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stay and spend

Taoiseach says hospitality sector was among worst affected by Covid as he launches tax credit scheme

A new scheme will provide a maximum of €125 in income tax credits to taxpayers who spend up to €625 in the hospitality sector.

CONSUMERS WHO SPEND a certain amount of money in the hospitality sector will be entitled to tax credits, as part of a new scheme that aims to boost sales in a sector badly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Stay and Spend Scheme, which was launched today, aims to help drive sales in the hospitality sector during the off-season. It will run from 1 October to 30 April.

The scheme will provide a maximum of €125 in income tax credits to taxpayers who spend up to €625 in restaurants, pubs, hotels, B&Bs and other qualifying businesses, from autumn 2020 through to spring 2021, including over the Christmas period.

Where a taxpayer has insufficient income tax liability to fully benefit from the measure, they may still avail of the relief against their USC contributions.

The taxpayer can submit receipts via the Revenue Receipts Tracker mobile app.

The scheme was launched by Taoiseach, Micheál Martin; the Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe; and the Minister for Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht, Catherine Martin.

Speaking at the launch, Micheál Martin said many sectors have “taken a hit” during the pandemic, but the hospitality industry is “undoubtedly one of the worst affected by the public health measures which have had to be imposed to stop the spread of the virus”.

“We recognise the strain that restaurant owners, hoteliers, bar and café owners are under and have taken steps to help them through this difficult period.”

Donohoe added that the hospitality sector is “vital to the Irish economy and accounts for over 10% of the country’s workforce”.

“This new tax credit will provide a much-needed boost to the hospitality sector through the autumn and winter months by encouraging people to spend whether through a staycation or eating out,” he said.

The scheme comes into effect on 1 October, but accommodation and food businesses can now register with Revenue to participate.

Fáilte Ireland will run a national media campaign in the coming weeks to promote the scheme.

Pub protest

A number of publicans travelled from Monaghan to protest the launch in Dublin. Thousands of pubs remain closed around the country.

They told reporters they’ve had to resort to borrowing money from relatives to keep going. “My pub is on its knees … I don’t want to get up in the mornings now,” one pub owner said.

Since 29 June, pubs that serve food have been permitted to re-open under strict guidelines, but other pubs have had to remain shut.

Drinks Industry Ireland – an umbrella group representing pubs, restaurants, hotels, brewers and others – said there is a “growing fear” among publicans that their businesses will remain closed until 2021.

Recent analysis from DII said that 60% of pubs still remain closed, and it is feared some may never reopen.

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