Employers across the country who availed of the government’s initial wage subsidy scheme at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic are now being contacted to check 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 as all employers who received payments under the Temporary Covid-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) are subject to compliance checks by The Revenue Commissioners.
Revenue is preforming these checks in order to ensure the employers are eligible and have been processing the scheme correctly. Revenue did state when the scheme was originally introduced on March 26 that it would be performing these checks in the future.
However, this isn’t a lot of comfort for many employers who are naturally nervous about such compliance checks and worry if their assessment of eligibility when applying for the scheme met the criteria. 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 and phone the employer 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 principal activities
- A summary of the impact of the COVID-19 restrictions on 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 EFT for net pay from your bank account.
3. Reply quickly
Revenue is giving five working days in order to have the information required submitted. This is a tight time-frame so the sooner you act on the request the better.
Revenue may also request further follow-on information once your initial answers are reviewed. This can include information such as 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 and will either request additional information or confirm it is satisfied with your application.
However, you need to be ready in case the assessment they make – based on the turnover figures you provide to them – is not in your favour.
Revenue did state at the beginning of the scheme that if an employer was found to not meet the criteria or was in breach of the scheme, they would be obligated to repay any amount received and Revenue could 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.
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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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