EII EII, Captain
Job creation and retention has long been a top priority for Irish Business. Following the economic downturn, jobs were no longer a guarantee, rather they became somewhat of a luxury for a time as the job market became increasingly competitive and there were fewer jobs available as companies struggled to maintain their existing employee ratios. Incentives like the JobBridge scheme have been accused of exacerbating this issue, and exploiting workers, resulting in the dissolution of the programme. One programme which has greatly which has continued on through changes and changing times during Ireland’s continuing recovery is the Employment and Investment Incentive (EII) scheme.
The EII Scheme is a tax relief incentive which was previously under the name Business Expansion Scheme. The scheme provides income tax relief to Qualifying Investors for investments in qualifying Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and is one of very few remaining schemes to do so. The Finance Act of 2015 introduced a number of changes to the scheme including new requirements for qualifying companies, which all will now be aware of. There were also some more recent changes made which not all interested companies may yet be aware of.
As part of the Finance Bill 2017, Minister for Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohue announced significant changes to be made to the scheme. This followed on from revelations that the EII was not functioning in accordance with sections of the European Commission General Block Exemption Regulations which state that all finance aid schemes considered as risk level should be restricted to independent private investors only and cannot provide relief to those with any close connections to the business. This new amendment will be a major change for interested parties as well as those who have availed of the scheme in the past as from this point on as it will now eliminate all parties apart from private independent investors. Those investors with any connections including any shares owned by them or their associates, family members, partners or descendants are also exempt from participation.
This announcement saw these changes come into effect on November 2nd 2017 and were seen by the Minister as being a correction to an inherent error within the scheme and there is to be a review of the scheme in full in the first half of this year so that any further changes can be brought forward into Budget 2019.
Should you require any help, advice or guidance on any financial or business matters, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us here at EcovisDCA, where we will be happy to support you in getting your business to the next level.