Coronavirus: Claim for wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

News article

This guidance was withdrawn on 29 October 2021

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ended on 30 September 2021.

You can:

Claim for some of your employee's wages if you have put them on furlough or flexible furlough because of coronavirus (COVID-19)

Claims for September must have been submitted on or before 14 October 2021. Any amendments for September 2021 must have been made on or before 28 October 2021.

To use the scheme, the steps you'll need to take are:

  1. Check if you can claim
  2. Check which employees you can put on furlough
  3. Steps to take before calculating your claim using the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
  4. Calculate how much you can claim
  5. Claim for your employees' wages
  6. Report a payment in PAYE Real Time Information

If you're an employee you cannot claim for yourself, instead you should check if your employer can use the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Use this service to:

  • claim for your employees' wages
  • save and continue a claim (within 7 days of starting it)
  • delete a claim (within 72 hours of submitting it)

What you'll need

To make a claim, you will need:

  • to be registered for PAYE online
  • your UK, Channel Island or Isle of Man bank account number and sort code (only provide bank account details where a BACS payment can be accepted)
  • the billing address on your bank account (this is the address on your bank statements)
  • your employer PAYE scheme reference number
  • the number of employees being furloughed
  • each employee's National Insurance number (you will need to search for their number using basic PAYE tools if you do not have it or follow the instructions when claiming if your employee has a temporary number or genuinely has never had one)
  • each employee's payroll or employee number (optional)
  • the start date and end date of the claim
  • the full amounts of employee wages you're claiming for
  • your phone number
  • contact name

You also need to provide (where applicable) your:

  • name (or the employer's name if you're an agent)
  • Corporation Tax unique taxpayer reference
  • Self-Assessment unique taxpayer reference
  • company registration number

If you’re claiming for employees that are flexibly furloughed, you’ll also need:

  • the number of usual hours your employee would usually work in the claim period
  • the number of hours your employee has or will work in the claim period
  • you will also need to keep a record of the number of furloughed hours your employee has been furloughed in the claim period

It is important that you provide the data HMRC need to process your claim. Payment of your grant may be at risk or delayed if you submit a claim that is incomplete or incorrect.

Using an agent to do PAYE online
If you use an agent who is authorised to do PAYE online for you, they will be able to claim on your behalf.

If you’re using an agent you must:

  • get their agent ID (your agent can get this from their HMRC online service for agents account under ‘authorise client’)
  • be enrolled for PAYE online for employers
  • give them your UK bank account details (only provide bank account details where a BACs payment can be accepted)

If you would like to use an agent, but do not have one authorised to do PAYE online for you, you can do that by accessing your HMRC online services and selecting 'Manage Account'.

You can also use this service to remove authorisation from your agent if you do not want it to continue after they have submitted your claims.

If you're putting 16 or more employees on furlough
You can download a template if you’re claiming for 16 or more employees.

You must upload the template in .xlsx or .csv format when you claim. If you have already saved the claim forms in a different format (such as .xls or .ods), you must save them again as .xlsx or .csv files. The other formats are no longer accepted.

Using these templates will help make sure your claim is processed quickly and successfully. Your template may be rejected if you do not give the information in the right format.

Return to the service

You can still return to the service to:

  • make a late claim – only in certain circumstances
  • view a previous claim
  • delete a claim (you must do this within 72 hours of starting the claim)

You'll need the Government Gateway user ID and password you got when you registered for PAYE online.

If you have missed the claim deadline

For claim periods from 1 November 2020, HMRC may accept late claims or amendments if you have:

  • taken reasonable care to try and claim on time
  • a reasonable excuse
  • claimed as soon as your reasonable excuse no longer applies

You may have a reasonable excuse if for example:

  • your partner or another close relative died shortly before the claim deadline
  • you had an unexpected stay in hospital that prevented you from dealing with your claim
  • you had a serious or life-threatening illness, including coronavirus (COVID-19) related illnesses, which prevented you from making your claim (and no one else could claim for you)
  • a period of self-isolation prevented you from making your claim (and no one else could make the claim for you)
  • your computer or software failed just before or while you were preparing your online claim
  • service issues with HMRC online services prevented you from making your claim
  • a fire, flood or theft prevented you them from making your claim
  • postal delays that you could not have predicted prevented you from making your claim
  • delays related to a disability you have prevented you from making your claim
  • an HMRC error prevented you from making your claim

If you’ve missed the claim deadline and have a reasonable excuse, you can submit a request from the page where you choose your claim month. You should make your claim as soon as your reasonable excuse no longer applies.

After you've claimed

Once you've claimed, you'll get a claim reference number. HMRC will then check that your claim is correct and pay the claim amount by BACs into your bank account within six working days.

You must:

  • keep a copy of all records for six years, including:
    • the amount claimed and claim period for each employee
    • the claim reference number for your records
    • your calculations in case HMRC need more information about your claim
    • for employees you flexibly furloughed, usual hours worked including any calculations that were required
    • for employees you flexibly furloughed, actual hours worked
  • tell your employees that you have made a claim and that they do not need to take any more action
  • pay your employee their wages, if you have not already

You must pay the full amount you are claiming for your employee’s wages to your employee. You must also pay the associated employee tax and National Insurance contributions to HMRC, even if your company is in administration. If you’re not able to do that, you’ll need to repay the money back to HMRC.

You must also pay to HMRC the employer National Insurance contributions on the full amount that you pay the employee. If you have submitted a claim for the employer National Insurance contributions and pension contributions, then the full amount you claim in respect of these must be paid or you will need to repay the money back to HMRC.

Employers cannot enter into any transaction with the worker which reduces the wages below the amount claimed. This includes any administration charge, fees or other costs in connection with the employment. Where an employee had authorised their employer to make deductions from their salary, these deductions can continue while the employee is furloughed provided that these deductions are not administration charges, fees or other costs in connection with the employment.

When the government ends the scheme
When the scheme closes, you must decide to either:

When employers are making decisions about how and when to end furlough arrangements, equality and discrimination laws will apply in the usual way.

Tax Treatment of the Coronavirus Job Retention Grant
Payments you've received under the scheme are to offset the deductible revenue costs of your employees. You must include them as income when you calculate your taxable profits for Income Tax and Corporation Tax purposes.

Businesses can deduct employment costs as normal when calculating taxable profits for Income Tax and Corporation Tax purposes.

Individuals with employees that are not employed as part of a business (such as nannies or other domestic staff) are not taxable on grants received under the scheme. Domestic staff are subject to Income Tax and National Insurance contributions on their wages as normal.

How to report grant payments in Real Time Information
Find out how to report Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grant payments on Real Time Information submissions.

How to pay the grant back

Find out how to pay all or some of your grant back if you:

  • have overclaimed
  • do not need the grant
  • want to make a voluntary payment

Contacting HMRC

Use HMRC's digital assistant to find more information about the COVID-19 support schemes.

You can also contact HMRC if you cannot get the help you need online.

HMRC are receiving a very high number of calls, so don't contact HMRC unnecessarily. This will help them manage their essential public services during these challenging times.

There is no right of appeal if you are ineligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

You should contact HMRC if you think you do not meet the eligibility criteria due to:

  • an HMRC error
  • unreasonable delays caused by HMRC

You can use HMRC's complaints service if you are not satisfied with the way they have handled your claim.

Other help and support

You can watch videos and register for free webinars to learn more about the support available to help you deal with the economic impacts of COVID-19.

You can read previous versions of this guidance on The National Archives.

First published 10 April 2020