Current Governmental Support on COVID-1923 March, 2020
As businesses are facing unprecedented times, the availability of governmental support is critical to support business over the coming weeks and months. We have set out below the details of the support being provided by the Irish government and its agencies and offices, as of 23rd March 2020.
• A €200m Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) COVID-19 Working Capital scheme for eligible businesses impacted by COVID-19. Loans of up to €1.5m will be available at reduced rates (maximum will be 4%), with up to the first €500,000 unsecured.
• A €200m Package for Enterprise Supports including a Rescue and Restructuring Scheme available through Enterprise Ireland for vulnerable but viable firms that need to restructure or transform their business.
• The maximum COVID-19 loan available from MicroFinance Ireland will be increased from €25,000 to €50,000 as an immediate measure to specifically deal with exceptional circumstances that micro-enterprises (sole traders and firms with up to nine employees) are facing. The terms include a six months interest free and repayment free moratorium, with the loan to then be repaid over the remaining 30 months of the 36-month loan period. Loans are available at an interest rate of between 6.8% and 7.8%. Businesses can apply through their Local Enterprise Office or directly at microfinanceireland.ie. Eligibility criteria apply.
• The Credit Guarantee Scheme will be available to COVID-19 impacted firms through the Pillar Banks. Loans of up to €1m will be available at terms of up to seven years.
• Local Enterprise Office can provide business continuity vouchers.
• Clients of Enterprise Ireland and Údarás na Gaeltachta will be able to avail of grants in the amount of €7,200 to access consultancy support to undertake immediate finance reviews.
• Employees of businesses that need to reduce hours or days worked can avail of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection Short-time Work Support.
• The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection has introduced a refund scheme for employers. Under an arrangement developed with Revenue, employers who have to temporarily lay-off staff and who are not in a position to make any wage payment to them, are asked to keep their employees on the payroll and pay them an amount of €203 – the equivalent of the COVID-19 Support Payment. When they submit payroll returns to Revenue via their payroll provider, Revenue will refund the employer the €203. Please see COVID-19 Employer Refund Scheme for full details.
• For those workers who have been laid off without pay, there is no need to visit an Intreo Centre. The DEASP has introduced a new support payment for the self-employed who have lost business and to those who have lost employment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment. This support pays a flat rate of €203 per week for a six-week period.
• The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection and the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation will provide a joint First Responder support service through the Intreo Offices and development agencies, Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland in each region to provide tailored supports for impacted firms, with objective of avoiding mass lay-offs and buying time for firms to work through the short-term disruptions.
• A Finance in Focus grant of €7,200 will be available to Enterprise Ireland and Údarás na Gaeltachta clients that want to access consultancy support to undertake immediate finance
• In addition to their current range of business supports to microenterprises, LEOs can also provide business continuity vouchers from €2,500 to assist in preparing any business continuity issues that arise in the current challenging environment. Visit LEOs COVID-19 Business Response for further details.
• Enterprise Ireland has a number of supports available to help businesses mitigate the impact of Covid-19. Their COVID-19 Business Response Plan outlines the COVID-19 supports available.
• The Department of Health has prepared COVID-19 guidance for supply chain workers.
• CRO statutory filing deadlines have been extended, including annual returns due to be filed between now and up to 30th of June 2020 will be deemed to have been filed on time if all elements of the annual return are completed and filed by 30th of June 2020.
• Revenue has also posted advice for businesses experiencing trading difficulties as a result of COVID-19. This includes information on tax returns, the application of late payment interest, debt enforcement, tax clearance and customs.
• Application of interest on late payment is suspended for January/February VAT and both February and March PAYE (Employers) liabilities.
• All debt enforcement activity is suspended until further notice.
• Current tax clearance status will remain in place for all businesses over the coming months.
• Review of the Relevant Contract Tax rate for subcontractors scheduled to take place in March 2020 is suspended.
• The Government has agreed with local authorities that they defer rates payments from the impacted businesses for three months. This measure will be implemented by each local authority in its own area.
• All banks have announced they will offer flexibility to their customers in terms of payment holidays or provision of emergency working capital facilities. The trend appears to be toward 3 month payment deferrals.
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This note is for general information purposes Legal advice must be obtained for all individual circumstances. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this note, no liability is accepted by the author or Flynn O’Driscoll for any inaccuracies.
About The Author
In James’ early career he practiced as a Chartered Company Secretary; James has built upon this experience and as a Solicitor has developed a specific expertise in tax driven corporate restructuring and succession planning for family businesses……