Revenue claws back €50m in wage subsidy compliance programme

Programme has so far covered 14% of employers registered for Covid-era EWSS

The EWSS compliance programme follows a similar review of its predecessor, the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS), which ran to the end of August 2020. Photograph: iStock

The EWSS compliance programme follows a similar review of its predecessor, the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS), which ran to the end of August 2020. Photograph: iStock

 

The Revenue Commissioners have clawed back €50 million in a compliance programme focusing on the Covid-era Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS).

New figures provided by the Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe, in a written Dáil reply to Labour finance spokesman Ged Nash confirm the compliance programme has so far covered 7,223 employers, or 14 per cent of the 51,450 businesses that registered for the EWSS.

Mr Donohoe stated: “Of these, 2,584 were Revenue-initiated contacts, and 4,639 were voluntary amendments made by employers where they were liable to repay EWSS subsidies to Revenue.”

Mr Donohoe said the amount collected to date by Revenue is €50 million, with €7.3 million outstanding. He added that “€6.4 million of the outstanding amount is included in the [Revenue Commissioners’] debt warehouse [programme].”

The EWSS compliance programme follows a similar review of its predecessor, the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS), which ran to the end of August 2020.

Mr Donohoe said that, to date, checks have been completed on 64,710 employers, representing more than 99.6 per cent of TWSS cases, with the remainder in progress. 

He said the checks had shown “significantly high levels of compliance with the TWSS requirements by employers, with 1,523 employers – approximately 2 per cent of cases – having to repay the subsidy as they failed to meet the requirements of the scheme”. He said settlements in these cases totalled €27.7 million.

Reconciliation

Mr Donohoe said that, following a reconciliation exercise conducted at the end of June this year in respect of more than 67,000 employer registrations, the overall TWSS liability due is €309 million. 

“There is €79.5 million currently outstanding, with approximately €63.5 million of that amount included in the debt warehouse.”

In relation to the EWSS spend by Government, Mr Donohoe said that to date, payments of more than €4.76 billion and PRSI credit of over €750 million have been granted to 51,400 employers in respect of 656,900 workers.

He said there would be no cliff-edge to the EWSS, which is to be extended until the end of December this year. Decisions in relation to the configuration of the EWSS in the final quarter of 2021 will be addressed shortly, he added.

He said no decisions have been taken in relation to the future of the scheme beyond the end of December.