How IPSE membership protects your SEISS and furlough claims

If HMRC open a formal enquiry into your SEISS or furlough claim, putting up a defence can be costly and time-consuming – which is why securing cover against HMRC compliance checks can give you peace of mind.

But did you know that your IPSE membership could mean you’re already covered for SEISS and furlough investigations? Here’s how it works.

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Are investigations already happening?

In June, it emerged that nearly 13,000 investigations into furlough and SEISS claims had already been opened by the end of March 2021; HMRC’s efforts to claw back funds from fraudulent claims and overclaims are therefore well underway.

With an estimated £3.5bn in overclaimed grants expected to be clawed back from the furlough scheme alone, it is likely that thousands more investigations will be opened in the years ahead. 

IPSE tax investigation cover

IPSE’s tax investigation cover – provided by our partners at Markel – can also cover you for SEISS and furlough investigations.

This means that if a formal compliance check is opened on your claim, and HMRC’s opinion or assessment can be challenged, the tax investigations service will continue to fund the defence, undertaken by one of Markel Tax’s investigations consultants.

However, where HMRC can successfully argue that a member was ineligible to make a claim or HMRC have correctly assessed any amounts due, the protection ceases.

Tax investigation cover is a benefit available to IPSE Standard and IPSE Plus members – to learn more about this and other benefits, check our page on using your benefits. Alternatively, you can contact IPSE’s membership team: [email protected].

What should I do if I receive a “nudge” letter?

We are aware that some sole directors of Ltd. Companies are receiving “nudge” letters regarding their furlough claims, indicating that they may have overclaimed and asking them to review their claim to check for any potential overclaiming of grants.

These letters are not a formal compliance check – and it appears they are being sent to many people who were entirely eligible for furlough. However, receiving one should prompt you to thoroughly check your claims dating back to March 2020, reflecting on your interpretation of the guidelines in place at the time the claim was made, and decide if your claims are sufficiently robust to withstand the scrutiny of an HMRC enquiry.

If you respond to a nudge letter to reaffirm your eligibility for grants claimed, you should be certain of your position, as this could impact a future investigation if one is opened.


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IPSE is the leading association for contractors, consultants, interims, freelancers and the self-employed. We strive to bring our members the most comprehensive and useful range of information and services and all the latest news about what affects your business.