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Close Relative Loans – New Capital Acquisitions Tax (CAT) Reporting Requirements

With effect from 1 January 2024, a new mandatory Capital Acquisitions Tax (CAT) reporting obligation is imposed on the recipients of certain loans from close relatives. This applies irrespective of whether any tax is due or not and is applicable to both new loans made from 1 January as well as existing loans.

This new requirement aims to provide Revenue with greater visibility of loans made between close relatives where the loans are either interest free or are provided for below market interest rates.

Who is a Close Relative?

A close relative is a person within either the Group A or Group B CAT tax free threshold category which includes:

  • a parent of the person,
  • the spouse/ civil partner of a parent of the person,
  • a lineal ancestor of the person,
  • a lineal descendant of the person,
  • a brother or sister of the person,
  • an aunt or uncle of the person, or
  • an aunt or uncle of the spouse/ civil partner of a parent of the person.

There are certain “look through” provisions that must be applied to loans made by or to private companies, including where the shares in the company are held via a trust, to determine if the loan is ultimately being made to a recipient by a close relative. The holding of any shares in a private company is sufficient for the look through provisions to apply.

What Loans must be Reported?

A loan is any loan, advance or form of credit and need not be in writing. The recipient of a loan will be required to file a CAT return where:

  • A loan has been made directly or indirectly between close relatives,
  • No interest has been paid on the loan within 6 months of the end of the calendar year, and
  • The total balance outstanding on the loan exceeds €335,000 on at least 1 day in a calendar.

All specified loans must be aggregated so if a person has more than one loan from different close relatives the amount outstanding on each loan in the relevant period must be added together for the purposes of determining if the threshold amount to €335,000 has been exceeded or not.

What Information must be Reported?

The CAT return must include the following information in respect of reportable loan balances:

  • The name, address and tax reference number of the person who made the loan,
  • The balance outstanding on the loan, and
  • Any other information which the Revenue Commissioners may reasonably require.

Case Study

A father and mother provide an interest-free loan of €400,000 to their son on the 31 March 2024. The son made no repayments on the loan in 2024.

On the receipt of an interest free loan of €400,000, the son is deemed to receive an annual gift of the free use of this money on the 31 December 2024. Irish Revenue value the annual gift at the highest rate of return the funds would generate if they were invested on deposit. Based on current interest rates applicable to a standard demand deposit account, one of the highest rates of return for a deposit account is 1.5%. As such, the value of the annual gift of notional interest is approximately €6,000 per year. After applying the annual small gift exemption of €3,000 per parent (€6,000 in total), the son is exempt from paying CAT on the notional annual gift in respect of this loan.

However, as the balance of the loan on 31 December 2024 exceeds the tax-free threshold of €335,000, the son is still required to file a CAT return under the new reporting provisions irrespective of the fact that no CAT is payable. The CAT return must be filed with Revenue no later than 31 October 2025.

Should you require any assistance in this area, please contact us.

The R&D tax credit was introduced to incentivise large multinationals to locate an R&D unit here and to encourage Irish companies to invest in R&D activities.

Where a company meets the criteria to qualify for the R&D credit, it will be entitled to claim a tax credit equivalent to 30% of eligible expenditure incurred by it on qualifying R&D activities. As the claimant should also be entitled to claim a tax deduction at the standard rate of corporation of 12.5% on the same expenditure, it should result in an effective corporation tax benefit of 42.5%.

Changes from 2024

For accounting periods commencing from 1 January 2024, new rules have been introduced in Budget 2024. The main changes include the following:

  • The R&D credit is increased from 25% to 30%
  • The first payment instalment has been increased from €25,000 to €50,000
  • The company must now provide pre-notification of intention to make an R&D tax credit claim

Is my company eligible to claim the R&D credit?

In order to qualify for the R&D tax credit the following must apply:

  • The applicant must be a company
  • The company must be within the charge to Irish tax
  • The company must undertake qualifying R&D activities either within Ireland or the EEA

The expenditure on which the company is making the claim must be wholly and exclusively incurred in the carrying on by it of qualifying R&D activities. As per Revenue guidance, it is crucial that claimants distinguish the term “carrying on” from “for the purposes of” or “in connection with”. Indirect costs such as recruitment fees, insurance and travel costs, which are not wholly and exclusively incurred in the carrying on of the R&D activity do not qualify as relevant expenditure.

Typically, expenses which qualify for the R&D credit include materials, salary costs, subcontracted R&D and plant and machinery.

What are qualifying activities for the purposes of the R&D credit?

Qualifying activities must:

  1. Be systematic, investigative or experimental activities;
  2. Be in a field of science or technology;
  3. Involve one or more of the following categories of R&D:
    • Basic research
    • Applied research
    • Experimental development
  4. Seek to achieve scientific or technological advancement; and
  5. Involve the resolution of scientific or technological uncertainty.

Essentially, the R&D activities being carried out must address an area of technological or scientific uncertainty where the outcome is unclear from the outset.

Claiming the R&D Tax Credit

Under the new R&D system which was introduced in Budget 2023, for periods commencing on 1 January 2023, a company will have an option to request either payment of their R&D tax credit or for it to be offset against other tax liabilities which will provide greater flexibility to the claimant.

Where a company opts to have the credit refunded, it will be refunded as follows:

  • The first €25,000 (for accounting periods beginning on or after 1 January 2023) or €50,000 (for accounting periods beginning on or after 1 January 2024) of an R&D claim will now be payable in full in year 1.
  • In year 2, the second instalment will equal three-fifths of the remaining balance.
  • The third and final instalment in year 3 will in effect be the remaining balance.

A company will have the option to specify whether the R&D corporation tax credit is to be offset against the company’s tax liabilities or is to be paid to the company. Under the new regime, the option is there to offset against any tax liability, such as PAYE Employer liabilities or VAT liabilities.

In addition to the above, the current limits on the payable element of the credit will be removed as part of the new system.

Pre-notification

With effect from 1 January 2024, companies who wish to claim the R&D tax credit and it is either their first tax credit claim or it has been more than 3 years since their last claim, there is now a requirement to notify Revenue of their intention to make the claim. This must be done 90 days prior to making the claim.

The company must do this in writing and the information required is as follows:

  • Name, address and corporation tax number of the company;
  • Description of the research and development activities carried out by the company;
  • Number of employees carrying on research and development activities; and
  • Expenditure incurred by the company on research and development activities, which has been or is to be met directly or indirectly by grant assistance.

It is important that companies review their activities to determine if they qualify for the tax credit as the credit can prove to be a very valuable source of funding.

If you have any queries about the R&D tax credit, please contact us.

Knowledge Development Box Update

The Knowledge Development Box was introduced by Finance Act 2015, for those companies whose accounting periods commence on or after 1 January 2016. This legislation will allow small and medium sized companies engaged in research and development activities which led to the creation of the patent, copyrighted software or intellectual property (IP) equivalent to a patentable invention to reduce the tax paid on profits arising from these qualifying assets.

Updates to the legislation were enacted in September 2023 and from October 2023 the profits arising from patents, copyrighted software or IP equivalent to a patentable invention are now taxed at an effective rate of 10% rather than a previous effective rate of 6.25%.

Although this is not as favourable as it once was, if the profits arising from qualifying assets are significant, there could still be significant tax savings for companies.

Qualifying Assets

For the purposes of KBD, a qualifying asset would include the following assets that arose from R&D activities:

  • A computer programme
  • An invention protected by a patent
  • IP for small companies

Qualifying Income

Any income generated from the above qualifying assets will qualify for the relief. The income generally would include:

  • Royalty income
  • Licensing fees
  • Portion of sales price that is attributable to qualifying assets

Operation of Relief

The relief operates by allowing a tax deduction of 20% (from October 2023) of the qualifying profits from the R&D activities which results in an effective tax rate of these profits of 10%. In order to calculate the qualifying profits figure, there is a formula to use as follows:

QE + UE  x  QA
OE

QE – Qualifying expenditure
UE – Uplift expenditure
OE – Overall expenditure
PQA – Profits from qualifying assets

Qualifying expenditure includes costs that have been borne by the company, wholly and exclusively in carrying out R&D activities which result in the creation, improvement or development of the qualifying assets.

Overall expenditure is the overall expenditure the company has incurred on R&D on the qualifying assets. The main difference between qualifying expenditure and overall expenditure is that outsourced costs and acquisition costs incurred by the company in relation to qualifying assets can be included here.

An additional “uplift expenditure” is allowed to increase the qualifying expenditure on the qualifying asset. The uplift expenditure is the lower of:

  • 30% of the qualifying expenditure; or
  • the aggregate of the acquisition costs and group outsourcing costs.

As can be seen from the above, the formula seeks to restrict purchases costs of IP and group outsourcing – this makes it more beneficial to Irish companies who do all the majority of the development work in house rather than multinationals who outsource elements to group companies.

Claims for the KBD must be made within 24 months of the period end.

For further information on the above article or any other issue surrounding the Knowledge Development Box, please contact us.

Family Partnerships – Tax Efficient Estate Planning Structure for the Benefit of Family Members

Family partnerships have become a tax efficient estate planning structure that allows parents to gift assets to their children while still retaining control, through their function as managing partner, of the investment of those assets.

The transfer of assets to the partnership is subject to tax for both the parents (Capital Gains Tax – CGT) and the children (Capital Acquisitions Tax – CAT). Stamp Duty also needs to be considered. However, the tax may be minimised, where assets of current low value, but with an expectation that they will grow over time, are transferred.

By transferring assets into the partnership, any future gains on those assets can be shared among family members. The ability to strategically distribute gains can lead to substantial tax advantages when considering the long-term growth of family assets. Family partnerships serve as an effective vehicle for succession planning, ensuring a smooth transition of assets and wealth to the next generation while potentially minimizing inheritance tax liabilities.

The partners are liable to tax on income/capital gains arising from the partnership. One of the most notable tax advantages offered in this structure is the ability to distribute income among family members in a tax-efficient manner. By strategically structuring the partnership, income can be allocated to family members who fall into lower tax brackets, effectively reducing the overall tax liability.

A partnership agreement should be prepared setting out the terms of the partnership, typically each partner’s contributed capital determines their partnership share. This is typically 90% for the children and 10% for the parents. The Agreement appoints a managing partner. By agreement between the partners, the managing partner decides on the investment strategy for the funds and the distribution policy of the partnership. By having one or both parents as managing partner, they retain control of the assets.

The partnership can be either a limited or general partnership. In a Limited Partnership, the liability for all bar at least one partner is limited to the amount they have contributed. Therefore their liability to debts is capped. A General Partnership is less administratively burdensome but all partners are liable for the debts of the partnership without limit.

Family partnerships are a useful vehicle for preserving wealth, optimising taxes, and ensuring a smooth transition of assets within a family unit.

Please contact us if you have any queries in relation to Family Partnerships.

CGT Retirement Relief

Retirement Relief provides relief from CGT on the disposal of trading assets or shares in trading companies. To qualify for this relief, the main conditions are that the individual must be aged 55 or over and must be disposing of or transferring qualifying business assets. In addition, the individual must have been a working director of the company for 10 years and a fulltime working director for at least 5 of the years prior to the transfer.

The latter condition can be a stumbling block for many individuals seeking to claim this relief. For example, an individual may be a director of more than one company and therefore may not meet the full-time working director requirement.

The Finance Bill 2023 introduced changes on the restrictions that apply on retirement relief. These changes will come into effect from 1 January 2025.

Disposals to Children

At present, if the individual disposing of the qualifying assets is aged between 55 and 65 years of age and the disposal is to a child, full relief may be claimed.  From 66 onwards the relief is restricted to €3 million. The changes will now restrict relief available for individuals between 55 and 69 to €10 million. From 70 onwards the relief will be restricted to €3 million.

Disposals to Persons other than a Child

Under the current rules, there is full relief on disposals of qualifying assets up to a value of €750,000 where the disposal is made between ages of 55 and 65. From 66 onwards the cap is reduced to €500,000. The new rules will extend the €750,000 relief up to the age of 69. Similarly the €500,000 cap will be from the age 70 and onwards.

The table below summarises the new rules:

Disposal to: Current Rules: Changes – effective 1 January 2025:
Child
  • Unrestricted relief up to 65 years
  • From 66 years onwards relief restricted to €3m
  • Up to 69 years relief restricted to €10m
  • From 70 years onwards relief restricted to €3m
Person other than a child
  • Full relief on disposal of qualifying assets of up to €750k up to the age of 65
  • From 66 years onwards the cap is reduced to €500k
  • €750k is extended to 69 years
  • From 70 years onwards cap is reduced to €500k

Please contact us if you have any queries in relation to the changes to CGT Retirement Relief for Individuals.

Share Options: New PAYE Withholding Requirements from 1 January 2024 – How does this Impact Employees?The shift of share options from the Irish self-assessment system to PAYE withholding from 1 January 2024 is a significant change arising from Finance (No. 2) Bill 2023. Prior to this, employees were required to report and remit taxes within 30 days of exercising an option on Form RTSO1.  Additionally, they were required to file an income tax return for the relevant year.

The changes set out in the Finance Bill outline that under the new system, employers are now required to report and make withholdings under the PAYE system on any gains arising after 1 January 2024 on the exercise, assignment or release of share options by employees.

What do employees need to be aware of?

  • The self-assessment regime continues to apply to gains arising on or before 31 December 2023, as does the obligation to register for Relevant Tax on Share Options (RTSO).
  • Share option gains is an area of focus for Revenue, therefore employees should ensure that their tax filings (Form RTSO1 and Income Tax returns) and payments in relation to relevant tax on share option exercises are up to date.
  • Failure to submit an income tax return in any year will result in a surcharge being applied by Irish Revenue. The surcharge is as follows:
    • 5% of the tax due up to a maximum of €12,695 where the income tax return is made within 2 months of the return filing date, or
    • 10% of the tax due up to a maximum of €63,485 where the return is made more than 2 months after the return filing date.

How can Crowleys DFK help?

Our tax team can support employees with preparing and filing income tax returns and RTSO1 returns in respect of share options exercised. Please contact us for assistance.

Preliminary Tax Obligations for Income Tax & Corporation Tax

Individuals who file income tax returns and companies who file corporation tax returns have an obligation to pay preliminary tax:

1. Individuals

Preliminary tax is your estimate of the Income Tax, PRSI and USC that you expect to pay for a tax year. You must pay this by 31 October of the tax year in question.

The amount of preliminary tax for a year must be equal to, or more than, the lowest amount of the following:

  • 100% of the tax due for the immediately previous tax year
  • 90% of the tax due for the current tax year

It is necessary that you make a sufficient preliminary tax payment based on the above rules, as we have seen Revenue impose interest on underpayments.

As income tax returns are filed a year in arrears, i.e. your 2023 tax return will be due in October 2024, it is important to note that if you do not make a preliminary tax payment for the year in question, interest at a rate of 0.0219% will be incurred from the date that the payment was due.

For example, your 2023 tax return is due for filing on 31 October 2024. Your preliminary tax payment would have been due for payment on 31 October 2023. If you did not make the payment on 31 October 2023, Revenue may impose interest from 31 October 2023 when you file your return in 2024.

2. Companies

Irish resident companies and non-resident companies must pay Corporation Tax on taxable profits if:

  • a resident company trades in Ireland
  • a non-resident company trades in Ireland through a branch or agency
  • from 1 January 2022, a non-resident company is in receipt of profits or gains in respect of rental property in Ireland.

The rules of when a company should make their preliminary tax payment depends on whether they are classified as a Small Company or Large Company.

Small Companies

A small company is a company whose CT liability is not above €200,000 in the previous accounting period.

Small companies can base their preliminary tax for an accounting period on:

  • 100% of their CT liability for the previous accounting period
  • 90% of their CT liability for the current period (and there is provision for a top up payment to be made).

This must be paid on the 23rd of the eleventh month after the accounting period ended. For example, if the company’s year end is 31 December 2024, preliminary tax is due by 23 November 2024.

Large Companies

Large companies can pay their preliminary CT in two instalments when their accounting period is longer than seven months. The first instalment is due on the 23rd of the sixth month of the accounting period. The amount due is either:

  • 50% of the CT liability for the previous accounting period
  • 45% of the CT liability for the current accounting period.

The second instalment is due on the 23rd of the eleventh month. This will bring the preliminary tax up to 90% of the final tax due for the current accounting period.

For example, if the company’s year end is 31 December 2024, and they are a large company, the first instalment of preliminary tax is due on the 23rd of June and the 2nd instalment is due on the 23rd of November.

If preliminary tax isn’t paid by the above dates, interest is due at a daily rate of 0.0219% on late payments or payments that are not made in full. The interest is calculated by multiplying together the:

  • amount of tax underpaid
  • number of days the tax is late
  • interest rate.

If you have any queries about your preliminary tax obligations, please contact us.

Share Options - PAYE Withholding Requirements

The shift of share options from the Irish self-assessment system to PAYE withholding from 1 January 2024 is a significant change arising from Finance (No. 2) Bill 2023. Prior to this, employees were required to report and remit taxes within 30 days of exercising an option on Form RTSO1.  Additionally, they were required to file an income tax return for the relevant year.

The changes set out in the Finance Bill outline that under the new system, employers are now required to report and make withholdings under the PAYE system on any gains arising after 1 January 2024 on the exercise, assignment or release of share options by employees.

While employees are certain to welcome this change, companies have been given a limited time frame to implement additional procedures to ensure they are compliant with the new obligations.

What should employers do to prepare for the upcoming change in employer reporting obligations?

  • It is advisable that employers communicate this change in the tax treatment to their employees. Companies should also update their share option plan documentation in light of this change.
  • Employers will need to review the share option plan documentation in the context of funding the liabilities. This is because employees will need to be able to fund the tax liability collected through the PAYE system. A number of shares (received from the exercise) may need to be sold under a ‘sell to cover mechanism’ to ensure the necessary funds are available. This is particularly important for companies that allow previous employees to exercise their share option after their employment has terminated.
  • Employers should also ensure accurate records are maintained on an ongoing basis for all share option grants. With regards to mobile employees, employers will also need to monitor both Irish and worldwide workdays during the grant to vest period. This is required to calculate the Irish taxes due on the date of the exercise of the options. Furthermore, a process must be in place to determine whether the gain is subject to PRSI or exempt.
  • Employers will need to ensure that the process for reporting the gains arising from the exercise of share options is completed within the required timeframe. Gains arising from the exercise of share options are regarded as notional payments. Therefore, they must be reported on or before the exercise of the option.

Employer Annual Share Reporting

Employers are still obliged to file an RSS1 return by 31 March following the calendar tax year to report the grant, exercise, assignment, or release of an option.

If you require assistance with the annual share reporting return for share options, please contact us.

Benefits in Kind: Small Benefit Exemption

Employers will be familiar with the Small Benefit Exemption (SBE) which is a Revenue concession in respect of non-cash benefits/vouchers provided to employees. Finance Bill 2022 announced the extension of the SBE to allow for up to two vouchers/benefits to be granted by an employer in a year, with an increase in the annual exemption from €500 to €1,000 in aggregate.  These changes were applicable from the 2022 year of assessment.

Benefit for Employees:

Employees are not liable for PAYE, USC and PRSI on value of award.

Benefit for Employers:

Employers are not liable for employer PRSI (11.05%) on value of award.

Conditions for SBE to apply:

  • The award must be a “qualifying incentive” which is a non-cash incentive and:
    • in the case a single benefit is provided, the value does not exceed €1,000.
    • where two benefits are provided, the cumulative value of the first and second benefit does not exceed €1,000.
  • Where any award exceeds €1,000 in value the full value of that award is subject to PAYE, USC and PRSI.
  • If more than two benefits are given in a year, only the first two may qualify for tax free status.
  • Tax-free vouchers/benefits can be used only to purchase goods or services. They cannot be redeemed for cash.
  • The voucher or benefit must not form part of a salary sacrifice arrangement.

To maximise the tax efficiency of the SBE and avoid subsequent awards being liable to tax, some companies use a ‘recognition and rewards’ system which allows employees to accumulate points over the course of a year.  This minimises the tax liability where employees are recognised multiple times in a year.

Please see below some examples to further explain the SBE:

Example 1

Company A awards a voucher of €500 in February and a €500 voucher in December to an employee.

Tax Treatment

The employee can avail of the SBE and as the two vouchers do not exceed the annual exemption of €1,000, both vouchers can be provided to the employee tax free.

Example 2

Company B awards an employee a voucher worth €500 in January, a hamper in July worth €50 and a €500 voucher at Christmas.

Tax Treatment

The first two awards, which total €550 will be covered by the SBE, but the third award will be fully liable to PAYE, USC and PRSI. The value of the third voucher (€500) should be processed through payroll in the month the award is made i.e. the December payroll.

Had Company B awarded the second €500 voucher before the €50 hamper, the employee would have maximised the full benefit of SBE and only €50 would be subject to tax.

Example 3

Company C awards an employee a voucher worth €500 in April and another voucher in December worth €600.

Tax Treatment

Where two vouchers exceed €1,000 in value, the full value of the second voucher is subject to tax. The value of the second voucher (€600) should be processed through the December payroll and the relevant withholding taxes applied.

If you have any queries about the small benefit exemption, please contact Ciara Colbert, Senior Manager in our Tax Services’ Department.

Non-resident landlords may have received a letter from Revenue advising of upcoming changes to the administration of withholding tax for non-resident landlords. Up to now, non-resident landlords had two options to report rental profits to Revenue:

  1. Non-resident landlords asked their tenant to withhold 20% of the rent and to pay this to Revenue on their tenant’s personal income tax return. The tenant should have given the non-resident landlord a Form R185 (certificate of income tax deducted) so that a credit could be claimed for the tax deducted when submitting a personal income tax return.
  2. Non-resident landlords appointed a Collection Agent, who registered for Income Tax on their behalf using a Collection Agent Income Tax Registration Form. Their Collection Agent was responsible for reporting the non-resident landlord’s rental profit for the year by filing an income tax return and paying any liability to Revenue on behalf of the non-resident landlord.

What are the upcoming changes?

A new Non-Resident Landlord Withholding Tax system is expected to go live from 1 July 2023 which will see changes to the obligations of tenants, collection agents and non-resident landlords.

  1. Tenants will be required to withhold and pay to Revenue 20% of the rent by making a rental notification through the new withholding tax platform. They will not be responsible for paying the 20% tax deducted on their personal income tax return.
  2. Collection Agents will no longer be responsible for filing an income tax return. A Collection Agent will be required to withhold and pay to Revenue 20% of the rent by making a rental notification through the new withholding tax platform.
  3. Non-Resident Landlords will be responsible for filing their personal income tax returns. A credit will be allowed for the tax withheld in the new system.

What actions are required by non-resident landlords?

If you are a non-resident landlord whose tenants already withhold 20% of the rent or if you have appointed a Collection Agent, there are no actions required by you at this time.  Further information will be released by Revenue shortly and a new Tax and Duty Manual will be published in due course.

All other non-resident landlords must now decide whether they want their tenants or a collection agent to withhold and pay to Revenue 20% of the rent under the new Non-Resident Landlord Withholding Tax system and take action accordingly.

Please contact us if you have further queries on this.