Temporary wage subsidy scheme
Sir, – Fiona Reddan writing on the subject of the temporary wage subsidy scheme (TWSS) is right to ask questions about the tax treatment of the scheme (Business, January 13th). I would venture further, to ask questions about the nature of the scheme itself.
The TWSS was developed in haste, and as a result, quite poorly – despite a laudable objective. A pause for breath at the time the scheme was constructed could have avoided many problems. One need only look at the Revenue’s Frequently Asked Questions website section on TWSS – which was revised no less than 18 times – and stretches to some 79 pages, to see the unnecessary complexity. The three tenets of “certainty, simplicity and stability” do not apply at all. While most schemes are never perfect, the employment wage subsidy scheme (EWSS) that replaced TWSS was developed with the benefit of more time being available and as a result operates more robustly.
Curiously, given that the Revenue Commissioners are charged with the administration of the TWSS, Budget 2021 and the resultant Finance Act 2020 were both an opportunity to address lasting issues from TWSS. The Minister for Finance would have had full data from Revenue in relation to TWSS as it was administered in real time. Many TWSS recipients would otherwise have been made redundant and a recognition of this fact could have been dealt with as a gesture on the individual’s tax liability. No action was taken at all. Those on lower wages will take a double hit.
There are other ongoing issues in relation to access to social welfare benefits resulting from the operation of the TWSS about which Revenue has questions to answer. The relevant Ministers have an opportunity here too but I fear TWSS will only be added to the list of “long Covid” effects. All of these can be addressed, and working families across Ireland can only benefit. – Yours, etc,