COVID-19 Financial Supports

In light of the ongoing Coronavirus public health emergency, we want to appraise you of a suite of measures introduced by Government to offset the impact of this extreme business disruption. The information below will inform you of the financial supports available from Government agencies, loan relief from the banks, Revenue payment suspensions and the emergency legislation due to be passed in the Oireachtas this week.

As always, The Sandyford Business District Team is on-hand to support you over this period so please feel free to get in touch with us regarding any queries you might have.

Emergency Legislation

The Health Preservation and Other Emergency Measures Bill Is the title of the emergency legislation which came before the Dail on Thursday (19th). The legislation puts the enhanced income supports for people who are diagnosed with, or those who are required to self-isolate due to Covid-19 on a legal footing while introducing provisions to control the spread of the disease.

The main provisions of the Bill include provisions that introduce:

  • Changes to remove the waiting period for payment of Jobseekers Benefit and Jobseekers Allowance in these circumstances.
  • Powers to detain an individual who has an infectious disease if a medical officer believes that a person is a source of infection and that the detention or isolation of a person is necessary to prevent the spread.
  • The Bill also provides for certain extra powers to be used “if extreme situations were to arise”, in relation to gatherings, events and travel “where there would be an immediate, exceptional and manifest risk to human life and public health from the spread of COVID-19″.

General Advice for Businesses during Covid-19

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

  1. 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. While the finer details of this support is being worked out, the banks have undertaken to make the application process as seamless as possible and SBD will update you as to developments as soon as they become available.

  1. Manage your cashflow. Look for scope to:
  • Lower variable costs
  • Delay discretionary spend
  • Extend your payables
  • Expedite your receivables
  • Explore supply chain financing options
  1. Check if your insurance policy covers you for an interruption in your business, or a temporary business closure, caused by COVID-19

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

Funding Lines

Amount

Requirements

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

Eligibility criteria applies

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

Eligibility criteria applies

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

Eligibility criteria applies

Enterprise Ireland Rescue and Restructuring Scheme

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

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

Eligibility criteria applies

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


Business Rates

  1. 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

  1. 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

  1. 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 €203 per week for a six-week period. Applications can be made using this one-page application form


Government is asking those employers who have ceased trading if at all possible, to continue to pay workers during this period – at least at the jobseeker rate of €203 per week. The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection is setting up a refund scheme for employers to pay staff the €203 per week for each worker. This means that workers retain their link with employers and there is no need for them to submit a Jobseekers claim.

Useful resources

HSE Information on the Coronavirus

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