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HMRC launches coronavirus grants crackdown

Individuals who fraudulently claimed coronavirus grants are in HMRC's sights, following a proposed amendment to Finance Bill 2019-21.

In draft legislation posted on GOV.UK, the Revenue outlines how it will be able to recover payments where a recipient was not eligible.

The proposed amendment initially applies to the furlough scheme and the self-employed income support scheme.

Should the amendment gain approval, unspecified penalties will be charged where HMRC can prove cases of deliberate non-compliance.

With the furlough scheme, the Revenue checks if an employee appeared on a real-time information report prior to 19 March to determine eligibility.

However, with the self-employed income support scheme, the worker is asked to confirm whether or not they meet the eligibility criteria.

As of 31 May 2020, around 1.1 million employers had placed workers on furlough for at least three weeks.

Half of the UK's self-employed population - 2.5m - had made claims through the income support scheme amounting to £7.2 billion.

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