Wednesday, 31 March 2021

Ceisteanna (378)

Ruairí Ó Murchú

Ceist:

378. Deputy Ruairí Ó Murchú asked the Minister for Finance if his Department is considering plans to include outdoor activity providers with no fixed business premises in the Covid restrictions support scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43685/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

The Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (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 were published 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 purchase 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.

Where a business does not ordinarily operate from a fixed business premises, such as an outdoor activity business, that business will not meet the eligibility criteria for CRSS.

The Deputy will be aware of the Tourism Business Continuity scheme, a €55m strategic funding scheme announced as part of Budget 2021 to support tourism businesses. I understand that outdoor activity providers, boat tour companies and caravan and camping and other outdoor accommodation providers that are registered with Fáilte Ireland are eligible for phase 1 of this scheme, which is now open for applications. 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.

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). 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.

I have no plans to change the eligibility criteria for the CRSS. The purpose of the CRSS is to provide additional support to the businesses who have had to close temporarily or significantly restrict access to their premises as a direct result of public health Regulations. The Government will continue to assess the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the economy and I will continue to work with Ministerial colleagues to ensure that appropriate supports are in place to mitigate these effects.