Covid19 is continuing to cause devastation to the tourism industry and business in general. The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation have a dedicated website with a range of support services available during these difficult times. Please click on the link attached to access this valuable information https://dbei.gov.ie/en/What-We-Do/Supports-for-SMEs/COVID-19-supports/
Alternatively, The COVID-19 sectoral guidance from the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media provides information for the sectors it supports https://www.gov.ie/en/organisation/department-of-tourism-culture-arts-gaeltacht-sport-and-media/
The following schemes and links are helpful in these challenging times;
Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS)
The continuity scheme combined with the COVID-19 Restrictions Support Scheme will help sustain businesses.• Qualifying businesses can apply to Revenue for cash payment under the following conditions:
– Payments will be made when Level 3 restrictions or higher are in place in line with the Plan for Living with COVID-19
– Businesses qualify where government restrictions directly prohibit or restrict customer access to their premises
– Payments are calculated on the basis of 10% of the first €1 million in turnover and 5% thereafter,
based on average VAT exclusive turnover for 2019
– A self-assessment of 75% disruption in turnover is required (decreased from 80% on 20 October 2020)
There is an overview and FAQ document to help you understand how the COVID-19 Restrictions Support Scheme might apply to you. Please check out Revenue’s website that details criteria required; https://www.revenue.ie/en/self-assessment-and-self-employment/crss/index.aspx
Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS)
The scheme is available for employers who keep staff on their payroll during the pandemic. Employees can be temporarily not working or on reduced hours or reduced pay.
• The subsidy amount paid to employers will depend on the gross income of each employee. Since 19 October 2020, there are now 5 payment bands and associated rates based on the
1. Less than €151.50 No subsidy applies
2. €151.50-€202.99 – €203
3. €203-€299.99 – €250
4. €300-€399.99 – €300
5. €400-€1,462 -€350
6. Over €1,462 -No subsidy applies
• The EWSS will run until at least 31 March 2021.
• There is also a Wage Subsidy Scheme for employers who employ people with disabilities. More info on this can be found here; https://www.revenue.ie/en/corporate/communications/covid19/employment-wage-subsidy-scheme.aspx
Warehousing’ of deferred tax debts: The scheme, administered by Revenue, will ‘warehouse’ VAT and PAYE (Employer) debts associated with the COVID-19 crisis.
Reduction in the standard rate of VAT: A reduction in the standard rate of Value-Added Tax (VAT) from 23% to 21% to remain in place until 31 March 2021. A VAT rate reduction from 13.5% to 31st March
If you have concerns about your ability to pay your tax liabilities speak to the Revenue Commissioners, who have advised:
“On an on-going basis, Revenue engages with viable businesses experiencing temporary cash flow or trading difficulties that affect the timely payment of tax. Revenue works very successfully with businesses that engage early to resolve their tax payment difficulties. Revenue will engage with any viable business that experiences temporary cashflow difficulties, including difficulties arising from exceptional circumstances such as the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak.” See www.revenue.ie.
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.
Fáilte Ireland has several schemes in place to support the industry at this difficult time. The Fáilte Ireland website provides industry advice on COVID 19 at this link https://www.failteireland.ie/Utility/Covid-19.aspx .
For detailed instructions on operational guidelines within the industry Click here
Support Hub: Managing a business in unprecedented times. In response to the COVID-19 crisis and the impact it is having on the tourism sector, we are targeting our business supports to respond to the most urgent challenges and threats tourism businesses are now facing.
While businesses remain closed Fáilte Ireland has tailored a series of supports and financial planning tools, which will equip you with what you need to make future decisions enabling you to successfully navigate the challenges of the pandemic and providing support in a difficult time.
With a focus on HR, finance and wellbeing these supports will help you to put plans in place using tailor-made tools for your specific sector alongside webinars dealing with questions that have arisen in light of the pandemic.All of these supports can be accessed here.
Tourism Business Continuity Scheme
The first phase of the €55million Tourism Business Continuity Scheme opened on the 11th of February for applications to businesses who meet the eligibility criteria including:
Outdoor activity providers (e.g. Bike tours, Surf Schools, Kayaking tours, Angling, walking tours, instructor led/guided tourism equestrian experiences)
Golf courses with a tourism offering
Tourist boat tour operators
Hop on Hop off Bus tours with onboard tourism experiences
Visitor attractions not eligible for CRSS (e.g. attractions with charity/not for profit status or that are primarily outdoor attractions)
Caravan and camping providers registered with Fáilte Ireland
Cruise Hire companies
The minimum grant is €3,750 and the maximum grant is €200,000.
Phase 2 of the scheme will be launched in March 2021.
To be eligible for the scheme:
Please read carefully the Guidelines below to check your eligibility.
Key criteria include:
• As a result of COVID-19, a business’s average monthly turnover in the 4-month period October 2020 – January 2021 must be down at least 75% compared to the average monthly turnover for the period January to December 2019
• The business must have a minimum annual turnover of €50,000
• The business must not be eligible to apply for the Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS) or be eligible for funding through the Fáilte Ireland Coach Tourism Business Continuity Scheme or Ireland Based Inbound Agents Business Continuity Scheme.
• The applicant business entity must not be in public ownership, nor manage/ operate a tourism asset on behalf of a public body.
For further information, contact Customer Support by telephone on 1800 242473 or +35318847101. Please clickon the following link to apply and check eligibility https://www.failteireland.ie/Identify-Available-Funding/Tourism-Business-Continuity-Scheme/How-to-apply.aspx
Fáilte Ireland has introduced an Employee Wellbeing Programme aimed at supporting employees across all sectors of the hospitality industry during these difficult times. Fáilte Ireland, in partnership with PulseLearning, is offering the I Am Here: Rapid Response service to the Irish tourism industry. This is a programme of mental health support and learning within the workplace and beyond
Fáilte Ireland has partnered with Inspire Workplaces to offer free and confidential access to an Employee Assistance Programme. This is available widely to business owners, employees and people who are self-employed in the industry. Freephone Helpline on 1800 201346: You will need to quote Fáilte Ireland when accessing the service to ensure the services are provided to you free of charge. https://covid19.failteireland.ie/business-supports/employee-wellbeing/
Local Enterprise Office
Even though there is currently an increasing trend in online spending it is estimated that only 23% of small Irish businesses use eCommerce in any meaningful way. It is estimated that of all online purchases made in Ireland 70% is done in overseas markets.
There is now an urgency to ensure that businesses recognise that this is happening and that they are encouraged and supported to correctly respond to this reality. To support this goal, the National Digital Strategy aims to get more businesses trading online. To this end, the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE) launched a Trading Online Voucher Scheme and teamed up with Local Enterprise Offices to deliver this to Irish Business.
The Trading Online Voucher Scheme offers small businesses the opportunity to develop their website or digital marketing strategy by availing of vouchers of up to €2,500 grant available with co-funding of 50% from the business along with training and advice.
• Scheme is targeted at businesses with the following profile:
– Limited or no e-commerce presence
– 10 or less employees
– Turnover less than €2 million
– Applicant business must be trading for at least 6 months
– Business must be located in the area covered by the LEO to whom they make their application i.e.LEOs cannot accept applications from businesses located outside their jurisdiction.
• Businesses that have already applied for a previous voucher can apply for additional vouchers.
Tipperary Local Enterprise Office has online training programmes that will assist you in upskilling which will assist your business. Please visit Tipperary Local Enterprise Office Website at https://www.localenterprise.ie/Tipperary/
LEAN for Micro
LEAN for Micro is available to Local Enterprise Office clients to help build resilience within small companies. Businesses can avail of consultancy support with a LEAN Expert or help to implement a remote working and physical distancing guidelines. Contact your Local Enterprise Office for further details.
Any queries to any of the above schemes should be directed to Tipperary Local Enterprise Office, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0761065000.
The COVID-19 Business Financial Planning Grant will provide a strategic intervention for companies to work with third-party consultants to prepare a detailed financial and business plan with forecasts and assumptions.
In light of the COVID-19 crisis there is an immediate need for companies to:
- understand their immediate liquidity issues – determine how to minimise costs and maximise sources of liquidity;
- create a financial plan to secure the external finance they require – funding from SBCI/Bank, EI Investment and/or capital from other finance providers will be required to fund companies through the coming months;
- have a framework to manage the finances of the business – a coherent and well-structured plan will facilitate the monitoring and management of the financial position of the company.
The offer seeks to encourage companies to be proactive in developing a detailed financial plan that identifies funding needs and potential sources of funding.
This new offer will provide grant support to companies of up to €5,000 (100% of expenditure) for an engagement with an approved external consultant.
Please visit Enterprise Ireland’s website for details https://www.enterprise-ireland.com/en/funding-supports/
Sustaining Enterprise Fund
• The Sustaining Enterprise Fund of up to €180 million is specifically aimed at firms operating in the manufacturing and internationally traded services sectors, with 10 or more employees, that are
vulnerable but viable.
• The fund is operated by Enterprise Ireland with amounts between €100,000 and €800,000 available to eligible companies who have been negatively impacted by COVID-19.
• The fund includes a 50% non-repayable grant element, up to a limit of €200,000.
Please visit Enterprise Ireland’s website for details https://www.enterprise-ireland.com/en/funding-supports/
Commercial rates waiver
With limited exceptions, all businesses in affected sectors will be granted a commercial rates waiver to31 March 2021.
Tipperary County Council is acutely aware of the impact of this crisis on our ratepayers and has issued rates bills to a limited number of businesses which we consider are not impacted or least impacted by Coronavirus/Covid-19. Any Ratepayer experiencing cash flow difficulties should email email@example.com or telephone 0761 06 5000. Please have the following information to hand (or their inclusion in an email) which will help us to deal with your communication:
• A customer or property reference number
• Address of the property
• Your mobile or landline number
• If your business has closed due to the Covid-19, date of closures
More information can be found at https://www.tipperarycoco.ie/finance/arrangements-relating-commercial-rates-and-covid-19
MicroFinance Ireland loans are being promoted as key support for micro-enterprises. Important changes are being made to the MicroFinance Ireland supports for microenterprises. Check out MicroFinance Ireland for a full suite of supports https://microfinanceireland.ie/loan-packages-2/covid19/
MicroFinance Ireland has introduced a NEW COVID-19 Business Loan Scheme – Zero repayments for first 6 months and the equivalent of 12 months interest-free subject to certain terms and conditions* The COVID-19 Business Loan from Microfinance Ireland is a government initiative to support small businesses through the current challenges and protect job creation and sustainment in Ireland. If your business has been impacted by COVID-19 resulting in a reduction of 15% or more in turnover or profit, and you are unable to secure finance from banks and commercial lending providers, the MFI COVID-19 Business Loan may be an option to help your business. Loans can be used for working capital or changes required by the business to manage COVID19.
- Business Loans from €5,000 to €25,000
- First 6 months – 0% interest and zero repayments
- Repayments will commence in month 7 for the remaining period of your loan.
- Government rebate for the interest paid in the following 6 months (months 7-12 of your loan)
- Interest rate after the first 6 months will be: a reduced interest rate of 4.5% APR if submitted through the Local Enterprise Office Network (or other referral partners) or 5.5% APR if you apply directly
- Loan terms typically up to 3 years
- No fees or charges
- Fixed repayments with no penalty for early repayment
*Terms & Conditions:
- The maximum loan amount is €25,000 for all applicants. Existing MFI customers can apply for up to €25,000, in addition to existing borrowings subject to a maximum credit exposure of €50,000.
- The Government rebate of the equivalent of 6 months interest will be refunded automatically, directly to your bank account, in Month 13 of the loan period. This interest rebate will only be made if the full 6 repayments including interest have been made in the previous 6 months. No interest rebate is payable if this condition is not met.
- By exception, capital expenditure may be funded up to 5 years.
- Any business (Sole Trader, Partnership or Limited Company) with less than 10 employees and an annual turnover of up to €2m and was trading before the coronavirus pandemic in Ireland
- Unable to secure finance from the Bank or commercial lending provider
- The business has been impacted by COVID19 resulting in a 15% or more reduction in turnover or profit.
The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation
The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation announced several supports for businesses facing challenges being presented by the current Covid-19 situation. The Credit Guarantee Scheme is in place and available now to SMEs subject to the relevant terms and conditions. Loans under the scheme range from €10,000 to €1 million, for terms of up to five and a half years.
• Financing will be offered through a range of products, including term loans, working capital loans and overdrafts.
• Loans of up to €250,000 under the Scheme are available unsecured (except where this is a requirement of the product feature, as in the case of asset finance, invoice discount facilities, etc).
• The Scheme is operated by the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) through participating
Separately the SBCI is currently working to finalise the terms and conditions of the SBCI COVID19 Working Capital Scheme and the eligibility application process for this. The SBCI website will be updated as soon as these are finalised. Click here
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
If you are self-employed and your business has reduced significantly or closed, you can apply for Jobseeker’s Benefit (Self-Employed).
Get all the details on how you can apply for Jobseeker’s Payments here
Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP)
To qualify for the PUP, you must have lost your job or been laid off because of Covid-19 or be self-employed and your trading income has ceased due to Covid-19, or your trading income has collapsed to
the extent that you are available to take up other full-time employment (more on this available here).
• You must also:
– be aged between 18-66
– live in the Republic of Ireland
– Have been in employment or self-employment in Ireland on or after 13 March 2020
– Be genuinely seeking work
– Not be getting any income from employment
– Have at least one PRSI contribution in the 4 weeks before claiming PUP or be in insurable self-employment.
PUP will continue until at least 31 March 2021
For rates and criteria please visit the following link; https://services.mywelfare.ie/en/topics/covid-19-payments/covid-19-pandemic-unemployment-payment/
The Health Service Executive website features guidelines for returning to work safely. This important advice is essential to ensuring compliance in the workplace. Please read the guidelines through the website which can be found here; https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/coronavirus/returning-to-work-safely.html
COVID19 can challenge mental health but rest assured there are supports in place to assist. We might need to put extra effort into looking after our mental health for a while. But we will get through this. Mental Health Ireland has an array of excellent tool kits that will assist in supporting you during these times; https://www.mentalhealthireland.ie/get-support/covid19/
The Health Service Executive has many supports outlined in the following link to support your mental health; https://www2.hse.ie/wellbeing/mental-health/covid-19/minding-your-mental-health-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.html