the financial impact on employers and employees.
The government had previously announced that there would be a £1,000 Job Retention Bonus available to employers in February 2021. This scheme has now been suspended due to the extension of the CJRS. The government has said they will not pay the Job Retention Bonus in February 2021 but instead redeploy a retention incentive at the right time.
The original plan was that employers would be able to claim a one-off payment of £1,000 for every employee they have previously received a grant for under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and who remains continuously employed until 31st January 2021.
What you need to do now
If you intended to claim the Job Retention Bonus, you’ll need to wait to hear whether it will be reintroduced at a later date. You should continue to ensure that you:
The government has said: “If you cannot maintain your workforce because your operations have been affected by coronavirus (COVID-19), you can furlough employees and apply for a grant to cover a portion of their usual monthly wage costs where you record them as being on furlough.”
Under the extended CJRS rules any UK employer can claim, but they must have:
If you’re claiming for a period that starts on or after 1st November 2020, then you can only claim for furloughed employees that were employed and on payroll on 30th October 2020. This means you must have made a PAYE RTI submission to HMRC between 20th March 2020 and 30th October 2020, notifying a payment of earnings for that employee. This may differ where you have re-employed an employee after 23rd September 2020.
Claims can be made by employers across the UK that meet the eligibility criteria. All employers with a UK bank account and UK PAYE schemes can claim the grant. Neither the employer nor the employee needs to have previously used the CJRS.
The government expects that publicly funded organisations will not use the scheme, as has already been the case for CJRS, but partially publicly funded organisations may be eligible where their private revenues have been disrupted. All other eligibility requirements apply to these employers.
To be eligible for CJRS an employer must agree with the employee that they are a ‘furloughed worker’. In addition:
We have a template letter (Word doc 8Kb) that can be used to send to all employees who are being furloughed along with a template that can be used for a Board meeting minutes (Word doc 8Kb) confirming the decision to furlough directors and/or employees.
To be eligible to claim under the extended CJRS, employees must have been on an employer’s PAYE payroll by 23:59 30th October 2020. This means a Real-Time Information (RTI) submission notifying payment for that employee to HMRC must have been made on or before 30th October 2020.
The government has also confirmed the following:
Furloughed employees can:
HMRC will check claims. Payments may be withheld or need to be paid back if a claim is found to be fraudulent or based on incorrect information. You can report suspected fraud in the Coronavirus Job Retention scheme.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grants are not classed as state aid.
HMRC has also confirmed that from February 2021 in order to deter fraudulent claims, they will publish information about employers who claim for periods starting on or after 1st December 2020.
The following information will be published on GOV.UK:
HMRC will also be improving the information available to furloughed employees by including details of claims made for them, for claim periods starting on or after 1st December 2020 in their Personal Tax Account on GOV.UK.
You can apply to HMRC to request that they do not publish details of your employers claiming through the scheme if you can show that publicising these would result in serious risk of violence or intimidation to certain relevant individuals, or any individual living with them.
Businesses using the scheme can decide to bring previously furloughed employees back to work part-time – with the government continuing to pay 80% of wages for any of the normal hours not worked.
Any working hours arrangement agreed between a business and their employee must cover at least one week and be confirmed to the employee in writing. When claiming the CJRS grant for furloughed hours, they will need to report and claim for a minimum period of a week.
Employers can make claims for longer periods such as monthly or two weekly cycles if preferred. Employers will be required to submit data on the usual hours an employee would be expected to work in a claim period and actual hours worked.
If employees are unable to return to work, or employers do not have work for them to do, they can remain on furlough and the employer can continue to claim the grant for their full hours under the existing rules.
If you are a director of a limited company, even if you are the sole director of the company (ie. a personal service company) you can claim your PAYE salary costs up to the maximum of 80% of your average monthly wages (capped at £2,500 per month).
You cannot claim for any income from your company taken by way of dividends.
Your company will need to record its decision to place a director on furlough leave – this can be part-time or flexible furlough. The director may take on another job or alternative work (as a sole trader for instance) unrelated to your business.
We have a template letter (Word doc 8Kb) that can be used to send to all employees who are being furloughed along with a template that can be used for a Board meeting minutes (Word doc 8Kb) confirming the decision to furlough directors and/or employees.
If you’re a Crunch limited company client and you decide to furlough yourself (or another director), you should process your Directors salary and submit your RTI via your Crunch App for your salary in the usual way. Our guidance on the tax-efficient salary for a Director in the 2020/21 tax year is up to the National Insurance secondary threshold of £732.33 per month (£8,788 per annum). Please see below (Accounting for the reduced payroll expenses in your Crunch account if you are a sole director/sole employee) on how to update your Crunch account if you decide to reduce your salary amount.
Under the outgoing CJRS scheme, you had to calculate your CJRS claim based on the last salary amount you filed with HMRC before 19th March 2020. For a director taking a tax-efficient salary in the 2019/20 tax year, this would usually mean £719 per month. You could not claim based on the higher tax-efficient salary amount for the 2020/21 tax year (£732 per month) you may have chosen to pay yourself after 6th April 2020.
If the director/employee was previously furloughed at any point between April and 31st October 2020, you should calculate the 80% amount based on the salary reported for previous CJRS claims. This usually means the average monthly salary during the 2019/20 tax year or the actual salary filed in an RTI submission before 19th March 2020.
If the director/employee was not furloughed at any point between April and 31st October 2020 or did not submit any claims or qualify for CJRS, then the employee’s claim will be calculated based on their last pay period ending on or before 30th Oct 2020 and filed in an RTI submission before that date. These employees will only be eligible for periods starting on or after 1st November 2020.
If the director/employee has not filed a fixed monthly salary in the 2020/21 tax year to date, then the employer should base the calculation on 80% of average monthly salary from 6th April 2020 to the day their furlough started. Alternatively, the calculation can be made based on the gross salary paid during the same month of the 2019/20 tax year. This means the gross salary for the purpose of the claim for November 2020, will be based on the gross salary from November 2019.
For flexible furlough, the claim is based on the “usual” hours worked on or before 19th March 2020 if previously furloughed. However, if flexible furlough started after 1st November 2020, the calculation is made based on the usual hours worked from 6th April 2020 and up to the employee’s first day of furlough on or after 1st November 2020.
Your employees will still pay the taxes under PAYE arrangements.
Employers must deduct and pay HMRC Income Tax and employee National Insurance contributions on the full amount paid, including any CJRS scheme grant for the employee.
Employers must also pay HMRC the employer National Insurance contributions on the full amount that you pay the employee, including any CJRS grant.
Employers must report these payments via a Full Payment Submission (FPS) to HMRC on or before the pay date.
The employer will also still pay pension contributions (both employer and automatic contributions from the employee) unless the employee has opted out or stopped saving into their pension. Since 1st August 2020 employers are not able to claim for employer NICs and pension contributions.
There is no maximum number of employees you can claim for under the extended CJRS from 1st November 2020.
Claims are made using HMRC online portal. Before you make a claim you need to calculate how much to claim for each employee and the total amount you wish to claim for the claim period.
As with the outgoing CJRS, employers can choose to top up employee wages above the scheme grant at their own expense if they wish.
For hours not worked by the employee, the government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500. The grant must be paid to the employee in full.
Employers will pay employer NICs and pension contributions and should continue to pay the employee for any hours worked in the normal way.
Payments will be made six working days after you make your claim.
Before you can calculate how much you can claim from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme you’ll need to work out your employees’ wages. To do this you must work out:
A claim period is the total number of days you are claiming a grant for. If you’re making a new claim on CJRS then your claim period starts on the date your first employee was furloughed.
Claim periods must:
Claim periods cannot overlap and you can only make one claim for any period so you must include all your furloughed or flexibly furloughed employees in one claim even if you pay them at different times. If you make more than one claim, your subsequent claim cannot overlap with any other claim that you make. Where employees have been furloughed or flexibly furloughed continuously (or both), the claim periods must follow on from each other with no gaps in between the dates.
If you’ve already claimed for an employee who was on furlough during October 2020 or earlier, and they are paid a fixed salary, you will follow the same usual wage calculation for claim periods from 1st November 2020.
The amount you should use when calculating 80% of your employees’ wages for hours not worked, is made up of the regular payments you are obliged to make, including:
You cannot include the following when calculating wages:
Employers must make sure that all of the grant received to cover an employee’s subsidised furlough pay is paid to the employee in the form of money. No part of the grant should be netted off to pay for the provision of benefits or a salary sacrifice scheme.
You can include non-discretionary overtime payments when calculating 80% of an employee’s wage.
Employers will need to continue to pay an Apprenticeship Levy as usual. Employers will also need to continue to make Student Loan deductions if these are due for any employee.
If your employee is fully furloughed, you do not need to work out their usual and furloughed hours and you should work out the maximum wage amount.
If your employee is flexibly furloughed you’ll need to calculate the usual hours they work as well as record the actual hours they work and their furloughed hours for each claim period.
HMRC has published full details on how to calculate your employees usual hours, there are different calculations depending on whether they work fixed or variable hours.
HMRC has published full details on the steps to take before calculating your claim.
Calculating the number of working and furloughed hours for each employee
You will have agreed how many hours your flexibly furloughed employee is going to work in the claim period. They will be furloughed for the rest of their usual hours.
To calculate the number of furloughed hours:
If you claim in advance and your employee works for more hours than you agreed, then you’ll have to pay some of the grant back to HMRC. This means that you should not claim until you have certainty about the number of hours your employees are working during the claim period. If you make an error in your claim, you can find out how to correct it.
You must pay the employee their contractually agreed rate for any hours they work. Check the latest National Minimum Wage rates.
For claim periods from 1st November 2020 onwards, the extended CJRS rules apply.
For the extended CJRS from 1st November 2020 to 30th June 2021, the government will pay 80% of employee’s wages capped at £2,500 per month. Employers will need to pay for employer National Insurance contributions and employer pension contributions.
From 1st July employers will be asked to contribute 10% towards hours not worked, and for August and September 2021, they will be asked to contribute 20% towards hours not worked. They will still need to make employers National Insurance Contributions and any auto-enrolment pension contributions.
As a reminder, the following table shows the CJRS grant contributions from July 2020 and going forwards:
|Month||Percentage of reference pay employee gets for furlough||Government contribution||Employer contribution||Government contribution to employer NICs and pension contributions|
|July 2021||80%||70% up to £2,187.50||10% up to £312.50||No|
|August 2021||80%||60% up to £1,875||20% up to £625||No|
|September 2021||80%||60% up to £1,875||20% up to £625||No|
Employers can choose to top up their employees’ wages, but they do not have to. Employees must not work or provide any services for the business during hours which they are recorded as being on furlough, even if they receive a top-up wage.
When making your claim, you cannot claim for:
You must keep a copy of all records for 6 years, including:
HMRC has provided a calculator to help you work out how much you can claim for each employee. The calculator can be used for most employees who are paid either regular or variable amounts each pay period (for example, weekly or monthly).
The calculator cannot be used if employees:
If any of these exemptions apply you will need to use HMRC’s detailed instructions on how to calculate your claim, or speak to your accountant for help. Crunch offer a claim service for their clients. If you’re a Crunch client please speak to your client managers for more information on the service.
If you’re claiming for an employee who is flexibly furloughed, you will need to work out their usual hours before you use the calculator.
You can access HMRC’s CJRS calculator here.
Once you’ve calculated how much you can claim as an employer you’re ready to make a claim using the HMRC online portal.
The online service lets you make claims for your employees’ wages. You’re only allowed to make one claim in any claim period so you must ensure you’ve correctly calculated your claim for all employees you wish to claim for in the claim period.
You’re able to start a claim then save it to complete within seven days of starting it. You can also delete a claim within 72 hours of submitting it.
You cannot make more than one claim during a claim period – HMRC recommend that you make your claim shortly before or at the time of running your company payroll each month. You must claim for all employees in each period at the same time as you cannot make changes to a submitted claim.
HMRC has published a step by step guide we have used as part of this guide. We have also gone through the process of submitting a claim and have screenshots from the process available in our CJRS Walkthrough guide (pdf download).
The service is simple to use and any support you need is available on GOV.UK – this includes help with calculating the amount you can claim (see the links above).
To claim, you will need the following information to hand – we recommend you assemble this information before starting a claim.
|Information needed to submit a claim||Where Crunch clients will find this information|
|You must have a Government Gateway (GG) ID and password for your company. Please do not confuse this with your personal government gateway ID.||Your Government Gateway (GG) user ID will have been provided to you when you set up your GG account. Crunch doesn’t hold this information, so if you don’t have it follow the links under ‘problems signing in‘ on Gov.uk to access your account.|
|You must be enrolled for PAYE online.||Your company’s employer PAYE reference number can be found in your Crunch Account: Go to Your Account (top right corner) > Company Profile > PAYE.
If you are not registered for the PAYE online service, you must register as quickly as possible. The most efficient way to do this is to submit the information needed online yourself. Crunch cannot register your company on your behalf
full instructions are provided at the end of this guide to activate this service in your company GG account. Go to the section entitled ‘Activating “PAYE for employers” online’.
You must ensure your company GG account has the address set to your home address in order to receive the necessary activation code.
|Total number of employees being furloughed|
|the start date and end date of the claim|
|For each furloughed employee you will be claiming for you must provide the employee:
2. National Insurance number
3. Claim period (note 1) and claim amount (see worked examples at the end of this guide)
4. PAYE/employee number (optional)
|Employee personal details number 1, 2 and 4 can be found in Your Account (top right corner) > Company Profile > Employees.|
|Your Self Assessment Unique Taxpayer Reference; or||Personal to company director and provided by HMRC – Your Limited Company to provide|
|Your company’s Corporation Tax Unique Taxpayer Reference; or||Go to Your Account (top right corner) > Company Profile > Corporation Tax|
|Company Registration Number||Go to Your Account (top right corner) > Company Profile. Your Company Registration Number is stated underneath your company name|
|Business bank account number and sort code and the company name the bank account is held in. (only provide bank account details where a BACS payment can be accepted)||Your Limited Company to provide.
If you do not have a business bank account you will need to provide a personal bank account and retain this information to complete your company bank reconciliation.
When completing the application you will also need to confirm the address registered for the bank account you choose to receive payment. This should be your company’s bank account.
|Contact name||Your Limited Company to provide|
|Contact phone number||Your Limited Company to provide|
You will also need to have calculated the full amount that you’re claiming for in the claim period.
You should make a claim each month.
HMRC says you must retain all records and calculations in respect of your claims for six years in case HMRC has any questions about your claim.
If you’re claiming for employees that are flexibly furloughed, you’ll also need:
Payment of your grant may be at risk or delayed if you submit a claim that is incomplete or incorrect.
If you’re putting 100 or more employees on furlough
For claim periods starting on or after 1 July, you can download a template from HMRC if you’re claiming for 100 or more employees and upload this when you claim.
Using this template will help ensure your claim is processed quickly and successfully. Your template may be rejected if you do not give the information in the right format.
All claims for periods from 1st July 2020 to 31st October 2020 must have been submitted no later than 30th November 2020.
Claims from 1st November 2020 must be submitted by 11.59pm 14 calendar days after the month you’re claiming for. If this time falls on the weekend then claims should be submitted on the next working day.
Backdated claims cannot be submitted.
|Claim for furlough days in||Claim must be submitted by|
|November 2020||14th December 2020|
|December 2020||14th January 2021|
|January 2021||15th February 2021|
|February 2021||15th March 2021|
|March 2021||14th April 2021|
|April 2021||14th May 2021|
|May 2021||14th June 2021|
|June 2021||14th July 2021|
|July 2021||16th August 2021|
|August 2021||14th September 2021|
|September 2021||14th October 2021|
HMRC has published full details on what to do if you claim the wrong amount under the CJRS.
Find out what to do if you’ve claimed too much from the scheme.
Find out what to do if you’ve not claimed enough from the scheme.
It’s important that you continue to check each claim is accurate before submitting it, and we would also recommend checking previous claims to avoid any penalties for claiming too much.
If your company has claimed too much CJRS grant and you have not repaid it, you must notify HMRC immediately and repay the money by the latest of whichever date applies below:
You may have to pay interest and a penalty as well as repaying the excess CJRS grant. For more information on interest, go to ‘Interest rates for late and early payments’ on GOV.UK.
You can let HMRC know as part of your next online claim without needing to call – the system will prompt you to add details if you have received too much. If you have claimed too much and do not plan to submit further claims, you can let HMRC know and find out how to make a repayment online. Go to ‘Pay Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grants back‘ on GOV.UK.
HMRC understands mistakes happen, particularly in these challenging times, and will not seek out innocent errors and small mistakes for compliance action.
If you’ve claimed a grant through CJRS, you should check if you need to report payments on the PAYE Real Time Information system, as this will depend on whether you are using the grant to:
If employers have furloughed employees because of the effect of coronavirus on their business, they can claim under the CJRS for periods of paid leave they take while on furlough, including for bank holidays such as Christmas Day or Boxing Day.
If an employee is flexibly furloughed, you can count any time taken as holiday as furloughed hours rather than working hours. This means you can claim 80% of their usual wages for these hours. Employers should not place employees on furlough just because they are going to be on paid leave.
If a furloughed employee takes holiday, their employer should top up their pay to their normal rate in line with the Working Time Regulations. For more information search ‘check if you can claim for your employees’ wages’ on GOV.UK.
You or your clients can claim for regular payments that you are contractually obliged to pay your employees, including compulsory commission, fees and overtime. However, you or your clients cannot claim for discretionary commission, non-contractual bonuses (including tips) and non-cash payments. For more information search ‘steps to take before calculating your claim’ on GOV.UK.
The income your company receives under the scheme is a grant from the government and must be used to offset the costs of placing employees on furlough leave. The amount of grant income received must be included in the company’s accounts for Income Tax and Corporation Tax purposes. Crunch accountants will check this when we prepare your company’s annual accounts.
For this amount to be included as part of the profit calculations on your Crunch account you will need to record this income as interest received from the banking tab. This will ensure you can accurately calculate the amount of dividends available for your company to distribute. Crunch accountants will then reassign the income to an appropriate income ledger when we prepare your company’s annual accounts.
If you are the only person employed by your company (usually a sole director) and have set up a recurring payroll in your Crunch account, and you decide to keep paying yourself the same salary, you do not need to adjust the recurring payroll in your Crunch account.
If you decide to reduce your salary to the amount of grant paid by HMRC, you should take the following action to amend your recurring payroll:
Go to tab Pay Yourself > Payroll Runs > Scheduled payroll runs: Click on Options > Edit.
Here you will need to update the Basic salary to the figure calculated based on either 80% of your monthly salary as of 29th February 2020 if you took a fixed amount each month during the 2019/20 tax year. Or, if you paid yourself variable amounts during the 2019/20 tax year you need to update with 80% of the average monthly salary during the 2019/20 tax year.
If you have not set up a recurring payroll in your Crunch account, and update your payroll monthly, simply include the actual amount you pay yourself.
If your company has employees, you will be a Crunch payroll customer and will need to contact the payroll team on firstname.lastname@example.org to make the necessary changes to your Crunch account.
You must log in to your HMRC company government gateway account.
You must ensure your company government gateway account has the address set to your home address in order to receive the necessary activation code:
You can find out about the other support available to businesses on our COVID-19 content Hub.