Posted: Wed 8th Apr 2020
_The application system for the new scheme that allows employers to claim a grant for 80% of employee wages will launch on 20 April.
Jim Harra, chief executive and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), today confirmed the date for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme website during a meeting of the Treasury Committee.
He said the first payments through the system will be made by 30 April.
Harra revealed that the portal is being tested by a small group of employers today and that the government is "confident it will be able to cope with the very large number of claims we expect to receive". It has been tested up to a volume of 450,000 claims an hour, he said.
In a separate note sent to accountants and other advisers, HMRC said: "At this point we would welcome you contacting your clients and offering yourselves as vital support during this process, either directly, if authorised, or indirectly if you are a file only agent.
"We are expecting phone demand to be beyond our capacity to offer a normal service. Therefore, the service is designed to be self-serve with guidance in place. Again, your support in helping us achieve this is called on."
Through the Job Retention Scheme, employers must furlough their staff by putting them on temporary leave for a minimum of three weeks. The government will then refund 80% of salaries up to a maximum of £2,500 a month.
The government has confirmed that limited company directors can use the scheme but the grants will be based on PAYE salaries rather than dividends.
HMRC has released guidance and Harra said more guidance will be released soon including support that allows as many employers as possible to use the system without help.
According to the Resolution Foundation, more than nine million workers will be furloughed through the scheme with the cost to the taxpayer estimated at £30 -40bn.
The latest coronavirus support information
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