Wednesday, 20 May 2020
Department of Finance
Covid-19 Pandemic Supports
The Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) is an emergency measure to deal with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy. It builds on data returned to Revenue through the PAYE system and as such is a fully automated solution. The automated solution, which was developed in a very short timeframe in response to the pandemic, is designed around the dates specified in the legislation and cannot function where those timelines are not strictly adhered to. The timelines require that employees were on the payroll at 29 February 2020 and that employers had fulfilled their PAYE reporting obligations for February 2020 before 15 March 2020.
The 15 March 2020 deadline in respect of the February payroll submission was recently extended to ‘before’ 1 April 2020 by Revenue under its care and management provisions. However, this concession can only apply where all previous payroll submissions were received by 15 March 2020. The concession, which was implemented on 24 April 2020, is also only applicable on a prospective basis and cannot be applied to previous pay periods.
I am advised by Revenue that the business in question filed its February 2020 payroll submission on 20 March 2020 and as such was outside of the 15 March deadline as specified in the legislation. However, the business does qualify under the revised concessionary arrangements and has been receiving TWSS payments in respect of payrolls made on or after 24 April 2020.
The business also received TWSS payments in error in respect of pay periods prior to 24 April to which it was not entitled. The error occurred due a combination of duplicate payroll submissions (by the business) and a technical issue with Revenue’s IT system at that time. Revenue engaged directly with the business on the issue on 8 May 2020 and confirmed that the earlier payments were made in error and should be refunded.
Revenue has assured me that it will work with the business to agree a repayment arrangement that takes account of its current financial circumstances.