No Budging the Budget – Budget 2018 Overview

The Budget is a contentious subject each years and a word which tends to eclipse all others in the weeks following its announcement. This comes as no surprise, as a country which has suffered enormous economic downturn in the recent past for there to be an enormous focus on an event such as the Budget which often gives a general idea of how heavy or light we can expect our wallets to feel in the coming year.


Budget 2018 was announced this week by Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe. There were a great many predictions made in the week before the announcement but now that we have the facts to hand we will be breaking down the main points of the Budget and what it will mean for you and your business.


Positively, Ireland’s economic growth continues to rise, and Minister Donohoe has stated that he expects this to continue into 2018. This is welcome news for those who may not be seeing the economic recovery in their own pockets as yet, as there is a tentative promise that they may begin to do so in the coming months. Similarly, it was noted that unemployment figures are expected to continue to fall from the current 6.1% to 5.7% in 2018.


Here are the main points to note from Budget 2018:


Income Tax:

  • The entry point for the higher tax rate of 40% will rise from €33,800 to €34,550.
  • The 5% USC rate will drop by 0.25%, whilst the 2.5% rate is set to drop by 0.5%.



  • Stamp Duty on non-residential property being raised from 2% to 6%.
  • The Government are allotting €1.8million towards housing for 2018.
  • Mortgage Interest Relief for loans from 2004-2012 to be slowly phased out by 2020. Reducing to 70% in 2018, 50 in 2019 and 25 until the end of 2020.
  • The help to buy scheme is to be retained.



  • There will be a Brexit loan scheme of up to €300million made available to SMEs to assist with short term needs.
  • No changes to VAT rates for tourism and services sectors.
  • Social Welfare
  • All payments to be increased by €5 at the end of March 2018.
  • Social Welfare Christmas bonus to be paid at 85% of the usual rate. This is a €20 increase on last year.



  • No changes to cost of petrol and diesel.
  • Cost of 20 cigarettes to rise by 50cent.
  • Sugar tax to be applied to sweetened drinks containing 8g of sugar per 100ml.



  • Prescription charges to be reduced for all under 70s with medical card by 50cent per item.
  • Threshold for Drugs Payment Scheme to fall from €144 to €134.
  • Home Carer tax credit to be increased to €1200 per year.


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

– – –



Following on from the height of the financial crisis, it may seem to employees that benefits and perks are few and far between with some companies. Now that the Irish market is beginning to find its feet again more and more Irish companies are beginning to once again have the finances to show their employees how valued they are by offering benefits and perks. Some perks come with benefits for the employer as well as the employee such as the cycle to work scheme and the Leap card tax saver ticket plan which doesn’t have an extra cost for the employer to pay. With changes being made in the health sector, health insurance is something which is highly sought after currently with over 2.12 million people now availing of this insurance, and even with some providers offering a low cost family plan, it can often still be a cost that is out of the reach of the normal employee as the cost of living remains high.


Recent reports from health insurance experts and researchers suggest that as many as four out of five health insurance customers may be on the wrong plan, and thus paying more than necessary for their health insurance. Dermot Goode of has recently spoken out about this issue stating that over 80% of customers are on a plan that is too expensive and which does not truly give them the insurance cover they require despite the additional cost. Some of this can be put down to the digitalisation of consuming as a whole as generally people are going to their computers to input a light amount of data to compile a generic plan which is taken as the best option despite a hefty fee which might not entirely cover your necessities.


Goode has stated that “as consumers we need to be more proactive in terms of reviewing our cover properly to bag healthcare savings wherever possible.” This issue is a core one for employers who currently offer health insurance as part of their employment package as larger employers could be spending upwards of six figures to ensure cover for their employees, without knowing if these plans are appropriate or offer the necessary cover. There are a variety of schemes on offer to both families and employers and it would be wise to stay abreast of all changes in this sector to ensure that you as an employer or customer are truly getting the best value for money from your plan. This does require a bit of extra leg work in researching plans and deals but could potentially save your company thousands whilst still providing for your employees.


It has been reported that employer plans could potentially save up to 20%. Should you require any help or advice on your own or your company’s business and financial matters please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us here at DCA Accountants.


– – – – –



With the recent Mashable infographic shedding light on the fact that just 77% of Irish employees are satisfied with their work-life balance, we felt that it would be important to offer some tips to employees and employers on improving your work-life balance.


Judging by this infographic, Irish workers are by no means the most dissatisfied but is 77% really enough for Irish employers? Mexico log the greatest number of hours at 2,226 and boast 82% satisfaction, so before we hop onto the Netherlands job hunt or hot-foot it to Mexico, what can the Irish employer or employee do to increase satisfaction with our work-life balance?


The issue of work-life balance is an important one which if left unaddressed can lead to unhappy workers and by extension an unhappy working environment. Some key tips for improving your own balance and that of your employees are as follows:


  1. Take responsibility for your own work-life balance: If working demands begin to overwhelm you, it is important to speak up. As an employer this is when the importance of delegation arises.
  2. Make use of your lunch break: this might seem like an obvious one but there are a surprising number of us who regularly choose to eat our lunch at our desks whilst still working. When possible, make use of your lunch break and even take a walk to clear your mind and set yourself up for the rest of the day, you may even find yourself more productive after this time.
  3. Make use of your commute: If, like so many of us, you find yourself on some form of transport idly worrying about the day ahead, try making use of this time by either making a plan of your day or making a small start on some of your tasks. Having this time to focus may clear your mind so that when you step foot in the workplace you are prepared for the day.
  4. Don’t bring work home: Obviously, this is not always possible but when you can, it is important to draw a line between your working and personal lives which will see your rest time at home become more enjoyable and beneficial.
  5. Time your tasks: Giving yourself a set amount of time per task means less time wasted and will drastically increase your productivity giving you more time to utilise elsewhere.
  6. Schedule family time: If you feel that your working hours are consuming your entire day, step back and schedule some time for family and friends. This time will help you disconnect and remember all those important reasons why you go to work in the first place.
  7. Take up a hobby: Having a hobby is a great post-work stress reliever as is exercise. Focusing your energy on your other passions outside of work may be the boost your working life needs.
  8. Track your working hours: Make a note of your working hours in the office as well as those you spend working from home. Having a visual reference of this may help you better divide your time between working life and home life.
  9. Make plans: Whether it’s that holiday you’ve always wanted to take or simply a few days off to spend in the company of family and friends, having a plan gives you a distinct goal and something to work towards as well as look forward to.
  10. Switch Off: Unless waiting for something important, try not to consistently check your work emails. This is a big ask in today’s digital age but it something which can greatly improve your work-life balance and overall satisfaction.


Even reclaiming one hour per day for yourself outside of working hours can make a vast difference to your health and overall mood. In turn, this is beneficial to employers as a happy workforce will be a more productive workforce.