Finance (Covid-19 and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2022
Subject to meeting certain conditions, employers that previously availed of the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) but did not meet the original eligibility criteria as at 31 December 2021, could re-enter the scheme and that such businesses could continue to be supported until the expiry of the scheme. New eligibility criteria have been provided for, which must be met to allow re-entry into the scheme.
Businesses supported by EWSS that were directly impacted by certain public health Regulations introduced in late December 2021, would continue to receive the enhanced rates of subsidy for the month of February 2022 and the graduated step-down in subsidy rates would be delayed by one month with such firms continuing to receive support under the scheme until 31 May 2022.
There is a an exemption from income tax, USC and PRSI in respect of the recognition payment made to specified categories of frontline healthcare workers of up to a maximum of €1,000 per individual.
The recognition payment, to be known as the “Pandemic Special Recognition Payment” was made further to the decision of the Government of 19 January 2022, and will be made by or on behalf of the Minister for Health.
Covid Restrictions Support Scheme
The Covid Restrictions Support Scheme was extended to businesses meeting specified criteria from 20 December 2021. Under the amended provisions, for a business making a claim for the scheme from 20 December 2021:
- the turnover threshold is increased from 25 per cent to 40 per cent,
- a business established during the period 13 October 2020 to 26 July 2021, may access supports under the scheme as a category B new business, where the eligibility criteria are met,
- certain charities and approved sporting bodies that operate a business activity from their business premises and meet the revised qualifying criteria are eligible to apply for the scheme.
For category B new businesses, the average weekly turnover will be calculated by reference to the turnover from the date on which the business activity commenced up to 1 August 2021.
Businesses may claim a restart payment equivalent to one week‘s payment under the Scheme. The amended provision provides that where a “restart week” occurs after 20 December 2021 and the business is a charity or approved sports body, or the turnover of the relevant business activity for any claim period commencing on or after 20 December 2021 is between 25 per cent and 40 per cent of the relevant turnover amount, a “restart week” payment equal to one week at the standard rate of the Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (subject to a maximum weekly amount of €5,000) may be claimed.
Warehousing Tax Liabilities
The tax debt warehousing scheme would be extended for businesses impacted by public health restrictions that came into effect on 20 December 2021.
Finance (Covid-19 and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2022 amends the warehousing provisions
- the warehousing provisions for refunds due to Revenue of Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) payments in section 28C Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (Covid-19) Act 2020.
- the warehousing provisions for refunds due to Revenue of the EWSS payments in section 28D Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (Covid-19) Act 2020.
The Finance (Covid-19 and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2022 , provides for a four month extension to Period 1 for businesses entitled to payment under any of a number of Covid-19 support schemes, including the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme, the Covid Restrictions Support Scheme, various schemes administered by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sports and Media, Fáilte Ireland, the Department of Transport, and Enterprise Ireland, as well as schemes with a similar objective that may be approved by the Revenue Commissioners.
For these businesses
- “Period 1”, the “Covid-19 restricted trading phase” is amended to run until 30 April 2022.
- “Period 2” (the “zero-interest phase” of the scheme, during which interest is charged at per cent on warehoused liabilities) is amended to run from 1 May 2022 to 30 April 2023.
- “Period 3” (the “reduced interest phase”, during which interest is charged at c. 3 per cent per annum on warehoused liabilities) is amended to run from 1 May 2023 until warehoused liabilities have been repaid in full.
For all other businesses not entitled to payments under the listed schemes, “Period 1” remains unchanged and ended on 31 December 2021.
Finance (Covid-19 and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2022 waives the excise duty on special exemption orders granted in respect of the period 26 January 2022 to 30 April 2022.
Special Exemption Orders are granted by the District Court to holders of on-licences and permit the sale and consumption of alcohol in licensed premises beyond normal trading hours. For example, nightclubs and late bars require a Special Exemption Order in order to operate past normal closing time. This arises from the Government decision of 21 January 2022 to provide support to the late-night trade recognising the economic impact of COVID-19 on their businesses.