Covid-19 Crisis: VAT returns

We’ll be posting updates and advice in the coming days about the different ways that the Covid-19 pandemic is impacting businesses in Sligo and the wider region.

It’s been an incredibly tough week for many of our members and the regional economy in general but we will do our very best to keep you informed and provide information and advice that can help you to navigate this global crisis.

With so many Sligo Chamber members being adversely impacted, we’ll have specific updates and advice on critical issues such as Temporary Staff Lay-offs and Covid-19/Unemployment Payments, Commercial Rates and Working from Home.

As you may have heard, the Government is still weighing up new ideas and schemes that may help pay workers and there will be more updates on that later in the week. This is a fast-moving and ever-changing situation.

Firstly, let’s deal with VAT returns.

Some businesses are due to make VAT returns in the next day or two and may not know what the most up-to-date situation is in relation to their obligations, as the Covid-19 pandemic continues.

Before making any decisions, ensure you are getting the most up to date advice. We know that many businesses in Sligo and the wider region are trying to make very tough decisions about keeping staff on – or laying staff off – and the primary driver in making that call is the cashflow situation.

So, What’s the story for employer with VAT, PAYE and PRSI obligations? Sligo Chamber recommends that you firstly check with your accountant or with Revenue directly. Revenue’s last official statement was issued on Thursday, March 13, more than a week ago.

It outlined what it said was some advice and actions to assist small and medium enterprise (SME i.e. turnover less than €3m p.a.) – businesses experiencing cashflow and trading difficulties arising from the impacts of the Covid-19 virus.

Revenue encourage businesses to send in tax returns on time but to engage early if a business runs into difficulties.

  • In further advice, it confirmed three measures:
    That the application of interest on late payments was 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.

In simple terms, this means a deferment of the liabilities would be accommodated but does not cancel out the debt. It’s important to remember that the money will still have to be repaid at a later date and you are still obliged to make a return now.

Our advice is that you should call Revenue or your accountant and check the status of your due dates and your payment method. How are you set up with Revenue? What size is your business?

Most importantly, do not ignore the issue. We encourage each and every one of our members to check their own situations and make informed decisions.