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Revenue to withhold EWSS from firms who fail to file on time

Revenue to withhold EWSS from firms who fail to file on time.

As we are all aware, the emergency funds set up by the Government at the beginning of the Covid-19 emergency have seen many changes and adaptations over the last 18 months, both the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) and the Employee Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) have continued to change and adapt to suit the current needs of the pandemic. Following on from the recent announcement of a move for Ireland from a period of continued restrictions to an easing into personal accountability and no further requirement to work remotely after late October, there are certain to be more changes and the likely phasing out of these schemes ahead.

We have often discussed in recent years, the many ways in which Revenue have automated their processes and functions to facilitate increasingly efficient compliance reviews, and in line with this, they have begun to increase checks on these schemes to ensure continued eligibility. As Covid restrictions begin to be lifted, new measures are required to ensure the smooth and fair operation of the scheme.

Revenue’s latest figures have shown that almost 41,000 employers were registered for the EWSS at the end of August 2021 and eligibility review forms have been issued to all. With only 70% of businesses having returned these forms, it is important to ensure that all business and financial information is up to date and presented to Revenue on time as Revenue will withhold all support payments from employers who fail to file their forms on time.

These previous deadlines had been amended on two occasions. Access to the EWSS will be effectively paused until forms are submitted. This system of pausing is in place from Sept 1st, once eligibility is confirmed, payments will resume. Revenue have clarified this by saying;

Where such businesses subsequently complete and submit the outstanding EWSS eligibility review forms, and thereby confirm they continue to meet the eligibility criteria of the scheme, they can resume claiming EWSS support […] Any subsidies claimed but not paid while EWSS eligibility review forms were outstanding will then also be processed for payment.”

We would advise getting eligibility forms submitted before the deadline each month for the previous month to avoid any delays or disruptions to your payments, which could financially damage your business. Should you have any concerns or queries on any business or financial matters please do not hesitate to contact us here at EcovisDCA where we will be happy to help.

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'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.

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

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

The SME Credit Guarantee Scheme

The SME Credit Guarantee Scheme

We have discussed Covid-19 business supports at length since the onset of this global emergency, while also discussing the vital nature of the SME area in Ireland. SMEs make up a huge portion of Irish businesses, and whilst last years looming Brexit panic may have seemed like an enormous threat to their business activities, this year has proven the ultimate challenge. With this in mind today we will be discussing another area of assistance for these types of businesses both in the wake of Covid and in the realm of what the new normal will look like.

The SME Credit Guarantee Scheme is intended to encourage additional lending to SMEs, something we can all agree is absolutely essential. This scheme offers a partial Government guarantee of 80% to banks against losses, essentially placing the Government as a guarantor against the SME’s loan. The scheme is aimed at SMEs facing difficulty in accessing traditional lending and is operated on behalf of the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SCBI) and is accessible from lenders such as AIB, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank. These loans are available to fund working capital, refinancing current Covid19 funding and also in order to invest in your business so it can adapt to the current emergency.

Loans range from €10,000 to €1million and can have a term of up to 7 years. A guaranteed premium will apply to be paid directly to the Government. The scheme is available until December 2020. We recommend checking in with your local banking branch for further information and eligibility requirements.

As always, we here at Ecovis DCA are available should you have any concerns or queries on any business or financial matters.

For more information visit Enterprise.gov.ie

All the Best Things in Small Packages

As we mentioned when we discussed the Government’s announcement of the July Stimulus plan there would be some options available to the owner of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), to protect their businesses during and following on from the Covid-19 emergency. As previously discussed the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme has come to an end being replaced with the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS), which has changes that may come as quite a blow to some SMEs as it may see them no longer capable of keeping their full complement of staff, or of topping up wages to the full amount. This has been a cause for concern for many small Irish businesses who wish to keep their business afloat during these times. With this in mind, we have decided to focus on one of most recently available funding options for some of our most vulnerable businesses, micro businesses which could be of great assistance to them during this period.

Microfinance Ireland are now open for loan applications of up to €25,000 for small companies of 10 employees or less. The loan term will be 3 years and follows on from an earlier loan scheme we discussed earlier in the year, which saw loans approved for 687 companies. CEO of Microfinance Ireland, Garrett Stokes has said of the current loan landscape;

“We can see where the demand is coming from most and out Covid-19 loan scheme has been tailored to meet the ongoing needs of those micro-businesses as they navigate their way through the current challenges and beyond.”

The key point to note in this loan which may be of interest to small struggling companies is the fact that these loans will have no repayments and zero interest for the first six months. In addition to this, interest paid in months 6 to 12 will be refunded by the Government in month 13 of the loan, providing that all repayments are up to date. Following on from this period, interest will apply at a rate of 4.5% on applications made through Local Enterprise Offices or at a rate of 5.5% for applications made via Microfinance Ireland themselves.

There is to be a state backed Credit Guarantee Scheme available to larger SMEs once they can prove that they have been negatively impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Applications can be made through Local Enterprise Offices or through MFI directly.

We hope that this information is of benefit to you and your business. Should you have any queries or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us here at EcovisDCA where we are always happy to help.

The Restart Grant Plus Scheme

Here at EcovisDCA, we are as always aiming to help Irish SMEs flourish. The current emergency has been a troubling time for all business owners, with SMEs being some of the most vulnerable by nature. We are committed to providing you with all the information available which could assist your business in flourishing in the face of this new adversity.

The Restart Grant Plus scheme offers a grant to businesses in order to help them to reopen their premises and return to work following the Covid-19 crisis. The grants available range is from €4,000 to a maximum of €25,000. The scheme has been increased from a previous minimum of €2,000 and a maximum of €10,000.

The Restart Grant scheme will be based on the rates assessment for the business for the 2019 year and is primarily available to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as well as independent hotels. The scheme is now also available to sectors such as sports businesses, charity shops, restaurants, pubs, activity centres, and tourist attractions.

If your company has utilised this scheme previously, you may still be eligible to apply for a second payment, this second payment will only reach a total combined value of the new maximum value. In the event that your company was unable to access funding from the scheme but now qualifies, you will be entitled to make a new application.

The requirements for accessing this grant are that the company must have:

  • Between 0 – 250 employees.
  • Eligible firms now include medium-sized firms and independent hotels with up to 250 employees, as well as small firms (increased from 50 employees).
  • A turnover of less than €100,000 per employee up to a maximum of €25million.
  • Operating from a premises that is commercially rateable by a local authority.
  • A reduced level of turnover of 25% as a result of the Covid-19.
  • Committed to a reopening plan and remain committed to sustaining employment levels.
  • Intention to retain employees that are on the temporary wage subsidy scheme.
  • B&Bs in non-rated premises will be eligible to apply for the minimum €4,000 grant from Fáilte Ireland.
  • A franchisee which is a financially independent company and is completely separate to the franchisor is eligible to apply.
  • Multinationals are not eligible. Small Irish based subsidiaries with overseas parent companies are not eligible.

The aim is that applications will be processed, and an answer received within two weeks of application. Applications can be made through your local authority website.

As always, we here at EcovisDCA 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