All you need to know about the EWSS Eligibility Review Form (ERF)
Revenue has introduced a new requirement for employers to submit a monthly EWSS Eligibility Review Form (ERF)
Finance (Covid-19 and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2021 extended the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) to 31 December 2021 and changed the comparison periods for determining eligibility for EWSS for pay dates from 1 July 2021.
Simultaneously, Revenue introduced a new requirement for employers to submit this monthly Eligibility Review Form (ERF) on ROS, comprising the data employers use in the rolling review of their eligibility for EWSS at the end of each month. Members will be familiar with the requirement to conduct monthly eligibility reviews, which has been a key condition of the EWSS since its introduction.
Below are clarifications received from Revenue to those who will be completing these important forms over the coming weeks.
Extension of the deadline for the June ERF
On Tuesday, Revenue extended the deadline for submission of the initial ERF (for June 2021) from today, 30 July, to 15 August 2021. The Institute had sought flexibility in relation to the deadline for the June submission given it is peak holiday season and a busy period for businesses reopening this week. We updated members via Twitter and our website as soon as this extension was confirmed.
The extension to the deadline for the June submission means that both the June and July ERF will be due by 15 August 2021. Revenue has emphasised the importance of ensuring that both forms are received by the due date to avoid a delay in payment of an EWSS claim.
The requirement to provide actual monthly turnover values for 2019
The ERF for June 2021 requires the provision of the actual (VAT exclusive) turnover or customer orders for each month in 2019. We queried whether it is essential to provide the actual monthly figures as this information may not be readily available in some cases and whether figures could be entered on a pro-rata basis based on the total turnover for 2019. We also queried the scope for pre-population of data Revenue has on record from 2019 tax returns.
The actual monthly turnover values for 2019 allow Revenue to assess the reasonableness of projected turnover levels for July to December 2021 periods when compared to past performance. This is especially relevant where turnover is subject to monthly seasonal variation.
Given the types of businesses supported by EWSS and the statutory requirements on these businesses to keep books and records, Revenue expects that most businesses will have the requisite access and capability to report monthly actual turnover values for 2019. However, in so far as monthly turnover amounts cannot be readily accessed, then businesses may use the average turnover as derived from their bi-monthly (or other periodic) VAT return data to calculate the monthly turnover value for the purposes of completing the ERF. The requirement to provide monthly turnover is one reason why the 2019 figures cannot be pre-populated from the income or corporation tax returns. However, the data supplied in June will be pre-filled in the ERF for subsequent months.
It is important to note that actual values provided on the ERF cannot be altered online once the form is submitted. Contact would need to be made with Revenue, via MyEnquiries, to correct any errors in the figures supplied.
As outlined in the Guidelines, registered childcare providers and new businesses which started trading on or after 1 November 2019 can complete a declaration on their initial ERF which will exempt them from the requirement to complete the monthly eligibility review screens on ROS.
Reviewing projections on the ERF
After submission of the initial ERF for June 2021, in each subsequent month employers must provide details of their actual turnover/customer orders for the previous month and review their projections for the coming months to ensure that they remain valid. Revenue expects that projections are prepared using a reliable set of budget assumptions and do not change materially between monthly updates.
Revenue’s EWSS Eligibility Guidelines (on page 8) acknowledge that, in exceptional circumstances, certain unforeseen events may occur which require the employer to revise the original budget estimate e.g. imposition of further Government restrictions (post the review date) impacting trade, receipt of an unexpected donation, entering into a significant new sales contract, etc.
Compliance checks on ERF submitted
Since the start of EWSS, Revenue has been undertaking real-time compliance checks on EWSS claims to ensure that the scheme is operated as intended. As reviews of submissions are conducted in real-time, Revenue expects that where queries arise contact will be made with employers within a week or two of the submissions. However, if risks are identified in an entity or any related entities or within a sector, contact may be initiated at a later date to confirm eligibility.
Employers availing of EWSS should continue to retain appropriate documentation supporting their eligibility for EWSS, should it be sought by Revenue.
Revenue’s EWSS webpage includes links to the relevant Guidelines on the operation of the scheme.
(Irish Tax Institute)