Access information and briefings on State support schemes.
The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection have a range of measures to provide income support to people affected by COVID-19 (Coronavirus). See details on the Gov.ie website.
Law Society resources
The Support Services section of the Law Society has prepared briefings on State supports and options for self-employed and employed solicitors during Covid-19.
Wage Support Schemes
On 23 July, the Irish Government announced that a new scheme called the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) will replace the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) on 1 September 2020.
On 15 April, Minister Paschal Donohoe announced changes to the operation of the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme.
Revenue has also published a new document answering common questions from PAYE workers about the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS). The 'FAQ', which provides guidance to employees on the tax issues raised by the scheme, is available from the Revenue website.
Revision to Pandemic Unemployment Payment
The Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment scheme involves a payment of €350 per week.
Initially, there were conditions attached to this scheme that were difficult for many self-employed solicitors to comply with. These conditions included a requirement that an applicant had to have ‘ceased to trade’.
Rules have significantly changed. The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection is now advising as follows:"‘You may, if your trading income has collapsed to the extent that you are available to take up other full-time employment if it was offered to you, receive a payment of €350 per week for so long as you are available to take up other work."
Small Practice Support at the Law Society is aware of many self-employed solicitors who have applied for and who have been approved for this scheme. More information on the initiative is available on the Gov.ie website.
Any self-employed solicitor who wants information on this scheme should contact Small Practice Support at the Law Society of Ireland without delay. You can get information about your particular circumstances in absolute confidence. To do this, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 01 672 4866.
Government supports for small business practices
A number of State supports are of particular relevance to small practices.
- Business Support Call Centre: The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation have established a Business Support Call Centre for information on the government supports available to businesses and enterprises affected by Covid-19. Practitioners can call (01) 631 2002, or email email@example.com.
- Business Continuity Voucher: The Local Enterprise Office Business Continuity Voucher is designed for businesses across every sector that employs up to 50 people. The voucher is worth up to €2,500 in third party consultancy costs and can be used by companies or sole traders to develop short-term and long-term strategies to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Trading Online Voucher: The Local Enterprise Office (LEO) Trading Online Voucher is a government grant scheme, designed to assist small businesses with up to 10 employees. It offers financial assistance of up to €2,500 along with training and advice to help your business to trade online.
The Business Continuity Voucher and the Online Trading Voucher require applicants to contact their Local LEO office. There are 31 offices nationwide, with details available on the Local Enterprise Office website.
The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation have published an updated booklet detailing the key supports and resources available to help businesses impacted by Covid-19. The booklet, updated on 19 May 2020, is available on the Gov.ie website.
Warehousing of taxes
On 7 May 2020, the Office of the Revenue Commissioners provided details of how taxes owed by businesses will be warehoused.
Under the scheme, VAT and PAYE (Employer) tax debts deferred while the business was unable to trade or was subject to restricted trading due to the COVID-19 related health restrictions (as well as debts for an additional two months after the business resumes ‘normal' trading) will be ring-fenced by Revenue.
The initiative will cover VAT and PAYE liabilities from the end of March until two months after the business resumes ‘normal trading’. There will be no effort made to collect any of the debt involved during this period and no interest will apply.
If firms want to avail of the scheme, they will need to first quantify their tax debt by filing all relevant returns. Revenue has also made it clear that businesses will be expected to pay current liabilities that arise during the 12-month period.
When the 12-month period is up, any outstanding debt will incur a 3% per annum interest charge. Revenue normally charges 10% on unpaid VAT and PAYE. A business’s tax clearance will not be impacted if it avails of the scheme.