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 please contact us.

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 a member of our Tax Department.

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.

Revenue has published a new Capital Acquisition Tax (CAT) Strategy for 2018 to 2020.

We welcome the publication of the CAT strategy which aims to improve the management of CAT by improving service to support compliance and minimise interaction with compliant tax-payers. The improved services will help to increase customer awareness of Gift Tax and Inheritance Tax obligations.

All tax-payers should be aware of possible CAT liabilities and what they can do to reduce those costs when carrying out Estate planning.

Should you require any further information please contact our Tax Department.

Finance Act 2017 introduced a change to the current 7-year capital gains tax exemption (“CGT”) which allows for investors to sell their property after 4 years instead of the previous minimum 7-year holding period.

The recent amendment means that rather than holding the property for a minimum of 7 years, taxpayers can sell the property between the 4th and 7th anniversary of the acquisition date and qualify for full exemption from CGT. This change only applies to disposals on or after 1 January 2018.

No relief is available if the property is sold during the initial four-year acquisition period.

If the property is held for longer than seven years, relief will only apply to the portion of the gain relating to the first 7 years ownership and the balance is taxable in the normal way.

The relief continues to apply to both residential and commercial property situated in Ireland or a member of the European Economic Area and to property held by individuals and corporates.

Taxpayers must continue to meet the other conditions of the relief to qualify for the CGT exemption.

Example:

Purchase a commercial property on 1 January 2014:

  • Cost €200,000
  • Stamp Duty €4,000

Sell the commercial property on 1 March 2019:

  • Sales Proceeds €350,000

Capital Gains Tax:

  • Capital Gain = €146,000 (€350,000 – €200,000 – €4,000)

Relief:

  • Full CGT relief will apply as the property was disposed of between the 4thand 7th anniversary of the acquisition date. As such, no CGT is payable on the gain of €146,000

For more information on the above tax relief, please contact a member of our Tax Department.