COVID-19 recovery and cost of living business supports
Business owners could avail of a number of supports during COVID-19.
This page summarises the financial support schemes, rates waivers and tax measures that are in place to support businesses as they continue to recover from COVID-19 and deal with the rising costs of living.
You can also get advice from your accountant or use the advisory support from your Local Enterprise Office (LEO).
You can get up to date information on supports and guidance for businesses and employers from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment.
Loans, grants and vouchers
Small Business Cashflow Loans
Small Business Cashflow Loans from €2,000 to €25,000 are available through Microfinance Ireland (MFI). The loan terms are typically 3 years and there is a 1% discount on the APR Rate if you apply through your Local Enterprise Office. Once all documents are received you will have a credit decision within 10 working days.
The loan is open to sole traders, partnerships, and limited companies with fewer than 10 full-time employees and annual turnover of up to €2 million. You can apply through the MFI website or through your Local Enterprise Office.
Trading Online Voucher Scheme
A Trading Online Voucher Scheme worth up to €2,500 is available to help small and microenterprises get online. A second voucher of up to €2,500 is also available. Contact your Local Enterprise Office for more information and application details.
Rates waiver and tax measures
A number of measures are available to help businesses reduce their operational costs.
It was announced in Budget 2024 that a once-off Increased Cost of Business Scheme (ICOB) grant will be rolled out in 2024 to help with business costs. The details of the scheme will be finalised for implementation in 2024.
Temporary Business Energy Support Scheme (TBESS)
The TBESS supports businesses with increases in their electricity or gas costs.
The scheme is open if you are tax compliant, carry on a Case I trade or Case II profession, and have experienced an increase of 30% or more in your electricity or gas average unit price.
You can claim for 50% of the increases in your energy bills, subject to a monthly cap. You can get information on how to register and make a claim from Revenue.
You can read more about other energy efficiency supports for businesses.
Ukraine Enterprise Crisis Scheme
The Ukraine Enterprise Crisis Scheme helps viable but vulnerable firms of all sizes in the manufacturing and internationally traded services sectors.
There are two streams of funding under the Scheme. You can apply under:
- Stream 1 for grants up to €500,00 to help if you are having trading difficulties caused by liquidity problems as a result of the war in Ukraine
- Stream 2 for state aid support of 30% of energy charges in 2022 if you are an energy intensive company experiencing severe increases in energy costs
You can find out more and apply for the scheme through Enterprise Ireland.
Reduction of standard rate of VAT
The VAT rate for the hospitality and tourism sector will remain at the decreased rate of 9% until 31 August 2023.
‘Warehousing’ of tax liabilities
Debts that are warehoused are subject to 0% interest for the warehoused period. The tax debt warehousing scheme was further extended for some businesses until 1 May 2024.
No interest was payable up to 30 April 2023 and a reduced interest rate of 3% a year applies from 1 May 2023. Businesses have until 1 May 2024 to enter into an arrangement to clear the debt.
Find more information on the Debt Warehousing Scheme in Revenue’s Information Booklet (pdf).
Waiving of licence fees for street furniture
For the remainder of 2023, restaurant and café owners do not have to pay street furniture licence fees for tables and chairs used for outdoor dining.
You can get up to date information on the COVID-19 supports and guidance for businesses and employers on gov.ie.
The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment has an Enterprise Information Centre, with information on the Government supports available to businesses. Call (01) 631 2002, Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm or email: email@example.com.