Updates to the existing Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS), Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS) and other Revenue administered schemes were announced in the Finance (Covid-19 and Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2021 published on 22 June 2021. This Bill is currently before Dáil Éireann pending enactment and thus the details outlined below are subject to change.
EMPLOYMENT WAGE SUBSIDE SCHEME (EWSS):
The EWSS will be extended until 31 December 2021. For Q3, there will be some modification to widen the eligibility criteria and maintain the current rates of wage subsidy payments. The reduced rate of Employer’s PRSI (0.5%) will continue to apply for those employees for whom a subsidy is being claimed.
For Q4, the qualifying criteria for claiming the subsidy will not be determined until around the end of August/early September. Government has indicated it is considering a required employer contribution towards the employee wages.
Quarter 3 2021 30% Turnover/Customer Order Test
The reference period for assessing the disruption that Covid-19 is having to the business i.e. the 30% reduction in turnover or customer orders, will alter for an employer seeking to claim the subsidy in Quarter 3 2021. The assessment will now broaden and seek the required reduction over a 12-month period (instead of the current 6-month review period). Thus an employer must compare turnover/customer orders for the period from 1 January to 31 December 2021 against 1 January to 31 December 2019 for the 30% reduction test.
For employers currently claiming the subsidy and completing a month end review as at 30 June 2021 for entry in July 2021 or employers seeking to enter the scheme in July 2021, this will mean they will be required to compare turnover/customer orders for the full year 2021 against the full year 2019 in order to assess eligibility.
COVID RESTRICTIONS SUPPORT SCHEME (CRSS):
There is an extension to CRSS and it will continue in its current form until the 30 September 2021 with the Minister of Finance having power to extend the scheme to the 31 December 2021. The qualification criteria and payment rates will remain unchanged.
Enhanced Restart Week Payments
The Government will also provide an enhanced restart week payment for those businesses who can re-open from 2 June 2021. Those businesses will be able to claim an enhanced restart payment of three weeks at double rate of payment paid in one restart week payment when they exit the scheme, subject to a maximum of €5,000 claim per week.
Each business must consider the ‘significant restriction’ in the context of CRSS eligibility with respect to the recent permitted reopening of certain businesses. Where a business continues to be ‘significantly restricted’ they may be eligible to continue to receive CRSS support. Existing CRSS claimants who can now reopen and are not ‘significantly restricted’ may need to cease their CRSS claim and seek to claim an enhanced restart week payment.
Revenue guidance states the claim must be made no later than 8 weeks from the date on which the restrictions, to which the restart week claim relates, are lifted.
BUSINESS RESUMPTION SUPPORT SCHEME (BRSS):
A new business support scheme will be implemented from September 2021. Businesses whose turnover is no more than 25% of its turnover during the period 1 September 2020 to 31 August 2021 (‘specified period’) when compared with the reference period (1 January to 31 December 2019 in most cases but will alter for businesses established on or after 26 December 2019) will be eligible. Payments will amount to 3 times the amount as derived by 10% of their average weekly turnover during the reference period up to €20,000 and 5% thereafter, subject to a maximum payment of €15,000. Like CRSS, the payment will be treated as an advance credit for trading expenses.
The BRSS will require tax clearance, compliance with VAT obligations, intention to continue to trade and a declaration via ROS. The names of claimants will be published on Revenue’s website.
The tax debt warehousing scheme has expanded to provide for the warehousing of tax liabilities arising for businesses up to 31 December 2021 (Period 1), with an interest free period throughout 2022 (Period 2) and a reduced interest phase of 3% interest p.a. will run from 1 January 2023 (Period 3) on the agreed phased payment arrangement. Overpayments of EWSS subsidies received by employers are also now eligible for debt warehousing.
Please contact your Grant Thornton adviser to learn more and to discuss how we can assist you in availing of the above Schemes.