The Finance (COVID-19 and Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2021 was published today.
The provisions contained in the Bill include amendments to existing supports which were announced in the Economic Recovery Plan in addition to the introduction of the Business Resumption Support Scheme.
Reduced rate of VAT (9%) for the hospitality sector
Section 6 of the Bill amends section 46 VATCA 2010 to provide for the extension of the reduced 9% VAT rate until 31st August 2022 in relation to the following services:
- Restaurant and catering services
- Guest and holiday accommodation
- Entertainment services to include admissions to cinemas, theatres, museums, fairgrounds, amusement park and sporting facilities
- The sale of certain printed matter including brochures, maps and programmes.
Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS)
The Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) is a scheme that subsidises the cost of getting employees back to work.
The extension of the scheme should provide reassurance to businesses affected by the pandemic and enable them to plan for the months ahead.
Section 2 of the Bill amends the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (Section 28B of the Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (Covid-19) (No.2) Act 2020) to provide for the following changes:
- the extension of the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) until 31st December 2021.
- the retention of the enhanced subsidy rates up to 30th September 2021.
- the retention of the qualifying criteria of a 30% reduction in turnover or customer orders threshold.
- An increase in the reference period to assess eligibility for the scheme from six to twelve months with effect from 1st July 2021.
Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS)
The COVID-19 Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS) was introduced by the Finance Act 2020.
It provided support for businesses which had to temporarily cease as a result of public health guidelines.
At such time as the affected businesses are allowed to re-open, those claimants will have to exit this scheme.
As some of those businesses will remain financially affected, the new measures introduced in the Finance (COVID-19 and Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2021 published today will extend the scheme. In addition, there will be an enhanced re-start payment for businesses exiting the scheme equal to up to three weeks at double rate of payment, subject to a €10,000 cap.
Sections 3 and 4 of the Bill amend the Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS) and provide for the extension of the specified period until 30th September 2021.
Section 4 of the Bill provides for the enhanced restart week payment scheme. The level of payment a business may claim on reopening, following the restrictions, will depend on the actual date that business reopens.
- For restart weeks between 29th April to 1st June 2021, the restart payment will equate to two weeks at double the normal CRSS rate subject to a cap of €5,000, being the maximum weekly amount.
- For restart weeks between 2nd June to 31st December 2021, the restart payment will equate to three weeks at double the normal CRSS rate subject to a cap of €10,000, being the maximum weekly amount.
- In all other cases, the standard rate of one week at the normal CRSS rate will apply, subject to a cap of €5,000, being the maximum weekly amount.
Please be aware:
- According to Revenue’s guidelines, an eight week deadline applies to the submission of enhanced restart week payment claims.
- A business can qualify for (a) the double restart week payment or (b) the triple restart week payment once.
- The Minister for Finance has the power to extend this scheme to 31st December 2021 by order.
Business Resumption Support Scheme (BRSS)
Section 5 of the Bill includes a new section, section 485A TCA 1997, which makes provision for a new Business Resumption Support Scheme (BRSS)
The main features of the scheme are as follows:
- BRSS is available for affected self-employed individuals and companies who carry on a trade, the profits from which are chargeable to Income Tax or Corporation Tax under Case I of Schedule D.
- It is also available to persons who carry on a trade in partnership, and any trading activity carried on by charities and sporting bodies.
- To qualify, businesses must be able to prove that their turnover is reduced by 75% in the reference period (i.e. 1st September 2020 to 31st August 2021) as compared with 2019 but it will be a later period if the business commenced trading on or after 26th December 2019.
- Qualifying taxpayers will be able to claim an amount equal to three times the amount as derived by 10% of their average weekly turnover during the reference period (i.e. 1st September 2020 to 31st August 2021) up to a maximum of €20,000 and 5% thereafter subject to a cap of €15,000.
- Please be aware that these payments will be treated as an advance credit for trading expenses.
- If the business was set up before 26th December 2019 the claim will be calculated based on its actual average weekly turnover in the period starting on 1st January 2019. For example, if the business was established after 1st January 2019, then the claim will be based on the period from the actual commencement date up to 31st December 2019.
- If the business was established between 26th December 2019 and 10th March 2020 the claim will be based on the actual average weekly turnover arising between the date of commencement and 15th March 2020.
- If, however, the business activity commenced between 10th March 2020 and 26th August 2020 then the claim will be based on the actual average turnover generated between the date of commencement and 31st August 2020.
- The individual, company or persons carrying on a partnership must have an up to date Tax Clearance Certificate in order to make a valid claim under this scheme.
- They must also be VAT compliant.
- They must not be entitled to make a claim under the CRSS Scheme in relation to any week that includes 1st September 2021 and the business must be actively trading, with the intention of continuing to do so.
- Those making a claim must register on ROS and file a declaration that they satisfy the necessary conditions to avail of BRSS.
- Please be aware that the names of BRSS claimants can be published on the Revenue’s website.
Stamp Duty measures for the cumulative purchase of ten or more residential properties
Section 13 of the Bill gives statutory effect to the Financial Resolution that was passed on 19th May 2021 and inserts section 31E in the SDCA 1999, thereby imposing a 10% stamp duty rate on the acquisition of certain residential properties (houses and duplexes but excluding apartments) where an aggregate of ten or more units is acquired during a twelve month period by a single corporate entity or individual.
Section 14 of the Bill introduces a provision which provides for an exemption from the new 10% rate of stamp duty in situations where the residential units are leased to local authorities for certain social housing purposes.
Tax Debt Warehousing
Section 7 of the the Finance (COVID-19 and Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2021 inserts a new section 28D into the Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (Covid-19) Act 2020 which provides for the warehousing of EWSS overpayments received by employers.
Sections 8, 9 ,10, 11 and 12 of the Bill give effect to the extension of the Debt Warehousing Scheme for refunds of Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) payments, Employer PAYE liabilities, Income Tax, VAT and PRSI:
This scheme will have three periods:
- Period 1 (the “Covid-19 restricted trading phase”) will run from 1st July 2020 to 31st December 2021.
- Period 2 (the “zero interest phase”) – will run from 1st January 2022 until 31st December 2022. No interest will be levied on warehoused EWSS tax from Period 1.
- Period 3 (the “reduced interest phase) –will run from 1st January 2023 until the relevant tax is repaid to Revenue. interest will be levied at a rate of 3% per annum on the Period 1 warehoused relevant tax, from 1st January 2023.
In circumstances where an employer does not meet the conditions for debt warehousing then (i) the zero interest and (ii) reduced interest rates will no longer apply. Instead the 8% rate will be imposed.
For full and complete information, please follow the link: https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/bill/2021/89/eng/initiated/b8921d.pdf