Many companies fail to realise that their Research and Development activities could qualify for valuable tax incentives, explains Edward Murphy, Partner and Head of Tax Services.

Ireland has a well established reputation as a friendly environment for innovative businesses. Government strategy, set out in Innovation 2020, is to nurture excellent research in strategically important areas that benefit the economy and society. A key ambition is to increase investment in research and development and, to this end, Government works with, and funds, various programmes through agencies such as Enterprise Ireland, Science Foundation Ireland, IDA Ireland, InterTrade Ireland and the Higher Education Authority. In addition, research and development tax incentives are available to help develop business and attract high quality jobs. Two of the most important of these incentives are the Research & Development Tax Credit regime and the Knowledge Development Box.

R&D Tax Credit

If your company spends money on research and development activities, you may qualify for a Research and Development (R&D) Tax Credit. This scheme is administered by the Irish Revenue Commissioners and is open to companies who are liable to Irish tax and carrying out qualifying R&D activity in Ireland and/or the European Economic Area (EEA).

The credit is calculated at 25% of qualifying expenditure and is used to reduce your company’s liability to Corporation Tax.

If you have insufficient Corporation Tax against which to claim the R&D tax credit in a given accounting period, the credit may be set against the Corporation Tax for the preceding period. It can also be carried forward indefinitely or, if your company is a member of a group, it can be allocated to other group members.

In some circumstances, the R&D credit can also be claimed as a payable credit.

Qualifying research and development activities must meet certain conditions, such as:

  • involve systemic, investigative or experimental activities
  • be in the field of science or technology
  • involve basic research and/or applied research and/or experimental development
  • seek to make scientific or technological advancement
  • involve the resolution of scientific or technological uncertainty.

To claim the R&D tax credit, it is not necessary to hold the intellectual property rights resulting from the R&D work. It is also not necessary for the R&D work to be successful. The credit is claimed using the Revenue Online Service (ROS). However, before submitting a claim it is important to check that you meet the requirements and have all the necessary supporting documentation. While this may appear onerous, a good tax advisor can guide you through the process. Paying attention to detail when submitting your claim can help avoid Revenue queries and/or a Revenue audit.

Knowledge Development Box

The Knowledge Development Box (KDB) is a tax relief which reduces the Corporation Tax payable on a company’s income from qualifying patents, computer programmes and, for smaller companies, certain other certified intellectual property (IP). Ireland’s KDB was the first IP regime to be fully compliant with new international tax standards and ranks favourably with similar schemes in other countries.

If your company qualifies for the KDB regime, you can avail of a deduction equal to 50 percent of your qualifying profits. In effect, this reduces the normal Corporation Tax rate of 12.5 percent to 6.25 percent on qualifying profits.

For KDB purposes, qualifying assets are those created from R&D activities such as:

  • a computer programme
  • an invention protected by a qualifying patent
  • IP for small companies which is certified by the Controller of Patents as patentable, but not patented.

Marketing related IP such as trademarks, brands, image rights and other intellectual property used to market goods or services are not considered to be qualifying assets.

To apply for the KDB, you must submit your claim on your Corporation Tax return via the Revenue Online Service (ROS). As with R&D tax credits, before submitting a claim it is important to check that you meet the requirements and have all the necessary supporting documentation.

Conclusion

Companies sometimes mistakenly believe that they are not engaged in research and development because they do no operate in industries such as pharma or technology. However, in many instances, companies in other sectors such as manufacturing, energy, financial services, agribusiness, food and drink, are eligible for R&D tax credits and/or the Knowledge Development Box. While navigating the conditions attached to submitting a claim can appear daunting, these are valuable incentives both for indigenous Irish SMEs and for multinationals and are therefore well worth considering.

Talk to us

Edward Murphy
Partner and Head of Tax Services
edward.murphy@blacknighthosting.com

President Trump signed into law H.R. 1, originally known as the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act”, on 22 December 2017, resulting in the most significant tax reform in the US for more than 30 years.

The key business measures in the tax reform package are:

  • The corporate income tax rate is reduced to 21% from 35% with effect from 1 January 2018.
  • There is a move to a full dividend exemption regime for dividends from non-US companies, requiring a 10% holding.
  • As part of the transition to a participation exemption regime, a one-time mandatory tax will be imposed on foreign earnings retained outside the US. This “deemed repatriation” tax applies in respect of any company in the world (including Ireland), if it is controlled by either a U.S. company or by U.S. citizens. This includes either:

(a) any company where the shares are owned (directly, indirectly or constructively) 50.01%+ by US shareholders, or

(b) where 10% of the shares are owned by a US corporate shareholder.

  • The deemed repatriation tax rates for the transition to a territorial tax system are 15.5% for earnings held in cash or liquid assets and 8% for the remainder.
  • There will be a minimum tax on profits arising to foreign subsidiaries of US multinationals from the exploitation of intangible assets, known as “global intangible low-taxed income” (GILTI).
  • A “base erosion anti-abuse tax” (BEAT) will be adopted. The BEAT will generally impose a minimum tax on certain deductible payments made to a foreign affiliate, including payments such as royalties and management fees but excluding cost of goods sold.
  • Interest deductions for tax years beginning after 31 December 2017 are restricted to 30% of EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation). For tax years beginning after 31 December 2021, the limitation will be 30% of a measure similar to EBIT (no add-back for depreciation and amortisation).
  • Other provisions target cross-border transactions, including revised treatment of hybrids and a new special tax incentive for certain foreign-derived intangible income.

Any business with U.S. connections should consider what exposure to U.S. tax (if any) may exist in light of the above changes.

Should you require any further details on the above, please contact a member of our Tax Department.

What is PAYE Modernisation?

With effect from 1 January 2019, employers will be required to notify Revenue with details of the amount of the emoluments and the tax due for each employee on/ before the payment date on a real time basis. This means that each time an employee receives a payment or benefit from their employer, the PAYE due and remitted to Revenue must be 100% accurate.

This real time reporting (RTR) process abolishes the requirement to file P30’s, P35’s, P45’s, P46’s and employers will no longer have to produce P60’s at the end of each tax year.

A Revenue Payroll Notification (RPN) will replace the current Tax Deduction Card (P2C) and from the 1 January 2019 all employers will be required to:

  • Obtain the most up to date RPN before making any payments to employees
  • Report employee payments (amount of pay, payment date, amount of PAYE, USC and PRSI deductions) to Revenue in real-time, and
  • Reconcile Revenue’s response to the payroll submission

At the end of each month, employers will receive a statement from Revenue with payroll submission totals. Employers must either:

  • Accept the statement as their monthly return, or
  • Correct payroll data if the statement is incorrect

The statement issued by Revenue will be deemed to be the return if no amendments or corrections are made before the return due date i.e. 14 days after the end of the month (23 days for ROS users who file and pay online).

The legislation governing the new regime, provides that a failure by an employer to correctly operate PAYE on a payment/ benefit to an employee, may result in the employer being liable for the payment of income tax on a grossed up basis. In addition, the existing €4,000 penalty for non-operation of PAYE may be enforced more readily.

Employers should take the time now to review their employee data, payroll processes, policies and systems to ensure that they are ready to comply with their RTR requirements on 1 January 2019.

Should you require any further details on the above, please contact a member of our Tax Department.