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Tax-payers who pay third level fees on their own behalf or on behalf of another person will be happy to know that they can claim tax relief.

Tax relief at the standard rate is available in respect of certain third-level tuition fees paid to approved colleges. Revenue publishes a list each year of both private and public colleges approved for tax relief. The relief is given by way of a tax credit equal to the fees paid multiplied by 20% (the standard rate of tax). A credit for third level fees cannot result in an income tax refund.

What is an Approved College?

Revenue have provided guidance on what constitutes an approved college. This is a college or higher education institute in the state which provides approved courses (definition below) or an institute in the UK or another EU Member state which is maintained by recurrent grants from public funds of any EU Member State. The college in either the Irish State, the UK or in an EU Member State must be a duly accredited university or institution of that country.

What is an Approved Course?

Revenue have also provided guidance on what constitutes an approved college course. A full-time or part-time undergraduate course must be at least two academic years. A postgraduate course leading to a postgraduate award based on a thesis or on the results of an examination or both, which is between one to four years and requires the student to have a prior degree or an equivalent qualification.

Who can claim & how much can be claimed?

An individual can only claim the relief if they themselves incurred the cost of the fees. Relief is calculated on aggregated fees paid subject to a maximum of €7,000 per person, per course, per academic year where the first €3,000 (full-time) or €1,500 (part-time) is deducted.  The general effect of this is that claimants who are claiming for more than one student will get full tax relief for 2nd and subsequent children in their claim.

Relief does not extend to payments such as registration fees, administration fees or student accommodation.

If in receipt of any grant or payment towards the fees, this must be deducted from the claim being made when claiming the relief.

How to claim tuition fees?

There is no specific form required to claim relief for tuition fees paid for third level education courses. An individual can use PAYE services in myAccount to apply for relief for tuition fees by completing the Form 12 or if income tax registered can claim this through their yearly tax return.

Should you require any further information or assistance in claiming the tax relief, please contact us.

Our previous article on RCT and VAT pitfalls for non-resident contractors provided a general overview of the RCT regime in Ireland. We will now look at a case study analysis of RCT and VAT treatment and explore scenarios in which we have observed mistakes commonly being made among taxpayers.

1. Supply of Labour for Relevant Operations

We have observed cases whereby contractors in the construction industry, particularly non-resident contractors, engage recruitment firms to supply labour to carry out construction operations on a site in Ireland.

While it is commonly interpreted that RCT only applies to construction operations, in fact the definition of “relevant operations” extends to both the carrying out of and the supply of labour for the performance of, relevant operations in the construction industry.

Case Study – Example 1

Company A (based in Spain) is engaged by Company B (based in Ireland) to carry out demolition works on a number of properties in Ireland. Company A, in turn, engages Company C (a recruitment firm based in the UK) to provide the personnel required to complete the demolition works in Ireland.

RCT Obligations

Company B is a Principal Contractor in respect of these works and is required to operate RCT on the payments made to Company A. This brings Company A within the scope of RCT as it is regarded as a Subcontractor carrying out construction operations in Ireland.

Whilst Company A is a subcontractor in respect of its engagement with Company B, Company A is also a Principal Contractor in respect of its engagement with Company C. Company A will be required to operate RCT on the payments made to Company C because Company C has arranged the supply of labour for the performance of the demolition works on the sites in Ireland.

This brings Company C, the non-resident recruitment firm, within the scope of RCT, as it is regarded as a Subcontractor carrying out construction operations in Ireland.

In this example, Company B must register for RCT as a Principal Contractor, Company A must register for RCT as both a Principal Contractor and a Subcontractor, and Company C must register for RCT as Subcontractor.

VAT Obligations

The provision of the services by Company C to Company A and Company A to Company B falls within a reverse charge provision for the supply of labour and construction services, which is subject to RCT.

Company C, as a Subcontractor, does not have an output VAT liability in respect of the provision of services provided to Company A. As such, Company C will issue its invoices to Company A with no VAT charge.

Company A, as a Principal Contractor, must self-account for VAT on a reverse charge basis (typically at 13.5%) on receipt of the invoices from Company C. Company A should have an entitlement to a simultaneous VAT input credit as it has used the services to make taxable supplies to Company B.

Company A, as a Subcontractor, does not have an output VAT liability in respect of the provision of the services provided to Company B. As such, Company A will issue its invoices to Company B with no VAT charge.

Company B, as a Principal Contractor, must self-account for VAT on a reverse charge basis (typically at 13.5%) on receipt of the invoices from Company A. Company B should have an entitlement to a simultaneous VAT input credit as it has used the services to make taxable supplies to Company B.

In this example, only Company A and Company B are required to register for Irish VAT. Only Principal Contractors are required to account for VAT on the receipt of construction services that fall within the RCT regime.

Company C is not required to register for VAT in respect of its supplies to Company A.

2. Mixed Contracts

A major risk with the definition of a relevant contract arises for contracts that cover both RCT-type and non-RCT-type supplies.

Case Study – Example 2

Company A engages Company B to carry out repair and maintenance works on a number of properties in Ireland.

Is the contract liable to RCT?

The definition of “construction operations” includes contracts for repair work which is interpreted as the replacement of constituent parts i.e., the repair of a broken window by installing a new pane of glass, mending a faulty boiler etc.

However, the definition of “construction operations” specifically excludes maintenance work i.e., cleaning, unblocking of drains etc.

In this example, Company A and Company B have entered into a repair and maintenance contract. This is referred to as a mixed contract. Revenue’s view on mixed contracts is that if any part of a contract includes “relevant operations” then the contract as a whole is considered a relevant contract and all payments under that contract are liable to RCT.

As Company A and Company B have entered into a mixed contract, the contract as a whole, is considered a relevant contract, and all payments made by Company A to Company B are liable to RCT.

This treatment applies even where no repairs are actually carried out by Company B in completing a particular job under the contract.

In this example, Company A must register for RCT as a Principal Contractor and Company B must register for RCT as a Subcontractor.

A common pitfall we see in this area is for a company to raise separate invoices for the maintenance work and the repair work. They then only treat the invoice for the repairs as being subject to RCT. This is incorrect as it is the overall contract, not the elements being invoiced, that governs whether RCT should be applied or not.

However, if there are separate contracts, one covering maintenance and one covering repairs, then only the contract covering the repairs is subject to RCT.

3. VAT Reverse Charge

VAT is normally charged by the person supplying the goods or services. However, under the RCT regime, the person receiving the goods or services (i.e., the Principal Contractor) accounts for VAT as if they had supplied the service and pays it directly to Revenue. This is known as the VAT Reverse Charge.

We commonly see the VAT Reverse Charge being applied incorrectly in cases where a subcontractor supplies goods or services, other than construction services, as part of the overall contract.

Contractors must be aware that while the overall contract may fall within the RCT regime, that does not mean that the VAT Reverse Charge applies to all goods or services invoiced under that contract.

Case Study – Example 3

The facts are the same as in Example 2. See below for reference:

Company A engages Company B to carry out repair and maintenance works on a number of properties in Ireland.

In this case the repair and maintenance contract in place between the parties provides that a separate charge will apply where repairs are carried out.

Company B has now completed repair and maintenance works for Company A and is looking to raise a sales invoice to Company A for the following:

  1. Repair Works – €4,500 (exclusive of VAT)
  2. Maintenance Works – €10,000 (exclusive of VAT)
VAT Obligations

Generally, the VAT Reverse Charge only applies to payments that are in respect of construction operations which in this case, are the repair works.

Company B must therefore issue two VAT invoices as follows:

  1. An invoice for the repair works of €4,500 on which the VAT Reverse Charge applies. Company A will be required to self-account for VAT at 13.5% on the receipt of this invoice from Company B.
  2. An invoice for the maintenance works (i.e., not considered a construction service) of €10,000 on which VAT at the 13.5% rate is applied. Company A will be required to pay Company B the total invoice value including VAT amounting to €11,350.
RCT Obligations

As set out in Example 2, where a contract is for repair and maintenance, RCT applies to all payments under the contract.

As such, Company A is required to notify the total payment to Revenue. This should include the VAT exclusive payment for the repair works plus the VAT inclusive payment for the maintenance works. Assuming for the purposes of this example that only one payment is to be made by Company A to Company B for the works, Company A would file a Payment Notification with Revenue as follows:

  1. Repair Works (VAT Exclusive) – €4,500
  2. Maintenance Works (VAT Inclusive) – €11,350
  3. Total Payment Reported to Revenue – €15,850

It is important to note that if a repair and maintenance contract provides for a single consideration for all works completed under the contract, then the VAT Reverse Charge must be applied to the full consideration.

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

Are you considering investing in new plant or machinery for your business? It might be worthwhile considering the tax advantages associated with certain energy efficient equipment.

Traditionally the cost of qualifying plant and machinery used in a business is written off against taxable profits in the form of wear and tear capital allowances over an eight-year period. However, in the case of energy-efficient equipment the full capital expenditure cost can be claimed in the year in which the expenditure is incurred.

The scheme, which runs until 31 December 2023, is available to both companies and unincorporated businesses that incur expenditure on eligible energy-efficient equipment for use in their trade.

The energy-efficient equipment must be:

  • New;
  • Designed to achieve high levels of energy efficiency; and
  • Must fall within one of the 10 classes of technology specified in Schedule 4A of the TCA, 1997.

Products eligible under the scheme are included in a list of energy-efficient equipment published and maintained by the SEAI. A full list of qualifying equipment can be viewed on the SEAI.

A minimum amount of expenditure must be incurred on providing the equipment. This varies with the category to which the product belongs. For example, a minimum spend of €1,000 applies to heating an electricity provision, while lighting equipment and systems carry a €3,000 minimum spend.

Electric and Alternative Fuel Vehicles

To promote greater use of low-emissions cars the Finance Act 2008 introduced accelerated allowances for “electric and alternative fuel” cars. The allowance is based on the lower of the actual cost of the vehicle or the specified amount of €24,000. As an alternative to claiming the qualifying cost of a car over the eight-year period, a business can elect to claim accelerated allowances in the year of acquisition.

For more information, please contact Niall Grant, Partner of Tax Services.

BIK on Employer-Provided Cars

Where an employer makes a car available to an employee, that employee will be charged on the “cash equivalent” of the private use of the car. This is known as Benefit-in-Kind (BIK). This BIK is then taxed on an employee’s marginal rate for PAYE, PRSI and USC.

Cash Equivalent of a Car

The cash equivalent of the use of a car is currently 30% of the original market value (OMV), this being the market value of the car on the date of registration. Where the business kilometres for a tax year exceed 24,000km, the cash equivalent of the use of a car is reduced by a percentage which can range from 6% to 24% based on the number of business kilometres travelled. Business Kilometres are the kilometres an employee is required to travel in the vehicle when performing the duties of his or her employment. It does not include travelling to and from the general place of work. Employers are obliged to keep a record of the business mileage travelled by their employees.

As a result of the Finance Act 2019, from 01 January 2023 the cash equivalent of a car will be determined based on the car’s CO2 emissions. Similarly, the business kilometres percentages will also be dependent on the CO2 emissions.

There are other reductions available when calculating the cash equivalent of a car:

  • Where the car is only available for less than a full year.
  • Where an employee works an average of 20 hours a week.
  • Where an employee travels at least 8,000 kilometres annually on employer’s business.
  • Where due to the nature of the role, the employee spends at least 70% of their time working away from the employer’s premises.

Sample BIK Calculation

A car is provided by the employer with an OMV of €28,000.

The actual business kilometres travelled in the year are 31,630 kilometres, with an employee contribution of €1,000.

As of 2022, the cash equivalent of business kilometres of 31,630 is equal to the OMV x 24% (being the % which applies to mileage between 24,000 and 32,000). The cash equivalent of the use of the car is then reduced by the €1,000.

Cash Equivalent (OMV x 24%)     €28,000 x 24% =             €6,720

Less amount made good                                                             (€1,000)

Amount subject to BIK                                                                 €5,720

Electric Cars

For 2022, there is no BIK on fully electric cars with an OMV of €50,000 or less.

However, the Finance Act 2021 has introduced a tapered reduction in this BIK exemption from 2023 – 2025, at which point the BIK percentage rates will change in accordance with the Finance Act 2019. This will expire from 2026.

The reductions from 2023 – 2026 are as follows:

  • 2023 – fully electric cars with an OMV of €35,000 or less will continue to be BIK exempt
  • 2024 – fully electric cars with an OMV of €20,000 or less will be BIK exempt. The excess will be chargeable to BIK at the relevant rate.
  • 2025 – fully electric cars with an OMV of €10,000 or less will be BIK exempt. The excess will be chargeable to BIK at the relevant rate.
  • 2026 – the exemption will be abolished, and the full market value will be chargeable at the relevant rate*.

*This reduction applies irrespective of the actual OMV of the vehicle or when the vehicle was first provided to the employee.

For more information relating to BIK on employer-provided cars, please contact us.

Exit Strategy

Passing on your business and developing your exit strategy is one of the most important business decisions you will ever have to make.

Many of the tax reliefs one may wish to claim on a transfer of assets can be subject to very stringent conditions, such as minimum periods of ownership or active involvement in the business. Succession planning can often seem like something which should be considered close to retirement. However, the risk of waiting is that many of the key tax reliefs available to business owners are not accessible when the time comes to pass on assets, as the relevant conditions cannot be met.

What can help avoid this problem is advance planning. Through preparation, a business owner can identify some of the key conditions required to avail of certain tax reliefs, allowing them sufficient time to take the necessary steps to qualify for these reliefs. Therefore, it is not unusual to see a succession plan being put in place 5 to 10 years prior to its implementation.

The transfer of a business can trigger several taxes such as:

  • Capital Gains Tax (CGT) which is a tax payable by the person selling or transferring an asset. The current rate of CGT is 33%.
  • Capital Acquisitions Tax (CAT) which is a tax payable by the person in receipt of a gift or inheritance. The current rate of CAT is 33%.

This article will focus on the key tax reliefs available to business owners and their family members on the transfer of their business.

CGT Reliefs

In order to mitigate or eliminate the CGT liability on the transfer, there are two main reliefs which may be availed of provided certain conditions are met. These are:

  • Retirement Relief
  • Entrepreneur Relief

Retirement relief provides for relief from CGT on the disposal of qualifying assets.

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. This is why it is so important to prepare a succession plan early in your lifetime.

If retirement relief is not available, the individual may qualify for Revised Entrepreneur Relief which limits the rate of CGT to 10% on the first €1m of gains on the disposal of certain business assets. In contrast to retirement relief, this relief has no age requirement and the individual can qualify for it at any stage provided the relevant criteria is met.  To qualify for the relief, the individual should have owned the shares in the business for a continuous period of 3 of the last 5 years and spent 50% or more of their working time as an employee or director of the company.

CAT Reliefs

An individual can receive gifts/inheritances up to a certain amount tax-free throughout their lifetime. Currently, a child can receive a gift or an inheritance up to €335K from his/her parents.

In the context of a business, a child may, on receipt of a relevant business property, qualify for what’s known as Business Relief. This reduces the value of the gift or inheritance being received to 10% of the market value of the business property, resulting in a significant tax saving. Similar to the reliefs already discussed, there are certain conditions that need to be met around ownership and the level of involvement in the business.

Farmers may qualify for Agricultural Relief on the receipt of a gift or inheritance of agricultural property. Agricultural property includes agricultural land, crops and trees growing thereon and farm buildings appropriate to the property. By qualifying for this relief, the market value of the property being received will be reduced by 90%. This makes it a very valuable relief.

There are two tests that need to be passed before a person can avail of the relief:

  1. The farmer test requires 80% of the beneficiary’s assets to be agricultural property immediately after receipt of the inheritance.
  2. The trading test requires the individual to farm the land themselves for at least 6 years or alternatively lease the land out to a qualifying farmer for 6 years.

If a CAT liability arises with or without claiming any of the CAT reliefs, it may be possible to reduce or eliminate the liability by claiming a credit for the CGT paid by the parent on the transfer of property.

Although there are many commercial considerations to be made when passing on wealth as well as discussions with family members as to suitable successors, tax plays a key role in informing the business owner as to the extent of any tax liability. Knowing this information prior to implementing a succession plan enables the owner to make more informed decisions and allows for maximising the amount of reliefs that may be claimed. This will reduce the overall tax costs of the transfer.

For more information on tax reliefs related to your exit strategy, please contact us.

Global Mobility - Tax Obligations of Outbound Workers

As the expansion of remote working continues, more employees are no longer obliged to work at their employer’s premises or, indeed, even in the same country as their employer’s premises. This presents a number of opportunities and challenges for employers. In the first of our global mobility series, we will examine the tax compliance obligations for Irish employers with employees working abroad.

Situation One – an Irish employer hires a new employee based abroad

An Irish employer does not need to operate Irish payroll taxes on the salary of an employee who:

  • is not resident in Ireland for income tax purposes
  • was recruited abroad
  • carries out all the duties of their employment abroad
  • is not a director of your company; and
  • has no Income Tax liability in Ireland.

For any employee in these circumstances, an Irish employer does not have to apply for a PAYE Exclusion Order to Irish Revenue and is not required to include the employee on the employer’s payroll submissions to Revenue. Employers should maintain a record of each such employee with a record of any payments made to them each year.

This is a useful exemption for Irish employers who recruit employees to work abroad as it means the non-resident employee does not need to apply for a PPS number.

Situation Two – an existing employee of an Irish employer moves abroad

An Irish employer may find that an existing employee, who lives and works in Ireland, decides to move abroad indefinitely while retaining their existing employment. In this instance, the tax obligations for the Irish employer depends on the employee’s tax residence in Ireland. This must be reviewed each year.

An individual is tax resident here if they are in Ireland for 183 days or more in the calendar year or for 280 days or more across the current and preceding calendar years. An individual is not tax resident in Ireland if they are here for 30 days or less in any calendar year.

a. The employee is tax-resident in Ireland in the year of departure

An Irish employer can apply to Irish Revenue for a PAYE Exclusion Order where an employee:

  • leaves Ireland during the year
  • becomes tax resident elsewhere
  • will carry out their employment duties wholly outside of Ireland, and
  • will be resident outside Ireland in the following tax year.

Once issued in these circumstances, the PAYE Exclusion Order will relieve the employer from the obligation to deduct Irish income tax and USC from that employee’s salary from the date of departure.

b. The employee is not tax-resident in Ireland

An Irish employer can apply to Irish Revenue for a PAYE Exclusion Order where an employee:

  • is not resident in the State for tax purposes for the relevant tax year, and
  • carries out the duties of the employment wholly outside of Ireland.

Once issued in these circumstances, the PAYE Exclusion Order will relieve the employer from the obligation to deduct Irish income tax and USC from that employee’s salary for the full tax year.

PAYE Exclusion Orders have an expiry date. An employer may apply for another PAYE Exclusion Order if the employee continues to work abroad after that date and continues to be non-resident.

It is important to note that the PAYE Exclusion Order does not cover PRSI. Determining the country in which social insurance is to be paid by and on behalf of the employee is a separate issue.

Situation Three – an existing employee of an Irish employer splits their year between working in Ireland and working abroad

This situation is arguably the most complex for an Irish employer. If the employee remains tax-resident in Ireland, Irish Revenue will not issue a PAYE Exclusion Order. As a result, the employer must continue to apply Irish payroll taxes to the employee’s salary as normal.

However, the country in which the employee is working may require the employer to apply local payroll taxes on that part of the salary that relates to work carried out in that country.

Where there is no relief available, employers may have dual payroll withholding responsibilities in both Ireland and the foreign country. They will often run what is known as a “shadow payroll” in respect of an employee’s salary. Shadow payroll is run to ensure that tax compliance obligations are met in both countries without affecting the employee’s net take-home salary.

Running shadow payroll is an extra compliance burden for the employer. Furthermore, the Irish employer must contribute payroll taxes to the Revenue authorities in both countries. This can come as an unpleasant surprise to both employers and employees.

It is therefore crucial that an Irish employer recognises if they will have to operate shadow payroll before an employee carries out any work abroad.

If shadow payroll is required, an employer must establish what is required in both countries and must agree with their employee how any duplicate deduction of payroll taxes can be reclaimed.

Often, to reclaim some or all of the payroll taxes withheld, the employee will be required to submit an income tax return. In this instance, any refund due will issue from the Revenue authorities to the employee. This can leave the employer out of pocket if a clear agreement is not put in place with the employee at the outset.

Conclusion

We have seen here the Irish tax compliance obligations for employers. An Irish employer with employees working abroad should always check their tax and social security obligations in the country where the employee is working. Often, the employer will be required to register for payroll taxes in the employee’s country and apply local payroll taxes on the employee’s salary.

In addition, depending on the number of employees that the employer has in that country and the type of duties that they carry out, the presence of these employees in that country may create a “permanent establishment” of the employer in that country. If an employer has a branch or permanent establishment in a foreign country, it may be obliged to pay local income or corporation tax on the profits of that branch.

For more information, please contact Siobhán O’Hea, Partner, Tax Services.

An area that has continued to cause challenges and risks for businesses is the operation of Relevant Contracts Tax (RCT) and VAT.

The most common mistakes we see being made in this sector are by non-resident principal contractors who engage a subcontractor to carry out construction works in Ireland.

This article will focus on the most common pitfalls that we see occurring within this sector by non-resident principal contractors and the steps that can be taken to avoid making costly mistakes.

1. Compliance Obligations for Non-Resident Principal Contractors

When a non-resident principal contractor engages a subcontractor to carry out construction works in Ireland, the RCT system must be applied to payments made to the subcontractor.

The first potential pitfall for a non-resident principal contractor is not taking the reasonable care to familiarise themselves with their tax obligations under the RCT regime. In such a case, the non-resident principal contractor will eventually be contacted by Revenue, informing them of their failure to operate the RCT regime. This usually occurs following the commencement of the works in Ireland, at which point the mistakes have already been made and costly penalties can be imposed by Revenue.

As such, it is very important that a non-resident principal contractor is aware of their tax obligations prior to the commencement of any construction works in Ireland so that the necessary administrative steps can be taken to ensure that they are set up for the RCT system and fully compliant in operating RCT on payments to subcontractors.

The administrative steps to be taken by a non-resident principal contractor include registering for RCT on Revenue’s Online Service (ROS) and operating the RCT regime throughout the duration of the project in Ireland (further detail on this below).

2. Operation of the RCT System

Once a principal contractor is registered for RCT with Revenue, there are a number of steps that must be taken each time a principal contractor enters into a relevant contract with a subcontractor and each time a payment is made to the subcontractor. These steps are summarised as follows:

a. Contract Notification

  • The first step is to input a “Contract Notification” through Revenue’s online RCT system. A principal contractor must notify Revenue each time it enters into a new relevant contract with a subcontractor. The Principal will then receive a contract reference number and an indication of the applicable RCT deduction rate for the subcontractor.

b. Payment Notification

  • Before making a payment to a subcontractor, the principal must notify Revenue’s online eRCT system of the intention to make the payment and provide details to Revenue of the gross amount to be paid. This process is known as “Payment Notification”. This must be done for each payment made to the subcontractor.

c. Deduction Authorisation

  • Revenue will issue a deduction authorisation to the principle contractor which will specify the rate and amount of tax to be deducted from the payment to the subcontractor. This process is known as “Deduction Authorisation”. The principle is required to provide a copy of this authorisation to the subcontractor.

d. Deduction Summary (RCT Return)

  • Revenue’s eRCT system prepares a pre-populated period end return known as a “Deduction Summary (i.e. RCT Return)”, which is based on the deduction authorisations issued during the period. The due date for payment of the RCT withheld is the 23rd day after the end of the period covered by the return.

The most common pitfall we see occurring in practice are inconsistencies in notifying Revenue of each and every payment made to a subcontractor by the principal contractor. This can be a costly mistake for the principal contractor as the penalties Revenue can impose for failure to operate the RCT system in this way range between 3% to 35%, depending on the RCT deduction rate applicable to the subcontractor.

To put this into perspective, if a subcontractor has been assigned a 35% RCT deduction rate and the principal contractor makes a payment of €25,000 to the subcontractor without first notifying Revenue of the payment and deducting the appropiate withholding tax, Revenue can impose a penalty of €8,750 (i.e. 35% of the invoice value) on the principal contractor for its failure to operate the RCT system.

These penalties can become very costly for a business where they fail to operate the RCT system on high value invoices.

3. Operation of RCT and Reverse Charge VAT

Typically, VAT is normally charged by the person supplying the goods or services. However, under the RCT regime, the person receiving the goods or services (the principal contractor) calculates the VAT due on the invoice from the subcontractor and pays it directly to Revenue. This is referred to as Reverse Charge VAT and it is common area in which mistakes are made by non-resident principal contractors.

The following should occur when a subcontractor invoices a principal contractor for construction services that are subject to RCT:

  1. The subcontractor raises an VAT invoice with the zero rate of VAT applied;
  2. The invoice should include the VAT registration number of the principal contractor and include the narrative “VAT on this supply to be accounted for by the principal contractor”;
  3. The principal contractor calculates the VAT due on the invoice value and records it as VAT on sales (Box T1) on its VAT return. Where it is entitled to do so, the principal contractor can claim a simultaneous VAT input credit (Box T2) on the VAT return, thus resulting in a VAT neutral position.

Although the RCT system can seem like a heavy administrative burden on a business, it can be managed relatively smoothly with the proper administration. Our tax specialists look after all administrative issues regarding RCT, provide effective advice and answer questions you may have regarding RCT.

Should you require any assistance, please contact us.

In accordance with the EU Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive (ATAD), Ireland has introduced the Interest Limitation Rules (ILR) as part of the Finance Act 2021.

The ILR applies to accounting periods that commence on or after 1st January 2022. Their aim is to limit base erosion attempts by multinational companies through the use of excessive deductions and other financing costs. To accomplish this, the ILR limits the rate of interest deductions.

The ILR seeks to limit the amount of allowable net borrowing costs to a maximum of 30% of the tax adjusted EBITDA.

The restriction apples where the interest equivalent expense exceeds interest equivalent income. The term “interest equivalent” has a wide definition and includes interest on all debt plus financial instruments, amounts incurred in connection with raising finance and foreign exchange gains and losses on interest.

As provided by the ATAD, the ILR may be applied using a single entity basis or a by using a “group approach”. This approach will determine the interest restriction at the level of a local group of companies, i.e., the “interest group”. The interest group will include all companies within the charge to Irish corporation tax. This approach should ensure that the profits of all members of the interest group that are liable for Irish tax are included.

The legislation includes a number of important exemptions, which include:

  • Where the taxpayer’s (whether a standalone company or an interest group) net borrowing cost does not exceed €3m,
  • Where the taxpayer is a standalone entity, i.e., no associated businesses,
  • Long-term infrastructure projects,
  • Interest on a legacy debt concluded before 17th June 2016.

Subject to conditions, amounts disallowed as a tax deduction under the ILR may be carried forward and deducted against profits in future years.

ILR will have a significant impact. Many corporate taxpayers will be faced with a complex set of rules and a greater administrative burden.

For more information, please contact Niall Grant, Partner in our Tax Services’ Department.

The new EU-wide Import One Stop Shop (IOSS) will go live from 1 July 2021.

From that date the current VAT exemption for goods in small consignments of a value of up to €22 is abolished and all goods imported into the EU will be subject to VAT.

The IOSS will allow suppliers making distance sale of goods imported from third countries to final consumers in the EU (e.g. online retailers) to declare and pay the VAT due on those goods by submission of a monthly return via the IOSS in the Member State where they have registered for the scheme.

Continue reading about the new EU VAT changes

Revenue have published a new Tax and Duty Manual VAT – Postponed Accounting. It contains information on procedures, conditions and the operation of the new postponed accounting system for import VAT. The publication of this manual brings welcome clarification for traders importing goods to Ireland from all non-EU countries (including the UK post-Brexit) from 1st January 2021.