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Revenue's Debt Warehousing Scheme

Revenue’s Debt Warehousing Scheme

Revenue recently reminded businesses that were to resume trading, once lockdown ended, that their Debt Warehousing Scheme was still in operation. The process of debt warehousing essentially allows businesses to “park” their debts for a period of time in order to support cash flow when the company resumes trading. This will have been an invaluable asset to many companies, who may otherwise have struggled to reopen their doors following the Covid-19 lockdowns, however, this has naturally not come without drawbacks.

One issue for businesses to be aware of this scheme is if the company were availing of Debt Warehousing for PAYE employer liabilities, any directors or employees with a material interest in the company cannot claim for taxes deducted if these have been warehoused and not paid over to Revenue. This may mean that individuals could find themselves personally liable for PAYE deducted but not paid. While this is unlikely to become a major stumbling block, this is one issue that has not been widely spoken about but you very much need to be aware of it.

The system was put in place to ensure that cash flow would remain available to businesses at a time of need, with some 86,000 businesses availing of the scheme. The scheme has provided approximately €2.3 billion of cash flow to businesses and is now being extended to the end of 2021, with no interest during 2022 and a rate of 3% applying thereafter.

Revenue has assured businesses that payment terms will be flexible at the end of the term. This will also be determined by the company’s capacity to pay these arrears at the same time as paying their current liabilities. Collector General Joe Howley has stated that:

“This initiative gives viable businesses the opportunity to survive the economic shock of the pandemic and to hopefully thrive as the economy recovers. We will be in contact with each business that is availing with the Debt Warehousing Scheme to explain how the arrangements will operate for their business. The flexibility around debt that is warehoused will allow businesses additional time to get back on their feet after re-opening”.

It is important to remember that even businesses availing of this scheme must file all tax returns as soon as they are due.

We hope that this information has been useful for you and as always, please don’t hesitate to contact us here at EcovisDCA where we remain open and ready to help. Please do not hesitate to contact us.

Revenue’s game-changer for tax administration

Revenue’s game-changer for tax administration

As we have discussed recently, the Revenue system has been undergoing massive amounts of welcome changes in recent years. As Revenue continues to invest in the future of their systems, how we do business daily is likely to shift along the way.

Revenue have become increasingly advanced and sophisticated in their systems over the past couple of years and their systems will continue to evolve. Where tax administration was once a long and protracted process, Revenue have managed to create a game-changing and more sophisticated system to catch non-compliance by investing in their IT and data analytics in a much more streamlined fashion.

“A system is only as good as the information it runs on – Revenue’s ability to collect vast and detailed information, as well as its ability to sort and collate this into useful data means their vigilance and efficiency is increasing year on year,” says Cian Rowlands, a tax manager in Ecovis DCA.

Revenue’s recent focus on the area of data analytics allows them to follow a more risk-assessment-based approach to tax issues with one leading tax commentator noting:

“Revenue have become much more advanced and sophisticated in its use of analytics and e-audits in recent years. Taxpayers can see it for themselves when they are filing returns and paying their tax online.

Revenue is now better positioned to tackle non-compliance. It is using data to determine which returns are higher risk and realigned its operating structure in 2018 to complement that. Revenue is focusing its resources on those cases which it believes will most likely deliver a yield on an audit.”

Revenue now utilises a risk-evaluation tool called the Risk Evaluation Analysis and Profiling (REAP), which is a highly sophisticated system that takes data from numerous sources and cross-checks this data against tax returns filed in order to attribute a risk ranking to the individual. Higher risk individuals are more at risk of being selected for audit.

This system continues to advance, and Revenue continues to refine the process. This increased sophistication means that Revenue can now carry out digital audits on an individual if an issue is flagged. As well as this, Revenue’s appeals system has been streamlined recently to begin to clear the backlog caused by the pandemic.

We hope that this information has been useful for you and as always, please don’t hesitate to contact us here at EcovisDCA where we remain open and ready to help. Please do not hesitate to contact us.

Revenue Irish Tax Firm

Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) 

Subsidies received by employers:

The TWSS subsidies received by employers from Revenue are revenue receipts by their nature and accordingly will be treated as a reduction in the wages / salaries related expenditure line item for the accounting period concerned.  The subsidies received reduced the expenditure incurred by employers and therefore these subsidies will reduce the amount of wages and salaries allowable as an expense for tax deduction purposes.

Clawback of PAYE from employees :

The Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) payments by Revenue to employers are treated as part of the employee’s emoluments – ie salary and wages for tax purposes.

The subsidies were not taxed in real-time via the PAYE system however and the amounts received in 2020 by the employees are chargeable to income tax and USC.

The amount of income tax and USC will be reflected on each employee’s preliminary end of year statement for 2020 which is accessible via the PAYE My Account facility for each employee since 15th January 2021.

The employee’s must then complete an income tax return to receive their final statement of liability which will provide the final over or underpayment for the year.

Employees have the option to pay any underpayment in full via My Account or they have the default option of discharging any underpayment arising due to the TWSS subsidies over a four year period commencing in 2022 via a reduction in the annual tax credit entitlement.

As an example – Employee A has a €2,500 income tax underpayment for 2020 This can be discharged as follows;

(1) Employee can make payment of the €2,500 via My Account

or

(2) Revenue will reduce the employees’ tax credits by €625 for the years 2022 to 2025 thereby recouping the underpayment via the PAYE system

Revenue has confirmed that employers may discharge the income tax liabilities of employees without a benefit in kind charge being levied by Revenue. Employers can pay the employee’s liability in one of two ways;

(a) Payment direct to the employee who then must pay the liability

(b) Amend the final payroll submission for 2020 to include additional income tax paid and USC paid that equals the liability shown on the employee’s end of year statement.

The employer will then need to pay the additional amounts that are notified by Revenue in a revised monthly PAYE statement.

For more information visit Revenue.ie or feel free to contact us

Brexit - The Urgent Need To Be Prepared

Brexit – It’s All Customary

It seems so long ago that one of the largest looming threats to Irish business life was the notion of Brexit and the atmosphere of uncertainty that surrounded not knowing what form Brexit was to take. Obviously with the current Covid-19 emergency there are much bigger threats to Irish businesses, but Brexit remains a very real issue that we need to be aware of.

If your business trades directly with the United Kingdom, there will obviously be some changes to your daily business life which it is important to prepare for. From January 1st, 2021, all goods imported into Ireland from Great Britain will be subject customs processes.

As we have discussed previously, one of the most vital ways to prepare for these changes is to register for an Economic Operator Registration Identification (EORI) number, we recommend completing this step ASAP if you have not done it already. This can be done through Revenue’s MyAccount online system.

Once you have your company’s EORI number you must then decide if all customs work will be completed in-house if you feel competent to do so, and have the required software and access to Revenue’s customs systems. If you are not comfortable with completing customs work yourself, you can engage a customs agent to work on your behalf.

We hope that this information has been of use to you and your business, and as always would like you to know that we are here for you and your company at any time should you have any queries.

Revenue Irish Tax Firm

Important Tax Deadlines 2020

We are living and working through some challenging times at present with a need to adjust to a ‘new normal’ which can be as difficult in the business world as it is in our home lives. As always, we here at Ecovis DCA want to help our clients and friends stay up to date, and have compiled the current tax return deadline changes we believe you may need to be aware of.

In light of the current public health situation, any shift in deadlines may make all the difference to your company. In addition to the below, it is worth noting that the HMRC are currently readying for Brexit, if your company has dealings with the United Kingdom, it would be wise to stay up to date on any changes here. In these volatile times, any shift in deadlines can be a massive boost to companies.

Income Tax:

The Government have recently stated that income tax will remain unchanged in the coming Budget. The deadline for self-assessed customers filing online will be extended from November 12th to December 10th.*

Corporation Tax:

Revenue recently announced a 4-week extension of the online filing system for Pay and File customers. The new date for customers submitting their 2019 self-assessment online will be Thursday, December 10th. Those not paying online must still file by October 31st. In addition to this change, Revenue has confirmed that the deadline for Corporate Tax return surcharge suspension will remain September 23rd.

Gift Tax:

Revenue has also announced that they will be extending the filing deadline for beneficiaries of gifts or inheritance for the year ending August 31st, 2020. This deadline has been shifted to December 10th for customers to make their CGT return, and as always this must be done via the Revenue Online System (ROS).

Local Property Tax:

For the third time, the reevaluation date for Local Property Tax has been deferred. The new date has been set as November 1st, 2021. This deferral is intended to bring forward legislation on the basis of fairness, bring new homes previously exempt into the system and to ensure that all monies collected in a given county will stay within that county.

Carbon Tax:

Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe has stated that he intends to repeat last year’s change to carbon tax and reinvest funds into areas that will assist with climate change.

*Please remember that these deadline extensions apply only to those filing online via ROS. If you are not filing online, your deadlines of October 31st will remain unchanged and failure to file on time may result in disciplinary action.

We hope that this information will be of use to you and that if these extensions are the wiggle room your company needs. As always, we here at Ecovis DCA are here for you. Should you require any assistance or guidance on any business or financial matters, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Research and Development (R&D) Credit: Appointment of expert to assist in audits

Revenue have recently released a manual setting out the Revenue procedure for appointing and briefing an independent expert to assist in evaluating the science test in R&D tax credit audits.

By way of background, each year, Revenue’s Incentives unit places an advertisement on the public procurement website, www.etenders.gov.ie1 , inviting applications for placement on a panel of experts to advise in relation to claims for tax credits in respect of incremental expenditure incurred wholly and exclusively on R&D.

Applications for membership of the panel will be accepted at any time during the year. In order, to be eligible to apply for a place on the panel, individuals must hold a relevant PhD or experiential equivalent. Where an independent expert is required in a field that is not represented on the panel formed from the above process, the Incentives unit will identify suitable experts and approach them with a view to their joining the panel.

The appropriate timing for appointing an independent expert will vary from case to case. In some cases, it will be necessary to appoint an independent expert at the outset of a review while in others one may only be required where Revenue and the company reach an impasse in relation to an aspect of the science test.

Independent experts should not be engaged to explain the science: they should only be engaged where there is a doubt that the science test has been met.

Full details of the manual and procedure can be found here

 

 

A Guide to Working At Home…

As of this week, we have seen a massive spike in those working remotely due to the Taoiseach’s announcement of the closure of all physical workplaces which are non-essential in the battle against this virus. We know that your inboxes are being constantly bombarded with information about this virus and its effects and we cannot turn on the television or radio without hearing further information. With this in mind, we thought we would offer some tips today on adjusting to this new and challenging working atmosphere at home.

Working from home can often make an employee more productive as it eliminates the double commute which can often add at least an hour either side of your working day. This allows for greater productivity in the working day whilst also reducing the stressor of a commute. Being in your own space causes you to re-evaluate your working habits and work schedule, while also allowing for greater ease of maximising your work to life balance, but it is not without its challenges especially when sharing that space with children, friends or family members. There are a number of steps you can take to maximise the productivity and enjoyment of your work from home day however.

Schedule:
This is the most important tip we can offer for working from home. When working in your own space it can be tempting to adjust your hours, particularly with children in the home. This can be damaging to your productivity and also encroach on your time with family outside of working hours, so it is vital to maintain your regular working hours where possible. Set an alarm for the morning, take your normal tea and lunch breaks and keep that schedule going. Sticking to your routine may be helpful to your mental health during this challenging time.

Social:
This tip is likely very specific to our current situation of social distancing where there is no time in the office or time with loved ones outside of your immediate home. A good tip for maintaining productivity and working relationships during this time is to arrange a regular catch up group video chat with your co-workers to check in in the same way you would in the office.

Set Ground Rules:
Setting ground rules for those in your home will be vital during this time as we do not yet know how long this scenario may last and with everyone in the same boat cabin fever begins to creep in. Ensure those in your home are aware of your working hours and boundaries ahead of time to avoid repeats of that infamous BBC News interview.

Step Away:
When working from home, the time spent away from your desk can often be as vital as the time spent at the desk. Particularly during our current “lockdown” situation, where daily exercise is vital. Stepping away from your desk and taking your full break will help clear your mind and set you up for productivity in the day ahead.

Space:
Setting a designated office space will help continue to separate your business and home life and make it easier to step away from your working persona at the end of the working day. Similarly, having a separate work phone available when possible will be helpful in this endeavour.

Show Up Dress Up:
Video conferencing has become the main method of meetings being held since the Taoiseach’s announcement in early March, and it is important to show up to these meetings and make your voice heard. Getting dressed into working clothes for the day may also assist in separating work and home life, as tempting as the loungewear naturally is.

School is in Session:
Online training may be a method of staying busy if you are finding your working day slow from home, and will add a new arrow to your quiver when working life returns to normal.

Slow Down and Breath:
It is important to ensure that you are working in a well ventilated room, just opening the window and taking a moment to breathe can be a vital part of refreshing your mind for the rest of the working day in the middle of so much chaos.

Social Media:
Social media is a constant for us in this day and age, and particularly during such a bizarre scenario as our current emergency is, it is often infecting every moment of our lives. When working from home it may be tempting to get sucked into the world of social media. Whilst taking breaks for brain space is advised, social media may be a rabbit hole we do not want to fall into.

We hope that this information will be of benefit to you during these difficult times. Whilst the landscape of our working lives may have changed for the time being, we here at Ecovis DCA are a constant and always available for you.A Guide to Working At Home…

Lay off procedures

Do I need to pay employees sick pay?

If an employee presents a medical certificate for any reason, including contraction of the virus or self-isolation, you should follow your sick pay policy as normal.

If an employee contracts Coronavirus (COVD-19) or is medically instructed to self-isolate, they will be entitled to received €305 per week from the Department of Social Protection. This payment is up to 2 weeks for self-isolation and for the duration of the illness if contracted.

Can I place employees on a period of lay-off?

A ‘lay-off’ situation can occur when there is an unexpected downturn in the business that is out of the Company’s control. If you have no work for the employee, and/or the Business is under extreme financial pressure, you can place an employee on lay-off.

Lay-off is viewed as being a temporary situation, so employers should be aware that if lay-off lasts for a certain length of time, the employee may be entitled to seek a redundancy payment.

If you are considering placing an employee on lay-off, you need to ensure you have a business justification for doing so. If your decision was ever challenged in the WRC, you will need to show your reasoning.

Can I put some staff on lay off while others work?

In relation to choosing employees for the reduction/short time, the criteria should be reasonable and applied in a fair manner. The last in, first out is deemed as appropriate, or by department based on the tasks that they are completing.

What is the process for placing employees on lay-off?

You must have a lay off clause in the employees’ contract of employment.

Lay Off

You as the employer would need to inform your employees that you are placing them on lay off and issue them with the relevant notification (Form RP9) confirming this.

Employees are not paid during a period of lay off, they can claim Social Welfare during this period. If an employee is on lay off from a business for a period of four weeks, they can request to be made redundant, if they have in excess of 2 years’ service. If this happens, there will be a cost involved for the company.

Short Time

When employees are placed on short time this requires that they be reduced to 50% or less of their normal working hours. When on short time employees may apply for Social Welfare to make up the rest of the week. It is important that the hours do not go above 50% while the period of short time continues.

 

With regards to redundancy claims under both of these systems;

Lay-off and short-time are viewed as being temporary situations, so  you as the employer should be aware that if either the lay-off or short-time working lasts for a certain length of time, the employee may be entitled to seek a redundancy payment.

This occurs when the employee has been laid off or kept on short-time (or a combination of both) for either

  • At least four consecutive weeks or,
  • within a 13-week period, for a series of at least six weeks of which not more than three were consecutive

Within 4 weeks of either of the above situations ceasing, the employee can decide to claim redundancy. The claim must be made on the form RP9. Once the employer receives this form s/he has two options:

  • S/he can accept it and pay the redundancy lump sum thereby accepting that there is a termination of employment; or
  • S/he can give a counter notice within seven days to the employee contesting their claim for redundancy.

Counter Notice

By issuing a counter notice the employer promises that within four weeks the employee will be employed for a period of 13 consecutive weeks.

If this does not happen, the counter notice is invalid and the employee is entitled to a redundancy payment. The employee is entitled to statutory redundancy only. S/he is not entitled to a notice payment, as s/he is the party terminating the employment.

Form RP9 – Lay-off and short time procedures

Banking supports

Micro Finance Ireland

If your business is impacted or may be impacted by COVID-19 resulting in a reduction of 15% or more in actual or projected turnover or profit, AND you are having difficulty in accessing  finance from commercial lending providers, the MFI COVID-19 Business Loan may be able to help your business.

In addition, Local Enterprise Offices in every county provide a range of business supports for micro- enterprises including business continuity and preparedness advisory supports connected to the  COVID-19 outbreak. Contact your Local Enterprise Office for more information.

Eligibility

  • Any business (Sole Trader, Partnership or Limited Company) with less than 10 employees and annual turnover of up to €2m
  • Not in a position to avail of finance from Banks and other commercial lending providers
  • 15% of actual or projected turnover or profit is negatively impacted by COVID-19

Product Features

  • Loans from €5,000 – €50,000
  • Supports businesses who have been impacted negatively by coronavirus in Ireland
  • Loan terms typically up to 3 years
  • Up to 6 months Interest only payments
  • No fees/no hidden costs/charges
  • Fixed repayments/no penalty for early repayment

Application process

Application documentation can be found at this web addresshttps://microfinanceireland.ie/loan-packages/covid19/

  • Complete application form
  • Prepare monthly cash flow forecast for 12 months
  • Complete Micro Finance Ireland Business Plan
  • Submit six months bank statements and in the case of a Limited company six months bank statements for Directors and Shareholders holding 25% or more of the issued share capital of the company.
  • For Limited company applicants only – A central Credit Register report for each Director and for any Shareholders holding 25% or more of the issued share capital of the company.

Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland

The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation announced a number of supports for businesses facing challenges being presented by the current Covid-19 situation. The Credit Guarantee Scheme is in place and available now to SMEs subject to the relevant terms and conditions. Separately the SBCI is currently working to finalise the terms and conditions of the SBCI COVID19 Working Capital Scheme and the eligibility application process for this. The SBCI website will be updated as soon as these are finalised. In the interim if you wish to be kept informed on developments please email the SBCI at info@sbci.gov.ie

SME Credit Guarantee Scheme (CGS) 

The Scheme aims to assist viable SMEs, which under normal lending criteria are unable to borrow from their bank, in accessing credit. The scheme operates by providing an 80% guarantee to participating finance providers (currently AIB, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank) on qualifying loans to SMEs.

The Scheme is operated on behalf of the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (D/BEI) by the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) and is available from the participating banks (AIB, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank). If you are an SME,  you can approach any one of the participating banks and apply for a loan facility under CGS.

Key Features of the Scheme:

  • Facilities of €10,000 up to €1m
  • Terms of up to 7 years
  • Term Loans, Demand Loans and Performance Bonds

 

Who is eligible for the Scheme? 

SMEs may be eligible if they:

  • Are involved in a commercial activity
  • Are a sole trader, partnership, franchise, co-operative or limited company
  • In the lender’s opinion have a viable business proposal
  • Are able to repay the facility

 

How to apply do for the scheme

The scheme is available through participating lenders AIB, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank at the web addresses below:

AIB : https://business.aib.ie/products/finance-and-loans/credit-guarantee-scheme

BOI : https://businessbanking.bankofireland.com/credit/credit-guarantee-scheme/

Ulster Bank : https://digital.ulsterbank.ie/business/loans-and-finance/alternative-financing.html

 

Allied Irish Bank (AIB)

AIB’s Covid 19 supports are available at this web address – https://aib.ie/covid19

The financial supports include the following

Cashflow products available to customers and web address for applications

Business Credit Linehttps://business.aib.ie/products/finance-and-loans/business-credit-line?_ga=2.155766331.160936585.1584353997-1581556376.1584353997

Farmer Credit Linehttps://business.aib.ie/products/finance-and-loans/business-credit-line?_ga=2.155766331.160936585.1584353997-1581556376.1584353997

Promptpay – https://business.aib.ie/products/finance-and-loans/promptpay-and-insurance-premium-finance?_ga=2.146517556.160936585.1584353997-1581556376.1584353997

Business loans of between €2,000 and €60,000 can be applied for on line at this web address : https://business.aib.ie/products/finance-and-loans/business-loans?_ga=2.185208617.160936585.1584353997-1581556376.1584353997

Customer in Difficulty (Forbearance Requests)

AIB have a number of possible solutions available depending on your circumstances

  • Capital Moratorium
  • Capital and Interest Moratorium
  • Covenant Waivers

AIB Advisors are available in branch or on the phone 1890 478 833

 

Bank of Ireland

The supports offered by Bank of Ireland are as follows:

  • Emergency working capital, prioritising loan decisions for impacted customers, payment flexibility on loan facilities, and the provision of trade finance and foreign currency products to support sourcing products from new suppliers internationally.
  • Customers who are concerned about the impact of COVID-19 on their business are encouraged to make contact with their Business Relationship Manager or ring 0818 200 348.
  • Bank of Ireland sectoral experts – in agriculture, manufacturing, hospitality, health, food and beverage, and retail convenience – are also available to support customers.

A full listing of supports from BOI are at this web address: https://businessbanking.bankofireland.com/covid-19/supports-for-businesses/

 

Ulster Bank

Ulster Bank have introduced a financial assessment that is designed to evaluate your financial situation and to offer support where you need it most.

Specially trained staff will carry out a financial review. They will review your current financial situation and take you through the repayment options available. These options include:

  • Extending loan terms
  • Temporarily moving to interest only payments
  • Reduced payments on a temporary basis
  • Postponement of monthly repayments for a defined period of time

A full listing of supports from Ulster Bank are at this web address: https://digital.ulsterbank.ie/personal/help-and-support/struggling-financially.html

 

Revenue Irish Tax Firm

Revenue Announce Measures during Covid 19 Outbreak

In recent days, the news around the spread of Covid-19 has become inescapable and naturally worrying for individuals, families and business owners. Here at EcovisDCA we have and will always be committed to providing SME and larger business owners with practical and useful advice to help their businesses survive and thrive, and we intend to continue that trend during this period of adversity and whatever aftermath lies ahead.

In the brief few minutes of the recent announcement by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar regarding the Covid 19 pandemic, it seems that Irish life and business life would be instantly changed. As all schools, childcare facilities and tourism sites would be closed for a period of at least 2 weeks, workers worried about their capacity to continue working. Following on from that, new social distancing recommendations suggesting that workers should work from home where possible and limit direct social contact in the form of group lunches and face-to-face meetings instantly changed how businesses would function in Ireland. Obviously, this is uncharted territory and something that wasn’t planned for in anyone’s business plan for 2020 so it is natural that the business landscape and our economy will suffer to some extent as a result. We here at EcovisDCA will be updating on any and all information pertaining to business life and any news that may light up the uncertain darkness we find ourselves in.

  • Due to the new recommendations and the concerns that workers had for their working capacity going forward, the Government and Revenue have announced updated advice to support workers and SMEs who may experience cashflow issues.
  • All debt enforcement activity is suspending until further notice.
  • The Relevant Contract Tax review due to take place this month is suspended until further notice.
  • A customs ‘green routing’ status will be given to critical pharmaceutical products and medicines.
  • Tax returns should continue to be sent on time.
  • Extended availability of Government subsidised or Government guaranteed loan finance will be offered to businesses affected by Covid 19.
  • Extended grant availability through Enterprise Ireland, Udaras na Gaeltachta and local Enterprise Offices specifically allocated for businesses affected by Covid 19.

Meanwhile, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank have also become the first banks to assure their customers that practices like deferrals will be put in place for mortgage holders who may find themselves unable to keep on top of their payments during this time.

For social welfare support for self-employed please click on the links to get the latest information from Revenue:

https://www.revenue.ie/en/corporate/press-office/press-releases/2020/pr-130320-revenue-announce-measures-to-assist-smes-experiencing-cashflow-difficulties-arising-from-covid-19.aspx

https://www.revenue.ie/en/corporate/press-office/press-releases/2020/pr-100320-engage-early-with-revenue-key-advice-to-businesses-experiencing-tax-payment-problems.aspx

Should you find that your business is beginning to struggle during this time, it is advisable that you contact Revenue directly to discuss your own specific case.