Do I pay tax? - You do not have to pay tax or PRSI on the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance but you may have to pay tax and PRSI on any income you get from self-employment. Even if you do not have to pay PRSI (because your income from self-employment is below the limits) you should consider paying voluntary contributions to protect your entitlement to benefits in the future. If you are accepted on to the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance Scheme, you must register as self-employed with the Revenue Commissioners.
What about other benefits? - You can keep any additional benefits (apart from Rent or Mortgage Interest Supplement) for as long as you are getting the BTWEA. You should check with the Department of Social Protection's representative administering Supplementary Welfare Allowance in your local health centre to see how your Rent Supplement or Mortgage Interest Supplement may be affected by your participation in the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance Scheme.
What happens if my business does not succeed? -If your business does not work out you can apply for means tested social welfare payments in the normal way. If you have previously participated in the BTWEA scheme and exhausted your entitlement, you can participate a second time after a period of at least 5 years has elapsed.
Will running my own business mean lots of hard work and sleepless nights? - Almost certainly. But its an opportunity to make a living from something you are enthusiastic about, and gets you off the ‘dole’. In spite of the constant doom and gloom reported in the newspapers, we are seeing a steady stream of small successful start-ups here in West Kerry which is very encouraging.
What next? - Is tús maith leath na hoibre. You will need a business plan and an appointment with Margaret Daly our Enterprise advisor. Margaret is here in Dingle most Wednesdays and Thursdays.
For further information please telephone 066 714 2788 or pick up a leaflet from An Mhainistir, John Street