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Markel Tax

21 Apr 2020

Job retention grant claims portal now open

HMRC chief executive, Jim Harra, said on BBC Radio Four this morning that employers had made 67,000 claims for workers in the first 30 minutes of the claim portal going live.  This information alleviates concerns that the software for registering claims may have struggled to cope with the expected volume of claims.

It is understood that the claim system can process up to 450,000 applications an hour.

A detailed guide to making a claim for grant income under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was released on the webpage this weekend.  The booklet should be read before making a claim through the online portal. 

The claim will be made using the Government Gateway so applicants will need to have registered to use the service for PAYE and have their log-in details ready before starting.  An agent can make the claim where they have authority to act in respect of PAYE matters on behalf of their client.

While employers will be grateful that the CJRS portal is now active, we note that, with an additional six working days before receiving payments, any claim processed on 20 April would not be paid until 28 April.  The earliest possible payment date will be roughly 59 days from the first furloughs which came into effect on 1 March.  Given that some employers may have had to pay furloughed employees through that period, some earlier grant funding would have been appreciated.

Mr Harra told The Today Programme "The big payroll date this month is on the 30th, so employers can claim anytime today, tomorrow or on Wednesday, and there's time to get that money into their account for by April 30."

The detail of how to claim is set out in the latest guidance.  This shows that the following information must be to hand before starting the online claim process:

  1. The number of employees being furloughed

  2. The dates employees have been furloughed to and from

  3. Details of employees – the name and National Insurance Number of each furloughed employee

  4. Your employer PAYE scheme reference number

  5. Your Corporation Tax Unique Taxpayer Reference, Self-Assessment Unique Taxpayer Reference or Company Registration Number as appropriate for your entity

  6. Your UK bank account details

  7. Your organisation’s registered name

  8. Your organisation’s address

The total amount to be claimed must also have been calculated before making a claim.  This should be broken down into the gross pay, the employer’s NIC on that amount and 3% grant towards the employer’s pension contribution if the employee is a member of a pension scheme. HMRC have launched a calculator tool to help work out the figures – this tool is aimed at organisations with a small number of employees.

It is important to have all of this information to hand before starting to make the application as the Government gateway will time out after 30 minutes of inactivity and does not have a save and return function at present.  Where more than 100 employees are included within the claim, a file should be prepared and uploaded using .xls, .xlsx, .csv or .ods formats

The guidance states that:

  1. HMRC will verify your claim and you will receive the funds in six working days. To help them to support as many businesses as possible, please do not contact HMRC before six working days have passed as they will not be able to help you with your claim.

  2. Keep hold of your claim reference number – one way of doing this is to print out the confirmation screen.

  3. You should retain calculations that form the basis of your claim in case further information is required by HMRC.

  4. Tell your furloughed employees that you have made a claim and that they do not need to take any further action. They should not contact HMRC to check the status of a claim as the information will not be available.

The Government gateway portal can be found here

The booklet this information is drawn from is available from here.

The most up to date additional government guidance is available here.

You may check service availability here.

David Harmer is an Associate Director at Markel Tax and can be contacted on 0333 920 5708 or email

Tagged Employer solutions Grant funding COVID-19
Next article in series

20 Apr 2020

Guidance for employers, furlough and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: Latest updates