Revenue to check firms are not misusing Covid-19 wage subsidy scheme

Companies given just five days from the date of Revenue's letter to respond

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7 July 2020 | 0

Every employer who has availed of the Covid-19 temporary wage subsidy scheme is to be contacted by the tax authorities to ensure the scheme has not been misused. Revenue is clarifying that companies are correctly claiming under the scheme, which has already cost the State €1.59 billion.

Some 1,300 letters have already been sent electronically to companies, with Revenue saying the process will take a number of weeks.

Companies have been given just five days from the date of the letter to respond. Failure to do so will lead to the potential suspension of payments, Revenue has warned.

More than 61,000 companies have availed of the scheme and 551,000 workers have had their pay subsidised, with 410,000 still relying on the programme.

The rules for the wage subsidy programme say that a business must have suffered a “significant negative economic impact as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic” – a minimum 25% fall either in sales, orders “or any other reasonable basis” – in the three months to the end of June.

Revenue acknowledged that in March and April, most companies had to estimate the extent to which their business would be interrupted. However, now that the three month period has ended, the authority states businesses will now know for definite whether they met the necessary criteria.

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