The Registration of Business Names Act 1963 (“the Act”) requires individuals, partnerships and body corporates, who wish to trade under a name that differs from their true name, to register that business name with the Companies Registration Office (the “CRO”). The purpose behind the act reflects the position that the legislation doesn’t allow businesses to hide their true name and thus run the risk of defrauding their consumers.

When does a business name need to be registered?

  • Where an individual uses a business name which differs in any way from their surname.
  • Where a partnership uses a business name which differs in any way from the true names of all the partners who are individuals.
  • Where a company uses a business name which differs from its corporate name.
  • Where a person having a place of business in Ireland carries on the business of publishing a newspaper.
Please note the following:

  • The chosen name for the registered business is not final until approved by the Companies Registration Office.
  • Only residents in the Republic of Ireland can register a business name as a sole trader. If you are not a resident in the Republic of Ireland, a letter of business permission form would need to be sent to the Department of Justice.
  • Registering a business name does not protect the name from being used by someone else – as a company name registration would. There can be multiples of one business name in the Republic of Ireland.
  • A registered business name does not automatically mean the name will be an appropriate and acceptable company name due to their different requirements.
Where does a registered business name need to be displayed?

  • When the certification of registration is granted by the Companies Registration Office, a copy of the certification must be displayed in a noticeable position in the business. If there are multiple locations it would need to be displayed in the prominent place of business along with every branch office, or place where the business is carried out.
  • A company needs to show its registered business name on all corporate documents e.g. letter headings, stationary, resolutions etc.
  • If the business is a body corporate, additional information needs to be disclosed on documents such as the full name of the company, the registered number and the address of the registered office.
Sanctions for a breach of the Act

Section 11 of the Act requires a body corporate or a person to disclose their true name on business documentation, failure to do so can result in a summary conviction.

For assistance in registering your business name, please contact David Morris, Senior Consultant in our Corporate Compliance Department.

The Data Protection Commission have published an information note on data breach trends identified by their Breach Assessment Unit in the first year of GDPR.

Some of the trends and issues identified by the Breach Assessment Unit include:

  • Late notifications;
  • Difficulty in assessing risk ratings;
  • Failure to communicate the breach to data subjects;
  • Repeat breach notifications; and
  • Inadequate reporting.

You can view the full information note here.

At Crowleys DFK, we are dedicated to helping you achieve GDPR compliance. Our Data Protection Support Services’ team offer the following services:

  • Preparing a Gap Analysis between current practices and those required under the current legislation and regulation.
  • Ensuring Data Protection, Records Management and Retention Policies and Procedures are in line with current legislation and regulations.
  • Conducting Data Mapping exercise.
  • Developing Privacy Notices/Disclosures for your organisation.
  • Determining if a Data Protection Impact Assessment is required by your firm and provide assistance in implementing.
  • Providing support to your appointed Data Protection Officer/Privacy Officer and ensuring their roles and responsibilities fully include the requirements under the GDPR.
  • Providing GDPR workshops/training to Board members and staff.

For assistance or advice on Data Protection, please contact Pamela Nodwell, Manager in our Governance, Risk & Compliance Department.

Cloud Computing Advice Note Public Service Organisations Crowleys DFK Xero Cloud Accounting

In October 2019, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform published the Government’s Cloud Computing Advice Note. The Note sets out the Government’s view that public service organisations must now take a more proactive and progressive approach to embracing cloud computing.

Specifically, public service organisations are encouraged to take a “cloud-first” approach for all new systems. Likewise, they are encouraged to review all existing systems for cloud capability.

Crowleys DFK have recently been awarded a Platinum Partner status by Xero, a leading cloud accounting software. This recognition confirms that our cloud accounting offerings to our clients is accredited to the highest level.  We are best placed to offer public and private sector clients of all sizes in implementing cloud accounting solutions for their business.

Our team of cloud accounting experts provide the following services:

  • Identify the most appropriate accounting system for your business.
  • Implement the chosen solution for you, tailoring it to your unique requirements.
  • Provide ongoing training and support to you and your staff.

For assistance or advice on cloud accounting, please contact David Coombes, Partner, Public Sector Services.

On 6 September 2019, the Central Bank issued guidelines to help firms meet their anti-money laundering (AML) and countering the financing of terrorism (CFT) obligations.

Money laundering and terrorist financing is a large global issue. An estimate of between 2% (€715 billion) and 5% (€1.87 trillion) of global GDP is laundered each year.

These guidelines aim to help firms to understand their obligations under the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Act 2010-2018.

Speaking at the launch of these guidelines, Director General, Financial Conduct, Derville Rowland said,

“Firms must adopt a risk-based approach to fulfilling their obligations and ensure that their controls, policies and procedures are fit for purpose, up-to-date, tested and kept under constant review and scrutiny.”

“Effective regulation in this area strengthens the integrity of the financial sector and contributes to the safety and security of citizens by preventing drug dealers, and those engaged in human trafficking, terrorist attacks and organised crime, from using the financial system to support these activities,” she said.

“Financial institutions must know their customers, understand their customer profiles, monitor the way accounts are used and make reports of suspicions to An Garda Síochána, and the Revenue Commissioners where appropriate,’’ she added.

You can find a copy of the guidelines here and view the Central Bank’s press release here.

If you are a designated person for AML purposes and require assistance with your requirements under the legislation, please contact Tony Cooney, Partner in our Governance, Risk & Compliance Department.

We provide the following services:

  • AML business risk assessments
  • Update AML polices and procedures for new legislative requirements
  • Provide AML training to Directors and staff
  • Independent AML function audits

Analysis of Budget 2020

Minister Donohue delivered his “no surprises” Budget 2020 in the shadow of Brexit. Despite our economy being in a strong position and with a general election on the horizon, this was no give-away Budget. Both Minister Donohue and the Taoiseach had managed expectations in advance with talk of “safe choices in relation to taxation” and “modest, targeted welfare increases”.  Prudence seemed to be the order of the day.

There will be no deposit to our rainy day fund this year as the Government expects to have to borrow in 2020 to deal with a potential hard Brexit. A package of over €1.2 billion, excluding EU funding, was announced in the Budget to respond to Brexit.

Climate change was the other main influencer of Budget 2020. Increased carbon tax and other changes to vehicle-related taxes were all designed to support our transition to a low carbon economy. The balancing act for the Government was to ensure that the cost of these changes was distributed fairly. An increase to the weekly fuel allowance and allocations of €3 million to pilot new Agri-environmental schemes and €2.7 billion to the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport in 2020 were some of the responses to this.

This Budget must have been a difficult one for the Government and partners to agree upon. It makes no moves towards the Taoiseach’s pledge to raise the 40% tax rate threshold to €50,000 and contains minimal social welfare increases. It looks like the possibility of a no-deal Brexit will haunt Irish politicians on the doorsteps long after Halloween and the current proposed Brexit date has passed!

For more information, please contact Eddie Murphy, Partner and Head of Tax Services.

Highlights from Budget 2020

Budget 2020 was delivered by Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe today. Below we highlight the main changes that could affect you.

Climate Measures and Carbon Tax

  • Benefit-in-kind on commercial vehicles to be linked to emissions from 2023.
  • Emissions thresholds in respect of capital allowances and VAT reclaim on commercial vehicles to be reduced.
  • 0% benefit-in-kind on electric vehicles will be extended until the end of 2020.
  • A Carbon tax increase of €6 per tonne likely to result in an increase of about 2c per litre of petrol and diesel immediately and about €15 per tank of home heating oil from May 2020.
  • Relief to be provided to hauliers through the Diesel Rebate Scheme for the increased cost of fuel.
  • A new nitrogen oxide (NOx) surcharge will replace the 1% diesel surcharge and will apply to all passenger cars registered from 1 January 2020.
  • VRT relief for hybrid vehicles will be extended until the end of 2020.
  • The weekly fuel allowance will increase by €2.

Brexit Package

  • A package of over €1.2 billion announced, excluding EU funding, to respond to Brexit. This includes:
    • €220 million immediately on October 31st if a no-deal Brexit occurs.
    • €110 million for the agriculture sector
    • €40 million for the tourism sector
    • €365 million for extra social protection expenditure in the event of a rise in unemployment
    • €390 million for Brexit contingency expenditure

Personal Tax

  • The reduced rate of Universal Social Charge for medical card holders to be continued until the end of 2020.
  • Income tax bands and rates remain unchanged.
  • The Home Carer Credit will increase from €1,500 to €1,600.
  • The Earned Income Credit will increase from €1,350 to €1,500.
  • Help to Buy Scheme will be extended until the end of 2021.
  • Living City Initiative will be extended until the end of 2022.

Corporation Tax

  • Confirmation of the 12.5% rate of tax.
  • Special Assignee Relief Programme (SARP) and Foreign Earnings Deduction will be extended until the end of 2022.
  • Enhancements to the Key Employee Engagement Programme (KEEP) and Employment and Investment (EII) programme announced.
  • For micro and small companies:
    • R&D Tax Credit to increase from 25% to 30%.
    • R&D Tax Credit will now be available for certain pre-trading expenditure.
  • The qualifying spend limit for R&D outsourced to third level institutions to be increased from 5% to 15% for R&D Tax Credit purposes.
  • New Anti-Hybrid Rules will be introduced, in line with the Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive (ATAD).
  • Transfer Pricing rules to be brought in line with OECD standards with effect from 1 January 2020.
  • Anti-avoidance measures to be introduced to the IREF and REIT regimes with immediate effect.

Agri Measures

  • Farm Restructuring Relief will be extended until the end of 2022.

Capital Gains Tax and Capital Acquisitions Tax

  • Capital Acquisitions Tax and Capital Gains Tax remain at 33%.
  • The threshold for capital acquisitions tax that applies to children receiving gifts or inheritances from their parents will increase by €15,000 to €335,000.

Other Measures

  • The rate of stamp duty on non-residential property will increase from 6% to 7.5%.
  • A new stamp duty charge of 1% will apply where a scheme of arrangement, in accordance with Part 9 of the Companies Act 2014, is used for the acquisition of a company.
  • The rate of Dividend Withholding Tax to be increased from 20% to 25% from 1 January 2020 with further changes to the DWT regime to follow from 2021.
  • The excise duty on a packet of 20 cigarettes is being increased by 50 cents with a pro-rata increase on other tobacco products.
  • A new relief from betting duty and betting intermediary duty up to a limit of €50,000 per calendar year to be introduced.

Social Welfare

  • The 100% Christmas bonus will be paid out in 2019.
  • The Living Alone Allowance to be increased by €5 in 2020. Increases announced in the Qualified Child Payment of €3 for over 12s and €2 for under 12s.
  • Free GP care will be extended to under-eights and free dental care to under-sixes.
  • Prescription charges for the over 70s are to be reduced from €1.50 to €1 per item.
  • There will be a reduction in the monthly threshold for the Drugs Payment Scheme from €124 to €114.
  • Medical card income threshold for the over 70s to be increased by €50 to €550 for a single individual and by €150 to €1,050 for a couple per week.

For more information, please contact Eddie Murphy, Partner and Head of Tax Services.

The Companies Act 2014 (the “Act”) places requirements on companies and their officers to display information on company stationery and websites. The requirements set out in the Act are summarised below.

Letterhead

The following particulars must be shown on all business letters:

  • the full name of the company
  • the forename (or initials) and surnames and any former forenames and surnames of the directors and their nationality, if not Irish.

In addition to business letter and company order forms, all limited liability companies must disclose the following, in paper or any other form:

  • the legal form of the company
  • the number under which it is registered with the Registrar of Companies
  • address of the registered office
  • if the share capital of a company is mentioned on letterheads or order forms of a company, the reference must be to the issued share capital

Websites

Companies are required to disclose the following information on their homepage or on an accessible webpage:

  • the legal form of the company
  • address of the registered office
  • if the share capital of a company is mentioned on letterheads or order forms of a company, the reference must be to the issued share capital

This publication is intended only as general guidance and should not be used as a substitute for professional advice.

For further information, please contact David Morris, Senior Consultant in our Corporate Compliance Department.

Do you trade with the United Kingdom, or transport goods to/from Europe via the UK? Then you will need to consider the impact of Brexit on your organisation and put in place an action plan to ensure you are best prepared for whatever outcome on the 31st October 2019.

Supply Chain
Review your supply chain. Map the movement of goods into and out of the UK and goods going to and from Europe via the UK, to understand the potential for disruption caused by Brexit (possible delays, clearance requirements, additional checks on goods etc.) Consider actions you can take to prevent this disruption.

Customs Clearance
If you intend to import/export goods to and from the UK, you will need to be registered with Customs. Customs declarations will be required in order to move the goods through the border.

  • Ensure you have an Irish Customs registration number- ‘EORI number’ beginning with IE
  • You will also need a UK EORI number beginning with GB
  • Engage with a customs clearance agent/broker to lodge Customs declarations on your behalf.

Customs Duty
Customs Duty will apply to the import of many goods from the UK into Ireland and vice versa. It is non recoverable and is an additional cost to the business.

  • Ensure you correctly assign the correct commodity codes to the goods imported/exported. The codes will be needed in customs declarations and will determine the amount of duty to be paid.
  • Consult with your agent/broker to see if any reliefs are available.
  • Establish whether you need to obtain a ‘Deferred Payment Account’, this will allow you to import goods into Ireland from the UK and defer the payment of Customs Duties and Import VAT to the month following import.

Vat on Importation
The Irish Revenue passed a bill allowing for the “Postponed Accounting” for VAT on importation where businesses would no longer pay VAT at importation. You can instead account for VAT through the normal monthly VAT return resulting in a significant cash flow saving.  However, they will introduce qualifying criteria for this provision over time. If you do not qualify, VAT (currently 23% for ROI) will apply to the import of many goods from the UK into Ireland and will be payable at the time of import of the goods into Ireland.

Product Certification
The area of product certification will change post-Brexit. UK notified bodies will lose their status as EU notified bodies and will not have any legal status in the EU. This means they cannot provide EU certification. If you rely on UK notified body, you must source an alternative notified body in the EU.

  • More detailed information is available at www.nsai.ie/brexit

Exchange Rates
Currency/exchange rate exposures are a risk for businesses trading in foreign currency. You can take steps to help reduce your exposure.

  • Consider Dual Invoicing
  • Currency Hedging/Forward contracts

ERP Systems
Companies should assess the changes required to be made to their ERP/Finance systems and the time/cost that it will take to implement these changes.

For further assistance, please contact Edward Murphy | Partner | Head of Tax services.

For further information you can visit the below websites or call your local enterprise office.

www.gov.ie/brexit

www.revenue.ie/brexit

www.localenterprise.ie/brexit

www.prepareforbrexit.com

Voluntary Strike-Off is one way in which you may formally wind up a company.

An Irish company that ceases to trade or never traded and has no outstanding creditors can request the Registrar of Companies to strike-off a company from the Register of Companies. Section 733 of the Companies Act 2014 gives the Registrar power to strike companies off the register.

A summary of the requirements is outlined below:

To proceed with a Voluntary Strike-Off application, the director(s) of a company need to ensure that the assets of the company are not greater than €150. Liabilities must also not be greater than €150. Also, all tax filings must be up to date with Revenue.

There are two statutory forms that must be completed and submitted to the Companies Registration Office, the G1-H15 and the H15. The form H15 must be signed by all the directors confirming that the company has ceased to carry on business and that there are no assets or liabilities more than the above-mentioned thresholds remaining. The Form G1-H15 must be signed by a director or secretary of the company.

A Letter of No Objection from Revenue and an advertisement from a daily newspaper must accompany the statutory forms when being submitted to the Companies Registration Office. Once the application is registered by the Companies Registration Office, the company will become ‘Strike-Off Listed’. Approximately 3 months thereafter becoming Strike-Off Listed the company will be dissolved.

For further assistance with the Voluntary Strike-Off process, please contact David Morris, Senior Consultant in our Corporate Compliance Department.

Budget 2019 increased the Home Carer Tax Credit from €1,200 to €1,500 per annum. This tax credit is available to married couples or registered civil partners, where one spouse stays at home to care for a “dependant”.

A dependant can be:
  • a child for whom child benefit is payable;
  • a person aged 65 years or over; or
  • an incapacitated individual.

It does not include a spouse or partner. Often there may be one or more dependants being cared for by the carer spouse. This does not increase the tax credit available.

The Home Carer Tax Credit is often unclaimed as there is a misconception that you must be caring for a sick relative. This is not the case.

Conditions to qualify:
  • You must be jointly assessed for income tax.
  • The dependant person must normally reside with the carer for the tax year. However, if the dependant person is a relative, they can live next door, on the same property or within 2kms of the carer. A relative includes a relative by marriage or a person for whom the claimant is a legal guardian, but not a spouse or civil partner. However, there must be a direct communication link between the two residences such as a telephone or alarm system.
  • The carer spouse must have income of €7,200 per annum or less (excluding any carers benefit or payments received from the Department of Social Protection). If you earn more than €7,200 but less than €10,200 per annum, you may claim a reduced credit:

For example, if the carer spouse earns €8,200 per annum, the maximum tax credit that can be claimed is reduced by the additional earnings as follows €8,200-€7,200=€1,000/2 = €500. The tax credit is reduced by €500 giving a maximum credit of €1,000 available.

If the carer spouse earns €10,200 or above, no Home Carer Tax Credit is available.

This tax credit cannot be claimed alongside the increased standard rate bands for married couples/civil partners. Revenue will grant you the more beneficial option.

Remember; if you qualified for the Home Carer Tax Credit in any of the past 4 tax years (2018, 2017, 2016, and 2015), you can still make a claim to Revenue for it.

If you require any assistance with the home carer tax credit, please contact Michelle Mangan, Manager of Tax Services.