Information about trade facilitation and customs procedures for trade with the United Kingdom (UK) after the transition period. Unlike Great Britain (UK not including Northern Ireland (NI)), NI will be treated as an EU Member State in terms of the movement of goods.
As a result of these actions the UK has left the European Union (EU) and is now a non-EU country.
Invoking of Article 50 triggered the start of a two-year negotiation process. The objective of the negotiations was to agree the terms of the UK’s departure from the EU in an orderly manner.
A draft Withdrawal Agreement was under discussion since February 2018. Please see the European Council timeline of events for further information.
In January 2020, the European Parliament and the UK Parliament ratified the Withdrawal Agreement. The UK entered a transition period from the 1 February 2020 until the 31 December 2020. During this period the UK will continue, for the purposes of the movement of goods, services, and people, as if it were a full EU Member State. Provisions relating to Northern Ireland are covered by the revised Protocol to the Withdrawal Agreement effective from 1 January 2021.
The European Commission provides information on ongoing developments in relation to the withdrawal of the United Kingdom (UK) from the European Union (EU).
Revenue and Brexit
Revenue’s objective, in the future EU-UK (Great Britain and Northern Ireland) trading environment from the 1 January 2021, is to facilitate legitimate trade to move as speedily and efficiently as possible. This is for trade that is directly with the UK (excluding NI) or through the UK landbridge to the European mainland. Our focus is on assisting business to:
assess the impact of Brexit
avail fully of relevant simplifications and procedures available under the Union Customs Code.
This will minimise the potential negative impacts of Brexit and support the efficient and timely flow of trade.
Our preparations and planning are well advanced. Our priority has been to ensure that our IT systems will support smooth and efficient trade flows following the transition period. Our systems will be able to deal with the increased volumes of customs procedures for the UK related movement of goods and animals.
In line with government approval we have recruited additional staff to deal with East-West trade. We are also working with our ports and airports for a changed trading environment following the transition period.
We are also engaging directly with businesses, economic operators, trade and representative bodies to support preparedness for Brexit.
The COVID-19 Income Support Scheme provides financial support to Irish workers and businesses affected by the crisis.
Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme: The Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS), provides a flat-rate subsidy to qualifying employers based on the numbers of eligible employees on the employer’s payroll. The EWSS, operated by Revenue, has replaced the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme and will run until 31 March 2021.
COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment: The Pandemic Unemployment Payment is available to all employees and the self-employed who have lost their job due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
MyWelfare.ie is the quickest and easiest way to apply for payments.
apply for the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment
apply for Enhanced Illness Benefit for COVID-19 including for self-isolation cases
apply for a jobseeker’s payment
request to close their COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment.
Short-time Work Support: Employees of businesses that need to reduce hours or days worked can avail of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection Short-time Work Support.
Loans, grants, vouchers and schemes
COVID-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme: The COVID-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme facilitates up to €2 billion in lending to eligible businesses. Loans under the Scheme range from €10,000 to €1 million, for terms of up to five and a half years. Financing will be offered through a range of products, including term loans, working capital loans and overdrafts. Loans of up to €250,000 under the Scheme are available unsecured (except where this is a requirement of the product feature, as in the case of asset finance, invoice discount facilities, etc). The Scheme is operated by the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) through participating finance providers.
COVID-19 Business Loans: COVID-19 Business Loans up to €25,000 are available through Microfinance Ireland with zero repayments and zero interest for the first 6 months and the equivalent of an additional 6 months interest-free subject to certain terms and conditions. The loans can range from €5,000 to €25,000. Repayments will commence in month 7 for the remaining period of your loan. The Government will rebate to you the interest paid in the following 6 months (months 7-12 of your loan). The interest rate after the first 6 months will be a reduced interest rate 4.5% APR if submitted through the Local Enterprise Office Network (or other referral partners) or 5.5% APR if you apply directly to Microfinance Ireland. The loan terms are typically up to 3 years and there are no fees or charges.
COVID-19 Working Capital Scheme: The SBCI COVID-19 Working Capital Scheme for eligible businesses supports loans from €25,000 up to €1.5 million (first €500,000 unsecured) with a maximum interest rate of 4%. Applications can be made through the SBCI website at sbci.gov.ie. Eligibility criteria apply.
Future Growth Loan Scheme: The enhanced Future Growth Loan Scheme makes up to €800m of loans available for terms of 7-10 years. This scheme is available to eligible businesses in Ireland, including those in the primary agriculture (farmers) and seafood sectors, to support strategic long-term investment.
Sustaining Enterprise Fund: The Sustaining Enterprise Fund of up to €180 million is specifically aimed at firms operating in the manufacturing and internationally traded services sectors, with 10 or more employees, that are vulnerable but viable. The fund is operated by Enterprise Ireland with amounts between €100,000 and €800,000 available to eligible companies who have been negatively impacted by COVID-19. The fund includes a 50% non-repayable grant element, up to a limit of €200,000.
Sustaining Enterprise Fund for Small Enterprise: As part of the Sustaining Enterprise Fund, Enterprise Ireland operates a specific Sustaining Enterprise Fund for Small Enterprise. This fund provides a short term working capital injection of up to €50,000 to eligible smaller companies to support business continuity and strengthen their ability to return to growth.
Pandemic Stabilisation and Recovery Fund: The Ireland Strategic Investment Fund will focus on investment in medium and large scale enterprises in Ireland through a Pandemic Stabilisation and Recovery Fund. The fund, worth up to €2 billion, will make capital available to medium and large enterprises on commercial terms.
General grant supports: The full range of Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland, Local Enterprise Office and Údarás na Gaeltachta grant supports continue to be available to eligible firms to help with strategies to access finance, commence or ramp-up online trading activity, reconfigure business models, cut costs, innovate, diversify markets and supply chains and to improve competitiveness.
COVID Restrictions Support Scheme: The COVID Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS) offers support to businesses forced to close or trade at significantly reduced levels as a result of restrictions imposed on them in response to COVID-19. Eligible businesses can make a claim to Revenue for a payment known as an Advance Credit for Trading Expenses (ACTE). An ACTE is payable for each week a business is affected by the restrictions. The ACTE is equal to 10% of the average weekly turnover of the business in 2019 up to €20,000, plus 5% on turnover over €20,000. In the case of new businesses, the turnover is based on the average actual weekly turnover in 2020. The ACTE is subject to a maximum weekly payment of €5,000.
Enterprise Support Grant: The Enterprise Support Grant for businesses impacted by COVID-19 is available for eligible self-employed people who close their COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment on or 18 May 2020. This will provide business owners with a once-off grant of up to €1,000 to restart their business which was closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Micro-Enterprise Assistance Fund: The new Micro-Enterprise Assistance Fund will help businesses with fewer than 10 employees, which are ineligible for existing grants, with a grant of up to €1,000 to help them adapt and invest to rebuild their business. The fund is administered by the Local Enterprise Offices.
Trading Online Voucher: The Local Enterprise Office Trading Online Voucher is a government grant scheme, designed to assist small businesses with up to 10 employees. It offers financial assistance of up to €2,500 along with training and advice to help your business trade online. Businesses that have already received a Trading Online Voucher can apply for a second voucher, where upgrades are required.
LEAN for Micro: LEAN for Micro is available to Local Enterprise Office clients to help build resilience within small companies. Businesses can avail of consultancy support with a LEAN Expert or help to implement new remote working and physical distancing guidelines. Contact your Local Enterprise Office for further details.
COVID-19 Business Financial Planning Grant: The COVID-19 Business Financial Planning Grant, worth up to €5,000, is designed to help companies to develop a robust financial plan, including the preparation of documentation required to support applications for external finance from banks and/or other finance providers. The grant is a new support for Enterprise Ireland clients and those manufacturing or internationally traded services companies that employ 10 or more full time employees.
Lean Business Continuity Voucher: The Lean Business Continuity Voucher is available to eligible companies to access up to €2,500 in training or advisory services support related to the continued operation of their businesses during the current pandemic. It is open to small, medium or large client companies of Enterprise Ireland or Údarás na Gaeltachta (including High Potential Start-ups). The voucher may be used to obtain services from approved providers.
Cross-border companies: InterTradeIreland’s Emergency Business Solutions offers professional advice, to the value of €2,250, to address key business challenges related to COVID-19. The E-Merge programme provides €2,800 consultancy support to help cross-border businesses develop online sales and eCommerce solutions.
COVID Products Scheme: The COVID Products Scheme will allow for up to €200m in targeted State support to facilitate the research and development of COVID products, to enable the construction or upgrading of testing and upscaling infrastructures that contribute to the development COVID-19 relevant products, as well as to support the production of products needed to respond to the outbreak. The scheme will be delivered through IDA Ireland’s COVID-19 supports and Enterprise Ireland’s COVID-19 Business Response.
Apprenticeship Incentivisation Scheme: The Apprenticeship Incentivisation Scheme, delivered by SOLAS, provides financial support for apprenticeship employers who take on apprentices on national apprenticeship programmes. Apprenticeship employers are eligible for a €3,000 payment for each new apprentice.
Code of Conduct for commercial rents: A voluntary Code of Conduct between landlords and tenants for commercial rents has been developed based on examples from other jurisdictions and with input from other Departments, State agencies and key stakeholders. The aim of the Code is to facilitate discussions between landlords and tenants impacted by COVID-19.
Rates waiver and tax measures
Commercial rates waiver: With limited exceptions, all businesses will be granted a waiver to 31 December 2020. Updates will be available on housing.gov.ie and from local authorities.
Reduction in the standard rate of VAT: A six-month reduction in the standard rate of Value-Added Tax (VAT) from 23% to 21% will apply, effective from 1 September 2020.
VAT rate reduction from 13.5% to 9%: A VAT rate reduction from 13.5% to 9% applies from 1 November 2020 in recognition of the unprecedented challenges facing the hospitality and tourism sector.
Advice for taxpayers and agents: Revenue’s COVID-19 information and advice for taxpayers and agents provides information on Revenue services and tax and customs measures in place during the COVID-19 pandemic including information on tax returns and interest suspension arrangements.
The Work Safely Protocol is designed to support employers and workers to put measures in place that will prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. The Protocol is a general document applicable to all sectors. It sets out the minimum measures required in every place of work to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to facilitate the re-opening of workplaces following temporary closures and the ongoing safe operation of those workplace.
The HSA Work Safely online courses includes a course to help understand the Protocol requirements and a course for those appointed Lead Worker Representative.
Templates and checklists
The HSA COVID-19 templates and checklists – based on the Protocol – have been prepared to inform employers, business owners, managers and workers about what they need to do to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace.
COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) is a social welfare payment for employees and self-employed people who have lost all their employment due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
You can apply for the payment if you are aged between 18 and 66. Students, non-EEA nationals and part-time workers can apply for the payment.
PUP is paid every Tuesday into a bank account in the State.
The COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment will remain open to new applicants and continue to be paid until 31 March 2021. From 1 April 2021, if you are unemployed you will have to apply for a jobseeker’s payment.
If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or have been told to self-isolate by your GP, you should apply for COVID-19 enhanced Illness Benefit.
Employees, self-employed people, workers applying for international protection (including those in direct provision), students and part-time workers can apply for the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment. Both EEA and non-EEA workers qualify.
To qualify for PUP, you must:
Have lost your job or been laid off because of COVID-19
Have been in employment or self-employment in Ireland on or after 13 March 2020
Be genuinely seeking work
Not be getting any income from employment
Have at least one PRSI contribution in the 4 weeks before claiming PUP or be in insurable self-employment.
If you are refused PUP because the DSP does not have any recent record of your employer’s PRSI contributions, you should contact the DSP and provide proof of your recent earnings. For example, your recent payslips or a copy of your ‘Payroll details’ which you can find in the ‘Your job/pension’ section in your Revenue ‘MyAccount’.
You may lose your payment if you:
Refuse to return to your place of work following lay off
Refuse an offer of suitable employment
Refuse or fail to engage with activation measures – this can include training that will help you find a job
If you are self-employed
If you are self-employed you can earn up to €480 over 4 weeks and keep your PUP payment.
The €480 limit is based on gross income (before tax and PRSI) minus expenses. You do not need to apply to or notify the DSP that you are earning below this amount over 4 weeks.
If your earnings go over €480 in a 4 week period, you must stop your PUP payment. You must keep evidence of your earnings so you can provide it for inspection.
If you get a redundancy payment due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you are eligible to apply for the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment. This applies to both voluntary and compulsory redundancy. If you were temporarily laid off due to COVID-19 and later get a redundancy payment, you are eligible for PUP as long as you continue to meet all the other eligibility criteria. Your redundancy payment does not impact your eligibility for the payment.
Can I get PUP when I return to education?
If you are a student and getting PUP, your payment will continue as long as you continue to satisfy the qualifying conditions outlined above.
If you are entering the first year of your course, you may qualify for the Back to Education Allowance (BTEA). For more information on how to qualify – see ‘Back to Education Allowance and PUP’ below.
Can I reapply if I stopped claiming my payment?
If you stopped claiming because you returned to work, but are laid off or become unemployed again because of COVID-19, you can reapply for the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment.
If you were getting PUP and stopped claiming because you left Ireland, you can reapply when you return. However, you may not be paid for the 14 days that you are required to self-isolate when you return from abroad.
A cross-border or frontier worker is any employed or self-employed person who works in one jurisdiction and lives in another. Living in another jurisdiction means that you return to your home country every day, as a rule, or at least once a week. If a frontier worker loses their job, they should claim unemployment benefits from the country they are living in.
If you are a cross-border worker who lives in Ireland, were working in Northern Ireland and you lost your job due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, you can claim the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment.
If you have lost your job and have dependants, you may get a higher payment if you apply for Jobseeker’s Benefit (JB) or Jobseeker’s Allowance (JA) instead of PUP. This is because PUP does not pay anything extra for dependants. Your dependants include your spouse or partner and your children.
If you were working casually, and were getting a jobseeker’s payment, and you became fully unemployed as a result of the COVID-19 emergency, you can claim PUP.
If your days at work have been reduced, you do not qualify for PUP. You can apply for:
If you were working and getting one of the following social welfare payments, you can keep your social welfare payment at its current rate and claim the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment (if you have lost your job due to COVID-19):
People currently getting PUP can qualify for the Back to Education Allowance (BTEA). You do not have to satisfy the usual time limits for BTEA. For example, you may qualify for BTEA for a 3rd level course even if you have been getting PUP for less than 9 months. You must be entering the first year of your course.
You will have to transfer to a jobseeker’s payment (for example, Jobseeker’s Allowance) before you can get BTEA, and your BTEA rate will be based on your qualifying payment.
PUP and Maternity Benefit
If you are pregnant and your employer has no work available and cannot pay you, you can apply for the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment. This applies both when your due date is within 16 weeks and if it is more than 16 weeks from the last day of your employment.
If you are getting PUP, you are treated as if you are in employment when you apply for Maternity Benefit. You submit your Maternity Benefit application as normal. Your maternity leave should start no later than 2 weeks before the end of the week in which your baby is due.
If you are still getting a COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment when you are due to begin your maternity leave, you must close your claim and claim Maternity Benefit. You should ask your GP to complete form MB3 to send along with your application.
Rate of payment
The rate of COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment is linked to your previous earnings. You do not need to contact the DSP about your earnings. The DSP has access to this information from Revenue.
There is no payment for adult or child dependants.
From 16 October 2020 to 31 January 2021, COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) weekly rate:
Average weekly earnings
€400 or over
€300 – €399.99
€200 – €299.99
Less than €200
Employee earnings assessment
If you are an employee, your average gross weekly earnings is assessed in 3 separate periods – from January to December 2019, from January to February 2020 and from March to September 2020. The higher figure is used.
For example, if your average gross weekly earnings were €210 in January to February 2020 and €195 in March to September 2020, the figure of €210 will be used. Similarly, if your average gross weekly earnings in 2019 were higher than in 2020, the 2019 figure will be used.
Self-employment earnings assessment
If you are self-employed, your average weekly income in 2018 is used to decide your rate of payment. However, if you have already submitted your 2019 returns to the Revenue Commissioners and feel that it may make a difference to your rate, you can request a review of your payment from the DSP.
To request a review of your new rate, you should email PUPRerate@welfare.ie. You can also write to PUP Rerate Requests, Department of Social Protection, Intreo Centre, Cork Road, Waterford. You should include all supporting documentation with your request.
Changes from February 2021
The rate of payment will be reduced in February 2021 to bring it gradually in line with the standard jobseeker payment of €203.
Tax and PRSI
The COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment is liable to income tax and USC at the end of the year. However, the amount of tax you are liable to pay depends on your overall income during the year. You will not pay tax, if your tax liability is less than your tax credits and allowances.
Arrange to fully or partially repay the tax due using myAccountor
Revenue can collect the underpayment by reducing your tax credits over a period of 4 years, starting in January 2022
You will not have to pay interest on any underpayment.
You will be deemed to have paid PRSI contributions at the same class that you were paying immediately before you were laid off while you are getting the payment. This will help you to qualify for other social welfare payments such as Jobseeker’s Benefit, Maternity and Adoptive Benefit.
Filers are reminded that the extended deadline of 10 December 2020 is fast approaching. It is important that the necessary steps are taken now for either ROS registration, return filing, paying any liabilities due or, making contact with the Collector General’s Office in order that the Pay and File obligations are met by the extended deadline.
ROS Support for the 2020 Pay and File Period, Extended Opening Hours and Income Tax Warehousing
The ROS Technical Helpdesk provides support to customers experiencing technical difficulties accessing Revenue’s ROS service.
Please note that technical difficulties include difficulties relating to Digital Certificates, accessing ROS and ROS system errors. This Helpdesk service is unable to assist with taxation related queries. For contact information on such queries see the Contact Us details on the Revenue website.
The Helpdesk can be contacted through:
MyEnquiries: If you have access to MyEnquiries click ‘Add a new Enquiry‘ and select ‘Other than the above‘ and ‘Revenue Online Service (ROS) Technical Support‘ from the dropdown options available.
Given the very significant volumes of online ROS filings that will occur in December, it is recommended that you file in advance of the due date of 10 December where possible.
ROS Payment Support Unit
For assistance with making payments on ROS, please forward your query through MyEnquiries. Select Add a new Enquiry and then ‘Other than the above‘ and ‘Revenue Online Service (ROS) Payments’ from the dropdown options available. Alternatively, you can contact the Collector General’s Division on (01) 738 3663 with your payment query.
Income Tax Warehousing
Budget 2021 announced the extension of the Tax Debt Warehousing Scheme to incorporate the balance due on 2019 income tax liabilities and 2020 preliminary tax.
When filing the Form 11, customers complete a Statement of Net Liabilities (SNL) to confirm the balancing payment due for 2019 and the amount of preliminary tax due for 2020. When completing the SNL, customers may opt to warehouse their 2019 balancing payment and the 2020 preliminary tax amount where there has been a minimum reduction of 25% of their income relative to 2019 due to COVID-19 and where all other eligibility criteria have been met.
However, where preliminary tax for 2019 was underpaid, then the balancing amount for 2019 cannot be warehoused but may be included in a reduced 3% interest phased payment arrangement, if this is agreed with Revenue no later than 10 December 2020.
If the Form 11 has already been filed, then contact must be made with the Collector General’s Division through MyEnquiries or telephone 01-7383663 to arrange to have the liabilities warehoused. Further information on debt warehousing and the reduced interest phased payment arrangements is available in the information booklet on the Revenue website.
Extended support opening hours
The ROS Technical Helpdesk and Collector General’s Division (including ROS Payment Support) will provide the following extended opening hour services for the 2020 peak Income Tax Pay and File period:
Tuesday, 8 December 2020
09.00 – 20.00
Wednesday, 9 December 2020
09.00 – 20.00
Thursday, 10 December 2020
09.00 – 20.00
For all other days the standard opening hours will be in place. The extended support opening hours will be subject to ongoing review through this period and will be adjusted as required.
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