The Government’s priority in so far as the Temporary Wages Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) is concerned was and is to ensure that all employers experiencing significant negative economic disruption from COVID-19 can register for and start to receive payment quickly. The purpose of the scheme is to ensure that the relationship between employers and employees is maintained to the greatest extent possible so that businesses can restart operations quickly once that becomes possible. The scheme is available to eligible employers across all sectors, excluding the public service and non-commercial semi-state sector, this includes businesses that have closed due to the Covid-19 restrictions and those that continue to operate and employ their workforce. The main eligibility criteria for the scheme are that:
- the business is suffering significant negative economic impact due to the pandemic;
- the employees were on the payroll at 29 February 2020; and,
- the February 2020 payroll submissions were submitted to Revenue before 15 March 2020.
I have been advised by Revenue that following a review of cases since the TWSS commenced, it became apparent that a number of employers have been unable to access the scheme because they failed the 15 March 2020 rule, but had qualified under all other conditions of the scheme and were otherwise tax compliant. Given the purpose of the scheme, Revenue decided, under its care and management provisions, to allow such employers access the scheme provided:
- the employees in respect of whom the wage subsidy is claimed were included on the employer’s payroll on 29 February 2020
- the February 2020 payroll submissions were submitted to Revenue before 1 April 2020, and
- the payroll submissions for all previous months were submitted to Revenue before 15 March 2020.
The TWSS builds on payroll data returned to Revenue through its real-time PAYE system. Where a business qualifies for the TWSS under the revised criteria, the wage subsidies under the scheme are payable for eligible employees in respect of payroll submissions made on or after 24 April 2020, with a pay date on or after 24 April 2020, and are not retrospective.
Eligible employers can participate in the scheme in respect of any eligible employees on their payroll at 29 February 2020, including rehired staff who had been temporarily laid off after that date. Where an employee previously laid off has been re-hired, the employee will qualify for the scheme once their claim for social welfare benefit (Pandemic Unemployment Payment/Jobseekers Benefit) is ceased. Eligibility for the scheme can be satisfied by an employer once they meet the relevant criteria, which can be at any point in time during the scheme’s duration.
Finally, the Deputy referred to P30 forms. Such forms are no longer in use following the introduction of PAYE Modernisation. Section 985G of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 sets out that Revenue issue a monthly statement to the employer outlining a summary of the payroll submissions made by the employer for the month. If no corrective action is taken by the employer, this statement is deemed to be a monthly return by the employer made on the return due date.