This is a copy of the letter sent from Revenue in response to queries raised by Chambers Ireland regarding the Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS).
01 December 2020
Mr. Ian Talbot,
11 St. Stephen’s Green,
Dear Mr. Talbot,
The Chairman has asked me to write to you regarding your representations concerning the Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (“CRSS”).
The legislative basis for CRSS is Section 11 of Finance Bill 2020, which is currently making its way through the Oireachtas and is expected to be enacted before the end of the year.
As you are aware, Revenue is administering the scheme and has published detailed guidelines on its operation. The guidelines are based on the terms and conditions of the scheme which are set out in the legislation.
Eligibility criteria for CRSS Section 11 of Finance Bill 2020 sets out the eligibility criteria for the scheme. To be eligible to make a claim under CRSS, a person, which includes a self-employed individual, company or partnership, must meet the following criteria:
• The person must carry on a relevant business activity
• The person must be able to demonstrate to Revenue that in the relevant claim period, and because of the terms of Covid restrictions imposed by the Government, the person is required to prohibit or significantly restrict members of the public from accessing the business premises in which that person carries on their relevant business activity (applicable business restrictions provisions)
• The person must be able to demonstrate that, as a result of those restrictions, the
turnover of the relevant business activity in the claim period will be no more than
25% of an amount based on the average turnover of the business in 2019 (or 2020 in
the case of a new business)
• The person must meet certain other conditions, including:
o The person must have a tax clearance certificate
o The person must have compiled with obligations in relation to VAT
o The person must have an intention to resume or continue trading when
applicable business restrictions provisions cease to apply in respect of the
particular business activity.
The terms in bold above are key to the qualification criteria and, to assist in explaining the eligibility requirements for the scheme, further information on those terms are set out below.
A relevant business activity is defined in section 11(4) and is a business activity carried on by that person in a business premises located in a region subject to Covid restrictions imposed by the Government. ‘Covid restrictions’ is defined in section 11(1) as “restrictions provided for in regulations made under sections 5 and 31A of the Health Act 1947, being restrictions for the purpose of preventing, or reducing the risk of, transmission of Covid-19 an which have the effect of restricting the conduct of certain business activity during the specified period”. The current regulations in place are ‘Health Act 1947 (Section 31a – Temporary Restrictions) (Covid-19) (No. 8) Regulations 2020’ which came into operation on 22 October and these regulations are to remain in operation until 1 December 2020.
The term ‘applicable business restrictions provisions’ is defined within the definition of
“Covid restrictions period” in subsection (1). A ‘Covid restrictions period’ is defined as:
“the period for which the person is required by provisions of Covid restrictions to
prohibit, or significantly restrict, members of the public from having access to the
business premises in which the relevant business activity is carried on (referred to in
this section as ‘applicable business restrictions provisions’) and is a period which
commences on the Covid restrictions period commencement date and ends on the
Covid restrictions period end date”.
As can be seen from the above, ‘applicable business restrictions provisions’ are provisions of Covid restrictions (regulations made under sections 5 and 31A of the Health Act 1947) which require a person to prohibit or restrict members of the public from having access to the business premises in which a relevant business activity is carried on.
Application of eligibility criteria
In your letter you refer to businesses that supply wholly or primarily to the hospitality/
tourism industry. While the businesses to which such supplies are made may, under the
terms of Covid restrictions (the regulations), be required to prohibit or restrict customers
from accessing their business premises (for example, a restaurant), this will not result in the supplier business being eligible to make a claim under the terms of the legislation. To be able to make a claim for CRSS payments, the supplier business must meet the eligibility criteria in its own right – the business must be required by the specific terms of Covid restrictions to prohibit or restrict customers from accessing its business premises, with the result that the business is either required to temporarily close or to operate at a significantly reduced level. This will generally not be the case.
The examples and other guidance provided in the published Revenue guidelines, including in relation to suppliers, reflects the terms of the legislation (which are explained above). As you are aware Revenue’s role is to implement the scheme as provided for in legislation. We are not restricting access to the scheme in or through our guidelines, rather we are setting out as clearly as we can the scope of the scheme.
Businesses may be entitled to support under other measures put in place by Government,
including the COVID Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) and the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS). Businesses may also be eligible to warehouse VAT and PAYE (Employer) debts and also excess payments received by employers under the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme, and the balance of Income Tax for 2019 and Preliminary Tax for 2020 for self-assessed taxpayers if applicable.
I trust this clarifies matters.