I propose to take Questions Nos. 294, 295, 298, 304, 308, 315, 316, 318, 326, 328 and 334 together.
The details of the Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS) are set out in the Finance Bill 2020 and guidelines on the operation of the scheme are available on the Revenue website (https://www.revenue.ie/en/corporate/press-office/budget-information/2021/crss-guidelines.pdf). The CRSS is a targeted support for businesses significantly impacted by restrictions introduced by the Government under public health regulations to combat the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The CRSS was announced on Budget day and the operational details are being worked though as quickly as possible. The scheme will be implemented by the Revenue Commissioners who have shown as an organisation that they are very effective in operating schemes to support businesses in this crisis.
A two-step process is necessary to make a claim under the CRSS. The qualifying person must first register for CRSS on Revenue Online Service’ (ROS) and then complete a claim in respect of a claim period or claim periods. Revenue have been accepting registrations for the scheme since 1 November, and claims will be accepted from mid-November with payments made shortly thereafter.
The support will be available to companies and self-employed individuals who carry on a trade or trading activities from a business premises located in a region subject to restrictions, introduced in line with the Living with Covid-19 Plan, with the result that the business is required to prohibit or considerably restrict customers from accessing their business premises. Generally, this refers to Covid restrictions at Level 3, 4 or 5 of the Government’s Plan for Living with Covid-19 but certain businesses may qualify for the support where lower levels of restrictions are in operation.
Where, as a result of the restrictions, a company or a self-employed individual is either forced to temporarily close their business, or their business is required to operate at significantly reduced levels, they will qualify for support under the scheme. Certain other conditions will apply, including that the person has a tax clearance certificate.
Where businesses ordinarily operate from a business premises (generally a building) located in a region for which restrictions are in operation, they may qualify under the scheme provided they meet the eligibility criteria, including the requirement that customers are either prohibited, or significantly restricted, from accessing their business premises to purchase goods or services due to the specific terms of the Covid restrictions announced by Government.
Where a business does not ordinarily operate from a fixed business premises located in a region that is subject to restrictions, such as a track bookmaker or tour operator, that business will not meet the eligibility criteria. A business that does ordinarily operate from a music or entertainment venue (for example, a company that operates a theatre) or a business in the tourism sector carrying on a trade consisting of, for example, the operation of a gallery or other cultural attraction, located in a region subject to restrictions, and who meets the eligibility criteria, will however be able to claim support under CRSS.
The scheme will not apply to a business in the events industry or in other sectors, which does not ordinarily operate from a fixed business premises located in a region subject to the restrictions, but rather supplies goods or services to a business that does qualify for support under CRSS because, under the Covid restrictions, that other business is required to temporarily close or significantly reduce its activity. Each business must satisfy the eligibility criteria in their own right.
It is not sufficient that the business supplies goods or services to another business that qualifies for the support because, under the Covid restrictions, that other business is required to temporarily close, or significantly reduce, its activity.
I would also point out that the CRSS is an additional measure for businesses in a region subject to significant Covid-19 restrictions.
Companies and self-employed workers who do not qualify under this scheme may be entitled to support under various measures put in place by Government, including existing supports available under the COVID Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) and the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) and the range of measures announced as part of Budget 2021 to support particular sectors including Tourism and live entertainment. They may also be eligible to warehouse VAT and PAYE (Employer) debts and also excess payments received by employers under the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme, and the balance of Income Tax for 2019 and Preliminary Tax for 2020 for self-assessed taxpayers if applicable.