In response to the latest round of public health restrictions which came into effect from 20th December 2021, the Government has announced a number of changes to the major support schemes available to businesses affected by them. Changes will be made to the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS), the Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS), and the tax debt warehousing scheme to expand the supports available to businesses affected.
Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS)
The EWSS will continue to apply to businesses affected by the recently updated restrictions, with a continuation of the enhanced rates as announced on 9 December. The scheme is to reopen for certain businesses who would otherwise not be eligible and that such businesses can continue to be supported until the expiry of the scheme on 30 April 2022.
The new arrangements for EWSS will provide employers who have previously availed of EWSS but who are no longer eligible, with the opportunity to re-qualify for the scheme where they meet certain conditions.
Employers that qualify for re-entry to the scheme will receive support on a prospective basis from 1 January 2022 onwards, and they can remain in the scheme until its expiry date (30 April 2022), subject to all other eligibility criteria being satisfied.
Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS)
CRSS is targeted support for businesses significantly impacted by restrictions introduced by the Government under public health regulations to combat the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. It operates by offering a claim for an Advance Credit for Trading Expenses (“ACTE”) under the scheme.
The public health restrictions in operation from 20 December 2021 have placed certain restrictive measures on businesses within the hospitality and indoor entertainment sectors. As part of these measures, an 8 pm closing time has been imposed. Such restrictions will remain in place until 9th January 2021. Businesses operating within these sectors, who would ordinarily operate evening and nighttime trading hours, will be considered to be significantly restricted from operating for the purposes of CRSS and will be eligible for support under the scheme where they meet the eligibility conditions.
The government have increased turnover criteria for eligibility from 25% to no more than 40%. This means that an eligible business will be able to make a claim under the scheme where the turnover in respect of the relevant business activity in the claim period will be 40% (or less) of the 2019 turnover amount.
Previously, any business established after 12 October 2020 were not eligible for CRSS. However, the government has now opened the scheme to allow new businesses established between 13 October 2020 and 26 July 2021 to be eligible to apply for the supports.
Tax debt warehousing
The government also agreed to extend the tax debt warehousing scheme to allow the period where liabilities arising can be “warehoused” to the end of Q1 2022 for taxpayers eligible for the COVID-19 support schemes; this means that the interest-free period for those taxpayers will now be 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2023.
If you have any questions in relation to the above, or if you would like to discuss this topic further, please contact a member of the Mazars tax team