Revenue moves to help SMEs with cashflow amid Covid-19

Ireland’s Revenue Commissioner has outlined actions to assist SME businesses who will be experiencing cashflow and trading problems because of the Covid-19/Coronavirus pandemic.

Among the measures are the suspension of interest on late payments, relaxation on debt enforcement, a suspension on rate reviews for subcontractors and the creation of a “green route” to ensure imports are uninterrupted.

Revenue issued key advice last week to businesses experiencing tax payment difficulties.

The tax body said it “appreciates that such difficulties can cause worries for businesses in terms of their ability to keep an otherwise good tax compliance record on track.

“It is important that businesses know that Revenue has a long history of working very successfully with taxpayers to resolve their tax payments difficulties.”

Revenue has provided the following updated advice which will further assist businesses that are experiencing trading difficulties caused by the impacts of Covid-19:

For SMEs

Tax Returns: Businesses experiencing temporary cash flow difficulties should continue to send in tax returns on time.

Application of Interest: The application of interest on late payments is suspended for January/February VAT and both February and March PAYE (Employers) liabilities.

Debt Enforcement: All debt enforcement activity is suspended until further notice.

Tax Clearance: Current tax clearance status will remain in place for all businesses over the      coming months.

For subcontractors

RCT (Relevant Contract Tax): The RCT rate review scheduled to take place in March 2020 is suspended. This process assesses the current compliance position of each subcontractor in the eRCT system and determines their correct RCT deduction rate, i.e. 0%, 20% or 35%. As this process may result in a subcontractor’s RCT rate increasing due to changes in their compliance position, the review is suspended.

Subcontractors and agents are reminded that RCT rate reviews can be self-managed in ROS. Subcontractors can check if their rate should be lower and can then ‘self-review’ to get that lower deduction rate.

For importers

Customs: Critical pharmaceutical products and medicines will be given a Customs ‘green routing’ to facilitate uninterrupted importation and supply.

Revenue said that businesses, other than SMEs, who are experiencing temporary cash flow or trading difficulties should contact the Collector-General’s office on (01) 7383663. Alternatively, these businesses can engage directly with their branch contacts in Revenue’s Large Corporates Division or Medium Enterprises Division.  

“Revenue will continue to closely monitor the evolving situation regarding COVID-19 and will issue further updated guidance for businesses when required and particularly in good time before the March/April VAT returns, and other future returns are due,” the taxation body said.

Written by John Kennedy (

Published: 16 March, 2020