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;
- You can apply for Jobseekers support through the online portal MyWelfare.ie, (you will need a Public Services Card);
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.