Employers across the country who availed of the government’s wage subsidy scheme at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic are now being contacted about compliance checks. These are to ensure that they were eligible for the scheme in the first place.
There is no need for employers to be worried or to feel they are being singled out. All employers who received payments under the Temporary Covid-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) are subject to compliance checks by The Revenue Commissioners.
Revenue wants to make sure that employers are eligible and have been processing the scheme correctly. Revenue did state when the scheme was originally introduced that these checks would be performed in the future.
However, this isn’t a lot of comfort for many employers who are naturally nervous about such compliance checks. Many are worried about whether their assessment of eligibility when applying for the scheme was correct. But being prepared before you get contacted will help you navigate the system smoothly. Here are some tips to ensure you are ready.
1. Keep alert
Ensure you don’t miss the contact from Revenue as there are a few different methods being used. They may send a ‘My Enquiry’ through ROS to the employer or the employer’s tax agent requesting this information.
Revenue may also send an electronic letter to the employer’s ROS inbox. If Revenue does not receive a response within a certain time frame, it will reach out by phone and ask for this information.
2. Get your paperwork in order.
Be aware of the type of information you need to have at hand. This can include:
- An outline of the nature of your business and your principal activities
- A summary of the impact the COVID-19 restrictions had on your turnover
- Details of who runs your payroll
- Confirmation that the payslips were issued to all employees/directors for the pay periods for which subsidy payments were received
- Confirmation that the payslips displayed the TWSS subsidy amount
- A copy of gross to net reconciliation
- Confirmation of Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) for net pay from your bank account.
3. Reply quickly
Revenue is giving employers five working days to submit the information requested for compliance checks. This is a tight time frame so the sooner you act on the request the better.
Revenue may also request follow-on information once your initial answers are reviewed. This can include income records to confirm the reduction in sales due to Covid and copies of payslips to verify the TWSS is showing correctly for the employees.
4. Be prepared
Once the review is complete, Revenue will contact you and confirm it has performed its review. They will either request additional information or confirm they are satisfied with your application. As a business owner, you need to be ready in case the assessment they make is not in your favour.
At the beginning of the scheme, Revenue stated that any employer found in breach of the scheme would be obligated to repay any amount received. Revenue can also apply penalties or fines.
It is impossible to know if Revenue will allow any leeway on this when doing their assessments so being prepared for all eventualities is advised. Check out our page on Covid grants for small businesses in Ireland.
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This article was written by Kiera McFeely, Payroll Manager at Accountant Online and it first appeared in the Sunday Business Post.
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Kiera leads the Bookkeeping, VAT, and Payroll Teams at Accountant Online. Kiera has worked in the financial services industry for over 18 years. She is passionate about helping businesses to get their finances in order so they can get back to what’s important: running your business. Kiera holds a part-qualified accountant qualification from ACCA.