The eye-wateringly high furlough fraud figures as the Inland Revenue clamps down on the billions going missing

The eye-wateringly high furlough fraud figures as the Inland Revenue clamps down on the billions going missing

One of the most irritating anecdotal pieces of news for small businesses is to hear about rogues setting up shell companies with mythical staff so as to claim furlough payments and grants during the Covid Crisis.

Totally illegal of course but according to the Inland Revenue literally thousands of fraudsters are ripping off the tax payer. Some 12,828 investigations have been launched since the furlough scheme began as the taxman tries to clamp down on the massive outbreak of fraud. They are investigating thousands of fraudulent loan applications, grants and around 7,500 probes into furlough payments.

The Government has shelled out £64 billion to pay for almost 10 million workers with nearly half that number still on furlough while it has been estimated around £6bn has gone into the pockets of criminals and sometimes just cynical employers.

One case highlighted by the BBC was of a hairdresser who left her job while on Furlough for new employment but didn’t receive a P45. When she checked some weeks later she discovered she was still on furlough at the old job – with her employer still claiming the cash. It is not an isolated example.

HM Revenue & Customers (HMRC) advise whistle-blowers to give them call on 0800 788 887. You do not have to give your personal details, and any information you give will be treated as confidential or you can send them an email form from their website.

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