UK: Coronavirus Support Scheme Fraud - Assessing the Impact

UK: Coronavirus Support Scheme Fraud - Assessing the Impact

As many of the government’s coronavirus support schemes come to an end, the time has come for HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to assess the impact of fraud within them. It has been estimated by HMRC that of the £81.2 billion spent, £5.8 billion has been lost to fraud, accounting for over 7%.

This is in accordance with government assumptions that were made at the original planning phase. The various schemes were designed to prevent as much fraud and error as possible while allowing support to be accessed quickly for those that required it. As measures were enhanced, fraud levels decreased in the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) and Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).

HMRC has recently detailed their approach to error and fraud in a publication. The publication includes their investment in a ‘Taxpayer Protection Taskforce’ and the use of risk and intelligence profiles developed and consistently updated by HMRC compliance risk teams to block suspicious claims from being paid.

HMRC also states: “We aim to produce updated error and fraud estimates for CJRS and SEISS by summer 2022. For the CJRS we will do this by conducting a random enquiry programme and gaining operational data from completed compliance interventions. We expect to refine the SEISS estimates when the full year of 2020 to 2021 Self Assessment data becomes available.”

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