HMRC Starts checks on Eat out scheme

HMRC is writing to businesses in the hospitality sector requesting them to verify their claims made under the Eat Out scheme.

The COVID support scheme was available throughout August. It provided firms with up to £10 per diner to enable them to offer up to 50% discount on food on specific weekdays.

HMRC stated that the compliance checks are part of an effort to recover money paid out in error. Figures from Treasury revealed that more than 84,700 food and drink establishments participated in the Eat Out to Help Out scheme. Around 4,000 claims were made in error. However, now HMRC is approaching these businesses to check that their claims are correct.

More than 84,000 firms participated in the scheme and  If claimants do not respond to the letter within 60 days HMRC can start a formal compliance check. This could result in the business having to pay statutory interest and penalties.

HMRC is giving affected businesses 60 days to respond to the letter. Businesses that fail to respond may be subject to a formal compliance check.In a statement, HMRC said: ‘We understand mistakes happen, particularly in these challenging times. This means we will not look for innocent errors and small mistakes for compliance action.’

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