You have written agreements from your furloughed workers. They have been furloughed for at least 3 weeks and they were on an RTI submission for your PAYE payroll to HMRC on or before 19 March. Now you want to make a claim under CJRS.

From the government guidance, here is what you need to know:

You can only make one claim which includes all your furloughed employees during a claim period so you should do that shortly before or during running payroll. You can’t make changes to your claim, so take the time to prepare well and get it right. Remember it takes 6 working days for the cleared funds to reach your UK bank account.

The big question is do you want to make the claim yourself or are you asking your agent – authorised to act for you on PAYE matters online – to make the claim for you?

What is an authorised agent? If you outsource your payroll to someone like us – chartered accountants or a payroll agency – so long as we are authorised to act for you with HMRC for PAYE online, we can make your claim for you.

But, beware. We must be authorised to act for you for PAYE online services with HMRC. It is possible that we run your payroll, but we are not authorised to act for you on PAYE matters. Basically, that means although we can file your returns, we are not authorised to speak to HMRC about PAYE matters on your behalf. In our own practice, we have both types of payroll clients – so it is important to check.

If we’re not currently authorised don’t worry. We can request authorisation, but it can take up to ten days for the authorisation to come through from HMRC. The authorisation codes will come through to your registered business address, so you will need to make sure you check the post. Once we have the necessary authorisation, we can then make your claim.

We are already making claims for some of our payroll clients and, where we do not run their payrolls, we are still very happy to help clients prepare their claims.

Wayne Thomas, Partner at Bates Weston, comments:

“The quickly drafted and frequently changing legislation for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, means that there is a degree of uncertainty about the application and processes around the scheme. We are happy to help with calculating furlough pay, processing payrolls and making reclaims under the CJR scheme but with the understanding that our advice is given in good faith based on the best of our current knowledge. The treatment of annual leave and bank holidays for furloughed staff, for example, is yet to be clarified by HMRC.

As the guidance from HMRC regarding making claims has now been published and the CJR Scheme is open to claims, we are beginning to submit our first claims on behalf of our clients. The scheme, if it operates as expected, will be a much-needed lifeline for many SMEs and, as an experienced fully accredited payroll operator, we are well placed to help our clients access the government support available.”

If you choose to make your own claim, you need to gather specific information before calculating and making your claim. You will need your Government Gateway ID and password, and an active PAYE enrolment to do this. The government guidance document is available here. The guidance is designed to be clear, but if you find you need help, please do get in touch.