Wednesday, 27 January 2021

Questions (199, 237)

Gerald Nash

Question:

199. Deputy Ged Nash asked the Minister for Finance if tax liabilities will be issued to workers whose employer wrongly availed of the temporary wage subsidy scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3858/21]

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Gerald Nash

Question:

237. Deputy Ged Nash asked the Minister for Finance the number of employers found not to be in compliance with the temporary wage subsidy scheme to date; if employees who have worked in firms found not to be compliant are subject a tax bill on their payment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4478/21]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 199 and 237 together.

As recently advised to the Deputy in a previous reply to a Parliamentary Question, Revenue has completed compliance checks in respect of more than 92% of employers who participated in the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS). To date, over €3m of subsidy payments has been recouped in aggregate from some 620 employers, and enquiries are ongoing in the remaining cases.

It is to be noted that these figures are in the context of total TWSS payments in excess of €2.8bn to some 66,000 employers. It should also be noted that 5,195 employers have repaid over €79m in TWSS payments up to 31 December 2020. The overpayments typically occurred in circumstances where the level of estimated business decline did not materialise or where unintended errors were included in claims.

Any TWSS payments received by employees are subject to income tax and USC irrespective of whether the employer was correctly eligible to participate in the scheme or not. Where Revenue has recovered TWSS amounts from ineligible employers, it is a matter between the parties (i.e. employer and employee) as to whether the payments are subsequently recouped from relevant employees. Any such recoupment by employers will result in a reduction in the taxable income of the relevant employees.

Where the TWSS amounts paid to relevant employees are not recouped by the employer, then the income tax and USC liabilities remain due. Revenue has confirmed that these liabilities, which may be reduced by the allocation of unused tax credits or additional tax credits such as health expenses, will be collected, interest free, over four years from 1 January 2022. This will be achieved by reducing tax credits for those years, thereby reducing any financial hardship to the greatest extent possible.

Question No. 200 answered with Question No. 182.