The Eat Out to Help Out scheme ran during August. HMRC is now checking claims for accuracy. What do you need to know?

Helping out

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.

Since then it has transpired that HMRC is writing to some businesses to prompt them to check their claims were correct. The letter is not a formal enquiry but if you don’t respond within 60 days HMRC is entitled to open one. If that happens and it transpires that you did overclaim, whether intentionally or not, you will probably be charged a penalty and interest.

Our advice 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.

This article has been reproduced by kind permission of Indicator – FL Memo Ltd. For details of their tax-saving products please visit or call 01233 653500.