No “carbon audit” required to secure SME energy subsidies

The tax office has clarified that companies are not legally required to submit a carbon footprint check to be eligible for energy subsidies this winter.

The Tax Agency has updated its Temporary Business Energy Subsidy Scheme (TBESS) guidance to state that completing the Climate Tookit 4 Business Questionnaire is not a legal requirement and will not affect the assessment of a company’s eligibility.

An earlier version of the guide stated that applicants for TBESS must “complete a carbon footprint” and confirm that they are taking steps to reduce energy use and environmental impact.

The new text simply states that the toolkit is part of a government policy to raise awareness of energy use.

The toolkit asks companies to provide electricity bills or data on resource use – including the weight of waste the company produces – and offers recommended actions to reduce their environmental impact.

The change came earlier this month as TBESS opened up for registration and claims from businesses whose energy bills have risen sharply since September.

The scheme, announced in Budget 2023 at a cost of €1.25 billion, will pay up to €10,000 a month to eligible businesses whose bills have increased by at least 50 percent.

But some businesses weren’t happy that the original guidelines said they had to provide data on waste, compost and recycling, in addition to electricity and gas use, to apply for help.

Because there was only a short window to make a claim, which would be paid in 2022, some accountants feared the additional requirements would delay companies that need financial support.

The additional requirements came on top of other criteria, including tax clearances and evidence of increased energy costs, in order to claim the subsidy, potentially hindering access to the funds at a critical time for businesses.

Businesses that file qualifying claims for September, October, and November by next week will be paid through the end of the year.

Businesses are already rushing to apply for up-to-date tax clearances to access energy subsidies before 2023.

Revenue’s eTax clearance applications doubled year-on-year in November, with 20,000 companies seeking certification to comply with TBESS eligibility rules.

Revenue is hosting a webinar today (Wednesday) to explain the registration and claiming process. No “carbon audit” required to secure SME energy subsidies

Fry Electronics Team

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