Revenue recoups €336.2m in Covid-19 wage supports

Earlier this year, Revenue invited 42,500 employers who received Covid-19 wage subsidy payments to perform a final self-review of their EWSS eligibility for all periods of the scheme
Revenue recoups €336.2m in Covid-19 wage supports

Gordon Deegan

A total of €336.2 million in Covid-19 wage subsidy supports has been repaid by employers to Revenue.

In a written Dáil reply, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe confirmed the sum was repaid following "contact made regarding repayment issues".

Mr Donohoe confirmed to Labour finance spokesman Ged Nash that €87 million of the total has been included in Revenue’s Debt Warehouse scheme and the latest initiative concerning the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) repayments has recouped €3 million.

The Minister revealed that in the second quarter of this year, Revenue invited 42,500 employers who received Covid-19 wage subsidy payments to perform a final self-review of their EWSS eligibility for all periods of the scheme.

He said: "Any over-claims identified by employers by 30th September 2022 will be dealt with without the imposition of interest or penalties and declared liabilities and may be included in the Debt Warehouse scheme by those employers."

He said: "To date, €3.3 million subsidy has been repaid by 281 employers following that invitation."

The figures provided by Mr Donohoe showed there were 38,049 contacts made regarding repayment issues concerning the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) which resulted in €258 million being repaid.

A further €78.2 million was repaid concerning 7,728 contacts regarding repayment issues on the EWSS. Mr Donohoe said there are 1,708 cases in relation to EWSS repayments that are not yet resolved.

A total of €57 million was returned by 542 employers, representing all the EWSS subsidies they received, while a further 4,269 employers have partially repaid €76.8 million in EWSS subsidiaries.

A further 31,300 employers made partial TWSS subsidy repayments totalling €258 million and 696 made full TWSS repayments of €7.2 million.

Mr Donohoe confirmed that €7 billion was paid out under the EWSS scheme and €2.8 billion under the TWSS scheme, adding that Revenue has no plans to repeat its 2021 exercise to identify the number of firms which were in receipt of Covid support payments and made dividends.

A total of 866 companies received gross EWSS subsidy payments of €396 million, 29 of which have returned all subsidies received totalling €28.7 million. A further 121 have partially repaid EWSS payments amounting to €8.6 million.

Mr Donohoe said: “However, it was not possible to determine whether the distributions were cash or non-cash in nature or whether any dividends were paid to shareholders.”

The Minister also advised that it was not possible to determine if the dividends related to profit reserves earned before or during the pandemic.

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