Thursday, 11 February 2021

Questions (64)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

64. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Finance if consideration will be given to supports for businesses that began trading in 2020 but which, as a result of level 5 restrictions, are not able to show turnover for the required months to qualify for the current supports; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7479/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

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:

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

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. A business must be able to demonstrate that, because of the Covid restrictions, the turnover of the qualifying activity (“relevant business activity”) during the period of restrictions will be no more than 25% of the “relevant turnover amount”.

The “relevant turnover amount” is calculated by reference to a business’s average weekly turnover for the relevant business activity in a prior period, the identification of which period depends on whether the business is an “established business” or a “new business”. An established business is a business that commenced trading prior to 26 December 2019. The relevant turnover amount for a “new business”, i.e. a business commenced by a person between 26 December 2019 and 12 October 2020, is based on the average weekly turnover of the business in the period from commencement to 12 October 2020.

The Employment Wage Subsidy scheme (EWSS) was legislated for under the Financial Provisions (Covid-19) (No. 2) Act 2020. The EWSS delivers an enterprise support to employers based on business eligibility delivering a per-head subsidy on a flat rate basis.

The EWSS is administered by Revenue on a 'self-assessment' basis. The eligibility criteria for EWSS states that in addition to having tax clearance for the duration of the scheme, an employer must be able to demonstrate that their business is expected to experience a 30% reduction in turnover or orders between 1 July and 31 December 2020 for 2020 paydates and between 1 January to 30 June 2021 for 2021 paydates, looking at the period as a whole rather than on a monthly basis; and this disruption is caused by COVID-19.

For 2020 paydates, this reduction in turnover or orders was relative to:

- the same period in 2019 where the business was in existence prior to 1 July 2019;

- where the business commenced trading between 1 July and 1 November 2019, the date of commencement to 31 December 2019; or

- where a business commenced after 1 November 2019, the projected turnover or orders for 1 July 2020 to 31 December 2020.

For 2021 paydates, this reduction in turnover or orders is relative to:

- the same period in 2019 where the business was in existence prior to 1 January 2019;

- where the business commenced trading between 1 January and 1 May 2019, the date of commencement to 30 June 2019; or

- where a business commenced after 1 May 2019, the projected turnover or orders for 1 January 2021 to 30 June 2021.

Employers are required to undertake a review on the last day of every month, as was the case from the commencement of the Scheme, to ensure they continue to meet the above eligibility criteria. Employers who, following a monthly review, find they no longer qualify should deregister for EWSS with immediate effect i.e. from the 1st of the following month. Furthermore, the employer should ensure there is a reasonable and durable basis to the eligibility review carried out as regards the potential drop in turnover or orders.

Guidelines on the operation of the EWSS including comprehensive information on employer eligibility and supporting proofs is available on the Revenue website at:

https://www.revenue.ie/en/corporate/communications/documents/ewss-guidelines.pdf

I am satisfied that the current configuration of the schemes fully takes account of the changing environment around living with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Question No. 65 answered with Question No. 57.