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Who needs to know this?

Any businesses that received support from the government during the COVID 19 pandemic should be aware of HMRC’s efforts to target abuse of those schemes.

To the end of March 2022, HMRC’s recently formed Taxpayer Protection Task Force, which was established to recover COVID Support scheme monies lost through fraud and error, had opened nearly 41,000 one to one enquiries and investigations and it had contacted 63,000 businesses through its nudge letter campaigns, also known as one-to-many campaigns.

In July 2022, the Taxpayer Protection Task Force comprised 1,100 HMRC officers and HMRC is intent on recovering all the £6bn that is believed to have been lost to fraud and error across all the COVID support schemes.

Why is it important?

Given HMRC’s increased focus in this area, business owners should be satisfied that all claims made were correct. If not, we recommend having the claims reviewed.

If a disclosure of fraud or error is necessary, specialist advice should be sought as an incomplete disclosure could lead to genuine claims being scrutinised and HMRC asking questions into other areas of the business.

If communication is received from HMRC suggesting that claims were incorrect or stating that an enquiry or investigation has been opened, we recommend seeking advice from our Tax Dispute Resolution experts.

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