We understand that HMRC are writing to some businesses that claimed under the “Eat Out to Help Out” scheme in August to check their claims are correct.

The scheme allowed businesses to discount their customers’ bills by up to 50% per diner, subject to a £10 per head cap, on particular days of the week in August 2020. The business would then reclaim the discounted amount from the Government. In early November 2020, HMRC published guidance on how businesses could make repayments of amounts claimed where:

  • they discovered that they weren’t actually eligible, or that they had overclaimed; or
  • they had simply decided that they wanted to pay the money back voluntarily

HMRC are now writing letters to businesses to encourage a review of their claims. These letters do not constitute formal enquiries but businesses that receive them are obliged to respond within 60 days or risk HMRC launching an enquiry.

Our advice to businesses making Eat Out claims is to revisit your claim and, if you have overclaimed, follow the guidance here to make repayment as soon as possible to avoid penalties. You must do this yourself – it cannot be done by your accountant or tax advisor on your behalf.