Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Questions (263, 269, 275, 281)

Joe Carey

Question:

263. Deputy Joe Carey asked the Minister for Finance if he will report on the operation of the Covid-19 restriction support scheme; when payments will issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37817/20]

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Steven Matthews

Question:

269. Deputy Steven Matthews asked the Minister for Finance if consideration has been given to expanding the Covid restrictions support scheme to businesses that do not currently meet the qualifying criteria (details supplied) but can demonstrate a significant reduction in income as a direct result of the pandemic. [37951/20]

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Brendan Griffin

Question:

275. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Finance his views on a matter (details supplied) regarding the Covid restrictions support scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38052/20]

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Alan Dillon

Question:

281. Deputy Alan Dillon asked the Minister for Finance if he will review the case of a person (details supplied) regarding the Covid restrictions support scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38498/20]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 263, 269, 275 and 281 together.

The Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS) was announced in the Budget on 13 October 2020. The details are set out in Finance Bill 2020 and guidelines on the operation of the scheme, including the eligibility criteria, are available on the Revenue website:

(www.revenue.ie/en/corporate/press-office/budget-information/2021/crss-guidelines.pdf).

The registration system for CRSS was released by Revenue on 1 November 2020 and eligible businesses have been able to register for the scheme on the Revenue Online Service (ROS) since then. As part of the registration process the business is required to provide certain information, including details such as the location of the business and the average weekly turnover of the business in 2019 (or in 2020 in the case of a new business). Up to 23 November 2020, 8,300 businesses have registered for CRSS in respect of 8,900 business premises. A further 4,300 applications are currently being processed by Revenue.

Since 17 November 2020 an eligible business that is registered for CRSS, and which carries on a business activity from a business premises located in a region that is subject to COVID-19 related restrictions, can make a claim for payment under the CRSS via the eRepayments system on ROS provided it meets the eligibility criteria for making a claim under the scheme.

CRSS applies as regards restrictions in place from 13 October 2020 and eligible businesses that have been subject to restrictions since that date may make a claim covering the period from 13 October 2020 up to the expected end day of the current restrictions, which is 1 December 2020. One payment will be made to eligible businesses covering this restrictions period, with payments made by Revenue within 3 days of the submission of a qualifying claim. Up to 23 November 2020, Revenue has processed €33.5 million CRSS payments relating to 5,400 premises.

The support is 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.

The CRSS applies to businesses carrying on trading activities from a business premises located in a region subject to restrictions, which requires the business to prohibit or considerably restrict customers from accessing their business premises and as a result, is operating at less than 25% of turnover in 2019.

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 the 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.

The CRSS is an additional measure for businesses in a region subject to significant Covid-19 restrictions. Businesses 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). 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.

Deputies will be aware that the Finance Bill is currently progressing through the Houses of the Oireachtas, and I have no plans to extend eligibility of the scheme.