HMRC to begin compliance checks on Eat Out to Help Out payments

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HMRC to begin compliance checks for Eat Out to Help Out payments restaurants hospitality

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HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is to contact around 4,000 hospitality businesses asking them to check their claims for meals in the Government’s Eat Out to Help Out (EOHO) scheme.

As part of its post-payment compliance checks to recover money paid out incorrectly, HMRC is writing to selected EOHO claimants stating that they may need to repay some or all of the payments they have received.

Reasons for this include a business having claimed for more EOHO payments than they were entitled to based on the information HMRC holds about a business, the amounts claimed and the data we hold about the payments you have received by credit and debit card; one or more claims inconsistent with other claims that have been made; a failure to meet the conditions to claim or receive payments or other compliance risks that were noted when a manual claim for EOHO was made.

The EOHO 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 says 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.

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.

Earlier this month three people were arrested​ on suspicion of fraud relating to the EOHO scheme.

Claimants will have 60 days to respond to the letter or HMRC says it may start a formal compliance check, which could include having to pay statutory interest and penalties.

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