The following guidance will assist employers and employees experiencing difficulties arising from the impacts of COVID-19 regarding compliance with certain reporting and filing obligations and the satisfaction of certain other tax related conditions. In all cases where restrictions imposed by COVID-19 affect the applicability of Irish tax legislation on an employee/employer’s tax position, records should be maintained outlining the circumstances and should be available to Revenue on request.
Real-time foreign tax credit (FTC) for Restricted Stock Unit (RSU) cases
In respect of 2019 cases for whom real time foreign tax credits were provided through the payroll, the 31 March 2020 filling deadline will be suspended. In such circumstances, the 2019 income tax return for such employees will revert to the standard income tax filing date (31 October 2020) for that return or any extended filing deadline for that return as appropriate. The employer notification to Revenue in relation to such cases should be made as soon as possible but no later than the extended income tax filing date where applicable.
Share schemes filing obligations
The filing deadline for all 2019 share scheme returns is being extended from 31 March 2020 to 30 June 2020.
Special Assignee Relief Programme (SARP)
The 90 day employer filing obligation, which is a requirement for an employee to be eligible to benefit from SARP relief, is extended for a further 60 days. It is anticipated that such an extension should provide sufficient time for employers to file the required return, but exceptional cases may be submitted to Revenue for consideration on a case by case basis.
Trans-Border Workers Relief
If employees are required to work from home in the State due to COVID-19, such days spent working at home in the State will not preclude an individual from being entitled to claim this relief, provided all other conditions of the relief are met.
PAYE Dispensation Applications
Given the unprecedented circumstances and the restrictions on travel as a consequence of COVID-19, Revenue will not strictly enforce the 30 day notification requirement for PAYE dispensations which is applicable to short term business travellers from countries with which Ireland has a double taxation treaty who are going to spend in excess of 60 workdays in the State in a tax year.
Foreign Employments – Operation of PAYE
Revenue will not seek to enforce Irish payroll obligations for foreign employers in genuine cases where an employee was working abroad for a foreign entity prior to COVID-19 but relocates temporarily to the State during the COVID-19 period and performs duties for his or her foreign employer while in the State.
PAYE Exclusion Order – Irish Contract of Employment
Regarding employees who are working abroad for a foreign employer under an Irish contract of employment where a PAYE exclusion order is in place, the position will not be adversely impacted where the employee works more than 30 days in the State due to COVID-19.
Residence rules – Force Majeure circumstances
Existing guidance states that where an individual is prevented from leaving the State on his or her intended day of departure due to extraordinary natural occurrences or an exceptional third party failure or action – none of which could reasonably have been foreseen and avoided – the individual will not be regarded as being present in the State for tax residence purposes for the day after the intended day of departure provided the individual is unavoidably present in the State on that day due only to ‘force majeure’ circumstances. Where a departure from the State is prevented due to COVID-19, Revenue will consider this ‘force majeure’ for the purpose of establishing an individual’s tax residence position.
Benefit in Kind (BIK)
Tax treatment of reimbursements by an employer to an employee regarding holiday/flight cancellations or in relation to costs of assisting employees returning to the State
Provided the employee is integral to the business and was required to return to deal with issues related to the COVID-19 crisis by his or her employer, the costs incurred are reasonable and the employee is not otherwise compensated (i.e. via an insurance policy or direct claim to the service provider), a BIK will not arise. This may include costs related to family members who were on holiday or due to go on holidays with the employee.
Employer provided equipment
A BIK will not arise where employers provide equipment such as laptops, printers, scanners and office furniture in order for employees to set up a working space in their homes.
e-Working and Tax
Payment of taxi fares
Where an employer pays for a taxi to transport an employee to or from work due to health and safety concerns, BIK will not apply for the duration of the COVID-19 period only.