‘Amnesty’ if you’ve claimed too much from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

The Government has published further guidance in respect to compliance and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), with specific guidance for businesses who find they have claimed too much.

HMRC have said that their priority is to support employers at this challenging time. They will not penalise innocent errors and have provided a 90 day ‘amnesty’ for contacting them in respect of an incorrect claim.

They say “We understand that mistakes happen, particularly in these circumstances and have made it as easy as possible to pay back any money you received that you were not entitled to”.

So, if you have made an error in a claim that means you’ve received too much, whilst you must pay this back to HMRC, for now there is no need to panic.

How to pay the money back

To pay the money back, you can either:

  • tell HMRC as part of your next online claim (your new claim will be reduced and you’ll need to keep a record of the adjustment for 6 years)
  • contact HMRC to pay the money back (you should only do this if you’re not submitting another claim)

If you’ve overclaimed a grant and have not repaid it, you must notify HMRC by the latest of either:

  • 90 days after the date you received the grant you were not entitled to
  • 90 days after the date you received the grant that you were no longer entitled to keep because your circumstances changed
  • 20 October 2020

If you do not do this, you may have to pay a penalty.

What is the ‘amnesty’?

There is a 90 day amnesty enshrined in the Finance Act, which received Royal Assent on 22nd July 2020. This means that in respect to an incorrect CJRS claim made on, or before, 22nd July, you have until 20th October to notify HMRC to arrange repayment.

In light of this, we recommend that employers review the claims submitted to the CJRS in order to identify any inaccuracies. If you are unsure whether you have correctly used the CJRS contact us and we can help. If you act before 20th October you can avoid HMRC penalties but beyond that, HMRC are likely to come down hard on employers who have overclaimed through the CJRS.


This article is for general guidance only. It provides an outline, and may not include points which are important to your situation. You should not depend on this blog without taking advice based on the full facts of your case. The information given was correct at the time of publication.

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