General Advice for Businesses during COVID -19

Here are some practical steps you can take to safeguard your business:

  • Talk to your bank

Collectively, the banks have announced they will offer flexibility to their customers, and have agreed to implement a payment break up to three months for business and personal customers affected by Covid-19, to be followed by ongoing reviews depending on the scale and extent of the situation. Any customer who avails of this support will not see their credit rating adversely impacted. For further information if you a customer of:

  • AIB please click here
  • Bank of Ireland please click here
  • Ulster Bank please click here
  • PTSB please click here
  • EBS please click here
  • KBC Bank please click here

  • Manage your cashflow. Look for scope to:
  • Lower variable costs
  • Delay discretionary spend
  • Extend your payables
  • Expedite your receivables
  • Explore supply chain financing options

  • Check if your insurance policy covers you for an interruption in your business, or a temporary business closure, caused by COVID-19

  • Avail of Government support to meet your business’ working capital needs

Funding Lines

Amount

Requirements

Government support for payment of employee salaries

70 per cent of the salaries of retained workers whose employer is struggling as a result of the crisis

The salary level will be set at 70 per cent of the average wage of €38,000, or €410 per week. The scheme will provide support on incomes up to €76,000 or twice average earnings. It will be capped at net €350 for incomes between €38,000 and €76,000

Employers must self-declare to Revenue that they have experienced significant negative economic disruption due to Covid-19, with a minimum of 25% decline in turnover, and an inability to pay normal wages and other outgoings, in accordance with guidance to be issued by Revenue

The employer is expected to make best efforts to maintain as close to 100% of normal income as possible for the subsidised period

There will be severe penalties for any abuse of the scheme

This scheme is open to impacted employers in all sectors.

The employee must have been on the payroll in February 2020.

Apply here

Credit Guarantee Scheme

Supports loans up to €1 million for up to 7 years

Applications can be made to AIB, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank

SMEs may be eligible if they:

Are involved in a commercial activity

Are a sole trader, partnership, franchise, co-operative or limited company

In the lender’s opinion have a viable business proposal

Are able to repay the facility

MicroFinance Ireland

Microenterprises can access COVID-19 loans of up to €50,000.

Loans are available at an interest rate of between 6.8% and 7.8%.

Businesses can apply through their Local Enterprise Office or directly at microfinanceireland.ie

Any business (Sole Trader, Partnership or Limited Company) with less than 10 employees and annual turnover of up to €2m

Not in a position to avail of finance from Banks and other commercial lending providers

15% of actual or projected turnover or profit is negatively impacted by COVID-19

Apply here

SBCI COVID-19 Working Capital Scheme

Maximum loan size of €1.5 million (first €500,000 unsecured) and the maximum interest rate will be 4%

Applications can be made through the SBCI website at sbci.gov.ie

Summary of Excluded Activities

Finance of specific export operations, or finance contingent upon the use of domestic over imported products. In particular, it should not apply to financing the establishment and operation of a distribution network in other States, or current expenditure linked to the export activity.

Finance of pure real estate development activity

Finance of activities constituting pure financial transactions (e.g. purchase of shares)

Loans to undertakings in difficulty

Finance of activities forbidden by national or EU law

Agriculture (see specific SBCI Agricultural Investment Loan product), aquaculture and fisheries loans

Refinance to reschedule existing loan or completed project (see specific product for Refinance Of Exiting Banks)

Aid for the acquisition of road freight transport vehicles by undertakings performing road freight transport for hire or reward

Please refer to the link above for comprehensive detail on specific exclusions

Apply here

Enterprise Ireland Rescue and Restructuring Scheme

This Scheme is for vulnerable but viable firms that need to restructure or transform their business

TBD

Local Enterprise Office Business Continuity Voucher

This Voucher provides up to €2,500 to assist any business facing continuity issues that arise in the current challenging environment

TBD

Business Continuity Planning

The Department of Business, Enterprise & Innovation has provided a checklist of preparatory actions for businesses in responding to COVID-19 and other relevant information

Details can be found here

Enterprise Ireland Finance in Focus Grant

Up tp €7,200 will be available to Enterprise Ireland and Údarás na Gaeltachta clients that want to access consultancy support to undertake immediate finance reviews

Applicants must be a client of Enterprise Ireland or Údarás na Gaeltachta and;

An SME or Large company that meets the requirements of the Industrial Development Act 1986 as amended

Actively trading in eligible manufacturing or internationally traded service activities

Have been through a Client Development Model with EI and a Finance Review has been completed by an external consultant

Potentially Covid19 exposed (i.e. supply chain, currency, transport and logistics, sales).

Seeking to raise capital from the market or utilising internal resources

Willing to commit management time to work with third party consultants to develop a business plan with supporting financial information.

Have a positive De Minimis balance to cover the approved grant amount

Further details are available here

  • Business Rates

Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, John-Paul Phelan, yesterday secured Cabinet approval for the introduction of a two month break in commercial rates payments for businesses across the country with a provision to review same at the end of this period. Further details to follow.

  • Revenue

If you have concerns about your ability to pay your tax liabilities speak to the Revenue Commissioners.

Revenue Information for SMEs

Tax Returns

Businesses experiencing temporary cash flow difficulties should continue to send in tax returns on time

Application of Interest

The application of interest on late payments is suspended for January/February VAT and both February and March PAYE (Employers) liabilities

Debt Enforcement

All debt enforcement activity is suspended until further notice

Tax Clearance

Current tax clearance status will remain in place for all businesses over the coming months

RCT (Relevant Contract Tax)

The RCT rate review scheduled to take place in March 2020 is suspended

Customs

Critical pharmaceutical products and medicines will be given a Customs ‘green routing’ to facilitate uninterrupted importation and supply

Local Property Tax

Deferral of collection of Local Property Tax due to be collected on 21March until 21 May

Credit Card Duty

The duty of €30 per year per credit card account will now be levied on 1 July, three months after the legislated date of 1 April


  • Companies Registration Office

The Registrar of Companies has decided that all annual returns due to be filed by companies between now and June 30, 2020 will be deemed to have been filed on time if all elements of the annual return are completed and filed by that date.

  • Employee Support

COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment

A new social welfare payment is available to employees and self-employed people who are unemployed or who have their hours of work reduced during the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes people who have been put on part-time or casual work

The support pays a flat rate of €350 per week for a six-week period. Applications can be made using this one-page application form


  • Support for Renters

Government is introducing legislation to prevent both the termination of residential tenancies and any rent increases for the duration of the Covid-19 crisis

The banks have also said they will support buy-to-let bank customers with tenants affected by COVID 19 with an opportunity to seek a payment break of up to three months – so they can in turn offer forbearance to their tenants

Rent Supplement is also available as a short-term income support to those in the private rented sector who are experiencing difficulty paying their rent


  • Support for Utility Bills

Moratorium on disconnections of domestic customers for non-payment to the gas and electricity suppliers


  • New Public Health Measures

The Cabinet also formally approved new public health measures recommended by NPHET at its meeting this morning. They include:

Physical distancing restrictions are being extended until Sunday 29th April

People should stay home as much as possible, work from home if they can, and only leave home to go to work if there is no alternative

Only go to the shops for essential supplies, for medical or dental appointments, to care for others or to take physical exercise

Social events or gatherings involving more than 4 people that have not already been cancelled should be cancelled

Non-essential indoor visits to other people’s homes should be avoided. Social gatherings of individuals outdoors should be no more than 4, unless from the same household

No unnecessary travel should take place within the country or overseas


  • Useful resources

HSE Information on the Coronavirus

Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) advice and guidance including guidance for workers dealing with the general public