Money Matters

How the Temporary Business Energy Support Scheme works

Discover how your business can claim a payment against energy costs with the updated Temporary Business Energy Support Scheme.

The Temporary Business Energy Support Scheme (TBESS) was announced in Budget 2023 as part of a range of supports to assist businesses affected by rises in energy costs.

The TBESS is aimed at businesses carrying on a trade or profession that have experienced a significant increase in their electricity and natural gas costs.

The scheme is being administered by Revenue and is designed to be compliant with the European Union State Aid Temporary Crisis Framework.

In this article, we take a look at the TBESS and highlight who’s eligible, how the payments work and how to make a claim.

And we talk about further enhancements to the scheme that came into force in June 2023.

It covers the following:

What is the Temporary Business Energy Support Scheme?

The scheme is open to qualifying businesses that have experienced a significant increase in their electricity and/or gas bills to provide support over the winter months.

The scheme is self-assessed and operated via a dedicated portal on the Revenue Online Service (ROS).

Who is eligible for financial support?

Businesses classified for tax as Case I or Case II (professionals in this category were added a month after TBESS was announced) under schedule D – which includes most businesses carrying on a trade or profession – are eligible for the scheme.

Examples of trades include:

  • Retail shops
  • Hotels
  • Pubs
  • Restaurants
  • Cinemas
  • Hairdressers
  • Food and drinks suppliers.

Meanwhile, examples of professions include:

  • Accountants
  • Architects
  • Auctioneers
  • Barristers
  • Dentists
  • Doctors
  • Engineers
  • Opticians
  • Solicitors.

Some sporting organisations and charities might be eligible under the scheme.

Eligible businesses must have complied with their tax obligations, including completing registration, filing and paying deadlines and must be eligible for a tax clearance certificate throughout the claim period.

Businesses that have debt warehousing arrangements in place are deemed to be eligible. Businesses must continue to be entitled to tax clearance during the claim period.

You can check your tax status via ROS.

To qualify, businesses must also have experienced a 30% (the TBESS legislation originally had this as 50% but was reduced in April 2023) or more increase in their natural gas and/or electricity costs in the relevant claim period when compared to the ‘reference’ period in 2021.

When does the scheme end?

The TBESS has been extended a few times but will now end on 31 July 2023.

And all claims need to be in by 30 September 2023.

According to Revenue, eligible businesses can make claims for the September 2022 to July 2023 claim periods now.

Businesses can register for the scheme and submit claims via a portal on ROS.

Each claim period will be equal to one calendar month, and claims can be made up to four months after the end of the claim period.

So, for example, costs for September 2022 can be claimed up to 31 January 2023, and each subsequent claim month will have a corresponding time limit of four months.

How does the Temporary Business Energy Payment work and what is the energy costs threshold?

The TBESS scheme is run on a self-assessment basis and applies to costs of electricity and metered natural gas incurred by an eligible business.

Eligibility is based on the average unit price for the billing period in 2022 compared with the equivalent bill period in 2021 – known as a ‘reference period’.

The energy costs threshold was previously 50% but this was decreased to 30% in April 2023.

The amended threshold applies from 1 September 2022.

Therefore, for those businesses that were previously unable to access the scheme because they didn’t meet the 50% threshold, they may be able to do so now if they’re eligible and meet the 30% threshold.

If a business has already submitted claims in line with the previous 50% threshold, there’s no need to amend them. Revenue is automatically reassessing those claims based on the 30% threshold.

The owner or representative of a qualifying business must register for the scheme on the dedicated portal on ROS, provide the required information, and make a declaration that they meet the criteria.

The amount to be included in the unit price is the electricity usage, plus standing charges and other charges such as the PSO (Public Service Obligation) levy.

The PSO levy was reduced to nil on 1 October 2022, so this charge should only be included in calculations for September.

The amount excludes VAT and any discounts given by the supplier. Prepayments or arrears balances are not included in the calculation.

There’s no need to carry out calculations as the Revenue system will carry out all the calculations based on the details you input from the relevant electricity and/or gas bills – relating to both reference and claim periods.

The system will generate the reference unit prices and claim unit prices based on the information you have supplied.

Further details on the scheme and how the Temporary Business Energy Payment is calculated are provided in the document: Guidelines on the operation of the Temporary Business Energy Support Scheme (TBESS).

You might find your business is ineligible for one claim period due to the increase in energy bills being less than 50%.

However, you could still be eligible under the criteria in a different claim period.

What documents are required to make a claim?

A portal on ROS is open for registration and claims now. The scheme operates on a self-assessment basis; you’re not required to submit any documents when making a claim.

However, when you or your accounts person is signing up for the scheme and/or submitting a claim, it’s worth having the following documents to hand as you’ll be required to input some of the details into the system:

  • A current tax clearance certificate
  • Energy bills for the reference period
  • Energy bills for the claim period.

If you don’t have an energy bill for the reference period because your business is new, has expanded into another location or relocated and has a new electricity or gas account, you can use a ‘deemed reference unit price’ instead of the reference unit price.

A list of deemed monthly reference unit prices for electricity and natural gas has been provided by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland and published in the latest version of the TBESS guidelines.

You should retain all documents related to your claim including details of the business activity, tax clearance and energy bills – for the reference period and claim period – as Revenue may request these at a future date.

The names and addresses of the businesses that use the TBESS will be published by Revenue, which includes total amounts that have been claimed.

How much can businesses claim as part of the scheme?

The support available is 40% of the increase in the electricity and/or gas bill amount, and that applies for claim periods from September 2022 to February 2023.

For claim periods from March 2023 onwards, this rose to 50%.

These percentages are subject to a relevant monthly cap.

For the September 2022 to February 2023 claim periods, eligible businesses can claim a monthly payment of up to €10,000 to help with energy costs.

There’s also a higher monthly cap of €30,000 for businesses operating in more than one location and has more than one electricity account.

Since 1 March 2023, these figures increased. The monthly limit on payments from the March 2023 claim period onwards is:

  • €15,000 (up from €10,000) for each qualifying business
  • €45,000 (up from €30,000) for each qualifying business that operates across multiple locations

A unique meter point reference number (MPRN) identifier is required for each electricity account – and the MPRNs need separate electricity supply addresses.

More information on how to assess whether a business is eligible for multiple payments – with examples – is provided in the scheme guidelines referred to above.

What do the payments mean for tax purposes?

Businesses that receive any payments under the scheme must include the amounts when preparing their accounts.

Any payments you receive under the TBESS will reduce the amount of eligible expenditure – which includes fixed costs such as rent, insurance, energy and wages – that can be deducted from your income and will affect the tax due from your trading profits.

So you may incur an additional tax liability when filing and paying your taxes.

Final thoughts on the Temporary Business Energy Support Scheme

The TBESS is aimed at providing financial support as energy bills remain high.

Revenue has provided a dedicated portal where you can easily register for the scheme and submit claims.

The system will carry out the required calculations so as a business owner, once you’ve registered for the scheme, submitting a claim is straightforward.

All you need to do is input the details from your bills and the system will do the heavy lifting for you.

It’s worth keeping an eye on the Revenue website for details on any further proposed enhancements to the scheme coming to fruition.

Editor’s note: This article was first published in December 2022 and has been updated for relevance.