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  • Writer's pictureRupert Harding

Furlough dilemma

Updated: Sep 10, 2020

The next ethical dilemma: do we pay back furlough? "Dr Martens repays UK furlough cash after strong lockdown sales." The #Guardian 13/08/2020. Alongside #ASOS, #IKEA, #Taylorwimpey (and others), #DrMartens seem to be embracing the true ethos of the current pandemic fiscal partnership between the #UKgovernment and the #UKbusinesscommunity. This seemingly selfless and generous stance by #Permira comes at this time when they appeared to be under no obligation to do so. But wait........what is the Finance Bill 2020, which received Royal Assent on 22 July? Well, it potentially enables HMRC to recoup money from employers that did not use the scheme properly. There will be an “amnesty” of 90 days where employers can get in touch with HMRC about any miscalculations, and they won’t be subject to any financial penalty. However, if not, HMRC can impose a tax charge equivalent of up to 100% of the grant to which any recipient was not entitled and was not repaid. Businesses may now start looking at whether to repay incorrectly claimed grants before this Bill comes into force to avoid penalties. I'm not saying for a minute that this has motivated any company mentioned above, but this "check and balance" will surely encourage us all to check that our consciences are clear in this respect!

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