04.06.2020 Supports for businesses impacted by COVID-19
Government Funding & Supports
Supports for businesses impacted by Covid-19 (02/05/2020)
- A €10,000 restart grant for micro and small businesses based on a rates/waiver rebate from 2019;
- A three month commercial rates waiver for impacted businesses;
- A €2 billion Pandemic Stabilisation and Recovery Fund within the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF), which will make capital available to medium and large enterprises on commercial terms;
- A €2 billion COVID-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme to support lending to SMEs for terms ranging from 3 months to 6 years, which will be below market interest rates;
- The ‘warehousing’ of tax liabilities for a period of twelve months after recommencement of trading during which time there will be no debt enforcement action taken by Revenue and no interest charge accruing in respect of the warehoused debt;
- A commitment to local authorities to make up the rates shortfall, so that local authorities can continue provide full services to the public
Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme: The scheme enables employees, whose employers are affected by the pandemic, to receive significant supports directly from their employer. Employers who pay their employees during the pandemic, will be refunded up to 70% of an employee’s wages by the state – up to a level of €410.
COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment: Unemployment payments have been increased to €350 per week for up to 6 weeks.
Short Term Work Support: This is a form of Jobseeker’s Benefit and is an income support payment for employees aged under 66 who have been temporarily placed on a shorter working week. The payment is made in respect of their regular salary for the days that they are no longer working however they must work 3 or less days per week.
Illness Benefit for COVID-19 Illness: To receive the enhanced payment, employees must be absent from work and not be getting paid by their employer and be either: 1) Self-isolating on the instruction of a doctor or other medical professional – payment lasts 2 weeks or 2) Diagnosed with COVID-19 – payment is paid for the duration of illness.
Working Capital Loan Scheme: A €200m Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) Working Capital scheme for eligible businesses impacted by COVID-19. Loans of up to €1.5m will be available at reduced rates (the maximum interest rate will be 4%), with up to the first €500,000 unsecured. Maximum interest rate of 4% loan terms ranges from 1 year to 3 years. Loans are available through the Pillar Banks (AIB, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank). Eligible if turnover/profitability has being negatively impacted by a minimum of 15%. Optional interest-only repayments may be available at the start of the loans.
Enterprise Support Scheme: A €200m package for Enterprise Supports including a Rescue and Restructuring Scheme is available under Enterprise Ireland’s COVID-19 Business Response Plan for vulnerable but viable firms that need to restructure or transform their business.
State Credit Guarantee Scheme: This will be available from the state to COVID-19 impacted firms through the Pillar Banks (AIB, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank). Loan facilities of up to €1m will be available at terms of up to 7 years. The scheme aims to assist viable SMEs, which under normal lending criteria are unable to borrow from their bank, in accessing credit. The scheme operates by providing an 80% guarantee to participating finance providers on qualifying loans to SMEs. Minimum loan is €10,000. Loan facilities can be term loans, demand loans or performance bonds.
Increased Micro-Finance Loans: The maximum loan available from MicroFinance Ireland has increased from €25,000 to €50,000. Interest rates of between 6.8% and 7.8% apply. Available to eligible microenterprises (businesses with less than 10 employees and with up to €2m annual turnover) that are currently trading. Loans may be used for working capital and required business changes as a result of COVID-19. Loan terms typically last up to 3 years and are interest and repayment free for the first 6 months.
Support from Banks: Following a meeting between representatives of the pillar banks and the Minister for Finance, the banks are adopting a customer focused approach with a wide variety of tailored supports including simplified access to a wide range of credit, cash flow, working capital, trade finance and supply chain supports. Other supports include payment breaks on loans, extensions of credit lines, risk guarantees and deferment of court proceedings.
Local Authority Rates Deferral: The Government has agreed with local authorities to defer rates payments due from the most immediately impacted businesses – primarily in the retail, hospitality, leisure and childcare sectors, for three months, until the end of May. This measure will be implemented by each local authority in its own area.
Tax Reliefs for Employers & Employees: The Revenue Commissioners has suspended the application of interest on late payments of VAT and employers PAYE (tax) liabilities to assist businesses that are experiencing trading difficulties. Debt enforcement activity is also suspended. Tax clearance status will remain in place for all businesses over the coming months. Revenue has also provided information, advice and support for taxpayers experiencing difficulties caused by the impacts of COVID-19.
Grant supports: A range of Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland, Local Enterprise Ireland, Local Enterprise Office and Údarás na Gaeltachta grant supports are available to firms to help with strategies to innovate, diversify markets and supply chains and to improve competitiveness.
Business Continuity Voucher: The Local Enterprise Office Business Continuity Voucher is designed for businesses across every sector that employ up to 50 people. The voucher is worth up to €2,500 in third party consultancy costs and can be used by companies and sole traders to develop short-term and long-term strategies to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Filing of annual returns: The Companies Registration Office has introduced changes to annual filing obligations for companies to assist companies during the COVID-19 crisis.
Employment Permits System Contingency Arrangements: The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation has implemented a contingency plan to ensure that the Employment Permits system will continue to operate in all scenarios.