Energy Grants, Supports & Tools Available

 

Who Has the Energy for Another Crisis?

These days, it seems that we have a new crisis every week to add to the pile of stresses of day-to-day life. Following on from the Covid-19 emergency we now find ourselves in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis as well as an energy crisis. As always, we here at EcovisDCA we want to provide our clients and friends with a roadmap to their continued success, so today we have compiled a list of energy supports for businesses, to assist you in making your business as energy efficient as possible so that you can save money as you assist in saving the planet.

Luckily, given the current situation. there are currently a number of government supports available to assist companies in mitigating the exponential rise in energy costs.

Grants & Schemes:

TBESS (Temporary Business Energy Support Scheme):
The most recently published support available to help businesses manage in this energy crisis is the Temporary Business Energy Support Scheme (TBESS). This scheme was introduced in late November as a way to support businesses with increases in energy costs. Qualifying businesses will be entitled to claim 40% of the increases in their energy bills if they have experienced an increase of 50% or more. It is important to note that VAT can not be included as an eligible cost and that all costs must be exclusively for the purposes of the business. If your business operates from the home as many now do, personal usage must be deducted. You can register for TBESS via Revenue Online Services

Energy Audit Support Scheme:

The first step towards Energy Efficiency will often be an Energy Audit. This audit will give a complete overview of the current energy efficiency of your business (including everything from building fabric to the kettles in your staff room) as well as offering suggestions on how this can be improved, and the expected cost benefit of doing so. There are a number of SEAI registered and recommended companies available to complete this audit in order to outline the ways in which your business can become more energy efficient. It is important to ensure that a reputable auditor completes the audit as energy efficiency will naturally become increasingly important in future years. The SEAI currently offer a €2,000 voucher to SMEs towards the cost of an energy audit. https://www.igbc.ie/

Communities Energy Grant:

In terms of the physical implementation of these energy upgrades one of the most beneficial grant avenues may be SEAI’s Communities Energy GrantThere are a number of grant coordinators registered with SEAI who will take on your project from start to finish, as well as engaging with SEAI on your behalf. It is worth noting that you can also utilise the Energy Audit Support Scheme as well as the Community Energy Grant at the same time.
These costs may be somewhat prohibitive to you as a first step in the process, so with this in mind, there are several online digital tools available at your disposal outlined below.

EVs (Electric Vehicles):

SEAI provides funding towards the purchase of Electric Vehicles, as well as funding towards the purchase of EV chargers on a domestic basis. It is worth noting that at present, EVs can also be included in a Communities Energy Grant Scheme application.

EXEED Grant Scheme

The EXEED Grant Scheme – SEAI offers up to €1,000,000 per project for companies planning Energy Efficiency Upgrades.

Online Tools:

IGBC – Irish Green Building Council:

The Irish Green Building Council is a fantastic resource for Irish Businesses aiming to learn more about sustainability in business. The website Irish Green Building Council offers a number of free learning courses as well as grant information and incredibly useful resources.

Climate Toolkit 4 Business:

Climate Toolkit 4 Business allows SMEs to get an estimate of their carbon footprint as well as creating a personalised action plan on a very basic level to address this footprint and begin to find methods to offset it.

SEAI Energy Academy

The SEAI Energy Academy offers a number of learning modules free of charge which will help in educating businesses on the importance of sustainability and renewable energies, as well as methods of implementation.

Long-Term Sustainability Planning:

ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) Plans:

ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) Policies and Plans are becoming increasingly important to business life and are now a requirement for some forms of bank financing. These are a great method of showing your company’s dedication to sustainability in the long term.

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design):

Gaining LEED certification is an intensive process which explores all aspects of a building or neighbourhood. This is a rating system used to certify sustainable buildings and neighbourhoods and buildings with LEED certification are considered to be the gold standard of sustainability in the built environment.
There are a great many supports available to assist you in taking your business to the next level in terms of energy efficiency and sustainability, and given the current climate, this will become increasingly important going forward.

We provide best-in-class accounting, bookkeeping and taxation services in Dublin 2. We are a firm of highly qualified chartered accountants, business advisors and tax consultants with over 20 years of experience.

Get in touch with our team to learn more about our services.

The Small Benefit Exemption – Gift Cards

As the weather begins to finally take a turn towards the colder, darker Winter mornings, thoughts naturally begin to turn towards the big man in red visiting at Christmas. As recent times have been so “unprecedented” and we now find ourselves in the midst of a cost of living crisis it is easy to overlook the positive emotions of this upcoming season and find yourself awash in a sea of concerns.

As we discussed recently in our note on Budget 2023, there is one new way that employers can assist employees financially without either party incurring tax issues. The Small Benefit Exemption has been a long-standing benefit offered from employers to their staff which allowed staff to be gifted a €500 gift card on which neither party would be taxed.

In the recent Budget, it was announced that the limit on this gift would be increased to €1,000 and there would be an allowance of 2 gifts not exceeding the combined €1,000 per year tax-free. If more than 2 gifts are given over the course of a year, only the first two gifts will qualify for tax-free status. This gift is required to be in the form of a gift card and is not permitted to be converted into cash, and any unused allowance cannot be carried over into the following year.

This change will be a welcome one for employees who receive these gifts each year, and will likely go a long way towards offering some relief over the Christmas period during this current financial crisis, while also offering employers taxation relief. It is worth noting that if the given gift exceeds the €1,000 limit, the total amount will be subject to PAYE, USC and PRSI, and not just the exceeding amount.

We hope that this information has been useful for you and as always, please don’t hesitate to contact us here at EcovisDCA where we remain open and ready to help. Please do not hesitate to contact us.

Local Property Tax Surcharge

As the Pay & File deadline of November 16th has just slipped by, we wanted to provide our clients and friends with an urgent reminder on a possible issue that may have slipped notice in the haze of the approaching deadline.

Those who have not yet complied with their Local Property Tax (LPT) obligations may find themselves facing a nasty shock in that they may incur a 10% surcharge on their income tax liability as well as Capital Gains Tax (CGT) liabilities.

With this in mind, it is essential to bear this in mind when filing tax returns and to keep LPT at the forefront of your mind during this time. There is also an option to enter into a payment plan to pay any outstanding LPT or associated Household charges. Being involved in such a payment plan will also ensure that you do not find yourself facing this additional surcharge, which as well as being an unpleasant and unexpected cost, can be somewhat of a headache to solve and/or figure out a solution to.

It is important to note that no surcharge will apply if you are liable for no LPT or if your existing liability is due only to a late filing charge. The charge will, however, apply if your other tax is filed on time, but you have defaulted on a LPT payment.

Full details on this can be found at: www.revenue.ie/en/tax-professionals/tdm/local-property-tax/part-07/07-02.pdf

We hope that this information has been useful for you and as always, please don’t hesitate to contact us here at EcovisDCA where we remain open and ready to help. Please do not hesitate to contact us.

TWSS & Small Benefit Exemption Scheme Update

As the weather begins to turn its gaze towards Winter, so to do we begin to cast our eye towards wrapping up the 2022 business year and making plans for 2023. With that in mind, we wanted to bring you a newsletter detailing the current status of both the Small Benefit Exemption Scheme and the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS)

Small Benefit Exemption Scheme

As we cast our eye towards the year’s end, it would be impossible to avoid the ‘C’ word, Christmas! Many companies will now be beginning to consider ways in which to thank their staff for a job well done in 2022.

Under the Small Benefit Exemption Scheme businesses have the option to give employees, including directors, a voucher completely tax-free.

The total value of the tax free benefit/vouchers an employer can give an employee per year has increased from €500 to €1,000.

The number of qualifying vouchers per year has also increased from one voucher to two vouchers

The change applies for Tax Year 2022 and subsequent years

The Temporary Wages Subsidy Scheme (TWSS)

We are all aware of the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) and subsequent Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS), the support schemes which funded employee wages during the COVID-19 pandemic in order to keep businesses open. These schemes were essential for many businesses, but many were left with a bill for funds owed in income tax and USC for the 2020 tax year which was an unexpected expense.

All employees can view their preliminary end-of-year statement for 2020 on Revenue’s MyAccount system. Each employee can check using this system to see the status of any underpayments of both USC and income tax.
Many employees found this underpayment on their account to be an unexpected cost, which was not covered by the employer in many cases. With this in mind, Revenue are now facilitating employers who wish to pay some or all of their employee’s 2020 tax liabilities. These employers must engage directly with their employees to agree on the value and payment method.

To pay the employee tax liabilities, employers can:

  • Provide the funds directly to the employees
    Or
  • They can amend the last payroll submission of 2020. They can do this by simply adding IT paid and USC paid.

There are no Benefit in kind (BIK) implications arising on the employee or the employer for paying off the tax bill.
The employer cannot take a deduction of the amounts when preparing his/her annual accounts. Revenue do not regard the payments as incurred exclusive and necessary incurred for the purposes of the service.

Debt Warehousing Scheme extended until 2024

We have spoken a number of times in the past about the warehousing of debt following on from the Covid 19 emergency, and this week we come to you with another update on this.

Revenue have recently extended the debt warehousing scheme will be extended for an additional sixteen months. The scheme allowed businesses to “warehouse” certain tax debt in order to keep the business afloat during troubling times, the deadline for repayment was due to be the end of 2022 and has now been changed to May 1st 2024 in what will be comforting news to some businesses still dealing with the after-effects of the pandemic, as well as the ever-increasing price increases and the ongoing cost of living crisis. These businesses will receive a notification from Revenue in December of this year advising them of the extension.

In similarly positive news, it has also been revealed that when repaying the debt, businesses will from January 1st, 2023, be able to avail of a significantly reduced interest rate (3% down from 10%). Collector-General Joe Howley has said of the extension that.

“This extended deadline in terms of debt remaining in the warehouse, and the ongoing availability of the reduced rate of interest of 3%, will provide businesses with greater certainty in the current economic climate and give them additional time before they have to start addressing the warehoused tax debt.

Where a business has the capacity to repay any or all of the debt warehoused in the meantime, then they can of course do so.”

If you are currently experiencing tax related difficulties, it is vital to contact Revenue ASAP in order to create a plan that works for both sides. Speaking to Revenue early on about any issues is crucial and ensures that the matter can be dealt with before becoming problematic or incurring additional costs.

Should you have any queries about any financial or business matters, please do not hesitate to contact us here at EcovisDCA where we will be happy to assist in any way we can.

 

 

Accounting firm Ireland

Energy Supports for Business in 2023

As part of Budget 2023, new supports have been made available by The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment. The supports are designed to help businesses of all sizes with their rising energy costs and to make them more sustainable through longer and medium-term investments.

This support is being delivered through five new targeted energy supports schemes: three direct supports to business and two government-backed loans.

It is important to note that Businesses may be eligible for more than one scheme. These schemes are currently in development. Information regarding applications, eligibility criteria and administration will be made available in the coming months.

Direct Supports

 

1) €1.25 billion Temporary Business Energy Support Scheme (TBESS)
Small and medium businesses are the backbone of our domestic economy and they support thousands of jobs. This particular scheme will provide qualifying businesses with up to 40% of the increase in electricity or gas bills up to €10,000 per month and will be administered by the Revenue Commissioners. The details outlined to date are as follows;
  • Subject to State Aid approval, once legislated for, it is expected that the scheme will be backdated to September 2022 and will run until February of next year.
  • The scheme will be open to businesses that carry on a Case 1 trade, are tax compliant and have experienced a significant increase (more than 50 per cent) in their natural gas and electricity costs.
  • It will be administered by the Revenue Commissioners and will operate on a self-assessment basis.
  • The scheme will operate by comparing the average unit price for the relevant bill period in 2022 with the average unit price in the corresponding reference period in 2021.
  • In order to be eligible for the scheme, the average unit price must have increased by more than 50 per cent.
  • Claims will be able to be made by businesses for up to 40 per cent of the amount of the increase in the bill, capped at €10,000 per month per trade.
  • An overall cap will apply on the total amount which a business can claim.
  • The scheme is being designed to be compliant with the EU State Aid Temporary Crisis Framework and will require approval by the EU Commission in the advance of making payments.
2) €200 million Ukraine Enterprise Crisis Scheme

The €200 million Ukraine Enterprise Crisis Scheme will have two measures and will assist viable but vulnerable firms in manufacturing and internationally traded services.Measure 1 will provide aid in the form of direct grants, repayable advances, equity and/or loan notes aid to ensure liquidity and access to finance for enterprises that face economic challenges as a result of increased input costs and supply chain difficulties, and which have suffered a 15% decrease in operating surplus in 2022 compared to 2021.

Measure 2 will provide aid for additional costs due to exceptionally severe increases in natural gas and electricity prices experienced by energy-intensive businesses (with spend greater than 3% of turnover on energy) which have suffered a 15% decrease in operating surplus in 2022 compared to 2021, and doubled per unit cost of gas/electricity.

3) Small Firms Investment in Energy Efficiency Scheme
The Small Firms Investment in Energy Efficiency Scheme will provide a grant through the Local Enterprise Office (LEO) network to companies to encourage investment in energy efficiency technologies or processes that reduce carbon emissions and overall energy costs. The scheme will follow on from the LEO Green for Micro Scheme which currently provides advice and technical support to firms on energy efficiency and reducing their carbon footprint.

The new scheme will open in 2023 and will be administered by the Local Enterprise Offices.

 

Loans

4) €1.2 billion Ukraine Credit Guarantee Scheme
The State-backed Ukraine Credit Guarantee Scheme will provide low-cost working capital or medium-term investment, especially in energy-saving measures to SMEs, primary producers and small mid-caps (businesses with fewer than 500 employees). Loans of up to 6 years will be available, from €10,000 to €1 million, with no collateral required for loans up to €250,000.
5) €500 million Growth and Sustainability Loan Scheme

The Growth and Sustainability Loan Scheme (GSLS) will make up to €500 million in low-cost investment loans of up to 10 years available to SMEs, including farmers and fishers and small mid-caps, with no collateral required for loans up to €500,000. A minimum of 30% of the lending volume will be targeted towards environmental sustainability. 70% of lending will be for strategic investments with a view to increasing productivity and competitiveness and thus underpinning future business sustainability and growth.More detail on the above and existing schemes is available by CLICKING HERE

We provide best-in-class accounting, bookkeeping and taxation services in Dublin 2. We are a firm of highly qualified chartered accountants, business advisors and tax consultants with over 20 years of experience.

Expert Tax Advisor in Dublin – Minimize Your Tax Liability

Looking for an expert tax advisor in Dublin to help you minimize your tax liability? Look no further! Our team of experienced tax advisors can provide you with the guidance and solutions you need to ensure that you’re taking advantage of all available tax deductions and credits. From personal tax planning to corporate tax compliance, our tax advisors specialize in all areas of taxation, and can provide you with the customized advice you need to maximize your savings. Don’t wait until tax season to start planning. Hire an expert tax advisor in Dublin today and start saving money on your taxes.

Get in touch with our team to learn more about our services.

Budget 2023 Breakdown

That special time of year is upon us once again – Budget time. Budget 2023 was just announced, and it was certainly one for the books, coming at a time of continued uncertainty and concern over the exponential increases in the cost of living. With everything from fuel and energy to food and lifestyle items becoming increasingly expensive both employees and business owners have begun to feel significant financial strain in recent months. With this in mind, Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe was quick to explain that this Budget would be, by necessity a “Cost of Living Budget” aimed at safeguarding the public during this difficult period.

As always, we have compiled some of the main changes included in this Budget that may affect you and your business.

New SME Scheme:

  • As we have discussed many times in the past, SMEs form the backbone of the Irish Business Landscape, whilst also being among the most vulnerable sectors in need of supports. As part of Budget 2023, it was announced that there will be a new scheme aimed at supporting SMEs during this time.
  • The new Temporary Business Energy Support Scheme (TBESS) will aim to assist businesses struggling with the increase in energy costs this Winter. The scheme will operate on a self-assessment basis and will be open to all businesses who experience increases of at least 50% in energy costs compared to 2021 by having The State pay up to 40% of the costs, capped at €10,000 monthly.
  • It is important to note that the scheme requires approval from the European Commission under state aid rules, but it is expected that the scheme will be approved without issue.
Tax Rate for SMEs:
  • The 12.5% Corporation Tax rate for SMEs is to remain unchanged with the Minister also reaffirming Ireland’s commitment to the OECD international tax agreement in ensuring the minimum effective rate of tax for companies with revenues of more than €750m is set at 15%.
Non-Cash Benefits for Employees:
  • The tax-free limit for non-cash benefits to employees will increase from €500 to €1,000 for this tax year. Employers will be entitled to gift two vouchers or gifts to employees during each tax year.
Sustainability:
  • The push towards sustainability featured in the Budget announcement with a new long-term loan (The Growth and Sustainability Loan Scheme) of up to €500,000 being made available to SMEs to allow them to expand their sustainability and energy efficiency levels or to begin that journey.
  • There will also be a new grant available through Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) to assist smaller companies in reducing their carbon footprint and increasing the energy efficiency of their businesses. This grant will be named the Small Firms Investment in Energy Efficiency Scheme.
Hospitality:
  • One of the hardest hit sectors during the Covid-19 emergency would be the Hospitality Sector, which remains in need of support. It was announced during Budget 2023 that the 9% VAT rate for this sector will remain in place until the end of Feb 2023.
Taxation:
    • It was announced that there is to be a third taxation rate of income tax, but there is no further information on this at present.
    • The Knowledge Development Box for qualifying companies will be extended to 2027.
    • The Research and Development (R&D) Tax Credit will now have a fixed 3-year payment system, and the current caps in place for the payable element will be removed.
    • The Standard Rate Tax Band will be increased to €40,000 for a single person.
    • Personal, employee and income tax credits will be increased to €1,775.
    • The 2% USC Rate Band will be increased to €22,920.
    • A new tax credit specifically for Renters of €500 per year will be available for the 2022 tax year. This will only be available to renters who are not currently in receipt of any other housing benefits.

We provide best-in-class accounting, bookkeeping and taxation services in Dublin 2. We are a firm of highly qualified chartered accountants, business advisors and tax consultants with over 20 years of experience.

Get in touch with our team to learn more about our services.

Top accounting firms in Ireland

Help, We Need Somebody – SME Supports

We have spoken multiple times recently about the supports available to Irish SMEs in order to help them to weather the current storms facing Irish businesses, but it is an unfortunate fact that not all SMEs will find themselves capable of survival during these times despite their best efforts.

It emerged this week that the last three months has seen up to a 60% increase in the liquidation of SMEs. From Covid recovery to the ever-increasing cost of living, the failure rates of smaller Irish businesses has begun to increase exponentially. PwC have stated in their most recent survey that company failures have increased 14% quarter-on-quarter this year.

This may be result of many of the Covid-specific supports offered to companies being slowly pared back as the country began to reopen after the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. Until early this year, many supports including the EWSS (Employee Wage Subsidy Scheme) were still in place with many companies still availing of the service to support their business. As a result, the combination of less supports and the increase in costs such as fuel and property etc, has seen far more businesses fail, than we saw in the previous year when Covid-related supports were still available. The highest failure rates have been in the health and energy sectors this year so far.

Interestingly, it was also reported that business failures are at a much higher rate in the UK, where Covid-specific supports were removed much sooner than here in Ireland, showing that across the board, there has been a lack of knowledge about just how damaging the pandemic has been to the business world, as well as just how many companies found themselves wholly reliant on these supports.

These failure rates are not yet at their highest, and larger companies currently seem to be weathering the storm better, with the hospitality industry staying strong at present, but insolvency numbers are steadily climbing and cause for concern now that it is realised that there was such reliance on Covid supports to combat financial pressures.

It is not all doom and gloom however as the Government have recently announced an initiative to combat this downturn, and support Irish SMEs. The Government have now launched a new low-cost loan scheme aimed specifically at SMEs to replace the Covid-19 credit guarantee scheme which recently ended. The scheme will allow companies to access one-to-six-year loans ranging from €25,000 and €1.5million.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said of the scheme:

“This successor scheme will give SMEs, including farmers, fishers and food businesses, the option to access really competitively priced loans, should they need to avail of that option, in addition to the other help that is available.”

We provide best-in-class accounting, bookkeeping and taxation services in Dublin 2. We are a firm of highly qualified chartered accountants, business advisors and tax consultants with over 20 years of experience.

Get in touch with our team to learn more about our services.

Cashflow Woes

Tax season is naturally always a stressful one for all business owners, even more so during these times where the cost of living has become untenable. For many business owners, tax season can often mean paying out a large sum in one fell swoop which can often feel like a burden. Luckily, there are ways to spread this cost over a period of time to make this payment less of a shock to the system. Some finance companies allow you to spread the cost of tax and insurance bills over the 12-month period.

The requirement to pay large bills in one lump sum can cause an incredible strain on your business finances. This is particularly true of SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) who may not have these larger sums available as disposable cashflow. This can be where Peer-to-Peer financing can come in.

As we have discussed in recent months, certain peer-to-peer financing companies offer SMEs an alternative and faster way to access finance in order to assist them in maintaining a healthy cashflow in the face of rising costs. These Peer-to-Peer finance providers often provide loans from as low as €5,000 to as high as €500,000 with less paperwork than the traditional lending avenues and offer a faster result time with a flexible repayment plan.

One of the main benefits of Peer-to-Peer lending is that there is no penalty for early or lump-sum repayment. P2P lenders often also offer immediate drawdown upon acceptance.

There are many of these lenders currently available to assist you and your business during these trying times.

We provide best-in-class accounting, bookkeeping and taxation services in Dublin 2. We are a firm of highly qualified chartered accountants, business advisors and tax consultants with over 20 years of experience.

Get in touch with our team to learn more about our services.

Oh, What A Relief

Here at Ecovis DCA, we spend a great deal of time discussing issues that specifically pertain to Irish Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) due to their importance to the Irish economy and our clients. There is another vital area of the Irish economy that we sometime overlook, and it is one that the Irish economy overall was built upon, farming.

There are a great many intricacies to the farming career that many are not aware of. From taxation to the day-to-day general finance issues associated with running a farm there are many steps that are overlooked. Today we would like to focus on the issue of Capital Gains Tax (CGT) in relation to farming, as there are ways for CGT liability to be avoided by utilising Retirement Relief.

It is not massively well known that there are certain scenarios in which CGT may be charged on the transfer of ownership of a farm. These include:

  • Scenarios where the farmer is over 66 years of age.
  • Scenarios wherein the farm has not been owned for minimum 10 years.
  • Scenarios where the farm has been leased either fully or partially for a minimum of 25 years.
  • Scenarios where the farmer themselves were not working on the farm for a minimum of 10 consecutive years prior to the transfer.
  • Scenarios where the farm is under joint names with an individual who does not have any involvement with the farm.

These scenarios may possibly be circumvented by use of Retirement Relief. It is important to note that although the relief is called “Retirement Relief,” one does not have to actively retire from the farm to avail of this, but it is a useful tool for situations where you need to transfer ownership of the farm, without finding yourself liable for CGT.

There are some conditions to the use of Retirement Relief as one might expect.

  • If claiming Retirement Relief on medical grounds, medical evidence must be provided.
  • If claiming Retirement Relief on age grounds, the individual must reach age 55 within 12 months of transfer.

The Relief can be broken into two types depending on who the farm is being transferred to:

1) Transfer to your child.

Full relief can be claimed if the farmer is between 55 and 65 years of age at the time of transfer, after 66 years of age, the relief amount is capped at €3m.

The child receiving the farm must hold the farm for a minimum of 6 years, or CGT will be charged, and the relief will be forfeit.

2) Transfer to someone outside of the family.

Full relief can be claimed if the market value of the farm does not exceed €750,000 for individuals under 66 years of age, and €500,000 for individuals over 66 years of age.

It is vital to remember that these are lifetime limits, and the farm may not exceed these limits or the risk of being charged CGT remains.

 

We hope that this information has been of interest to you, and should you like us to cover more farm-related topics please do let us know as we would be happy to oblige.