I propose to take Questions Nos. 84, 106, 111, 133, 134, 145, 196, 206, 207 and 208 together.
The Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS) was announced in the Budget on 13 October 2020. The details are set out in Finance Bill 2020 and guidelines on the operation of the scheme, including the eligibility criteria, are available on the Revenue website: (https://www.revenue.ie/en/corporate/press-office/budget-information/2021/crss-guidelines.pdf).
The support is available to companies and self-employed individuals who carry on a trade or trading activities from a business premises located in a region subject to restrictions, introduced in line with the Living with Covid-19 Plan, with the result that the business is required to prohibit or considerably restrict customers from accessing their business premises. Generally, this refers to Covid restrictions at Level 3, 4 or 5 of the Government’s Plan for Living with Covid-19 but certain businesses may qualify for the support where lower levels of restrictions are in operation.
The CRSS applies to businesses carrying on trading activities from a business premises located in a region subject to restrictions, which requires the business to prohibit or considerably restrict customers from accessing their business premises and as a result, is operating at less than 25% of turnover in 2019.
Where a business does not ordinarily operate from a fixed business premises located in a region that is subject to restrictions, such as an events company or destination management company, that business will not meet the eligibility criteria. Similarly artists, musicians, taxi drivers and live entertainment workers are not eligible.
The CRSS is targeted at businesses whose premises are affected by the restrictions. It is not sufficient that the trade of a business, such as a travel agency, has been impacted because of a reduction in customer demand as a consequence of Covid-19, or that the business supplies goods or services to another business that qualifies for the support because, under the Covid restrictions, that other business is required to temporarily close, or significantly reduce, its activity. However, where customers of such a business are prohibited or significantly restricted from accessing the business premises in which the business is ordinarily carried on, as may be the case with travel agents under level 5 of the Plan for Living with Covid-19, the business may qualify for the CRSS.
The CRSS is an additional measure for businesses in a region subject to significant Covid-19 restrictions. Businesses who do not qualify under this scheme may be entitled to support under various measures put in place by Government, including existing supports available under the COVID Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) and the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) and the range of measures announced as part of Budget 2021 to support particular sectors including Tourism and live entertainment. They may also be eligible to warehouse VAT and PAYE (Employer) debts and also excess payments received by employers under the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme, and the balance of Income Tax for 2019 and Preliminary Tax for 2020 for self-assessed taxpayers if applicable.
Deputies will be aware that the Finance Bill is currently progressing through the Houses of the Oireachtas and I have no plans to extend eligibility of the scheme.