Post-payment checks to begin on Eat Out to Help Out scheme
HMRC is beginning to write to selected Eat Out to Help Out (EOTHO) claimants to ask them to check their claims.
The EOTHO scheme saw more than 84,000 food and drink establishments take part and offer a 50% discount on eligible purchases on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays during August 2020.
HMRC worked quickly to set up a system to pay restaurants within five working days. Controls were built into the system to protect public money, which included limiting eligibility to food businesses registered with the relevant local authority by 7 July 2020.
Our post-payment compliance checks to recover money paid out incorrectly are now set to begin. As such, we are writing to around 4,000 businesses where our records suggest that they may have made an incorrect claim and asking them to check their claims are correct.
Claimants have 60 to respond to the letter or we may start a formal compliance check. This could include having to pay statutory interest and penalties.
Some claimants may be asked to provide evidence of eligibility and their EOTHO calculations. This follows the similar approach we have taken to post-payment compliance for the Job Retention Scheme and the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.
Text of the letter
Eat Out to Help Out (EOTHO) Scheme – action needed
We regularly make checks on payments made under the Eat Out to Help Out (EOTHO) scheme. Our records show you may need to repay some or all of the payments you have received.
This is because you may have:
- claimed for more EOTHO payments than you were entitled to – this is based on the information we hold about your business, the amounts claimed and the data we hold about the payments you have received by credit and debit card
- one or more EOTHO claims do not appear to be consistent with other EOTHO claims you have made
- not met the conditions to claim or receive EOTHO payments
- other compliance risks that were noted when you made a manual claim for EOTHO
What you need to do now
Please review your records and your EOTHO claim. We understand that mistakes happen, so we have made sure it is easy for you to correct your claim if you need to. If you voluntarily repay any overpaid EOTHO payments, we will not charge you a penalty for the error in your claims.
If your claims were not correct and you need to repay some or all of your EOTHO payments, you need to tell us. This is known as ‘making a disclosure’.
To complete the online disclosure form, go to www.gov.uk and search for ‘pay back Eat Out to Help Out payments’. We will then let you know how to pay what you owe.
If you believe your EOTHO claims were correct and you met the conditions to receive them, you still need to contact us. Please phone us on 0300 322 9430 to tell us about your EOTHO claims.
If you do not make a disclosure or contact us by [SEES to enter date 60 days after date of letter], we may start a formal compliance check. This may mean you have to pay statutory interest and penalties.
We are supporting our customers while tackling serious fraud and criminal attacks. We understand mistakes happen, particularly in these challenging times. This means we will not look for innocent errors and small mistakes for compliance action.
For more information about Eat Out to Help Out, go to www.gov.uk/hmrc/paybackeatout . This will also tell you about the conditions you need to meet to make claims under this scheme. If, after reading the guidance, you are unsure if your EOTHO claims were correct, please phone us on 0300 322 9430. We can then talk to you about your claims.
If you have an authorised tax adviser, please show them this letter.
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