I propose to take Questions Nos. 187, 190, 191, 196, 199, 200, 205, 211 to 213, inclusive, 215, 218, 219, 224 to 227, inclusive, 229, 233, 235, 236 and 238 together.
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 support is available to companies, self-employed individuals and partnerships who carry on a trade or trading activities, the profits from which are chargeable to tax under Case I of Schedule D, from a business premises located in a region subject to restrictions introduced in line with the Living with Covid-19 Plan.
Details of CRSS are set out in Finance Act 2020 and detailed operational guidelines, which are based on the terms and conditions of the scheme as set out in the legislation, have been published on the Revenue website at:
To qualify under the scheme a business must, under specific terms of the Covid restrictions, be required to either prohibit or significantly restrict, customers from accessing their business premises to acquire goods or services, with the result that the business either has to temporarily close or to operate at a significantly reduced level. For the purposes of CRSS, a qualifying “business premises” is a building or other similar fixed physical structure in which a business activity is ordinarily carried on.
A self-employed travel agent providing services from a home office, which is not customer-facing, will not meet the eligibility criteria.
Where a business does not ordinarily operate from a fixed business premises, such as a mobile homes site, events company, fishing industry, wedding business or outdoor activity business, that business will not meet the eligibility criteria for CRSS.
Similarly a coach, bus or minibus operator whose business is ordinarily operated from mobile vehicles, that business will not meet the eligibility criteria. A fund of €10 million (Coach Tourism Business Continuity Scheme) was put in place by the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media to support the coach tourism sector.
In addition, Deputies will be aware of the Tourism Business Continuity scheme, a €55m strategic funding scheme announced as part of Budget 2021 to support tourism businesses which was launched last week. I understand that boat tour companies and also caravan and camping and other outdoor accommodation providers that are registered with Fáilte Ireland are eligible for phase 1 of this scheme. Further details of the scheme are available on the Fáilte Ireland website at https://www.failteireland.ie/Identify-Available-Funding/Tourism-Business-Continuity-Scheme.aspx.
It is not sufficient that the trade of a business has been impacted because of a reduction in customer demand as a consequence of Covid-19. The scheme only applies where, as a direct result of the specific terms of the Government restrictions, the business is required to either prohibit or significantly restrict access to its business premises.
Where a business supplies goods or services to businesses in the hospitality industry which, under the specific terms of the Covid restrictions, are required to prohibit or significantly restrict customers from accessing their business premises (for example a bottling business supplying hotels and restaurants), it will not result in the supplier business being eligible to make a claim under CRSS. Each business must meet the qualification criteria in their own right.
I have no plans to change the eligibility criteria for the CRSS or to introduce sectoral supports. The CRSS is just one of the Government’s supports to assist businesses impacted by COVID-19. Businesses who are not eligible for CRSS may be entitled to alternative supports put in place by the Government, including the COVID Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP), the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) and the Tourism Business Continuity Scheme. Businesses may also be eligible under the Debt Warehousing Scheme to ‘park’ certain VAT and PAYE (Employer) liabilities, excess payments received under the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS), outstanding balances of self-assessed Income Tax for 2019 and Preliminary Tax for 2020.
I will continue to work with Ministerial colleagues to ensure that appropriate supports are in place to mitigate the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the economy.