Stay and Spend Scheme: How it Works and How you can Claim

City Breaks | | 3 minutes
Photo of Westport in Co. Mayo

For most, plans to travel abroad have been put on pause for 2020. But, once we could move outside our region, the use of the word ‘staycation’ skyrocketed in our vernacular. The lure of our coastal towns, our scenic drives and our historical sites ignited our wanderlust after months in lockdown. 

To help the hospitality sector in the low season of the winter months, the government launched the ‘Stay and Spend’ scheme on September 3rd.

Whether you’re going on a holiday in Ireland or just supporting your locality this winter or next spring, this scheme is a fantastic way to support Irish businesses.  

Who can claim on ‘Stay and Spend’ Scheme?

Any taxpayer who spends a minimum of €25 in a single, qualifying transaction is eligible for this scheme.

The money you claim back will then be offset against your tax credits.  

While the Stay and Spend Scheme is mostly talked about in relation to staycations, any ‘qualifying expenses’ you pay for in your local area can also be claimed. 

When can I avail of the ‘Stay and Spend’ Scheme?

To claim, you need to spend at least €25 in a single transaction on a ‘qualifying expenditure’ with a registered business between the 1st of October 2020 and the 30th of April 2021.

There is no break in the scheme, meaning it covers school holiday breaks, Halloween, Christmas and Easter. 

What is a ‘qualifying expenditure’ on the ‘Stay and Spend’ Scheme?

A ‘qualifying expenditure’ includes accommodation (hotels, guest houses, BandBs, self-catering) registered with Fáilte Ireland, food and non-alcoholic drinks.

To see which accommodation or food providers are registered for the ‘Stay and Spend’ scheme, you can easily search based by county on Revenue’s website. 

The scheme does not include takeaway food, alcoholic drinks, drinks (either alcoholic or non-alcoholic) served without food or amounts below €25

How much can I claim back under the ‘Stay and Spend’ Scheme?

With the Stay and Spend scheme, the tax relief will be 20% of your claimed expenses. For a single person, this amounts to a maximum refund of €125 on a total of €625 worth of expenses.

For a married couple who will jointly-assessed, this amounts to a maximum refund of €250 on a total of €1,250 worth of expenses. 

If you’re splitting a bill with a partner or friends, you should only include your share of the bill. Ideally, you should receive your own individual receipt. 

How do I apply for refunds with the ‘Stay and Spend’ Scheme?

You can only claim on the Stay and Spend Scheme if you have receipts to prove your expenses. This is done in two steps: 

  1. Submit your receipts to Revenue
  2. Make an electronic claim for the Stay and Spend tax credit

To claim these, the quickest and easiest way to do this is by downloading the Revenue Receipts Tracker App. You can keep adding receipts under Stay and Spend until you reach the cap amount of €625 per person or €1,250 per couple.

Submitting your receipts:

  • Register on the app using your PPS number
  • If you want, select to sync any receipts you upload on the app to Revenue storage (otherwise you’ll have to keep paper copies)
  • To record an expense, select ‘Stay and Spend’ from the list of categories
  • Choose the type of qualifying service – either ‘accommodation’, ‘accommodation and food’ or ‘food’
  • Enter the name of the business, date of the expense and total amount of bill
  • Tap ‘add receipt’ and upload a copy of the receipt to the app

Making an electronic claim:

  • For PAYE (MyAccount): Submit an Income Tax Return (Form 12) for 2020
  • For Self-Employed (ROS): Submit an Income Tax Return (Form 11) for 2020

Make sure all your receipts are submitted before you fill out the relevant form as they are proof of your expenses. Both forms will be available from the 1st of January 2020. 

For any expenses between 1 October and 31 December 2020, you can claim them in the 2020 tax year. For any expenses between 1 January and the 30 April, these can be claimed back in the 2021 tax year.

How will I be refunded?

The Stay and Spend tax credit will reduce the amount of income tax you have to pay. The credit is deducted after any allowances, deductions or reliefs that have been given to you.

If the tax credit is higher than your income tax liability in the year of assessment, any excess credit can be deducted from the amount of USC you have to pay in that same year.

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