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.

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

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.

As colleges start back in the coming weeks and the costs of third level fees become apparent, tax-payers will be happy to know that relief is available.

Tax-payers who pay third level fees on their own behalf or on behalf of another person can claim tax relief.

Tax relief is available at the standard rate of 20% (subject to certain restrictions) on tuition fees including the student contribution (sometimes called a registration fee) paid for full- or part-time third level courses. For the academic year 2019-2020, the student contribution is capped at €3,000.

The tax relief claim must be made in respect of an approved course(s) in an approved college(s).

There is no limit on the number of students per claim, provided that the tax payer has paid the fees.

The first €3,000 is disregarded in the case of a Full-Time student or € 1,500 in the case of a Part Time student. If you have paid fees for more than one student, this disregard amount will only be deducted from your claim once.

The allowable claim is limited to a maximum of €7,000 per student per course.

Fees funded by grants, scholarships or by an employer will not qualify for relief.

Example

The table below is based on a family with two students in third level education. Student 1 is an existing student entering year 3 of their studies and student 2 is commencing third level education for the first time in 2019.

Student 1 (Full time) Started third level in 2017/2018 Student 2 (Full time)
Started third level in 2019/2020
Total Claim
Student Contribution
(Registration Fee)
€3,000 €3,000 €6,000
Disregard Amount (One per claim) (€3,000)
Allowable Cost €3,000
Tax Relief @ 20% €600

Should you require any further information or assistance in claiming the tax relief, please contact Michelle Mangan, Manager of Tax Services.

The Help to Buy (HTB) incentive is a scheme to help first time property buyers. It helps with the deposit needed to buy or build a new house or apartment. In order to claim the HTB scheme, you must:

  • Be a first-time buyer
  • Take out a mortgage that is at least 70% of the purchase value of the property
  • Be tax compliant
  • Live in the property for a minimum of 5 years after purchase

To qualify, you must have not bought or built a house or apartment previously on your own or jointly with any other person. You will still qualify for HTB if you have previously inherited or have been gifted a property.

The HTB scheme is back dated to include homes bought from 19 July 2016 and will be available to 31 December 2019. If the property was purchased between 19 July 2016 and 31 December 2016, the price of the property must be €600,000 or less. If the property is bought between 1 January 2017 and 31 December 2019, the property must cost €500,000 or less.

The amount you can claim is the lessor of the following:

  • €20,000
  • 5% of the purchase price of the new home.
  • The amount of Income Tax and Deposit Interest Retention Tax (DIRT) you have paid in the previous 4 tax years.

Regardless of the amount of people who enter into the contract to buy or build the property, the cap of €20,000 applies. Universal Service Charge (USC) and Pay related Social Insurance (PRSI) are not considered when calculating the amount you are entitled to claim.

If you purchased or built the property between 19 July 2016 and 31 December 2016, the refund will be issued directly to you. If you buy a new build between 1 January 2017 and 31 December 2019, the refund will be issued to your contractor. The contractor must be approved by Revenue. If you self-build, the refund is paid to a bank account held with your mortgage provider.

Revenue may clawback the refund if:

  • You do not live in the property for 5 years
  • You do not complete the process to buy the house
  • You were not entitled to the refund
  • The property is not completed

Once the property is built or bought, you have the sole responsibility of complying with the conditions for the HTB refund.

If you require any assistance with HTB or  further details on the above, please contact us.

Revenue has recently clarified the taxation of couriers, specifically the tax treatment of motor cycle and bicycle couriers. The following treatment applies from 1 January 2019. Previous agreements will come to an end on this date.

Motor cycle and bicycle couriers are generally engaged under a contract for service i.e. they are self-employed individuals. Whilst the facts of each case may differ, this is the general view adopted by Revenue.

From 1 January 2019 motor cycle and bicycle couriers engaged under a contract for service i.e. self-employed individuals, will need to file a tax return self-assessment.

Expenses

Self-employed couriers can make a claim for any expenditure incurred wholly and exclusively for the purpose of their courier activity, for example, motor expenses & telephone/internet bills.

Revenue’s previous agreement of flat rate deductions for expenses (20%,40% or 45%) will no longer apply with effect from 1 January 2019.

Voluntary PAYE

Voluntary PAYE systems of tax have been implemented by several courier firms to assist couriers in ensuring that they are tax compliant. Revenue has no issue with these arrangements continuing, however Revenue has reiterated that income tax, USC & PRSI should be applied on gross income.

Van Owner-Driver Couriers

Similar to motor cycle and bicycle couriers, Revenue are of the view that van owner-driver couriers are engaged under a contract for service and thus they are self-employed individuals.

Pay and File System for Income Tax Self-Assessment

Under self-assessment there is a common date for the payment of tax and filing of tax returns. You must file your tax return on or before 31 October in the year after the year to which the return relates.

This system, which is known as Pay and File, requires you to:
• file your return for the previous year
• make a self-assessment for that year
• pay the balance of tax for that year
• pay preliminary tax for the current year.

For example, by 31 October 2019 you must:
• pay your preliminary tax for 2019
• file your 2018 self-assessment tax return
• pay any Income Tax (IT) balance for 2018.

When you pay and file through the Revenue Online Service (ROS), the 31 October deadline is extended to mid-November.

For more information on the taxation of couriers, please contact Michelle Mangan, Manager of Tax Services.

Exit tax regimes seek to impose a tax on unrealised capital gains where companies migrate their tax residency or transfer assets offshore.

Prior to Budget 2019, Ireland had a limited exit tax regime that was subject to several exceptions. While it was expected that new exit tax rules would be introduced before 1 January 2020 to comply with the EU’s Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive (ATAD), the implementation of new rules from 10 October 2018 was earlier than anticipated.

Old exit tax regime

Under the old exit tax regime, where a company changed its tax residence so that it was no longer within the scope of Irish tax, it was treated as disposing and reacquiring its assets at market value. This triggered a charge to tax at the rate of 33%, the standard capital gains tax rate.

The exit tax did not apply where the assets continued to be used in the State by a branch or agency of the migrating company or where the company was ultimately controlled by residents of a tax treaty country. The exit tax could also be avoided if the company transferring its residency was a 75% subsidiary of an Irish resident company and certain conditions were met for 10 years after the migration.

New exit tax regime

The new rules tax the unrealised gains of corporate entities where the following events occur:

  • A company transfers assets from its permanent establishment (PE) in Ireland to its head office or to a PE in another territory;
  • A company transfers the business (including the assets of the business) carried on by its PE in Ireland to another territory; or
  • An Irish resident company transfers its residence to another country.

The rate of tax applicable will generally be 12.5%. However, there is an anti-avoidance measure that applies a rate of 33% where the event triggering the tax forms part of a transaction to avail of the 12.5% rate rather than the standard capital gains tax of 33%.

Key points on the operation of the exit tax:

  • The exit tax will not apply to the transfer of assets that will revert to the PE or company within 12 months of the transfer, where the assets are:
    • Related to the financing of securities;
    • Given as security for a debt; or
    • Where the asset transfer takes place to meet prudential capital requirements or for liquidity management.
  • The tax may be paid in 6 annual instalments where the company migrates to an EU or EEA state.
  • Where a company ceases to be resident and an exit tax charge is imposed, the tax may be recovered from an Irish tax resident company within the group or from an Irish tax resident controlling director.

While the exit tax rate has been reduced, the new rules have significantly broader application than the old regime and transactions that previously would not have been subject to an exit tax may now trigger a tax charge.

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

Revenue have recently written to over 12,000 taxpayers who are in receipt of income from the letting of short-term accommodation through Airbnb. Airbnb have provided Revenue with details of payments made to customers in the years 2014, 2015 and 2016 in respect of the provision of short-term accommodation.

The letters issued by Revenue are reminders to taxpayers to include this income in their tax returns. Revenue have confirmed that they will be carrying out a range of follow up compliance checks to ensure that tax returns are filed on time and completed correctly.

Income received from the letting of short-term accommodation is treated differently for tax purposes to income received from renting a property under a landlord and tenant arrangement. In addition, income from a trade of short-term letting is subject to different tax treatment to income from the provision of accommodation on an occasional basis.

When preparing your income tax return, please be aware of the following points when calculating profits from the occasional letting of short-term accommodation:

  1. A deduction against profits may only be made in respect of incidental costs directly associated with the service provided to guests. Examples of incidental costs include commission paid to online accommodation booking sites, cleaning fees, the cost of providing breakfast to guests as well as a reasonable apportionment of electricity, gas and heating utilised by guests;
  2. A deduction against profits is not allowable for annual costs associated with a property such as insurance, TV licence and general maintenance costs;
  3. Capital allowances on the cost of furniture and fittings for the property are not available against the profits;
  4. No deduction is allowable against profits in respect of expenditure incurred in advance of a property/room being made available for guest accommodation.

For income earned in 2017, the required date to submit your income tax return on Revenue’s Online Service (ROS) is 14 November 2018.

If you have any queries or concerns relating to the letter issued by Revenue, please contact our Tax Department.

There were two amendments made to the Capital Acquisitions Tax Dwelling House Exemption by Finance Act 2017, in such cases where the recipient of the dwelling house is a dependent relative of the disponer.

A ‘dependent relative’ is defined as a relative who is permanently and totally incapacitated due to mental or physical infirmity from maintaining himself or herself, or who is of the age of 65 years or over at the date of gift or inheritance.

The position following the amendments is as follows:

  1. In the case of a gift or an inheritance of a dwelling house taken by a dependent relative, the dwelling house is not required to have been the only or main residence of the disponer.
  2. A gift of a dwelling house that becomes an inheritance as a result of the disponer dying within two years of making the gift can qualify for the dwelling house exemption, where the beneficiary is a dependent relative.

All other provisions to the exemption remain unchanged.

The amendments to the Dwelling House Exemption take effect from the date of passing of the Finance Act 2017, 25 December 2017.

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