Clearance plans, fraud: Urssaf checks intensify

Since the beginning of the year, Urssaf has been stepping up its checks on companies. The aim is both to combat fraud and to recover social security contributions from companies affected by the health crisis.

Fraud prevention and non-fraudulent debt collection

While companies in difficulty still benefit from a certain degree of leniency, those who have taken the risk of fraudulently taking advantage of the various public support schemes are exposed to heavy penalties.

Since the beginning of the year, Urssaf has been focusing on the recovery of unpaid debts and the fight against fraud. One of the most common types of fraud, even if the number of companies involved is small, is short-time working.

Taking advantage of the winter epidemic rebound and the return to teleworking, some companies have chosen to put their employees on partial activity while continuing to make them work, which is strictly forbidden. Urssaf is extremely vigilant in detecting this kind of fraudulent practice.

Since January, the emphasis has also been on the recovery of non-fraudulent unpaid invoices. While the Urssaf had already shown flexibility in March 2020, at the very start of the health crisis, by suspending forced recoveries, these resumed in July 2021, but were limited to situations of concealed work.

From now on, companies that have still not begun to repay their debts, despite the payment plans and personalized payment schedules offered from the beginning of 2021, can hardly expect the same tolerance from Urssaf.


Particular flexibility for companies hardest hit by the crisis

The collection of social security debts has intensified since last October. In the first instance, it has targeted those companies most spared by the health crisis, considered by Urssaf to be in a position to settle their outstanding debts.

This focus, coupled with the flexibility afforded by repayment schedules that can be spread over a maximum of 36 months without penalty, has paid off, with very few requests for renegotiation after the repayment plans have been submitted.

But while social debt is declining over time and monthly installments, it remains very high. In the Hauts-de-France region alone, corporate debt still stood at 559 million euros in December 2021, compared with 615 million euros in May. Social debt amounts to 11 billion euros nationwide.

Furthermore, the companies most affected by the health crisis are still in a fragile state. This is particularly true of companies in the catering, tourism and events sectors.

For these companies, Urssaf is showing greater flexibility: proposals for payment plans have been sent to them since January, and will continue to be sent until May. Payment schedules are not limited to 36 months, but to 5 years, in line with the government decree.

While the profile of the companies concerned by these new payment plans gives rise to fears of an increase in unpaid debts, Urssaf puts this into perspective. This wave of unpaid bills, already feared in 2021, did not occur in the end, and forced collection procedures remained exceptional, concerning companies that were mostly in difficulty even before the start of the health crisis.