HMRC intends to publish the names and other details of employers which have made claims under the CJRS (furlough scheme) for claim periods from 1 December onwards. HMRC has updated the CJRS guidance to state that employer's names will be published from 26 January 2021, with further details to be published from 1 February 2021.
What information will be published?
HMRC will publish the names of employers which have submitted claims (for claim periods from 1 December 2020 onwards), the company/LLP registration number and value of the claim within a banded range. The bands are:
£1 to £10,000
£10,001 to £25,000
£25,001 to £50,000
£50,001 to 100,000
£100,001 to £250,000
£250,001 to £500,000
£500,001 to £1,000,000
£1,000,001 to £2,500,000
£2,500,001 to £5,000,000
£5,000,001 to £10,000,000
£10,000,001 to £25,000,000
£25,000,001 to £50,000,000
£50,000,001 to £100,000,000
£100,000,001 and above
Individual employees will also be able to see if their employer has made a claim in respect of them if they have an online HMRC account. This is part of the Government's strategy for combatting furlough fraud.
Can employers stop HMRC publishing details of the claims?
HMRC will not publish details of employers claiming through the scheme if they can show that publishing these would result in a serious risk of violence or intimidation to certain individuals (including employees, members, partners and officers of the business, the employer themselves if they are an individual employer, and trustees and beneficiaries where the employer is a trust) or any individual living with them.
Employers can apply online to ask for the information not to be published. They should provide evidence, such as a police incident numbers or documentary evidence of threats/attacks . The employer must make this application - it cannot be done through an agent. HMRC will not publish the details until it has informed the employer of their decision.
What else should I do ahead of publication?
Employers which have made claims in the higher bands should expect particular press attention when figures start to be published. Employers which have issued shareholder dividends or paid out management bonuses while in receipt of public funds should expect particular scrutiny. They should have a strategy in place for responding to this. It may be helpful to give an indication of the number of jobs saved, average pay of furloughed staff, repayment of furlough monies (if applicable) and so on, to counteract the potentially misleading headline figure. With rising controversy about the use of public money during the pandemic, businesses will need to take steps to prevent the temporary lifeline of furlough grants turning into a long-term reputational problem.