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Changes To COVID-19 Business Supports Announced

By Dave Simpson

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe has announced changes to several COVID-19 pandemic-related business support schemes.

EWSS

A statement published on gov.ie revealed that the government has agreed that businesses that are availing of the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) that were directly impacted by COVID-19 pandemic-related restrictions that were introduced last December will receive additional support under the scheme for a further month to help them while they fully reopen following the lifting of restrictions.

Such businesses will receive the enhanced rates of subsidy for February and the graduated step-down in subsidy rates will be delayed by a month, with such businesses continuing to receive support under the scheme until May 31 of this year.

Tax Debt Wavering Scheme

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As regards the Tax Debt Warehousing Scheme and the government's decision last month to extend the period during which tax liabilities arising can be warehoused to the end of the first quarter of this year, for all taxpayers eligible for COVID-19 support schemes, it has now been agreed that this date will be extended to April 30 to facilitate the two monthly VAT return for March/April.

CRSS

The statement published on gov.ie also listed the following clarifications regarding the COVID Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS):

  • an extra week will be paid to businesses the week after the restrictions are lifted as an additional support to businesses as they fully reopen;
  • for businesses that were established during the period from October 13 of 2020 to July 16 of last year, the turnover from the date of commencement up to August 1 of last year will be used for the purpose of calculating average weekly turnover;
  • and certain charities and sporting bodies that operate a hospitality/indoor entertainment business activity from their business premises that meet the revised qualifying criteria of the scheme are eligible to apply for the CRSS for the most recent period of restrictions, which was from December 20 of last year to January of this year.

Minister For Finance Statement

Additionally, the statement published on gov.ie included a statement from Minister for Finance Paschal Donohue, in which he said, "The EWSS has been extremely successful in maintaining employment across the whole of our economy during this pandemic.

"It is now time to adjust our focus towards an exit from the scheme in a structured and orderly way. This is important in everyone's interests - businesses, employees, the wider body of taxpayers - as the scheme cannot continue indefinitely. As such, most businesses will move to the reduced rates of EWSS subsidy from the 1st February 2022 onwards and continue on the exit path as previously announced until the scheme closes on 30 April 2022.

"However, I intend to provide additional support to those businesses that were directly impacted by the most recent public health regulations. Affected businesses will continue to receive the enhanced rates of support for a further month and the exit path from the scheme for such businesses will be delayed by a month.

"CRSS has been an important and successful support payable at times when businesses most needed additional help with their fixed costs, and has provided some €717 million in direct payments in respect of over 25,000 business premises since its introduction and over €13.4 million in payments to businesses directly impacted by the latest public health restrictions in place since 20 December.

"The facility to avail of the Tax Debt Warehousing Scheme has also offered valuable and practical liquidity support to businesses in difficult trading periods during the pandemic. The objective of this scheme is to allow firms some help to recover, thereby helping to guarantee their long-term economic viability and survival. This further extension will allow businesses who have been most impacted some additional time to recover before their tax liabilities have to be paid. Their period of zero interest will continue until 30 April 2023, with interest at the reduced rate of 3% p.a. payable thereafter until the debt is paid down."

Restrictions Lifted

The above news follows news from Friday January 21 that hospitality sector restrictions in Ireland would be lifted from Saturday January 22.

© 2022 Hospitality Ireland – your source for the latest industry news. Article by Dave Simpson. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.

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