Longford/Westmeath Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Deputy Robert Troy, has said it makes no sense that employers cannot avail of the COVID-19 wage subsidy scheme if they submitted payroll returns late.
Deputy Troy made the comments as Revenue are rejecting applications to the COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme based on payroll returns for January or February being submitted late. He said there needs to be flexibility shown to tax compliant companies who did not submit payroll returns before the arbitrary date but can easily demonstrate their claim.
“The whole point of the COVID-19 wage subsidy scheme is to maintain employment. Employers supported by the Government scheme are encouraged to keep employees on the books and off the live register.
“The Minister has put a lot of her energy into urging businesses to avail of this scheme rather than let employees go or lay them off temporarily. So, telling tax compliant businesses, who were even a day late in submitting their payroll returns for January or February, that they cannot apply for it is nonsense.
“There could be any number of genuine reasons why a company was delayed in submitting their payroll returns. It can be easily verified through bank statements, payslips, or employees’ records from previous months.
“Having spoken with a number of businesses I know that this is an issue across the board and the fact that there is no channel to appeal Revenues decision is causing huge stress to companies and their employees.
“The Minister needs to direct Revenue to show some flexibility here. We want to keep people in employment so there shouldn’t be roadblocks put in the way of doing so,” Deputy Troy asserted.
Meanwhile, Deputy Troy has urged Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe, to take a “hands on” approach with regard to the insurance industry to ensure that they meet their commitments to their customers.
Deputy Troy also called upon Minister Donohoe to meet the CEOs of each of the major insurance companies as a matter of priority and impress on them the need to honour legitimate business interruption claims.
“The fact that Minister Donohoe has not yet met with the CEOs is a further demonstration of the lack of urgency with which this issue is being treated.
“Now is not the time for a ‘soft touch’ approach. The insurance companies have clearly demonstrated that they cannot be trusted to implement relief for their customers without oversight.
“Their reputation is such that Insurance Ireland is in the process of designing an activity tracker, which will log the supports that are being given to customers. This data will be used to give oversight as to who is reducing premiums, extending deadlines for renewals and maintaining cover. The fact that this level of hand holding is necessary just goes to show that the Department recognises the incompetence of the insurance industry.
“Major resistance is still being shown by insurance companies when it comes to legitimate business interruption policies. The Minister must step in and if insurers continue to be impervious to his requests, legislative changes will have to be considered,” Deputy Troy asserted.