'not entitled' | 

Woman who received €6k Covid support to pay childminder told she must give money back

She received €6,094 over just three months in order to pay her in-home childminder

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John MulliganIndependent.ie

A woman who received more than €6,000 of Covid wage supports to pay her childminder in 2020 has been told she must hand back the money to the Revenue Commissioners.

The PAYE worker sought the supports for the carer after the country went into lockdown in March 2020 as the pandemic began.

She received €6,094 over just three months in order to pay her in-home childminder.

One of the Covid supports introduced by the Government was the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS). It provided employers with financial support to pay employee wages during the crisis.

In April 2020, the woman contacted the Revenue Commissioners, with the tax authority informing her how to make a payroll claim under the TWSS in respect of the childminder, who couldn’t do her job under lockdown rules.

Between April 30 and the end of July 2020, the woman received support payments of €6,095 for her childminder.

She stopped receiving the supports when the TWSS scheme was replaced.

In November that year, Revenue wrote to the woman and told her she had not been entitled to receive the TWSS supports because “her status as an employer [was] not linked to the operation of a business”.

The Revenue Commissioners also told her that she did not appear “to be meeting the 25pc reduction in turnover test” applicable under the TWSS.

Revenue later told the woman that the “provision of domestic duties by an employee within a private household where the owner is the occupier of the private household are not business activities”.

The woman told Revenue that the employment of her childminder had been essential to permitting her to perform her role with her own employer. In relation to the ‘reduction in turnover test’, she noted that her own employer had cut her wages and that she considered those wages to be the same as her personal turnover.

But Revenue was not swayed. It demanded the repayment of the supports and she appealed to the Tax Appeals Commission.

However, it has determined that while the woman acted in good faith, she was not entitled to the supports and must repay the money.

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