Posts

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.

– – –

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.

– – –

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.

 

 

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.

– – –

DCA PARTNERSDECLAN DOLAN & EAMONN GARVEY

Budget 2019

We constantly hear about how fast Christmas comes around each year and already selection boxes are appearing in our grocery stores and social media posts are being put up about how many weeks remain until Christmas. However, does anything really come around quicker than the Government’s yearly budget? It seems like only yesterday that we were giving you the main points on last year’s budget and now here we are again to break down the key points of this year’s budget. Indeed this year’s budget seems to have entirely crept up on us all, and slid into the world without much of a fanfare. So, what does Budget 2019 have in store for us all in the coming year?

SMEs

As you are aware, we are huge supporters of Irish Small and Medium Businesses so there was some welcome news announced in the budget.

A future Growth Loan Scheme for SMEs and those in the agriculture sector will be launched.

€110million in Brexit measures will be put in place.

Taxes and Wages:

  • There will be a reduction in the third rate of Universal Social Charge (USC) from 4.75 to 4.5%
  • The second rate band threshold for USC will increase from €19,372 to €19,874
  • An increase in the tax free threshold on transfers between parents of children will take the threshold from €310,000 to €320,000.
  • Weekly threshold for higher rate of employer’s PRSI will increase from €376 to €386.
  • Minimum wage to increase to €9.80 from January 1st.
  • VAT to increase from 9 to 13.5%.
  • Self-Employed individuals will receive a further €200 to their earned income tax credit.

Housing:

This has been a hot topic this year and something that has hit the headlines on numerous occasions. What action are the government implementing?

  • There will be €2.3billion allocated to the housing programme.
  • An additional €121million will be allocated to the Housing Assistance Payment.
  • €60million allocated to funding emergency accommodation and €30million allocated to homelessness services.
  • There will be funds allocated to a ‘Serviced Sites Fund’ which will aim to have local authorities begin to provide affordable housing.
  • Mortgage interest relied to be increased to 100% for landlords.

Social:

  • All weekly social welfare payments will increase by €5 from next March.
  • Christmas bonus to be fully restored this year.
  • From November 2019 a new parental leave scheme will offer 2 extra weeks leave to all parents in the first year of the child’s life. The aim will be to increase this to 7 weeks over time to bring Ireland more in line with other European countries.

The government have come under fire for this budget as it has been suggested that it doesn’t go far enough on crucial matters from climate change to tourism and national debt. This is however the first time that we have seen the national books balanced since 2007 so it is hopefully a step in the right direction.

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.

– – – – –

DCA PARTNERSDECLAN DOLAN & EAMONN GARVEY

PCP – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Personal Contract Plan (PCP) – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Recently, we spoke about PCP (Personal Contract Plan) finance options which have recently become so widely available. With today’s increasing cost of living this may be an incredibly attractive option for the majority who cannot afford an upfront payment on such luxury options as cars. This week, we have decided to follow up on this, with a view from the other side of the coin.

Whilst PCP Finance may seem like the ideal option, with its low deposit, low but long term repayments and the possibility of starting all over again with a new model at the end of your payment term. As we have recently discussed, these financing plans have become increasingly popular and more widely available in recent months, but while they are an attractive option, they are also unregulated and as recent reports suggest, may be heading into dangerous territory.

New research conducted recently by the Central bank seems to suggest that the model of PCP Financing may begin to create a finance bubble due to the wildly increasing popularity of this model over other financing options and cash purchase. It is estimated that at present, one in three cars is purchased via a PCP and we have certainly seen a larger amount of new cars drive off the forecourt since this option came about.

The issue arises once we consider the level of loans outstanding via these financing plans. In Ireland, it has been estimated that there is currently €1.5billion outstanding debt in car finance alone, an eye watering figure that makes a car purchasing bubble loom ever closer. It has recently been suggested that this industry needs to be regulated in order to prevent issues going forward, as we are already seeing issues arise in the housing market which we do not want to see repeated across the board. At present, PCP is the biggest growth market in the country (not including mortgage credit) and this creates an atmosphere of nervousness for an unregulated industry, particularly as the industry is not covered under the Central Bank’s Consumer Protection Code.

These are of course just the concerns which arise from our little island having been in the position of economic crisis in the past. We will always have a level of wary concern for anything that seems too good to be true. As always our advice remains to do your research before agreeing to any financing options, and ensure that the deal you get is the best deal for you and one which you can afford long term to avoid any issues.

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.

– – – – –

DCA PARTNERSDECLAN DOLAN & EAMONN GARVEY

 

What is a PCP loan?

We Would Use a Car Pun – But we’re Exhausted

All the recent talk about Ireland’s continued economic recovery can be somewhat hard to swallow when the benefits are not being felt in the pockets of the average worker, and it can be draining to work consistently on a punishing schedule of balancing work and family life while feeling as though there is no boost to your pocket and no disposable income.

Whilst we may continually hear year on year about more new cars being sold, it is still only a vast minority who would have the disposable income to purchase such a luxury item outright. This is where the option of PCP may be applicable. PCP finance is of course not the optimal route for everyone to go down to purchase a new vehicle, as with everything in life there is no ‘one size fits all’ fix unfortunately.

PCP is a Personal Contract Plan, which roughly translates as an agreement between yourself and a financing company (not necessarily within the car dealership themselves) in which you agree to make monthly payments on the car of your choosing for a set period (usually 3-5 years). What makes PCP financing such an attractive prospect to most, is that there is generally quite a low deposit in comparison to other car purchasing options, and the longer term also offers lower repayments.

A PCP plan is a simple and relatively no-nonsense solution to your car needs as it is split into three stages: Deposit, Payment Term and Final Payment.

Deposit:

This stage is the beginning of your contract wherein you will either pay a deposit to begin the contract or occasionally trade in your old vehicle as deposit. The larger the deposit, the smaller the repayments.

Payment Term:

This will be the period of 3-5 years during which you will make your monthly repayments. As the car is still technically under contract it will be important to ensure the car is kept well and undamaged as this may affect the final stage of the contract.

Final Payment:

Generally, for this stage there will be choices made available to you to either make the full lump sum payment (this figure will have been decided at the time of the contract), return the car with no further payments to be made, or occasionally a dealership will allow you to trade in the vehicle as a deposit off a newer model, which would then begin your payment term all over again. Final Payment may be dependent on the term of your contract and the finance company you are dealing with as not all plans will have a lump sum payment at the end.

Many PCP plans may include mileage and damage conditions, so it is vital to be aware of all details of your own plan before signing on the dotted line. PCP is relatively straightforward and there is little to no small-print to be aware of once your payments are made on time, and its lower deposit and repayments may make it a more attractive proposition to most than a hire-purchase agreement or loan. As always we would suggest using caution and ensuring that you have all information to hand before making the commitment, even if it is the car of your dreams.

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.

– – – – –

DCA PARTNERSDECLAN DOLAN & EAMONN GARVEY

The Help To Buy Scheme for First Time Home Buyers

A Helping Hand onto an Elusive Ladder

We have spoken at length in the past about the multitudinous issues facing prospective first time home buyers in our current climate in Ireland. From saving deposits amidst paying skyrocketing rents, to being effectively written out of the narrative due to stricter borrowing rules and increasing home prices across the country. As a result it was recently reported that owning their own home has become more of a distant dream for many, rather than a feasible option for the future, with many saying that it would take them many years to save a deposit and even then they may not be able to afford the costs on current salaries. Rather than sticking with the unpopular opinions of recent months, of giving up avocado toast and living on your parents couch while asking for a loan of €30,000 we decided that today we would take a look at the more positive side of being a first time or prospective first time buyer. Believe it or not there are some options available to you out there, and we hope that access to these may make your dream more of a reality.

We all know about the all-important 10% deposit required to get your foot onto the first rung of the property ladder, as well as the additional funds required on top of these for legal costs etc. As mortgage relief is no longer an option, this all adds up quickly and when paired with every increasing house prices which don’t seem inclined to start falling any time soon, can lead to a number of hopeful buyers who simply cannot afford the costs. Whilst seeking a loan from a local authority may be an option for some, there is still the matter of a deposit to be raised and countless costs to be taken into account. The recent installation of the Help to Buy (HTB) Initiative may be a saving grace for some buyers, and has already helped many families find their new homes.

Essentially, the Help to Buy (HTB) scheme is an income tax rebate scheme now in place in order to help first time buyers buy new or self builds, and does not apply to second hand dwellings. This scheme allows buyers a rebate of their income tax paid over the previous 4 years as well as a refund of DIRT and will run until the end of 2019.

Naturally there are a number of stipulations on this as follows:

  • You must take out a mortgage of at least 70% of the cost of the property.
  • Applies only to properties costing €500,000 or less.
  • Applies only to new builds.
  • You must occupy the property for 5 years or more from the date it is habitable.
  • You must be fully tax compliant for the 4 years prior to your claim, complete a tax return form (Form 12) and pay any outstanding taxes that may be owed.
  • PAYE employees can apply using Revenue’s My Account system whilst self-assessed employees will apply through Revenue’s online system (ROS).

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.

– – – – –

DCA PARTNERSDECLAN DOLAN & EAMONN GARVEY

Should You Fix Your Mortgage Rate?

Keeping that Roof above Water

We have spoken recently about the struggles facing prospective homeowners and their long term range of effects on the market at large. Something we haven’t touched upon thus far is the struggles facing those who already have a foothold on the property ladder, existing homeowners currently holding a mortgage. Whilst this may seem like the ideal status for those struggling to buy their first home, there are of course issues which apply here that may not be considered.

It has been reported recently that homeowners could see a marked increase on their mortgage bills in years to come. This is due to the fact that European interest rates are set to begin to rise from 2019 to 2020 as the European Central Bank is expected to increase its main refinancing rate. Depending on the rate of mortgage and the loan size, this could see mortgage payments possibly increase by a couple of hundred euro.

These European interest rates have been at a stable low for many years, with many homeowners likely to not have experienced excessive rises in their time. In the atmosphere of uncertainty as we wait for the confirmation of these changing rates, what action can be taken either on new or old mortgages to limit the amount of damage to your pocket?

Fix it Up:       

A fixed rate mortgage can often seem like the most expensive option on the surface when choosing your mortgage, but can be quite the saving grace at times like these when rates are in flux as this option fixes your mortgage rate at one price for a certain period of time.

Whether choosing your mortgage or switching, a fixed rate might be the perfect option during these uncertain times and may offer you a slight buffer.

Pay, Pay, Pay:

Although it can be tempting when funds are low to take out further loans to replenish emptying pockets, this is likely to be damaging in the long run as your repayments begin to stack up. Instead of this, it is advisable to keep your mortgage payments up to date, and even overpay whenever possible in order to reduce your overall term.

In addition to this, clearing off any other debts you may have from loans or credit cards is advisable as the goal is to reduce your monthly repayments to as few as possible, with your mortgage being the ultimate priority. This will avoid you paying higher interest rates on other loans as well as your mortgage.

Should you be in a position of struggle when these rises come into play, be sure to discuss with your provider and solicitor options for restructuring your mortgage in order to avoid any long term issues.

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.

– – – – –

DCA PARTNERSDECLAN DOLAN & EAMONN GARVEY

Finance options in wake of Brexit

Here at EcovisDCA our focus is always firmly on making life and business simpler for our clients and friends. We want you and your business to be a success just as you do and that all important work: life balance can sometimes only be achieved through the acceptance of a helping hand when in need. We have often spoken about funding options and opportunities available in order to either get your business off the ground or plan for an expansion and today we will be discussing a financing option with a twist: Growcap Finance.

Brexit is a word that has faded away into the middle distance somewhat in recent months after the term exploded into our general usage not too long ago. With Britain’s planned exit from the European Union still very much on the cards there is still some cause for concern for Irish businesses who may rely on foreign export or have had dealings with the UK. When engaging in global trade, one of the downsides for many business is the inevitable dealings with customs and VAT. Whilst many people sourcing goods may now look as far afield as China due to a newly improved quality of product, and lower pricing, there is always the issue of customs and VAT obligations when dealing outside the EU. It remains to be seen if Ireland will now face these issues in the future when dealing with goods from the UK once it is outside of the EU.

As a business owner it is your responsibility to ensure that any goods you have sourced from outside of the European Union get safely through the customs process and that the appropriate VAT is paid in full on entry. This can be quite a time consuming and painful process for business owners who have other issues to contend with as well as being an additional drain on vital cash flow to the business as VAT can add an extra 20 to 23% on to your existing payment. This is an issue especially for SMEs who may rely heavily on every penny of working capital available to them.

This is where Growcap Finance come in and can be of benefit to many businesses. Growcap Finance can assist you in funding your products sourced outside of the European Union, taking that additional headache away from you and freeing up some capital for your business. At present, Growcap can fund everything from the purchase price of the product to the logistics and VAT, while also ensuring that the product lives up to expectations before issuing payment. This may be an excellent option for businesses feeling the stress and headaches of dealing with VAT payments and shipments from outside the EU. It may also be a viable course of action in the event of a sudden Brexit.

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.

– – –

DCA PARTNERSDECLAN DOLAN & EAMONN GARVEY