Thursday, 8 October 2020

Ceisteanna (117)

Brendan Griffin

Ceist:

117. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Finance his views on a matter (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29365/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

The Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) ceased on 31 August 2020 and was replaced by the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) from 1 September 2020. When operational, the TWSS supported more than 66,000 employers in respect of approximately 664,000 employees at a cost of €2.9 billion to the Exchequer.

The Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (Covid 19) Act assigned responsibility for the care and management of the TWSS to Revenue and I am advised that in exercise of this responsibility it has, over the last few months, engaged in a phased programme of compliance checks on all participating employers (66,000). In most cases the compliance checks are a relatively straightforward enquiry requiring proof of eligibility for the scheme and evidence that the funds were properly passed on to qualifying employees. Having regard to this latter aspect, Revenue has been prioritising cases with larger numbers of employees and as of last week had initiated checks in respect of some 70% of the employments subsidised through the scheme.

Revenue has confirmed that the most recent tranche of compliance check letters issued on Friday 2 October, including the one referenced by the Deputy. As was the case with previous tranches, Revenue requested employers to confirm eligibility for the TWSS by reference to the decline in turnover in Quarter 2 of this year and to provide sample payslips confirming payment of the support to their qualifying employees. It is important to note that Revenue has not asked employers to provide any detailed tax information or computations in the letters, thereby facilitating a response within five days in most cases.

Where Revenue identifies intentional non-compliance with the conditions of the TWSS, or where employers fail to engage with the compliance checks, it will carry out a wider review of the tax compliance position of those businesses.

Revenue has already received a significant level of response from employers to the most recent letters and as was the case with the previous tranches, the information received indicates a high level of compliance by employers with the terms of the scheme. However, a relatively small number of cases have been identified as needing closer examination, and this will be completed as quickly as possible.