According to Recruiter.co.uk, the number of investigations launched by HM Revenue & Customs into the underpayment of the apprenticeship Levy has more than doubled in a year.
“According to data obtained by accountancy group UHY Hacker Young, the figures reveal underpayments increased to 84, from 33 in 2017/18. HMRC collected an additional £6.2m through these investigations last year, up from £5.2m in 2017/18.”
The group went on to highlight that the complexity of the Levy has been causing problems for businesses.
We outlined the conditions in our guide to the apprenticeship levy, but some of the issues have come about with larger businesses that have several different operating organisations within the same group that may be liable to pay the Levy, which has not been effectively communicated by the Government.
The lack of guidance around this topic has been an issue since the inception of the levy, with many firms complaining about the lack of guidance given to them before it came into effect.
Responding to the figures, an HMRC spokesperson said:
“The levy helps to deliver new apprenticeships and supports quality training by putting employers at the centre of the system. Employers who are committed to training are able to get back more than they put in by training sufficient numbers of apprentices.”
“Initially, HMRC allowed time for employers to meet with their obligations in respect of the new levy and issued reminders as to those obligations. Using data from the first full year that the levy had been in operation for, HMRC was able to gain a better understanding of compliance and focus more resource to interventions accordingly.”
While HMRC are ensuring that all the necessary Levy payments are being made, the problem remains for existing levy payers – how best to spend the funding?
Part of the Just IT Group, Skills Team hosts a number of useful resources for anyone looking to better understand the Levy.
We hosted a webinar on the myths of the apprenticeship Levy, and a look at how it works in practice. If you’re looking to implement a workforce development programme but have yet to do so, then this webinar is a must-watch.
You can also download a full transcript of the Q&A Session, as well as our guide to workforce development. To find out how you can make the most of your levy,