The Department of Enterprise Trade & Employment has recently launched the Small Business Assistance Scheme for COVID (SBASC) which is intended to target those businesses with operating costs that do not qualify for the COVID Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS) operated by the Revenue Commissioners. The eligibility criteria for both schemes are similar. The main difference between SBASC and CRSS is the requirement, in the case of CRSS, for the public to have access to a business premises. SBASC also aligns with recently announced grant schemes for the tourism, arts and entertainment sectors.
The grant, which is available as a contribution towards fixed costs to assist a business to keep operational for an eventual re-opening, is only available to an applicant operating from a rateable property. The scheme covers the period 1 January 2021 to 30 June 2021. Each eligible applicant will receive a payment of €4,000 with an additional payment of €4,000 from May 2021 to applicants continuing to meet the scheme eligibility criteria, which is set out in Frequently Asked Questions below.
The closing date for applications for the initial grant under SBASC is 21 April 2021.
1. How soon will I get my grant?
On average, we will aim to process (meaning Yes/No/further information required) applications within two weeks. However, this will be dependent on the initial surge in applications numbers.
2. How much will I get?
Eligible businesses will receive a payment of €4,000 for the first quarter of this year, the period from 1 January to 31 March 2021. It is anticipated that payments to eligible businesses for the first quarter will be made from April 2021. There will be a second payment in Q2, 2021 of €4,000 for businesses continuing to meet the criteria.
3. What can I use the grant for?
The grant is a contribution towards the cost of re-opening or keeping a business operational and re-connecting with employees and customers. The grant could be used to defray ongoing fixed costs, e.g. utilities, insurance, refurbishment or for measures to ensure employee and customer safety.
4. If I have not paid my 2020 rates, am I eligible?
5. If my rates are in arrears, am I eligible?
6. If my premises was not rate assessed in 2020 am I eligible?
Yes. The Local Authority will estimate what your rates demand for 2020 would have been.
7. How do I apply?
The application can be made online via your local authority website. The application form will require applicants to self-declare that they are ineligible for the CRSS, the Fáilte Ireland Business Continuity Grant or the Live Performance Support Scheme or the Music Entertainment Business Assistance Scheme of the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media and that they are not applying for or in receipt of those grants. Applicants will also be asked to consent to data sharing with the Office of the Revenue Commissioners to enable spot checks on CRSS eligibility.
8. How will the grant be paid?
The grant will be paid via the Local Authorities, based on an online application process, in order to identify and validate qualifying businesses and make payments to the business’ bank account as efficiently as possible.
9. What are the criteria for qualifying for the SBASC?
A business must:
(a) Average weekly turnover of the business in 2019; or
(b) the projected average weekly turnover of the business for 1st January to 31st March 2021, and 30th of June 2021 where applicable, for businesses that commenced after 1st November, 2019 and
(c) The business intends to resume trading in full once Government restrictions are eased.
The DETE will arrange to carry out spot-checks to ensure compliance with the qualifying criteria.
10. Can tourism-related businesses apply?
Rate-paying tourism/hospitality related businesses can apply if they have not benefited from either CRSS, the Fáilte Ireland Tourism Business Continuity Grant or and the Live Performance Support Scheme or the Music Entertainment Business Assistance Scheme of the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media.
11. Can sporting organisations apply?
Rate-paying Sports Clubs, such as GAA Clubs and Golf Clubs that have commercial activities (e.g. bar/restaurant) can apply for a grant if they are not in receipt of CRSS, eligible for Fáilte Ireland’s Tourism Business Continuity Grant or the Live Performance Support Scheme or the Music Entertainment Business Assistance Scheme of the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media.
12. What about Charity Organisations?
Charity Shops with a trading income, and operating from rateable premises, can apply for a grant if they are not in receipt of CRSS, Fáilte Ireland’s Tourism Business Continuity Grant or the Live Performance Support Scheme or the Music Entertainment Business Assistance Scheme of the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media.
13. What about franchise stores, chain stores and tenant businesses?
(a)Where an enterprise has multiple business premises that meet the turnover criteria and are incurring costs and paying rates, they can apply for each premises.
(b)Where the rate account is addressed to a landlord for one or multiple tenant businesses the grant must be applied for and paid to the operating business in each case.
(c)Businesses that have a number of outlets that are rated separately can apply for separate grants. A franchise store that is financially and trading independently and if it meets the other criteria, is eligible.
SBASC is not to cover for loss of income, it is a contribution to fixed costs, partial turnover reductions for business within premises are not eligible.
14. What is the situation regarding Professional Services?
Professional Services such as Accountants, Architects, GPs, Dentists, Opticians, Consultants, etc., are eligible if they are operating from rateable premises and meet the criteria, including loss of turnover. However, other services not operating from rateable premises are not eligible.
15. I am a street trader who pays rates to my local authority, am I eligible?
16. What is the closing date?
The closing date for receipt of applications for Quarter 1 is 21 April 2021.
17. What is my Customer Number?
Your Customer Number is located on your commercial rates demand.
18. What is my Rate Number?
Your Rate Number (or LAID) is located on your commercial rates demand.
19. What is a Bank Statement Header?
The bank statement header is the top of a recent bank statement(dated within the past 6 months) indicating your business name and address and business bank account number, which should be scanned and uploaded as an attachment to the application form to verify your business name and address, and your bank account details i.e. BIC and IBAN.
20. How do I sign the form?
A typed signature should be included on the form.
21. If I am not happy with the decision to refuse my grant can I appeal?
Yes, any decision to refuse a grant may be appealed to email@example.com. Appeals relating to a decision to refuse an application shall be made in writing within 7 days of receipt of notification.
22. Where can I get more information?
Further information can be obtained from your Local Authority Business Support Unit at the following phone number: 021-4924484 or at the following e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org