Budget 2021 Snapshot: Taxpayer Protection Taskforce launched to combat fraud within Covid-19 packages
Robert Brooker, Head of Fraud and Forensic at PKF GM comments on the new Taxpayer Protection Taskforce
“The government is spending £100m on a new Taxpayer Protection Taskforce and recruiting 1,200 new HMRC investigators to combat fraud within Covid-19 support packages such as the Job Retention Scheme (JRS). They will be responsible for investigating and combatting “those who have sought to fraudulently claim taxpayers’ money.”
HMRC has previously admitted that as much as £3.5bn of the £35bn jobs support scheme may have wrongly claimed through a mix of ‘error and fraud’.
Such investment by the government will increase the number of investigations they carry out on previous JRS claims to ensure compliance. An increase in investigations brings the likelihood of more fines as the government looks to recoup some of the £100m outlay which is on top of the billions paid out through the JRS. It’s therefore worth spending some time now double checking the accuracy of the claims you have made.
Given the scale and speed of the response to the pandemic, it’s indisputable that significant fraud has occurred. We are already seeing a significant number of claims being investigated by HMRC and this further investment is a clear notice of intent that they are now going to increase and intensify their approach in this area.
This follows an expectation that initial processing by HMRC would be followed by selective and detailed reviews. This is clearly now being implemented and indicates that HMRC have to date identified significant incorrect claims, justifying further investment in this area.”
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