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File photo. People outside restaurants in Dublin city centre. Sam Boal/
keep your receipts

Stay and Spend: The scheme to claim tax credits back on food and accommodation spending begins today

The scheme will last through the Christmas period and is due to expire at the end of April 2021.

A GOVERNMENT SCHEME aimed at supporting the hospitality industry which has been so negatively affected by Covid-19 launches today.

The Stay and Spend scheme will allow taxpayers claim a maximum of €125 back in tax credits on their spending in the hospitality sector from today until 30 April 2021.

To qualify for the maximum amount, a person must spend up to €625 (or €1,250 for married couples or civil partners) in restaurants, pubs, hotels, B&Bs and other qualifying businesses. 

People can claim the relief on the cost of accommodation and food, including soft drinks, but not including alcohol. But they must also have an income tax or USC liability against which the tax credit can be set. 

Taxpayers can, from today, upload their receipts for qualifying expenditure through the Revenue Receipts Tracker app to avail of the tax relief. You’ll have to take a photograph of your receipt and upload it onto the app. You can continue to submit receipts until the €625 cap is reached. 

According to Revenue, the credit will then be offset against your income tax liability and “will be applied after all other allowances, deductions or reliefs have been given to the taxpayer”. 

While €125 (or €250 for a married couple or civil partners) is the maximum that can be claimed, a 20% refund can be claimed on any spend in a restaurant or hotel as long as it costs at least €25.

The scheme will only apply to hospitality businesses that have registered for the scheme and the government is encouraging those who’ve not signed up yet to do so. A list of providers registered under the scheme can be found here.

The government stressed that it hopes that this scheme will support businesses affected by the Covid-19 pandemic but was aware some areas are currently facing stricter restrictions to limit the spread of the disease. 

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said: “When this scheme was designed it was our anticipation then, that our economy would be on the way to full reopening, and there would be full mobility across the country. We know now that’s not the case with some parts of our country in Level 3 of the government’s plan for living with Covid-19.”

Nevertheless, Donohoe says he hopes this scheme can help to support the hospitality sector “in these difficult times”.

He added: “I will be monitoring the scheme, to see how it’s working and if any changes need to be made. We need to keep policies that are working, and change ones that might not be working as planned, but at all times, ensuring they are affordable.

“However, this scheme will run for a long period and I would also like say to restaurants, hotels, pubs, B&Bs and other qualifying businesses that have not yet done so, that now is a good time to register to ensure that they are in a position to benefit from the scheme as circumstances allow. Registration is quick and simple through Revenue’s Online Service.”

Members of the opposition have criticised the scheme as only applying to taxpayers, so the likes of pensioners and the unemployed cannot avail of it. 

The Stay and Spend Scheme is the topic that will be tackled in this week’s The Explainer podcast, so keep an eye on your podcast feed when that goes live tomorrow

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