We have included below some of the recent initiatives and supports that have been put in place to assist those in difficulty due to the coronavirus.
This covers a wide variety of areas including banking, revenue, social welfare and government supports
If you are concerned at any stage, we would urge you to engage as soon as possible with your bank, revenue office or the relevant government department
As of today, both Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank have announced that they will offer payment breaks and deferrals of mortgage repayments for customers impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. We would expect all the other financial institutions to follow suit in announcing this formally in the coming days.
If you are struggling at any level with both personal and/or business debt, then we would advise approaching your bank as soon as possible to work out a payment deferral or a short-term restructure of the facility.
There will be an application process to any restructuring of debt, but we would expect that all banks would be flexible and open to assisting their customers during the next weeks and months.
We are available to assist you if you require any assistance with approaching your bank in relation to a restructure due to the impact of Covid-19.
On the tax front Revenue have, to their credit, been quick to issue correspondence on how they will help all SME’s in Ireland. If the country goes into lockdown, we expect Revenue to assist further, presumably under instructions from the Department of Finance.
The following points were issued by Revenue in relation to SME’s:
- Tax Returns: businesses experiencing temporary cash flow difficulties should continue to send in tax returns on time. Revenue have committed to working with businesses in relation to payment plans and deferral of payments.
- Application of Interest: the application of interest on late payments is suspended for January/February 2020 VAT and both February and March 2020 PAYE (Employers) liabilities. Revenue will issue guidance on future returns as time passes on.
- Debt Enforcement: All debt enforcement activity is suspended until further notice.
- Tax Clearance: current tax clearance status will remain in place for all businesses over the coming months.
Information for Subcontractors
- RCT (Relevant Contract Tax): the RCT rate review scheduled to take place in March 2020 is suspended. This process assesses the current compliance position of each subcontractor in the eRCT system and determines their correct RCT deduction rate, i.e. 0%, 20% or 35%. As this process may result in a subcontractor’s RCT rate increasing due to changes in their compliance position, the review is suspended.
- Subcontractors and agents are reminded that RCT rate reviews can be self-managed in ROS. Subcontractors can check if their rate should be lower and can then ‘self-review’ to get that lower deduction rate.
Information on importing goods
- Customs: critical pharmaceutical products and medicines will be given a Customs ‘green routing’ to facilitate uninterrupted importation and supply.
Regarding large companies Revenue have indicated that these companies should engage with their branch contacts if they are having any cashflow difficulties.
We recommend continuing to file returns and if businesses are not able to pay their taxes when they fall due, they need to inform Revenue of those difficulties.
We understand these issues are changing daily, and we will continue to update you when Revenue issue further correspondence on these issues. We are on hand to assist you with any or all of these issues.
Government Support for Businesses
There has been a raft of measures introduced by the interim government to help businesses through these next few months. Hopefully the administration with respect to these measures will not be onerous:
- A €200m Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) Working Capital Scheme for eligible businesses affected by COVID-19. Loans of up to €1.5m will be available at reduced rates, with up to the first €500,000 unsecured. Applications can be made via the SBCI website.
- A €200m package for Enterprise Supports, available through Enterprise Ireland, for vulnerable but viable firms that need to restructure or transform their business.
- An increase in the maximum loan available from MicroFinance Ireland (MFI) from €25,000 to €50,000, as an immediate measure to specifically deal with the exceptional circumstances that micro-enterprises are facing (i.e. sole traders and firms with up to 9 employees). Applications can be made through the MFI website.
- The Credit Guarantee Scheme will be available to impacted businesses through the pillar banks, with loans of up to €1m available for terms up to 7 years.
- The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP) and DBEI will provide a joint first responder support service through the Intreo Offices, Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland in each region to provide tailored supports to impacted firms, with the objective of avoiding mass lay-offs and buying firms time to work through short-term disruption.
- The range of Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland, Local Enterprise Office and Údaras na Gaeltachta supports will be available to help strategies to diversify markets and supply chains and improve competitiveness.
- Local Enterprise Offices in every county will be providing vouchers from €2,500 up to €10,000 (with 50:50 match funding) to support business continuity preparedness, innovation and productivity – see here.
Social Welfare Supports
Information for Employers, Employees and Self Employed individuals
The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection are introducing measures to provide income support to people affected by COVID-19.
3 major changes have been announced:
- the current 6-day waiting period for Illness Benefit will not apply to anyone who has COVID-19 (Coronavirus) or is in medically required self-isolation
- the personal rate of Illness Benefit will increase from €203 per week to €305 per week for a maximum of 2 weeks medically required self-isolation or for the full duration of absence from work following a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
- the normal social insurance requirements for illness benefits will be changed.
The enhanced arrangements are intended to reduce the financial loss incurred by workers, employed and self-employed people who are not adequately covered by occupational sick pay arrangements. It’s important to stress that illness benefit, and supplementary welfare allowance will be provided to self employed individuals as well as employees.
The following are some examples that might apply to employers/employees
- When a worker is told to self-isolate by a doctor or has been diagnosed with COVID-19 (Coronavirus) by a doctor, they can apply for an enhanced Illness Benefit payment of €305 per week. To be eligible for this payment a person must be confined to their home or a medical facility.
- If your employer asks you to stay at home as a precaution or puts you on a period of lay-off and does not continue to pay your wages, you can apply for income support in the form of Jobseeker's Payment or Supplementary Welfare Allowance.
- Any person requested to stay at home by their employer as a precaution against the spread of Covid-19 will, in situations where the employer cannot continue to pay their wages, be considered to have been temporarily laid-off and can apply for an income support in the form of a Jobseekers Payment or Supplementary Welfare Allowance
- Laid off temporarily or reduced hours employees who are laid off temporarily, without pay, due to a reduction in business activity, can apply for a Jobseekers Payment.
- Employees who are put onto short-time working by their employer due to a reduction in business activity related to Covid-19 may apply for a Short Time Work Support payment. You must complete a Jobseeker's Payment Form and your employer must either confirm in writing that you won't be paid, or the employer can complete this form online.
All the above information and the necessary forms can be found by clicking on this link
As of this morning the government announced a temporary refund scheme for employers that have been forced to close to help delay the spread of Covid-19. Under the scheme employers are being asked, where possible, to pay workers at least the equivalent jobseeker’s rate of € 203 per week during a 6-week period. The employer can then claim a refund for the payments under the temporary scheme.
This is a fluid situation which is continuing to change on a daily basis so we would expect further changes and supports to be implemented by government in the next number of weeks and months.
If you have any queries or if we can assist you in anyway during this current crisis, please contact us.
Tim McCarthy - Managing Partner
Tim McCarthy - 086 2538661 email@example.com
Main contacts firstname.lastname@example.org 021 4641400