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Temporary Covid-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme

Phase 1 - March – 20th April 2020     What is the Scheme?  
  • The scheme will operate to refund employers up to 70% of the net wage paid to employee subject to the thresholds detailed below.
  • Refunds under this Scheme will be issued to employers with 2 working days.
  • It replaces the previous €203 refund scheme and any employer who opted to operate this scheme will be contacted by Revenue to transfer to this new scheme.
  • Employers are encouraged, but not obliged, to top-up the subsidy to bring the net wages of employees as close to 100% as possible.
  • The Scheme can be applied even if an employees working hours have been reduced.
  • The Scheme will operate in 2 phases:
Phase 1 – March to 20th April 2020 (this document only deals with Phase 1) Phase 2 – 20th April 2020 onwards (awaiting further guidance from Revenue)   Who Qualifies for the Scheme?  
  • The Scheme is available to employers who are:
experiencing significant negative economic disruption due to Covid-19 able to demonstrate a minimum of a 25% decline in turnover unable to pay normal wages and normal outgoings fully, and retain their employees on the payroll. The Scheme is only available to employees who were on the employer’s payroll as at 29th February 2020 and for whom a payroll submission has already been made to Revenue in the period from 1st February to 15th March 2020. The employer is not to pay in excess of an employee’s usual net wages. Employers who avail of the Scheme will be published on Revenue’s website.   How will the Scheme Operate?   Phase 1 - For March and up to 20th April 2020 (Transitional Period)  
  • During this period the Scheme will refund employers a maximum of €410 regardless of the employee’s income.
  • However for administration purposes the employer is being asked to return the following information on the payroll:
Set PRSI Class J9 Enter a non-taxable amount equal to 70% of the employee’s Average Net Weekly Pay to: maximum of €410 per week where the average net weekly pay is less than or equal to €586or maximum of €350 per week where the average net weekly pay is greater than €586 and less than or equal to €960.
  • The Scheme does not currently allow for any refund where the employees average net weekly pay is greater than €960 per week.
  • No IT, USC or PRSI is to be levied on the subsidy payment through payroll. The subsidy will be liable to IT and USC on review at the end of the year. Revenue have yet to announce how this will operate.
  • Employer’s PRSI at a rate of 0.5% (down from 11.5%) applies to any top-up amounts.
  • IT and USC should be applied on any top-up amounts.
  • It is likely that the Scheme will trigger tax refunds for employees and employers can pay over the tax refunds to employees. Revenue will reimburse the tax refunds to employers.
  Phase 1 Examples                                                                                               (a)   Average Net Weekly Wages €210   Anna’s average net weekly wages is €210. In Phase 1 the refund will operates as follows:   On the payroll submission the Covid-19 refund amount will be declared as €147 (i.e. €210 @ 70%). Revenue will refund the employer €410 regardless.   The over-refunded amount €263 (i.e. €410 - €147) will be due back to Revenue. Though we are awaiting guidance on how that will operate in practice.   (b)   Average Net Weekly Wages €550   Tom’s average weekly wages is €550. In Phase 1 the refund for Tom’s employer will operate as follows:   On the payroll submission the Covid-19 refund amount will be declared as €385 (i.e. €550 @ 70%). Revenue will refund the employer €410 regardless.   The over-refunded amount €25 (i.e. €410 - €385) will be due back to Revenue.       (c)    Average Net Weekly Wages €586   Jack’s net weekly wages is €586. The refund scheme will operate as follows:   On the payroll submission the Covid-19 refund amount will be declared as €410 (i.e. €586 @ 70%) and Revenue will refund the employer €410 regardless.   There will be no ‘over-refunded’ element in this case.   (d)   Average Net Weekly Wages €675   Jane’s average net weekly wages is €675 (as this is above the €586 threshold above, Jane’s maximum subsidy under the Scheme will be capped at €350). The refund will operate as follows:   On the payroll submission the Covid-19 refund amount will be declared as €350 (i.e. the maximum threshold for this wage amount). Revenue will refund the employer €410 regardless.   The over-refunded amount €60 (i.e. €410 - €350) will be due back to Revenue.   (e)    Average Net Weekly Wages €1,110 Mark’s net weekly wages is €1,100. He breaches the €960 net weekly wage maximum and therefore is not entitled to avail of the scheme.   Phase 2 – 20th April 2020 Onwards   We are awaiting further guidance from Revenue in respect of this phase.   Kind Regards,   Vivian E. Nathan Managing Partner
March 27, 2020
  Business Advice

Government Supports for Covid-19

Covid-19 has already caused a major disruption to businesses which has led to financial insecurity for both employers and employees. Below, we have summarised the Government supports to help both employer and employees through this difficult period. Please note that the below has been prepared based on the information available to us and we will regularly update you as new information is released.   Provisions for SMEs   The most challenging difficulty facing employers at present will be managing cash-flow, the below are some of the steps the Government and Revenue Commissioners have announced to ease the burden for employers.   The Revenue Commissioners have made the following concessions for SMEs (i.e. Irish companies with a turnover of less than €3 million):  
  • The application of interest on late payments is suspended for January/February VAT and both February and March PAYE (Employer) liabilities.
  • All debt enforcement activity is suspended until further notice.
  • The current tax clearance status will remain in place for all businesses over the coming months.
  • The RCT rate review due to be conducted on 28th March 2020 has been suspended.
  The Revenue Commissioners have advised that taxpayers should continue to make returns on time, even if the payment will not be made. They are also actively encouraging taxpayers and agents to engage with them during this difficult period.   Please note that the above concessions only apply to SMEs and all other businesses experiencing cash-flow and trading difficulties should contact the Collector General’s office on 01-7383663.   Employer Covid-19 Refund Scheme   The Department of Employment and Social Protection (DEASP) is asking employers to retain employees on the payroll to avoid a surge of applications for the Temporary Lay-Off Payment. DEASP is requesting employers assistance by paying employees the flat-rate of €203 per week,  the Revenue Commissioners will refund the payment to employers on a ‘next day’ basis for returns filed by 2pm.   Please note that if employers ‘top-up’ this amount then they will not be entitled to receive any refund from Revenue. Therefore, employers availing of this payment on behalf of employees should only pay the €203 flat rate.     Self-Employed & Employees Temporarily Laid-Off   Where a self-employed individual has ceased trading or an employee has been temporarily laid-off they can apply for the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment. This is a flat rate of €203 per week for a maximum of 6 weeks. Employees should apply for Jobseekers Benefit at the same time to ensure that they continue to receive a payment after the 6 weeks of the emergency payments has ended. It is important to note that you do not need to go to your Intreo Centre – any employees affected by temporary layoff can process an application online, without the need to present in person at their Intreo or social welfare branch offices.   You may apply in the following ways:
  • If you do not currently hold a Public Services Card an application form for the new Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment can be completed and returned to FREEPOST PO BOX 12896, Dublin 1;
  Short Time Work Support Payment   This payment is available to qualifying individuals whose hours have been reduced or who have been put on short-time working. To apply for this Employees must work 3 days or less having previously been employed on a full time basis.  A person’s duration of eligibility and rate of payment for Short-time Work Support depends on their PRSI contributions, weekly earnings and the nature of the change to their work pattern.   There are 2 forms to be completed when making an application, a Jobseeker’s allowance/Benefit Application Form (UP1) and a Short-time Work Support form (UP14 STWS).   Revenue will continue to closely monitor the evolving situation regarding Covid-19 and will issue further updated guidance for businesses when required and particularly in good time before the March/April VAT returns, and other future returns are due.   If you would like any further information on the supports available to you and/or your business please do not hesitate to contact us.
March 21, 2020

Roberts Nathan – Business Continuity Update

The Irish Government has recently introduced unprecedented measures effective until March 29th at the earliest in order to protect the safety of everyone amid the current COVID-19 outbreak. As part of this the government has recommended social distancing and working from home where possible for the workforce.   As a service-focused firm, Roberts Nathan takes this advice very seriously and we have implemented our business continuity plans to ensure that we can continue to properly service our clients.   Service continuity Our offices remain open and we have the systems, technology and effective work practices to enable our staff to work remotely and continue to deliver a high-quality service for our clients. We have a core management team working from our offices and a Partner will be available at all times. As a consequence of this we will have Partners and staff working from the office on a rotational basis and remotely where appropriate.  This position may change and we will advise if it does.   Contact   We will continue to operate our main office lines and all contact numbers remain the same. You can call or email your relevant Partner at any time with any queries. In terms of meetings we will not be conducting any face to face meetings for the time being. We can facilitate Skype, video and tele-conferences where appropriate.   Business supports   The Government have announced a number of measures to support businesses and individuals and we will issue a separate email on this in due course. If we can help with the completion of any applications or any other queries you might have at this time please let us know. You will note that at this point most of what has been issued is only initial guidance but we will endeavour to keep you as fully informed as we can as soon as further information has been released.   You are not on your own - We are here to support and help you and your business at this time.   Take care and stay safe.   Kind Regards,   Vivian E. Nathan Managing Partner   Roberts Nathan Business Advisors, Audit & Tax  
March 19, 2020

Thank your Employees with a Tax Free Gift this Christmas

As Christmas approaches you may be looking for a way to thank your hard-working employees. But as we all know Christmas bonuses can be costly to employers, while employees don’t always receive the full benefit. For example, if you wanted to give an employee a cash bonus of €500 it could cost up to an additional €650 in related taxes. Example
Employee Cash Benefit €500
Treated as net salary so must be re-grossed and taxed by the employer through payroll €540
Employer PRSI €110
Total Cost €1,150
  What if this year you could reward your employees completely tax free? Free Money – What’s the Catch? There isn’t one. Under the Small Benefits Exemption Scheme Company directors and employees can receive a non-cash bonus of up to €500 each year – completely tax free! Fine Print As always, there are a few conditions:
  1. It must be a non-cash bonus – Most companies opt for gift vouchers to avail of the Scheme.
  1. The gift voucher must be purchased from company funds – For example from the company bank account or credit card. You cannot purchase the voucher yourself and then seek reimbursement.
  1. Each individual can only receive one tax-free voucher per annum – Even if the full amount is not utilised. For example, if you give a voucher of €200 in May and €300 in December, the second will be liable to tax. To maximise the tax relief use the full €500 in one go.
  Win – Win So what is the incentive for companies and business owners/directors to implement this Scheme? Here are a few:
  1. Employees avoid PAYE, PRSI and USC, and employers don’t have to pay PRSI.
  2. It’s a tax-efficient way of rewarding your staff as these payments can be deducted from year end profits when calculating the Corporation Tax liability.
  3. Owners/directors whose spouse is also an employee/director can effectively double their benefit to €1,000 in gift vouchers.
  4. It makes sense to use as a Christmas bonus as the voucher can only be gifted once a year.
This Scheme is ideal for companies in a good cash-flow position, as it simultaneously enables employers to reduce any upcoming Corporation Tax liability while also rewarding reliable staff. There’s still time to avail of this year’s benefit – if you have a calendar accounts year end you have until 31st December! If you would like more information on the Small Benefits Exemption Scheme, please do not hesitate to
contact us for an initial discussion around this and other tax efficient recommendations. *Example based on a single employee with a salary of €60,000 per annum, standard tax credits and PRSI Class A1.
December 17, 2019

How to Complete a Successful Year End Stocktake

As the financial year end approaches for many businesses preparations will begin for the annual stocktake. A stocktake is a physical count of inventory on hand and provides a business with an accurate reflection of stock held.  It is advisable that stocktakes be carried out regularly, however some businesses choose to do so only at their year end. We outline here some suggestions and recommendations for carrying out an efficient and effective stocktake. Why Conduct a Stocktake? There are many advantages to conducting regular stocktakes in your business, including: Improved cashflow Cashflow can be improved by identifying slow moving stock items thus reducing the level of such stock and working capital tied up. Accurate profit margins Regular stocktakes enable you to accurately monitor profit margins across the whole range of products for sale. Identify slow moving stock Regular stocktakes help to identify items of stock that are slow moving and change future stocking decisions. Improve stock management Understanding your stock levels will enable you to minimise waste and to identify if there is a problem with misappropriation or theft.

Suggested Method for Completion of a Stocktake

Plan Ahead Before you commence your stocktake you should have a full understanding of the resources and time required, so as to reduce the level of interruption to your business.  To minimise disruption to your business a stocktake should be conducted during the quietest time of the day, with most businesses conducting stocktakes outside of business hours. As part of your planning procedures you should also ensure you have:
  • A plan of how the stock count will be performed and controlled setting out counters and checkers and the overall objectives
  • Stock sheets to enable a full systematic count of stock held
  • Recording methods for stocktaking Pens / Calculators /Hand Held Scanners
Organise Staff
December 4, 2019
  Company Compliance

CRO Deadlines

Annual Return (Form B1) is required to be submitted by all companies, whether trading or not to the Companies Registration Office (CRO) at least once a year. After the initial 6 month return all other returns must have financial statements attached. The Annual return date is set in the following ways:
  • After incorporation – The Company’s Annual Return date (ARD) is set as 6 months after this date and is exempt from uploading Financial Statements.
  • When the financial year/period end is set for a company the ARD must be submitted 9 months plus 28 day after this date.
The CRO introduced mandatory e-filing for Irish companies in June 2017 for the following documents:
  • Form B1 – Annual Return
  • Form B2 – Change of registered office
  • Form B10 – Change of directors or secretaries details
  • Form B72 – Nomination of new Annual Return date
An Annual Return must be submitted to the CRO no later than 28 days after the Annual Return date. Where the Annual Return date falls on a Saturday, Sunday or a bank holiday Monday the 28 day period is extended to the next working day. The Annual Return must be e-filed online and payment must be made by the customer account or debit/credit card. After submitting the Annual Return, if Financial Statements are required (all subsequent annual returns except initial 6 month post incorporation return) you have a further 28 days to upload them and issue the relevant documents to the CRO. (Confirmation of e-filing and Signature Pages) Where an Annual Return or if the Financial Statements are uploaded late the full Annual Return is deemed as late, resulting in late filing fees and where relevant the company will lose its audit exemption for the following two years.  Late filing penalties apply at €100 + €3 per day up to a maximum of €1,240 per return. Where an annual return is sent back by the CRO for corrections or for fees, the CRO require the corrected documents to be delivered to them within 14 days of the request letter from them.
Contact us about your company secretarial and Annual Return requirements and we can assist in establishing your return and filing requirements.  We also maintain an early warning list for our client’s companies to ensure all filings are made on time and your company is maintained in good standing.  
November 18, 2019