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Ireland

Paul Hastings in collaboration withArthur Cox
Liquidity Measures
Tax Reliefs
Other

Liquidity Measures

SBCI COVID-19 Working Capital Scheme (link)

Government Measure

Government loan guarantee scheme for participating banks.

The overall scheme is capped at €450 m.

Maximum loan size will be €1.5m (first €500k can be unsecured). Minimum loan size will be €25k.

Loan periods are up to 3 years in duration with a maximum interest rate cap of 4% - the interest rate is fixed for duration of the loan.

Optional interest - only repayments may be available at the start of the loans.

The Scheme operates under the De Minimis State Aid rules.

 
Eligibility

Viable micro, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and Small MidCap enterprises that meet certain eligibility criteria. SMEs/ Small Mid-Caps must satisfy the COVID-19 Criterion and one of the innovation criteria – further details on the eligibility criteria is available here.

Exclusions include:

SMEs/ Small Mid-Caps that:

  • are involved in the primary agriculture and/or aquaculture sector;
  • are in financial difficulty (excluding cashflow pressures caused by COVID19 virus impact);
  • are bankrupt or being wound up or having its affairs administered by courts;
  • in the last 5 years have entered in to an arrangement with creditors, in the context of being bankrupt or wound-up or having its affairs administered by the courts; or
  • are convicted of an offence concerning professional misconduct by judgement, fraud, corruption, involvement in a criminal organisation, money laundering or any other illegal activity where such illegal activity is detrimental to the European Union’s financial interests.
 
Supervising Authority

The Scheme is operated on behalf of the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine by the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) and is available from the participating banks (AIB, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank).

 
Availability

This Scheme is open and will operate until March 2021 or until it is fully subscribed.

SBCI Future Growth Loan Scheme (link)

Government Measure

Government loan guarantee scheme for participating banks.

The overall fund will total €200m and will be released in tranches to provide longer-term loans to COVID-19 impacted businesses. 40% of the scheme funding is ring-fenced for applicants operating in primary agriculture.

Maximum loan size will be €3m (first €500k can be unsecured). Minimum loan size will be €100k (or €50k for borrowers operating in primary agriculture).

Loan terms range from 8 to 10 years.

Initial maximum loan interest rate of 4.5% for loans < €250k and 3.5% for loans >= €250k. Variable interest rates are subject to change.

Optional interest-only repayments available in certain circumstances.

Loans can be used for long term investment in tangible or intangible assets on agricultural holdings linked to primary agricultural production. Note that these are certain activities which are excluded.

 
Eligibility

Applicants must be viable micro, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and Small Mid-Cap enterprises which comply with certain eligibility criteria.

Excluded categories (non-exhaustive): An SME or Small Mid-Cap that:

  • is in financial difficulty;
  • is bankrupt or being wound up or having its affairs administered by courts;
  • in the last 5 years has entered in to an arrangement with creditors, in the context of being bankrupt or wound-up or having its affairs administered by the courts; or
  • is convicted of an offence concerning professional misconduct by judgement, fraud, corruption, involvement in a criminal organisation, money laundering or any other illegal activity where such illegal activity is detrimental to the European Union’s financial interests.
  • Funding cannot be applied within EIF Restricted Sectors.
  • A number of further excluded activities which the loan cannot be used to support is available at link.
 
Supervising Authority

The Scheme is operated on behalf of the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine by the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) and is available from the participating banks (AIB, Bank of Ireland, Ulster Bank and KBC).

 
Availability

This Scheme is open and will be available for a three year period or until the scheme has been fully subscribed.

On 27 April SBCI has confirmed that each of AIB, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank are at their limits for the Scheme, so no further funding from them at the moment.

KBC still has some capacity, but it’s not offering funding in the agricultural sector, so only in-scope SMEs/Small MidCaps who aren’t in the primary agriculture category can now apply for funding from KBC under that scheme

SBCI Credit Guarantee Scheme (link)

Government Measure

Government loan guarantee scheme for participating banks.

The overall cap for the scheme is €150m as of 8 April 2020.

Facilities of €10k up to €1m will be made available.

Terms of up to seven years.

Businesses may be able to avail of between a three to six-month interest-only payment period (depending on the total loan duration).

Changes are proposed to the existing Scheme which will be re-named the COVID-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme. It is envisaged that the Scheme will be capped at €2b; other lenders will be able to join the Scheme and it will be extended to all SMEs (some SMEs involved in primary production are currently unable to benefit from the Scheme). Legislation will be needed to implement these changes.

 
Eligibility

Irish based SMEs subject to an eligibility criteria.

SMEs may be eligible if they:

  • are involved in a commercial activity;
  • are a sole trader, partnership, franchise, co-operative or limited company;
  • in the lender’s opinion have a viable business proposal; or
  • are able to repay the facility

Exclusions include:

  • primary production on agriculture, horticulture and fisheries
  • refinancing of existing debt
  • property-related activities
 
Supervising Authority

The Scheme is operated on behalf of the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation by the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) and is available from the participating banks (AIB, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank).The decision-making process is fully delegated to these lenders and is based on their normal assessment criteria

 
Availability

Available now

Ireland Strategic Investment Fund’s Pandemic Stabilisation and Recovery Fund (link)

Government Measure

€2b fund announced for investment on a commercial basis in medium and large enterprises in Ireland affected by COVID-19.

This fund is intended to complement government supports made available through SBCI and Enterprise Ireland.

ISIF will invest in enterprises which present viable business models in the medium to long term. Investment will be made based on the core ISIF mandate of commercial return and economic impact. Economic impact will be assessed primarily based on the potential impact of the investment in supporting the stabilisation and recovery of the Irish economy.

 
Eligibility

This fund is targeted at enterprises employing more than 250 employees or with annual turnover in excess of EUR 50 million.

Enterprises must demonstrate that they were commercially viable prior to COVID-19, and that they can return to viability and contribute to the Irish economy. Enterprises must also demonstrate a negative and material effect on their operations by COVID-19.

ISIF will consider investing in enterprises below the level outlined above if the enterprise In question is assessed to be of substantial scale and of significant importance at national or regional level. Where existing shareholders have capital available, they will be expected to meaningfully participate alongside ISIF in any recapitalisation

Exclusions:

  • All sectors will be considered subject to ISIF’s Responsible Investment Policies.
  • The business is not currently required to align with the ISIF’s existing Priority Themes of Regional Development, Housing, Indigenous Businesses, Climate Change or Brexit.
 
Supervising Authority

Ireland Strategic Investment Fund

 
Availability

ISIF are currently seeking engagement from enterprises seeking investment. Companies are encouraged to contact psrf@isif.ie, providing an overview of the business, its financial statements and its business plans.

Enterprise Ireland’s Sustaining Enterprise Fund (link)

Government Measure

A €180m Package for Enterprise Supports available through Enterprise Ireland for viable but vulnerable firms that need to restructure or transform their businesses. The Sustaining Enterprise Fund will be used to support the implementation of a Business Sustainment Plan which must be provided by the company outlining the eventual stabilisation of the business and a return to viability.

The COVID-19 Business Financial Planning Grant (set out below) will help companies to develop the Business Sustainment Plan.

Businesses qualifying under this EU-supported scheme will be offered a repayable advance of up to €800k. Funding to be repaid subject to the project objectives being achieved.

 
Eligibility

This fund is open to eligible companies which:

  • employ 10 or more full-time employees
  • are operating in the manufacturing and internationally traded services sectors
  • for SMEs – have applied for funding from a financial institution, including, where appropriate, through the SBCI COVID-19 Working Capital Loan/Future Growth Loan Schemes
  • for large companies – have applied for funding with an appropriate financial institution.

This scheme is not open to companies that were:

  • in financial difficulty on 31 December 2019 (within the meaning of the General Block exemption regulation)
  • active in the primary agricultural, fishery or aquaculture sectors
  • operate in the coal and steel sector
  • covered by specific rules for Financial Services.
 
Supervising Authority

Enterprise Ireland

 
Availability

Available now

Sustaining Enterprise Fund – High Potential Start-Up (Link)

Government Measure

This aspect of the Sustaining Enterprise fund is directed at high potential start-up (HPSU) companies who, due to the COVID-19 pandemic are facing delays to projected growth and whose fundraising plans are significantly impacted or stalled.

Enterprises can apply for co-investment of up to €50k per undertaking in the form of equity or convertible debt instruments.

 
Eligibility

This fund is open to companies in which Enterprise Ireland has an existing HPSU seed stage equity investment who were showing strong commercial and technical progress prior to the crisis and can demonstrate a clear need for additional funding.

 
Supervising Authority

Enterprise Ireland

 
Availability

This scheme is open for applications now, until 27 May 2020.

Enterprise Ireland’s Business Process Improvement Grant (Link)

Government Measure

Grants are used to meet up to 50% of eligible costs incurred in respect of medium-term company projects designed to develop management capability and drive company efficiencies and business process improvements, up to a maximum of €50k.

Improvement projects must address a clear business need and deliver a positive impact on your business. Projects must also demonstrate the potential to develop the knowledge and skills of the company's management team.

 
Eligibility

Open to all Enterprise Ireland clients or potential clients who have been trading for at least 5 years and who are engaged in manufacturing or eligible internationally traded services.

The project which you apply to be considered under this grant must fall under one of the three assignments (“Lean Plus”, “E-Marketing Improvement” or “GreenPlus”) and further detail on what is considered an eligible project for one of these assignments is provided for on the Enterprise Ireland website.

 
Supervising Authority

Enterprise Ireland

 
Availability

Application for this scheme are available now.

1Enterprise Ireland’s COVID-19 Business Financial Planning Grant (link)

Government Measure

The grant is worth up to €5k (being 100% funding up to €5k to access an approved financial consultant). The grant is designed to help companies to develop a robust financial plan, including preparation of documentation required to support applications for external finance from banks and/or other finance providers (including Enterprise Ireland).

1Enterprise Ireland has a number of smaller supports available for companies which are being impacted by COVID-19 which we have not listed here primarily due to the scale of these schemes which are limited in amount and application e.g. the Lean Business Continuity Voucher; COVID-19 Online Retail Scheme and a Strategic Consultancy Grant.

 
Eligibility

The grant is open to all Enterprise Ireland clients and companies employing 10 or more in the manufacturing and internationally traded services sector.

Companies will need a positive de Minimis balance to cover the approved grant amount (to be self-certified).

A condition of payment is the submission of a completed financial and business plan to Enterprise Ireland.

 
Supervising Authority

Enterprise Ireland

 
Availability

Available now

MicroFinance Ireland COVID-19 Business Loan (link)

Government Measure

Government direct finance scheme with an overall scheme cap of €20m.

Business Loans up to €50k for eligible micro-enterprises. Loan term up to a maximum of 3 years (by exception, capital expenditure may be funded up to 5 years) with an interest only payment for a specified duration. Interest-free and repayment-free moratorium will be in place for first 6 months of term, with the loan to be repaid over the remaining 30 months of the 36 months term.

 
Eligibility
  • Any business (Sole Trader, Partnership or Limited Company) with less than 10 full time employees and annual turnover of up to €2m.
  • Not in a position to avail of finance from Banks and other commercial lending providers.
  • 15% of actual or projected turnover or profit is negatively impacted by COVID-19.
 
Supervising Authority

Microfinance Ireland.

 
Availability

Available now

€250m Restart Fund for Micro- and Small Enterprises (Link)

Government Measure

Government direct grant aid scheme providing funding to microenterprises and small enterprises through a system of rebates/waivers of 2019 commercial rates payments.

Companies will receive the lower of (1) an amount equivalent to their 2019 commercial rates bill, with a minimum amount of €2k, or (2) €10k.

The grant can be used to defray ongoing fixed costs, for replenishing stock and for measures needed to ensure employee and customer safety. Funding is intended as a contribution towards reopening or keeping a business operational.

 
Eligibility

Any business (Sole trader, partnership or limited company) with a turnover of €5 million or less and employing fewer than 50 people which;

  • has been closed and/or suffered a projected 25% reduction in turnover up to 30 June 2020; and
  • will declare the intention to retain employees that are on the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme, and to reemploy staff on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment where applicable.
 
Supervising Authority

Government of Ireland and Local Authority bodies.

 
Availability

Applications can be made via the local authority to which commercial rates are paid.

Tax Reliefs

Relaxing of Tax Requirements

Government Measure

The Irish Revenue introduced measures for SMEs with tax payment difficulties, such as suspension of debt enforcement and interest on late payment.

Payroll tax and VAT debts deferred, as outlined above, will be warehoused for a period of twelve months with no interest or debt enforcement during that period. Following that twelve month period a reduced interest rate of 3% will apply (normally 10%).

Revenue are also prioritising processing of tax refunds/credits.

 
Eligibility

Available to SMEs automatically and other companies on request.

The individual and the company should maintain a record of the facts and circumstances of the individual’s bona fide presence in Ireland as a result of COVID related travel restrictions, for production to Revenue if requested.

Similar record keeping as outlined above.

Late filing is a result of the COVID-19 circumstances

 
Supervising Authority

Revenue: Irish Tax and Customs

Further information can be found on the Revenue’s COVID-19 index

 
Availability

Available now

Corporate Tax Residency

Government Measure

The Irish Revenue will disregard the presence of directors, employee and other agents of a non-Irish company outside of Ireland for purposes of Irish corporate tax residency or the taxable presence in Ireland of a foreign entity.

Income Tax residence and employment taxes

Revenue will disregard days spent in Ireland due to COVID-19 travel restrictions for income tax residence and for the purposes of certain employment tax reliefs and exclusions. A number of COVID-19 related payments by employers to employees will not be subject to an Income Tax charge as a Benefit-In-Kind.

Surcharges and restrictions for late filing of corporation tax returns due to COVID-19 will be relaxed.

An extension of 9 months may be granted in relation to the requirement of certain private companies to make a distribution to avoid a 20% surcharge

Dividend Withholding Tax real-time reporting which was due to be introduced with effect from 1 January 2021 has been deferred for a number of reasons including the COVID-19 crisis.

 
Eligibility

In cases where a distribution is not made within the required 18 month timeframe in response to COVID-19 circumstances affecting the company, Revenue will, on application, extend the 18 month period for distributions by a further 9 months.

 

Other

Waiver of Commercial Rates (link)

Government Measure

On 2 May 2020, the Government announced that commercial rates would be waived for a three month period beginning on 27 March  2020 for businesses that were forced to close due to COVID-19 public health requirements.

 
Eligibility

This scheme applies to businesses that were forced to close due to COVID-19 public health requirements

 
Supervising Authority

Local Authorities will implement this directly.

 
Availability

For a three month period beginning on 27 March 2020.

Deferred Business Rates (link)

Government Measure

The Irish Government has agreed with local authorities that they should defer rates payments due from businesses most immediately impacted by COVID-19 (primarily in the retail, hospitality, leisure and childcare sectors) until the end of May 2020.

 
Eligibility

Deferral of rates payments due from the most immediately affected businesses, primarily in the retail, hospitality, leisure and childcare sectors, until the end of May.

 
Supervising Authority

Local Authorities will implement this directly.

 
Availability

Deferral period runs from now under end of May 2020

Protection from tenancy termination, rent increase and eviction (link)

Government Measure

A legislative prohibition on the termination of residential tenancies and residential rent increases has been introduced and will remain in place until 27 June 2020. A prohibition on “all proposed evictions in all tenancies in the State” applies for the duration of the Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (COVID-19) Act 2020.

 
Eligibility

Tenants and licensees of private rented dwellings, student accommodation, local authority housing and traveller accommodation are protected. The prohibition on “all proposed evictions in all tenancies in the State” applies to both commercial and residential leases in Ireland, notwithstanding that it appears from parliamentary debates that the legislation was not intended to apply to commercial leases.

 
Supervising Authority

Enacted as a statute under the Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (COVID-19) Act 2020. The Residential Tenancies Board is the enforcement body.

 
Availability

From 27 March 2020 until 27 June 2020, subject to extension at the request of the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government.

COVID-19 Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme

Government Measure

On 24 March, the Irish Government announced the introduction of a Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme which will be available to employers for 12 weeks from 26 March 2020. Under the scheme, an eligible employer will be supported by a payment of up to a maximum weekly payment of €410. The level of payment paid to the employer is based on the employee’s take home income.

 
Eligibility

In order to qualify for the scheme, employers must retain the employees on payroll, and self-declare to the Irish Revenue Commissioners that they have experienced significant negative economic disruption due to COVID-19, with a minimum of 25% decline in turnover, and an inability to pay normal wages and other outgoings.

 
Supervising Authority

Revenue: Irish Tax and Customs

Further information can be found on Revenue’s Frequently Asked Questions

 
Availability

For 12 weeks from 26 March 2020.