HMRC has started writing to 4,000 businesses in the hospitality sector requesting them to verify their claims made under the government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme.
The compliance checks are part of an effort to recover money paid out in error, HMRC said. Treasury figures revealed that more than 84,700 food and drink establishments took part in the Eat Out to Help Out scheme, which offered customers a 50% discount on sit-down meals purchased on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays in August.
130,000 claims were recorded under the scheme, with an estimated cost of £522 million. HMRC has revealed that around 4,000 claims were made in error, and it is now writing to those businesses that submitted the claims to request that they check their records.
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.’