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The Housing Market – What’s Next?

The housing crisis in Ireland is something about which we have spoken at length in the past. Between the mortgage rules and rising cost of rent excluding many from the market and the increasing cost of buying in general, this area has become quite the minefield in recent terms for anyone who wasn’t lucky enough to secure their house before prices began to climb. This week, it was announced that house prices in certain areas had dropped slightly for the first time in an age. The fact that this led to a giant exhale of relief is quite telling of the current market, as such a small event sparks a small level of hope for those currently saving to meet the lending rules. It seems from recent reports that prospective buyers have grown tired of being excluded from the narrative.

It was reported this week following a Sunday Independent opinion poll that almost three quarters of people currently saving for a mortgage believe the Central Banks mortgage lending rules to be incredibly unfair. This is a marked rise of 19% from last year’s findings and shows an atmosphere of dissatisfaction with the status quo in the housing market. It was also found that as few as 5% of those saving feel that the lending rules are fair. The study also found that more people are now saving for a mortgage than last year. Almost half of those surveyed stated that they didn’t feel the banks are doing enough to assist people in gaining a mortgage.

There was also a fairly strong belief revealed through this study that the housing market may be headed for another crash in the coming years with over half of those currently saving believing that this will be the future for the Irish housing market. This believe naturally creates discord among savers about whether or not now is a good time to buy, with 43% believing that now is the right time to buy, and 39% believing that now is not the right time to purchase a house. As you can see there is not much between the two camps given their utterly opposing views. Perhaps this discord is the reason why there has been a slight drop off in house sales this year, with the CRO (Central Statistics Office) reporting that there has been a drop of almost 5% in the first half of this year outside of the Dublin area.

While nothing is certain, particularly during these uncertain times as Brexit continues to loom large above us, there are certainly signs of a downturn in the housing market in the next couple of years as many people struggle to get a foothold on the property ladder.

Should you have any concerns, queries or require further information on these or any other business and financial matters please don’t hesitate to contact us we are always available to help.

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DCA PARTNERSDECLAN DOLAN & EAMONN GARVEY

The Companies (Statutory Audits) Act

Louder than the Lions

The Companies (Statutory Audits) Act was officially enacted on July 25th 2018 following a lengthy period of concern and a debate on July 10th. This Act mostly focuses on implementing updated to the EU Audit directive and on implementing appropriate auditing legislation in Ireland.

Unfortunately, as tends to happen in Irish Business Law, there were some poorly thought out amendments made to this act which have been major causes for concern over recent weeks. One example of an area which was in dire need of clarification and change was in Sections 9 and 10 of the bill which removes the option to apply for exemptions after falling late (S. 343), and requires smaller companies to apply to the High Court for any exemptions. Previously, the CRO (Companies Registration Office) had themselves stated that it would be cost prohibitive to involve the High Courts in these matters, so evidently these were clauses which may create more issues than they were worth. It was originally thought that these new clauses were created in order to prevent repeat offences, but it was ultimately felt by business owners that this may not be the best way to deal with this issue, as Revenue themselves clamp down more effectively on these issues.

There have been many lobbying against these changes and reports suggest that this kind of major immediate change could have negative consequences on the smaller businesses which form the backbone of Irish businesses. It seemed that there would be no movement on these decisions as the Ministers seemed entirely steadfast in their decisions. This, along with numerous letters issued to local TD’s eventually lead to the debate of July 10th.

Following on from this debate there was finally some good news recently for accountants in practice as their voices were finally heard and it was decided that the proposed amendments were utterly inappropriate and not feasible. Companies who find themselves falling late can still make an application under S.343 for an exemption or to extend their filing date to avoid fees mounting up.

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

Should you have any queries or require further information on this or any other business or financial matter please don’t hesitate to contact us here at EcovisDCA’s new head office, where as always we will be delighted to help.

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DCA PARTNERSDECLAN DOLAN & EAMONN GARVEY

CRO – A Costly Omission

We have spoken quite a lot in recent months about the various ways that Revenue will be clamping down on tax fraud issues and late filing. We also touched more recently on the fact that the CRO (Companies Registration Office) would be getting stricter on late filers, particularly companies with a history of late filing. In the past there has been a certain amount of leeway given to companies, and this year there was an allowance of two days given for online filing as a result of disruptions caused to businesses as a result of Hurricane Ophelia.

These changes to the way in which the CRO will manage late filings were placed into immediate effect this month as Judge Brennan presided over more than twenty cases of companies who were either late to file, or neglected to file their Annual Returns and Accounts. Prosecution notices were issued in early October to companies with a consistent history of late or not presented returns.

The CRO utilise a ranking system in order to identify those companies with the most consistent poor filing history. This system totals their fees owed over a period of time and upon another late or neglected annual return, those at the top of the table are selected for prosecution. Should these companies file on time, they are removed from the register altogether.

Fines issued during these proceedings ranged from €500 to €5000, including late fees, which I’m sure we can all agree is a very expensive mistake to make, which is easily rectified by ensuring that your returns and accounts are filed well in advance of the deadline each year.

With the CRO considering their next round of prosecutions, we would hate to see any of our Clients caught in the crosshairs due to an omission such as this.

Should you require any help or guidance on these or any other business and finance 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

CRO Getting Tougher On Non-Compliance

We have spoken in the past about the many ways in with Revenue are beginning to clamp down on tax issues in a massive way in recent months. With tax return deadlines having been extended the belief is now that there should be no excuse for late filing so there is set to be a massive tightening on deadline rules from this point on.

Recently the CRO (Companies Registration Office) have announced that they will begin prosecuting companies who have not filed or are late in filing their Annual Returns and Accounts. In previous years there was a certain level of profiling involved with selecting companies or directors for prosecution, the idea being that such severe punishment was not needed for first time offenders. It is thought that the same system will be in place on this occasion, with persistent defaulters being the first to be targeted and dealt with.

Any company summoned in this way is liable to face fines of up to €5000 plus costs. These fines will be in addition to any normal CRO late filing penalties. The CRO are also set to clamp down on companies requesting their own extension on filing in order to avoid prosecution.

This is a much tougher stance than the CRO have taken on these issues in the past. Far from being a campaign of ‘scare tactics’ however, this is a campaign meant to encourage persistent late filers to begin to file on time each year in order to avoid these unnecessary penalties and further heartache.

As always, our own advice remains to get all documentation in order throughout the year and ensure that your returns are filed on time, even avoiding utilising the extensions if possible so that you will be certain that everything is in order. It is critical to keep well organised files on everything throughout the year to avoid a last minute scramble before the deadline.

As always we are available for any advice or guidance you may require on business or finance matters.

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DCA PARTNERSDECLAN DOLAN & EAMONN GARVEY

If you Own It Then You Need to Put Your Name On It (All The Beneficial Owners)

As of the 15th of November 2016, all Irish business owners or part-owners are required to create and maintain a list of the beneficial owners of the aforementioned business. This new order is in accordance with Statutory Instrument 560 of 2016. The new rule applies to all Irish companies, partnerships and all business entities whether publically listed or not.

A beneficial owner is defined as being a person who currently holds more than 25% of a business either directly or indirectly. This is a legal term wherein specific property rights belong to a person even when legal title of the property belongs to another person. Therefore even if you are not publically an owner of the business, if you hold more than 25% you will be required to be listed on this new document, the register of beneficial owners for the company.

 

The register of beneficial owners for the company must include for all parties:

  • Full Name
  • Date of Birth
  • Nationality
  • Residential Address
  • Nature and extent of interest and involvement with the company
  • Date entered into or removed from the register.

 

This new requirement will naturally take some time to implement accordingly, and we would advise all companies to ensure that this register is kept fully up to date with leaving and entering dates etc. to ensure that no issues arise in the future as a result of incomplete information.

 

It is also advised that the company issue letters to all those viewed as beneficial owners to inform them of this new register and to request the required information. It is essential to have a record of all endeavours to identify all beneficial owners and should they still be impossible to identify, the names of the directors and CEO must be entered on the Register.

The CRO will create a central register by the middle of 2017 so it is essential that all beneficial owners are reported to them before this time.

It is heavily advised that this be put in place as soon as possible as failure to comply can result in a fine of up to €5,000 being applicable to your business.

 

Should you have any concerns, queries or require further information on these or any other business and financial matters please don’t hesitate to contact us we are always available to help.

 

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DCA PARTNERSDECLAN DOLAN & EAMONN GARVEY