On Midnight 21 October Ireland was placed on Level 5 restrictions based on the Irish Governments plans for Living With Covid, which is a 'framework' for restrictive measures consisting of five different levels, each level representing a different magnitude of Covid-19 outbreak with 1 being the lowest, 5 being the highest.
Under Level 5, people have been asked to stay home except to exercise within five kilometres of home and travel for essential reasons only. For us everyone is continuing to work from home as we have done so since the beginning of the outbreak.
Throughout this pandemic, we have remained fully operational and it has been very much business as “normal” while at the same time prioritizing the health and safety of our staff and clients alike. We have successfully implemented our Return to Work Safety Protocol for when staff are ready to return to our offices, however all staff are successfully operating from home with minimal to no disruption to our business. At present we continue to have a small number of key essential staff working in our Dundrum office under the specifications and guidelines of the HSE.
We have been devoting a significant amount of time over the last six months advising and assisting our clients, as they deal with the impact this pandemic has had on their businesses. This is letting us deepen our relationship with these clients.
As part of our ongoing commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility, MBSL has made a charitable donation to a local charity, working to help local families and elderly people impacted by the pandemic.
MBSL were also featured in the #SupportLocal campaign, by Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Chamber of Commerce, an initiative to showcase the best of local businesses and MBSL was promoted across the various social media platforms.
Due to the swift actions of the government it looks like Ireland may have turned a corner in the fight against Covid, with cases dramatically dropping as a second surge takes hold across the rest of Europe.
Ireland has also a number of support schemes in place for businesses, including the Covid Restrictions Support Scheme, announced in the October Budget.
Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS) Overview
In his Budget speech on 13th October 2020, the Minister for Finance announced his intention to introduce the Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (“CRSS”) as an additional support for businesses subject to significant Covid-19 restrictions. The scheme is intended to be in addition to the supports provided to employers under the Employer Wage Support Scheme (“EWSS”). Set out below is information on how the scheme is intended to operate as well as some worked examples demonstrating this.
It is proposed that CRSS will be available to companies and self-employed individuals operating a business, profits from which are chargeable to tax under Case I of Schedule D.
To qualify, the business must be operating from premises wholly located in a region subject to restrictions under the Government’s plan for living with Covid-19 “Resilience and Recovery 2020-2021: Plan for Living with Covid-19”, with the result that the business is required to prohibit or considerably restrict members of the public from accessing their business premises. Generally, the restrictions apply at restriction levels 3, 4 or 5 of the Plan for Living with Covid-19 but, in the case of certain businesses could apply at lower levels of restrictions.
Where as a result of the restrictions, a business has been required to temporarily shut their premises or operate at significantly reduced levels, with the result that turnover for that period will be no more than 25% of the average weekly turnover for a period equal to the same number of weeks in 2019 (or using 2020 turnover figures for new businesses), that business will qualify under the scheme.
The claims process will be available from mid-November. Once they have registered, a taxpayer will be able to make a claim for the period their business is restricted from operating.
The relief will operate as a cash payment equal to 10% of the average weekly value of the 2019 business’s turnover up to €20,000 and 5% thereafter, subject to a maximum weekly payment of €5,000, for the same number of weeks as the restricted period.
The payment is known as an “Advanced Credit for Trading Expenses” and is taken into account when computing the profits and gains of the business under Case I of Schedule D as a reduction against deductible trading expenses. However, the receipt of the payment will only result in additional tax where the business is in a profitable position for the chargeable period.
The scheme will operate on a self-assessment basis and is conditional on the taxpayer continuing to file all tax returns on time, holding a current tax clearance certificate and on the intention to resume the business when the restrictions are lifted. Details of taxpayers availing of the scheme will be published on the Revenue website at a later time.
The Scheme will run from 13 October 2020 until 31 March 2021