Government supports overview

The summary below outlines the key supports that have been put in place by government to assist businesses through the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, including the latest measures introduced in light of increased restrictions and the elements of Budget 2021 that are relevant to tourism and hospitality businesses.

As a member of the tourism industry, we know you have a lot of urgent questions about how COVID-19 is affecting your business, on everything from Government support to crisis management. This section is designed to help steer you through these uncharted waters and remind you that you’re not alone in this.

A. Support scheme updates due to implementation of level 5 restrictions from December 24


Businesses who are eligible for CRSS under the latest round of restrictions will be able to claim a double payment for the weeks of 28 December and 4 January, up to a maximum of €5000 per week. 

See latest updated guidelines for CRSS

2. Commercial Rates

A Commercial Rates holiday will apply for Q1 2021 for all businesses who have been forced to close under government restrictions.

3. Re-opening Grant

A re-opening grant will be put in place in Q1/Q2 to help businesses to reopen once restrictions lift. Details TBC.  

B. Budget 2021: Key measures for tourism & hospitality businesses

1. VAT

The VAT rate for the hospitality and tourism sector will be cut from 13.5% to 9% with effect from November 1 until 31 December 2021.

The 9% VAT rate will apply to the following:

  • Catering and restaurant supplies, including take-away food (excluding alcohol and soft drinks sold as part of the meal)
  • Hotel lettings, including guesthouses, caravan parks, camping sites etc.
  • Cinemas, certain musical and theatrical performances, museums, art gallery exhibitions, built and natural heritage, open farms
  • Admissions to fairgrounds or amusement park services
  • Facilities for taking part in sporting activities including green fees charged for golf and subscriptions charged by non-member-owned golf clubs
  • Printed matter e.g. newspapers, brochures, leaflets, programmes, maps, catalogues, printed music (excluding books)
  • Hairdressing services

2. Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme

EWSS is to extended beyond March 2021 with details to follow.

3. The Recovery Fund

The Recovery Fund will be targeted and will help to stimulate increased domestic demand and employment.

Given the evolving nature of COVID-19 and Brexit, the Fund will be flexible in its design in order to provide Government with the means to react swiftly to a constantly changing environment.

It will focus on three main areas:

  • infrastructure development
  • reskilling and retraining
  • supporting investment and jobs.

The Recovery Fund is worth €3.4 billion.

4. Tourism

a) Tourism Business Support Scheme €55mn

b) Tourism Product Development €5mn

5. Some other general business supports

a) Extension of the commercial rates holiday until the end of this year.

b) €1.1bn to the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment to support local enterprise, SMEs. Money also to be used to fund the Credit Guarantee Scheme and the Future Growth Loan Scheme.

6. Greenway

Greenway investment flagged.

7. Insurance

Insurance reforms to stay on the agenda

8. Regarding the arts

a) €50m will be provided in Live Entertainment Supports and

b) Arts Council funding is increasing to €130m, up €50m

C. Amendments to the Pandemic Unemployment Payment

Pandemic Unemployment Payment

Due to additional restrictions announced January 6, 2021, the Government has decided to maintain, at current levels, the payments available under the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP). This will ensure continued support for both employers and workers who lose their jobs due to the impact of Covid-19 restrictions.

The PUP is available to those who have lost their jobs, including the self-employed, as a result of COVID-19, will continue to be made available at the current pay-related level of up to €350 a week until 31st March, 2021. This payment level had been scheduled to fall from 1st February.

The 4 payment levels remain:

  • if you earned €400 or more - PUP rate is €350 per week
  • if you earned between €300 and €399.99 per week – PUP rate is €300 per week
  • if you earned between €200 and €299.99 per week - PUP rate is €250 per week
  • if you earned less than €200 per week - PUP rate is €203 per week, which is the same as the primary rate of Jobseeker's Benefit

D. Tax Considerations

1. Income Tax Relief

  • A change will be made to provide for a new once-off income tax relief for self-employed individuals carrying on a trade or profession who were profitable in 2019 but, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, incur losses in 2020.
  • These provisions will allow such individuals to claim to have those losses (and certain unused capital allowances) up to a maximum amount of €25,000 carried back and deducted from their profits for the tax year 2019. This will reduce the amount of income tax payable in respect of those profits.
  • The provisions will also allow for claims for the relief to be made on an interim basis to give a cash flow boost to those taxpayers during 2020.

2. Corporation Tax

  • As above, businesses who pay corporation tax that were profitable in 2019 but incurred a loss due to the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 will be able to claim a refund of tax paid of some or all of corporation tax paid.

3. Tax Warehousing

  • VAT and PAYE (employer) deductions
  • Liabilities incurred during restricted trading and the first bi-monthly VAT period after a business has resumed trading will be parked for a period of 12 months
  • Non-Covid related debts will be charged at a low interest of 3% p.a.
  • Business contacts Revenue
  • Helps with cashflow difficulties

Please contact Revenue to discuss warehousing debt and to find turther details on the scheme.

E. Restart Grant Plus

Overview of the grant

Please note that this scheme closed to new applications on October 31 2020.

F. Enterprise Support Grant

Enterprise Support Grant for Self-Employed Business Owners

  • The Enterprise Support Grant is available to assist eligible self-employed business owners with a once-off grant of up to €1,000 to restart their business which was closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The Grant will be awarded to self-employed people who:
    • are tax and PRSI compliant
    • are not liable for commercial rates
    • have been in receipt of the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment and have closed their claim on or after 18 May 2020
    • have reopened their business which was closed due to the pandemic
    • employ less than 10 people
    • have an annual turnover of less than €1 million
    • are not eligible for the COVID-19 Business Restart Grant or similar COVID-19 business restart grants from other government departments
    • can produce VAT receipts/invoices in respect of business restart costs and expenses claimed, if requested to do so by the department.
  • Funding will be awarded for eligible costs up to a maximum of €1,000. Grants will be awarded on costs related to reopening your business, including safety measures, business advice or mentoring, repairs, fuel, and wages. Normal business costs are not generally included.
  • Find details of the scheme, including application forms, on the government website. Application forms must be returned to your local Intreo office.




G. Commercial rates waiver

Commercial rates waiver

  • A 100% waiver, in the form of a credit in lieu of commercial rates will be applied to the rate accounts
    of all businesses, for a further three month period, up to the end of 2020.
  • There is no application required for the waiver. Local authorities should automatically apply a 100% credit in lieu of commercial rates, for a six-month period, to classes and categories of occupied rateable property where the occupying business is not in an excluded category.
  • The waiver is applied automatically and no direct individual notice to ratepayers will be issued.
  • If you have already paid your rates bill for 2020, a refund or a credit towards the 2021 bill will be
    arranged by the relevant local authority

Businesses should contact their Local Authority directly with any queries relating to the scheme.

Microfinance Ireland/Local Enterprise Office loans

Microfinance Ireland/Local Enterprise Office Loans

A package of liquidity and enterprise investment measures worth €55 million will be put in place to support small and micro companies through additional resources for MicroFinance Irelandand the Local Enterprise Offices.

This will include measures to reduce interest rates on lending for micro and small businesses, including grants equivalent to 0% interest on the first year of SBCI and MFI loans.

Talk to a Business Advisor in your Local Enterprise Office for more information.