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Changes to Employee Wage Subsidy Scheme

Changes to the Employee Wage Subsidy Scheme

As we are all aware, the Employee Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) has been an integral part of protecting Irish businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic emergency. The scheme has seen many changes and taken on new forms over the course of the past year, having been set up on an emergency basis but requiring updates and extensions as the pandemic continues. The latest extension to the EWSS states that The Finance (Covid-19 Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2021 has allowed for the scheme to be extended through to December 31st, 2021.

With this extension come two major changes to how the scheme will operate going forward. As our country slowly continues the reopening process, these changes will be important to ensure that the scheme is allocated appropriately.

The two new key changes to the EWSS are as follows:

Change to Assessment Period.

The assessment period for eligibility to this scheme has now changed. It is now a requirement to show that your business will incur a 30% reduction in turnover* or orders for the 2021 calendar year as a direct result of Covid-19.
This can be assessed by:

Comparison to the 2019 calendar year if the business was in operation for the full year.
Comparison to the date of commencement to December 31st, 2019, if business commenced between January 1st and October 31st, 2019.
Comparison to projections for the 2021 calendar year, based on the assumption that the Covid-19 emergency had not occurred, if business commenced on or after November 1st, 2019.

*It is important to note that childcare businesses remain exempt from the 30% calculation criteria.

Mandatory Monthly Reviews to be Submitted Online.

A new key criterion to maintaining eligibility for the EWSS is the undertaking of monthly performance reviews for your business to ensure that your business continues to meet the eligibility criteria for this scheme.

A new form (EWSS Eligibility Review Form) has been created for this purpose, which must be submitted online on a monthly basis.

This form must be submitted by August 15th for June’s reviews and following on from this, will be expected by the 15th of each month.

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.

For more information visit Revenue.ie

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's Continued Removal Of Paper Transactions

Revenue’s Continued Removal Of Paper Transactions…

PAYE the Price for Digital Life…

In recent years, Revenue have begun to modernise their systems across the board and move to a largely paperless mode of working, including a full revamp of the PAYE system. This revamp of outdated systems is ongoing. Most recently, Revenue issued new guidance and information in April of this year regarding the introduction of a new electronic system of professional services withholding tax (ePSWT). With the recent updates to other Revenue systems, this new update is a welcome change and somewhat overdue to get all systems in line and ensure that no individual system is outdated and move further into a paperless system.

It is proposed that this new system will be introduced on July 1st, 2021 and will act as the final removal of the paper F45 form. This new solution will have far reaching effects for both employers and employees and will naturally require a period of adjustment. The paper F45 form will be replaced with new electronic ‘Payment Notifications’ on Revenue’s Online Services system (ROS). There will be ongoing updates and information available to view via the Revenue site so we would advise keeping up to date with all new updates. Revenue will add a new link to the ROS main screen entitled “Manage Professional Services Withholding Tax” which will link through to the new system. It is important to note that when inputting a payment notification, the tax registration number of the company in question will be required.

From the new “Manage Professional Services Withholding Tax” link, the next steps will differ based on your respective needs and whether or not you are registered for PSWT. Accountable individuals who have been registered will click into the “Payment Notifications” section, where they will then be permitted to input individual payment notifications and search previous payment notifications among other uses which we will discuss here.

Search Payment Notifications:

The search facility under the “Payment Notifications” will also offer the ability to amend or cancel payment notifications as well as generating acknowledgements for payment notifications submitted, which will be a handy tool for your files going forward.

Batch Payment Notifications:

Batch uploads can be completed by uploading a CSV file of payment notifications, which will greatly streamline this process.

Amend Payment Notifications:

One key feature of this system will be the ability to self-correct the record up until such a point as the F35 has been fully filed. Before this point, certain fields of the PN can be amended, and the accountable person will also have the ability to delete an existing payment notification or add a new one.

Payment Acknowledgements:

Accountable persons will be able to generate a payment notification acknowledgement PDF for all payment notifications. These acknowledgements can be given to as a tax record.

All accountable persons will be required to file an annual return detailing all payments during that tax year, the filing deadline will be Feb 23rd. This is intended to streamline the entire process from the current paper-based system and make it easier to process a refund once the paper F45 form is finally removed. The changes to this process will be as follows:

Old Process:
File a paper F45.
Deduct 20% from a specified person.
Give paper F45 to a specified person.
Remit the 20% to Revenue on a monthly basis as part of the F30 return.

New Process:
Make a Payment Notification on the ROS system as specified above.
Deduct 20% from a specified person.
Remit the 20% to Revenue on a monthly basis as part of the F30 return.

Something which is important to note as we make the change over to this new system is that as the change is happening mid-year there will be additional requirements for 2021, most notably there is a requirement that the F35 continue to be filed, but without the need for the schedule of payments after August 2021. There will also be a requirement for an additional F35. The traditional F35 will be required to be submitted by 23rd August 2021 for the period January to June 2021 including the usual schedule of payments. The F35 for the period July to December will be due by 23rd February 2021 and will not require any schedule of payments as we move into a more digital system.

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.

Taxation Implications on Bitcoin & Cryptocurrencies

Taxation Implications on Bitcoin & Cryptocurrencies

Yesterday went from bad to worse for the crypto bears and believers as they saw their favourite crypto currency Bitcoin crash almost 50% from its all-time high hit earlier this year. This also dragged down the values of other cryptos (‘alt coins’) making it a day to forget for all teams involved. We can’t tell you whether Bitcoin and Cryptos are here to stay as stores of value and means of currency exchanges, however, we can at least guide you regarding the tax treatment of same.

Around this time last year, the Irish Revenue published guidance in relation to the taxability or not of cryptocurrency transactions.

Irish Revenue’s guidance views transactions on the above as no different from other products/commodities – it comes down to traders and non-traders and so interpretation of the same is important.

Whether someone or an entity is deemed to be trading or not will depend on case law and a number of factors including but not limited to the motivation, the subject matter and the level of activity undertaken.

An individual carrying on a trade will be taxed at income tax rates while a company carrying on a trade will generally be chargeable to tax at 12.5%.

Irish Revenue’s guidance explains that for businesses that accept payment for goods or services in cryptocurrencies there is no change to when income is recognised or how taxable profits are calculated.

The guidance explains that where there is an underlying tax event on a transaction involving the use of a cryptocurrency, the tax law requires a record to be kept of it which will include any record in relation to the cryptocurrency. Therefore, income or corporation tax will apply to the resulting trading profits.

Where a person or company is not considered to be trading in the currency/asset, they will be subject to regular Capital Gains Tax (CGT) rules – any gains or losses arising on such disposals will be chargeable allowable for CGT purposes. The tax rate on same is currently 33%.

Given the high CGT rate, the highly encouraged Bitcoin philosophy and mantra to hold or ‘HODL’ the asset, together with Revenue’s currently limited visibility on such transactions, tax Revenue on such transactions may not yet prove to be a substantial yield for the exchequer.

Further to the above, where emoluments payable to an employee are paid in a cryptocurrency, the value of the emoluments for the purposes of calculating payroll taxes is the Euro amount attaching to the cryptocurrency at the time the payment is made to the employee. Returns to Revenue must be shown in Euro amounts and remittances made appropriately.

Revenue’s final line in the guidance states that a reasonable effort should be made to use an appropriate valuation for the transaction in question’.

So while they have tried to provide some guidance and to a degree some certainty with regard to the tax treatment of same, they acknowledge that uncertainty exists given the evolving and ever-changing nature of the market.

If you have any queries on the above or any other tax-related matter, please do not hesitate to contact our tax team who will be glad to guide you.

Full guidance can be found on Revenue.ie

current world economic outlook

As we open up, what is the Economic Outlook?

There are a great many ways in which the Covid-19 emergency has affected the world we now live in. Our day-to-day lives have been irrevocably changed and everything from our daily habits to how we view and manage our mental wellbeing will likely be different going forward. Something which has been a concern for both business owners and employees is the notion of what state the economy will be in following this emergency, on both an Irish and a global scale. Today we will be taking some time to focus on the current world economic outlook following the recent World Economic Outlook press briefing this month and to share some of the current findings with all of our clients and friends.

The IMF has said that: “We are now projecting a stronger recovery for the global economy compared with our January forecast, with growth projected to be 6% in 2021 and 4.4% in 2022 after an estimated historic contraction of -3.3% in 2020.”

Which, despite some obvious issues in the coming months, and the uncertainty of these projections, is a positive outlook to look forward to, from 2022 onward. It is projected that some jobs lost in the pandemic will not be retrieved and this is likely to change the landscape of the global workforce going forward.

Chief Economist and Research Director Gina Gopinath has given some additional hope for the global economic outlook following on from the Covid-19 pandemic, stating that “even with high uncertainty about the path of the pandemic, a way out of this health and economic crisis is increasingly visible. Thanks to the ingenuity of the scientific community, hundreds and millions of people are being vaccinated and this is expected to power recoveries in many countries later this year.”

The idea of ‘secular stagnation’ is one that is important to bear in mind at the moment as economies have found themselves stalling in the midst of global lockdowns. This is a period of little or no economic growth, which is something we have experienced in recent months. Harvard Professor Lawrence Summers suggested in 2013 that these periods assisted in inflation dropping below 2% in Europe, the UK and the US. It can be argued that previous periods of secular stagnation have paved the way for this current emergency to be financially navigated with a positive slant, and for modern economies to come out of this period in a positive light.

Naturally, once global lockdowns begin to lift, economic activity will begin to massively improve but it remains to be seen how impacted the global economy will be by the previous year of emergency. Now is a time to take a longer-term view of the economy and to look forward to a rapid recovery for both our local and the global economy, with all involved keen to avoid another massive financial crisis. The economic rebound from Covid-19 is expected to be strong, with different countries naturally at different stages of their recovery and the UK expected to largely lead this recovery. These projections are naturally reliant on the virus itself as the economy is likely to follow the lead of the virus in that continued vaccine success will propel economic growth, while a continued pandemic and increased variants would slow the economic recovery significantly.

 

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.

Pandemic Unemployment Payment

Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) 

2020 payments received: 

Payments received in 2020 under the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) are subject to income tax and universal social charge.

Individuals in receipt of PUP payments must complete an income tax return to receive their final statement of liability which will provide the final over or under payment for the year.

Revenue confirmed in September 2020 that PUP income tax and USC liabilities would become due at the end of 2020 and that the resulting liabilities could be discharged in one of two ways;

–    Pay any underpayment in full via My Account

or

–    Default option of discharging any underpayment arising due to the PUP payments over a four year period commencing in 2022 via a reduction in the annual tax credit entitlement.

As an example – Individual A has a €1,000 income tax underpayment for 2020.

This can be discharged as follows;

(1) Individual A can make payment of the €1,000 via My Account

or

(2) Revenue will reduce the individuals’ tax credits by €250 for the years 2022 to 2025 thereby recouping the underpayment via the PAYE system

2021 PUP payments:

In 2021 PUP payments will be taxes on a real time basis as follows;

The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection will notify Revenue on a weekly basis of the amount of PUP paid to each recipient.

Revenue will then collect any tax due by reducing the person’s tax credits and rate band.  To do this Revenue will “annualise” the weekly amount of PUP.

The adjusted tax credits and rate band are then applied on a Week 1 basis and the revisions will be reflected in the Revenue Payroll Notifications issued by Revenue to the person’s employer.

This process in 2021 should ensure there are no underpayments at the end of the year arising from PUP payments.

For more information on Pandemic Unemployment Payment visit revenue.ie

Or contact us

Pandemic Unemployment Payment

Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS)

Payments received by employers :

Payments received under the Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS) are revenue in nature and will be treated as a reduction of otherwise tax-deductible trading expenses for tax purposes.

Similar to the accounting and tax treatment where the restart grant was used to defray revenue related expenditure, where the CRSS receipts are used to defray expenditure which is revenue in nature like utility bills or insurance costs then it will be taken into account when calculating the amounts chargeable to income tax or corporation tax.

In essence, the payments are taxable income and for accounting purposes, the CRSS receipts will be credited against the expenses incurred thereby leaving the net expense reflected in the accounts which are then allowable as a deduction for income tax or corporation tax purposes.

Therefore the payments received are effectively taxable payments subject to income tax or corporation tax depending on the structure of the entity receiving the payments.

Entities should keep a log of the expenditure which they have discharged from the CRSS receipts which can then be used by the agents to make the appropriate credit entries against the expenditure to arrive at the tax-deductible net figures.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

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

Pandemic Unemployment Payment

Restart Grant / Restart Grant Plus

Payments received by entities:

The Minister for Finance confirmed that Revenue will treat the taxation of these grants differently depending on the purposes for which the grant was used.

Where the grant is used to defray expenditure which is revenue in nature like utility bills or insurance costs then it will be taken into account when calculating the amounts chargeable to income tax or corporation tax.

In essence such grants are taxable income and for accounting purposes the grant receipts will be credited against the expenses incurred thereby leaving the net expense reflected in the accounts which is then allowable as a deduction for income tax or corporation tax purposes.

For example – Insurance premium annual cost paid by company A in the sum of €5,000. Company A uses the proceeds of the grant of €2,500 to part finance the premium payment. A net cost of €2,500 will be reflected in the accounts and allowable as a deduction against profits for tax purposes which reflects the economic reality that the company had a net cash outflow in relation to the premium of €2,500.

Entities should keep a log of the expenditure which they have discharged from the grant receipts which can then be used by the agents to make the appropriate credit entries against the expenditure to arrive at the tax deductible net figures.

Where the grant is used to defray capital expenditure like acquiring plant and machinery for use in the business, then the entity will be entitled to claim capital allowances on the expenditure incurred net of the grant received.

For example – Machine A acquired for €5,000 and proceeds of the grant of €2,500 were used to part finance same.

Capital allowances can be claimed on the net cost of €2,500 at 12.5% per annum.

Revenue have confirmed the above treatment will apply for both the restart grant and restart grant plus

Revenue's Tax Bill

Revenue’s Tax Bill

Since the beginning of the Covid-19 emergency, we have spoken many times about the various supports made available to both employers and employees to help weather the storm. Two of the main supports that was put in place by the government are the ongoing Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) and Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP). The scheme has seen a number of changes since its inception last year, but this month saw many recipients left confused and concerned.

Over 630,000 taxpayers who were in receipt of either scheme will have received their preliminary end of year statements and found themselves facing a tax bill from Revenue. Any individual who was in receipt of either scheme must pay particular attention to their end of year statement as it is likely that there may be an underpayment of tax listed. While Revenue have long stated that this will be the case, this has still come as a shock for many recipients.

These bills have arrived because neither the TWSS nor the PUP schemes were taxed at the source through the PAYE system from March to August 2020. As a result, the employee is seen to have underpaid income tax and USC for 2020. Although tax was not paid during this period, recipients will still be deemed to have made their PRSI contributions, so neither scheme should affect social welfare entitlements.

The scheme which replaced the TWSS in September 2020, the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS), is now taxed through the PAYE system, so no further hefty tax bills should be seen as a result of this scheme.

The brighter news for those who find themselves with a somewhat unexpected tax bill following these schemes is that the bill is not required to be immediately paid, nor required to be paid in a lump sum at all if this is not something the employee can manage. Revenue have said that they will collect the full, or remaining bill interest-free by reducing tax credits over the course of a four-year period, beginning in January 2022, so there will be no need for immediate action.

It is recommended that you complete your online tax return via MyAccount to ensure that all information is correct and that your outstanding bill is also correct, this also allows employees to claim any tax credits or reliefs they may be due in order to reduce the overall bill (for example, the remote working credit is one which is often overlooked).

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.

For more information visit revenue.ie