What is the Beneficial Owner Register?

…Get on the Register

You may have heard whisperings of a new central register of beneficial ownership being set up in recent years, with official legislation having been confirmed last year and signed into law recently. Improved and modernised legislation on this topic has long been expected, but saw delays due to the new GDPR guidelines as well as the Anti Money Laundering Directive. It is already a legal requirement for companies in Ireland to have an internal register of beneficial owners but it will now be a requirement to have your information on this new central register. The deadline for this will be 22nd November 2019 and registration is now open as of 29th July 2019.

What does this new legislation mean for you and your business, and what do you need to be aware of?

What is a “Beneficial Owner”?

The term beneficial owner refers to the person who holds 25% or more of a company’s shares.

What information is required?

  • Full Name
  • Address
  • Date of Birth
  • Nationality
  • PPS Number
  • A statement of the extent of beneficial ownership (Number of shares held etc.)

A delay was incurred in signing off on the legislation due to the new GDPR guidelines as information will be available to the public. Under the new guidelines, only lower level information will be accessible such as name, extent of ownership, partial date of birth, and country of residence.

Part of the reason for both the implementation of this legislation and the significant delays incurred in signing it in, come from the abovementioned Anti Money Laundering Directive. This directive states that all EU Member States must implement a central register of beneficial ownership information. In the case of Ireland the CRO (Central Registration Office) will be the responsible body.

We recommend taking immediate steps to ensure that your company is compliant with this new legislation and as always we advocate ensuring all your information is correct and collected in advance of any requirements. This will ensure that you avoid incurring the fine of €5000. Filing must be done online via the website: https://rbo.gov.ie and can be done either by the Company in question or an agent working on their behalf.

Should you have any concerns or queries on any business or financial matters, please don’t hesitate to contact us here at EcovisDCA where we are always happy to be of service.

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DCA PARTNERSDECLAN DOLAN & EAMONN GARVEY

When Planning Ahead, Never Forget the Danger of Recession…

As the summer season enters full swing and we begin to see the summer sale signs crop up in all the high street stores, it would be easy to fall into the trap of believing that Irish businesses are fully safe from the dangers of recession and financial instability for the foreseeable future. As we see consumer spending continue to remain strong, it is easy to overlook the many stores and businesses closing and falling victim to financial difficulty.

Although it has now been many years since the height of the recession and we often find ourselves thinking of it as a long distant memory, it has recently been suggested that the woes of recession may not be as far in the rear view mirror for us as we may like to believe. The CEO of the National Treasury Management Agency Conor O’Kelly has suggested that the chances of Ireland being hit by another recession are 100%. He has suggested that a combination of Brexit concerns, changes to taxation and other thus far unforeseen issues are likely to plunge our small Ireland into another recession in the future.

In terms of having country wide safeguards in place for Brexit, Mr. O’Kelly concluded that Ireland may not be sufficiently protected from the negative impact of worldwide trade around us in the shadow of so much uncertainty. He also suggested that a contingency plan needs to be put in place going forward to better assist us in navigating these issues.

“I suppose whether Brexit, Italy, corporate tax or some other challenge that we have Ireland is a small, open economy, highly indebted, relies on international investors for 90pc of its borrowings. […] People talk about whether the bond market is predicting recession or who’s predicting a recession. I’ll give you a prediction of recession. The chance of a recession in Ireland is 100pc. So, we can’t afford not to have a contingency in place. We have to remain vigilant to that and we do that by having significant cash buffers at all times, smoothing out the profile of the debt to make sure we minimise the refinancing risks in the future.”

It has been suggested while there are some safeguards and rainy-day funds in place, more will need to be done to ensure that we do not leave ourselves entirely vulnerable to threat and that although this prediction seems bleak, that it is not a certainty regarding Brexit etc. Rather it is a suggestion for some point in the future that a recession in Ireland is once again a future inevitability. The possibility of a Hard Brexit however does place us in a precarious position and ensure that as a country we are unfortunately more vulnerable than we would otherwise have been to financial instability.

As always, our advice is to safeguard your own business and finances in any way possible going forward and to remain vigilant of any possible threats.

Should you have any concerns or queries, please don’t hesitate to contact us here at EcovisDCA where we are always happy to be of service.

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DCA PARTNERSDECLAN DOLAN & EAMONN GARVEY

The Irish Economy’s Debt Situation

As we have previously discussed, there is still an atmosphere of fear surrounding the possibility of another financial crisis or recession in Ireland. With the news that financial experts predict that it is almost a certainty that another financial crisis will hit Ireland in the future based on current figures, it is difficult to avoid the reality that despite major improvements in recent years, financially speaking Ireland is not out of the woods just yet.

As we are all aware, the debt on Ireland’s shoulders still remains, but recent reports have queried who is truly to blame for the level of debt we find ourselves in? It has been reported that at the peak of the financial crisis, spending was approximately €23billion more per year than what was taken in. The Irish economic debt situation of €205billion has long been blamed on the elusive villain known only as “The Bankers” in that the bailing out of bank debt was the sole cause of the financial crisis, which is not the case in actuality as only just over a quarter of this debt can be attributed to the bailing out of the banks, a figure which stands at €60billion.

In reality we are all aware of the heyday of the Celtic Tiger and its series of mishaps that lead us to the point of no return. Far from the bailing out of the banks being the only cause of the financial collapse, it is estimated that a little over €100billion of the Irish debt relates to governmental mismanagement of public funds, budget deficits and a desperate attempt by the then government to cover for lavish spending and plug a hole in the debt before it inevitably began to spiral. In order to stem the haemorrhage of funds, the government had used windfall tax revenues from the property sector.

Naturally, these funds were by no means bottomless and so when they were no longer available we began to see our budget deficits grow exponentially. It has been reported that at the height of the crisis in 2009, the State was spending approximately €23billion more than it was taking in each year before they began borrowing in earnest which found us in the midst of massive debt.

As we discussed recently, there is always the danger of finding ourselves in this position again, and as such safeguards need to be put in place, in the same way we would suggest safeguarding your business, it is vital that we safeguard our country’s finances. With this in mine, the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council has begun to criticise the government over their spending and has suggested that current spending and debt has “worrying echoes” of the past. It is hoped that change will be implemented and safeguards put in place to ensure that we do not snowball into harms way once more but as always we recomment being vigilant with your own finances and business and ensuring that you are as protected as possible.

Should you have any queries, please don’t hesitate to contact us here at EcovisDCA where we are always happy to help.

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DCA PARTNERSDECLAN DOLAN & EAMONN GARVEY

Landlords – New Notice Periods to be Aware of

Although this June weather may not be what we had all expected, something you can always rely on us here at EcovisDCA to continue to bring you information which is vital to your business and financial lifestyle. This week we will be continuing in our series of posts detailing the new changes to rental legislation recently announced and put into place. Legislation can often be a bit of a minefield and with so many changes to the rental sector, we want to ensure that our clients and friends are well informed. This week we will be focusing on the new notice periods which have been put in place for landlords as well as the new introduction of remedial notices.

As of June 4th, 2019, the notice periods that a landlord must provide to a tenant when serving a notice of termination have been extended. It is vital that all landlords, regardless of their experience levels or how long they have been renting should keep a record of the below and familiarise themselves with these new requirements as any failure to serve the correct notice can result in the notice being rendered invalid. Changes can be agreed between both tenant and landlord, but this can only be done once the official termination letter with the appropriate notice period has been served. Below is a list of the new notice period requirements which will now be dependent on the length of time the tenant has been renting the property.

Tenancy Duration:                                                               Notice Period:

Less than 6 Months                                                                28 Days

Between 6 Months and 1 Year                                               90 Days

Between 1 and 3 Years                                                           120 Days

Between 3 and 7 Years                                                           180 Days

Between 7 and 8 Years                                                           196 Days

8 Years or More                                                                      224 Days

It is advisable that Landlords keep a printed record of these new notice periods and make themselves aware of these changes to avoid any issues going forward.

Another major change in terms of termination notices is the introduction of remedial notices. As of June 4th, 2019. This notice has been introduced to assist both landlord and tenant as an original notice served to fix the defect identified by the Tribunal can now be remedied by the issuing of a new remedial notice. Following a case lodged with the RTB, if deemed acceptable by the decision maker, either the tenant or landlord may have 28 days in which to serve a remedial notice. If the correct notice period was given, 28 days additionally may be served under the remedial notice, whilst if the incorrect period was given the new notice period will be 28 days in addition to the number of days the given notice period was short.

We hope that this series of posts is of assistance to you. As always, should you have any concerns of queries on any financial or business matters, please don’t hesitate to contact us here at EcovisDCA where we are always happy to assist.

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DCA PARTNERSDECLAN DOLAN & EAMONN GARVEY

Funding Reluctance from SMEs

As you will no doubt know by now, we are massive supporters of Irish Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). These small and often unsung heroes of the Irish business world form the backbone of Irish business and make up more than half of all Irish businesses. As such, we have long been supporters of these businesses and championed their successes. In recent months we have spoken about funding opportunities available to these forms of business as well as the ways in which they can be protected and encouraged to grow.

The term Brexit is one which has been utilised so much in recent months that it has almost lost all meaning entirely. Terms like “hard Brexit” strike fear into the hearts of many Irish businesses who have dealings with the UK, and the constant shifting of deadlines and back and forth makes it difficult for businesses to implement sufficient safeguards for their businesses.

Reports this week suggest that Irish SMEs are becoming somewhat reluctant to borrow at present which may show a level of wariness in the looming shadow of uncertainty that is Brexit at present. The Strategic Banking Corporation (SCBI) was started in 2014 in others to allow access to credit for SMEs and functioned by channelling credit through other avenues. This has often been a popular choice for SMEs seeking to fund their business activities, but in the last year we have seen a major slump in uptake on this funding which even an additional Brexit loan to the scheme couldn’t fix. Figures show that 2018 saw only approximately a third of the funding taken up as was accessed in 2017. This shows that in the current climate, Irish SMEs are becoming increasingly reluctant to take their chances on accessing funding.

The SCBI themselves have said of the issues:

“The modest deployment in the nine months to end-December 2018 is a clear reflection of SMEs remaining reluctant to invest in an environment of increased uncertainty and risk as Brexit approaches.”

As things stand we remain almost none the wiser on how the Brexit issue will play out and as always, we advise having a plan in place and safeguarding your business as much as possible in advance. The current advice remains that old Irish refrain that fell from the lips of all parents at one point or another: “Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.” In this way, your business will be protected against all eventualities and in the best position possible to flourish in the face of challenge and adversity in the current uncertain climate.

Should you have any concerns or queries on any business or financial matters, please don’t hesitate to contact us here at EcovisDCA where we will be happy to help in any way possible.

 

 

The Challenges Facing Landlords

Tenancy Terminator Will be Back

We have spoken numerous times in the past about the many challenges facing the housing situation in Ireland at present. From increasing rental and purchase costs, to more stringent rules and regulations, it has undoubtedly become more and more difficult to access appropriate housing in Ireland in recent years. Something we have not touched on quite as much however, are the challenges facing Landlords in these modern times. Changing rental legislation has a direct and serious effect on these forms of business owners, and with new legislation having come into effect as recently as May 31st, there may be a lot to that Landlords may not be aware of, so we have decided to dedicate the coming weeks to the unpacking of this new information.

The Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2019 was officially signed into law on May 31st 2019 and introduced many significant changes to the rental sector which have already come into effect, as well as others which will follow over the coming months.

Termination Notice Changes (4th June 2019):

Under new legislation there will now be new obligations for landlords if they end a tenancy for the purposes of sale, a family member living in the property, change of use or renovations. In the event of the property being used to house family, the landlord must offer the property back to the tenant for a period of 12 months if it becomes vacant again, a change from the previous requirement of 6 months.

Selling:

Similarly, should a property be for sale, not sell and become vacant again the period is increased to 12 months that it must be offered back to the tenant if vacant. A landlord now has 9 months from the termination date to sell the property. A statutory notice of intent to sell will also be required.

Renovations:

There will also be more stringent rules in place for notice of renovations and the landlord must provide further information on the notice of termination of the tenancy including:

  • Planning permission if required.
  • Contractor details.
  • Start date and duration of the works.
  • Renovations cannot proceed while the dwelling is occupied.
  • The property must now also be offered back to the original tenant on completion of the work.

Change of Use:

In the event of a landlord wishing to change the use of a property for example from residential to commercial the notice of termination must include the following:

  • A copy of planning permission (if required).
  • A statement of the new intended use.
  • Details of work to be carried out.
  • The name and details of the contractor.
  • Dates and duration of the works.

Once again, the landlord is also required to offer the property back to the original tenant if it becomes available for rent again.

We hope that this information is of use to you, and we will continue this series of posts over the coming weeks in order to ensure that any of our clients and friends in the rental sector are fully informed of these changes. Should you have any queries or concerns on any business or financial matters, please don’t hesitate to contact us here at EcovisDCA, where we are always happy to help.

Planning Your Best Exit Strategy

We have discussed in the past, the importance of having a long-term plan for your business, particularly for when you are no longer in a position to run the company yourself. The importance of an exit strategy or long-term plan can not be overstated for businesses of all sizes, particularly small and medium enterprises (SMEs). It is as always advisable to stay abreast of current issues and changes that may affect the long and short term plans you have in mind for your business and in this vein, there has been some cause for concern in recent days regarding ways that taxation could inhibit future planning.

A new report issued by PwC this week has stated that current tax rules which hit the transfer of family businesses are putting both jobs and companies at large in danger. These rules make options incredibly limited for business owners as they limit owners passing on their business to family members while they are living. Some anomalies to the system in this respect mean that the new business owner could find themselves incurring high tax costs that would potentially place additional pressures on the business and put it at risk.

PwC have given some suggestions on changes they would like implemented in the next budget to protect business owners and entrepreneurs in the event of passing their business on while still living. One such suggestion is the removal of the current cap of €3million on the value of business assets which can benefit from Retirement Relief. There is also calls for the Entrepreneurial Relief Capital Gains Tax threshold to be reduced to allow further relief to these businesses as well as increasing the lifetime limit applicable and reducing current restrictions which may exclude many. It has also been suggested that tax relief options could be made available.

Consultation with the Government for this process is ongoing and submissions will close on May 24th and there are hopes that there will be changes announced in the next Budget to combat this issue and make the family handover of businesses a smoother and more profitable process. The transition of a business is inevitably a stressful and concerning time, so any changes that can be of benefit and ensure the longevity of an existing healthy business should certainly be embraced.

Should you have any queries or concerns on any business or financial matters, please do not hesitate to contact us here at EcovisDCA where we are always happy to help you and your business.

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DCA PARTNERSDECLAN DOLAN & EAMONN GARVEY

Revenue Commissioners New Debt Management System (DMS)

Onward, to the Future

The past number of months have been a time of increasing change for Irish businesses. From large scale changes to payroll systems to the clamping down of Revenue on all forms of tax evasion and tax fraud. These have been major changes to the ways in which Irish companies do business day-to-day and are hoped to be a solution to some long-term issues facing Irish business life, as it is hoped it will all lead to smoother business operations and less issues facing the Irish tax system.

The season of change continues onwards as it was recently announced that The Revenue Commissioners were set to release a new system for debt management, one which will be more technologically advanced than previous iterations and which will assist them in chasing down more unpaid tax, particularly in the sector of SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises).

Revenue’s new system entitled DMS (Debt Management Services) was launched just recently and promises to utilise high-tech means to target and deal with a wider range of tax payer. Whilst this may seem like a frightening prospect for SMEs, it is in fact a positive step towards ensuring that all Irish businesses are compliant, and that smaller business need not suffer the consequences of the failures of their larger brethren. The system will be able to target businesses and individuals who may previously have been too expensive to identify and pursue.

A spokesperson for Revenue has stated of the new DMS system that it will:

“Deliver significant increased capacity to manage and support compliance and tackle non-compliance” and will “enable Revenue to review customers with lower turnarounds on a more regular basis”.

So, whilst this means that SME’s will of course naturally fall under the Revenue microscope more often than previous, it is a step in the right direction for the future of business in Ireland, as it is set to join the Payroll Modernisation system in making it easier and more transparent for businesses to submit documentation and queries as the spokes person went on to say:

“The new system is fully online, allowing documentation to be uploaded electronically. It gives customers greater flexibility to manage their payment schedule and make certain alterations to suit their circumstances.

We as always advise to ensure that all your documentation and tax files are in order well ahead of time to ensure that you do not face further issues going forward. Should you have any queries or concerns, our doors are always open here at EcovisDCA.

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DCA PARTNERSDECLAN DOLAN & EAMONN GARVEY

Pensions – it really is a case of Fail to Prepare…

Something we are told from a very young age is that it is never too early to start planning for the future. As true as this may be it is something that falls largely on deaf young ears as we move on with our lives without thinking about that distant future of our elders. As you progress in your working life, this statement becomes increasingly true as no matter what stage of your career you are currently at, it is vital to plan for a future in which you will no longer be earning.

Recent reports show that the majority or workers are not saving towards a pension for their futures. As we have discussed previously, the cost of living, renting and buying property continues to grow so it should come as no surprise that many workers find themselves unable to set aside money for distant days ahead as wallets get increasingly light. There has been a lot of speculation recently that we may be heading towards a time-bomb in terms of pensions, so the news that only 47% of workers are contributing to a pension only compounds this fear and places the future of the State pension in question.

There have been discussions that the Government is to roll out a mandatory scheme for pensions by 2022, but this still leaves a period of 3 years during which workers could take matters into their own hands and begin making contributions. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it appears that the worst uptake in pension contributions is among younger workers, who again are most likely to be stuck in the rental trap at present. Social Policy Officer with The Irish Congress of Trade Unions, Laura Bambrick has said that too little is being done to encourage lower- and middle-income workers to contribute.

“Tax relief has failed as a policy instrument for encouraging low and middle-income earners to save enough towards a financially secure retirement, and there is no legal obligation on an employer to provide or contribute to a pension scheme for employees.”

Funding issues for State Pensions are likely to become an increasing concern for the future if pension contributions don’t soon become a standard, and with many employers also not making any contributions for their employees, something likely must change and urgently.

If you are interested in beginning your own pensions journey, here are some tips from us.

Calculate:

As with any budgeting system, it is essential to first work out how much you need to be setting aside. There are a great many online calculators that can assist with this. It is also important to consider your own currently monthly budget.

Shop Around:

There are so many options to choose from that this can be daunting but take the opportunity to speak to some advisers and ensure that you find the right pension plan for you.

Speak with your Employer:

It is possible that your employer may be willing to match your contributions or make some contribution for you, it is important to find out if this is a possibility in your company.

Tax:

If there are tax breaks available, be sure to make use of them.

Save:

There are many small ways to make weekly savings, implementing these may mean that your pension contributions do not leave such a gaping hole in your pocket.

Should you have any concerns or queries on any business or financial matters, please don’t hesitate to contact us here at EcovisDCA where we are always happy to help.

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DCA PARTNERSDECLAN DOLAN & EAMONN GARVEY

Enterprise Tax Relief & Grants

Entrepreneurs exist in a section of Irish business that is often overlooked when it comes to grants, relief and assistance. It is an area that is prized and valued in terms of training initiatives, but often forgotten about when it comes to actioning. Entrepreneurship remains the riskiest sector of Worldwide business, but particularly in Ireland which is quite a small pond for any business-savvy fish to set up shop in. As we all know, SMEs form a massive part of all Irish businesses, and we have spoken recently about the ways in which increased support is being made available to these businesses, so this naturally begs the question as to why the same isn’t being extended to entrepreneurs who may be poised to become the next big names in SME or even large-scale enterprises.

The chorus of voices crying out for change and support in the entrepreneurship sector has increased exponentially in recent months. This call for change has begun to spread to state agencies with Enterprise Ireland becoming involved and in February, divisional manager of the high-potential start-up unit, Joe Healy went as far as to call entrepreneurs “The real heroes of the Irish economy who deserve recognition and attention”.

Mr Healy also revealed that Enterprise Ireland had invested €23million in start-ups in 2018, including many of the high-potential start-ups and expressed his belief that there should be increased support and recognition for entrepreneurial risk-takers as they are ambition, resilient and innovative, which should all be highly prized in the business world. Healy also expressed his desire that this support encourage more female entrepreneurs to take the lead in Ireland going forward as he has seen an increase in the number of female entrepreneurs in the last 2 years.

While there are currently no large-scale plans for governmental support of entrepreneurs, the government have been repeatedly called upon to overhaul the Capital Gains Tax system and the Employment Incentive and Investment Scheme for entrepreneurial candidates. With the addition of a state funded body like Enterprise Ireland adding their voices to the cry for change it is hoped that we may soon see more steps in the right direction. As Healy stated:

“There are still challenges around retaining and attracting talent, and we need to ensure that the tax system supports and encourages risk-takers […] Not only changes to reward the real heroes of the economy but the tax system must be internationally competitive […] The taxation environment is critically important for starting and scaling companies. It is a key factor in the overall competitiveness in Ireland […] There is a need for an entrepreneurs’ relief scheme to reflect the risks of setting up a business, and a share options scheme to reward shares.”

Perhaps we may soon see Irish entrepreneurs being capable of entering the worldwide business market in a more competitive manner. In times of financial recovery such as these “risk” can often seem like a dirty and dangerous word, but this is perhaps exactly the right time to reward innovators and risk takers.

Should you have any concerns or queries on any business or financial matters, please do not hesitate to contact us here at EcovisDCA where we are always happy to help.

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DCA PARTNERSDECLAN DOLAN & EAMONN GARVEY