The Finance (Covid-19 and Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2021 extends the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) until 31 December 2021 and modifies the reference period for assessing eligibility with respect to pay dates effective from 1 July 2021. Employers will also now be required to complete an online employer Eligibility Review Form (ERF) through ROS on a monthly basis.
New eligibility criteria to claim EWSS
An employer must be able to demonstrate to the satisfaction of Revenue that their business is expected to experience a 30% reduction in turnover or customer orders and that this disruption to normal operations is caused by Covid-19. For pay dates on or between 1 July and 31 December 2021 the comparative periods for assessing this reduction are as follows:
Childcare business registered in accordance with Section 58C of the Child Care Act 1991, are not required to meet the reduction in turnover or customer order test.
Requirement to complete an Employer Eligibility Review Form (ERF)
Employers will be required to complete an online Employer Eligibility Review Form (ERF) through ROS on a monthly basis. The ERF consists of a declaration and an input of data pertaining to actual monthly VAT exclusive turnover or customers order values for 2019 along with actual and projected details for 2021 for all relevant businesses.
The initial ERF for the June period, which will be used to assess eligibility for pay dates from 1 July 2021, will need to be completed and submitted online between 21 and 30 July 2021.
Thereafter, the ERF must be submitted by the 15th of the following month and should be updated with details of the actual results for the previous month along with reviewing projections to ensure they remain valid.
The submission of data through the ERF will allow Revenue to undertake a systematic check to determine adherence to the 30% reduction test.
Employers should retain their evidence/basis for entering and remaining in the scheme for potential review by Revenue at a future date.
What happens if the ERF is not completed or the ERF needs to be amended?
Should an employer fail to complete and submit the EWSS Eligibility Review Form, this will result in the suspension by Revenue of EWSS subsidy payments.
Where actual turnover/customer order data has been inputted, this cannot be altered online via the ERF once submitted. If an error has occurred, the employer should contact Revenue using MyEnquiries for corrections to be made.
As projected turnover/customer orders are required to be reviewed to ensure they remain valid, such data may be altered online via the ERF. Revenue expects assumptions which underpin the projections to be reliable and reflect the operation conditions of the business.
Please contact your Grant Thornton adviser should you wish to discuss the above or any aspect of the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme.