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Brexit - The Urgent Need To Be Prepared

Brexit – The Urgent Need To Be Prepared

In another lifetime we spoke regularly about the looming threat to Irish business that was Brexit. With the Brexit date of January 1st now fast approaching, Brexit preparations join the long list of issues facing Irish businesses going forward. Irish businesses are currently under more pressure than ever before with the current Covid-19 crisis and with a recent survey by Enterprise Ireland finding that just 42% of businesses feel prepared for Brexit, the time to act and prepare is now.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has recently stated amidst negotiations that a failure for the EU and Britain to reach an agreement on post-Brexit trade would be “very, very damaging all-round”, and he re-positioned Brexit as an issue economically on par with Covid-19:

“We’ve all had a very significant shock to our economic system because of Covid-19, the last thing we need now across all of our respective economies is a second major shock”.

With this in mind, and despite all other issues currently facing us, we advise early preparation for Brexit, as it is essential to prepare as much as possible. As the relationship between Britain and Ireland is soon to change, there will now be additional hoops for Irish businesses to jump through in order to trade with Britain. This week we will step away from the usual topics associated with Covid-19 and focus on the issue of Brexit and ways in which Irish businesses can be Brexit ready.

EORI Number

As we have recently discussed, one of the most urgent steps that Irish businesses need to take ahead of Brexit is to register for an EORI (Economic Operators Registration and Identification) number. This number is essential for all businesses importing and exporting goods into the European Union. Applications are made through the Revenue Online System (ROS).

Brexit Readiness Checklist

A helpful way of ensuring you have all Brexit bases covered is to check in with your Local Enterprise Office and avail of their ‘Brexit Readiness Checklist’. This may assist you in identifying any areas of weakness that need to be addressed before January 1st and show you the steps that need to be taken to prepare your business for Brexit.

Customs Issues

One of the main changes which will arise on January 1st for Ireland is the new scenario of facing customs issues in trade between Ireland and Britain. As we have long relied on trade routes with Britain, this will be a major stumbling block to be prepared for and will require your product to be priced with this in mind.

The Clear Customs Virtual Training:

One major issue facing Irish trade with Britain going forward will be the issue of customs. As this will be an entirely new stumbling block between Britain and Ireland, it is advised to research and review any areas in which this may be an issue for your business. Many businesses may not deal with customs in house and will need training in this area.

With this area of confusion in mind, Skillnet Ireland has created a new free of charge online training programme (The Clear Customs Virtual Training Programme) to assist businesses in dealing with the increased customs requirements that will arise as a result of Brexit. Advance training will reduce the likelihood of delays and disruptions for customers and business owners.

The programme will be available to all eligible businesses and will be run as part of the “Getting Ireland Brexit Ready” initiative. Visit the Skillnet Ireland website for full information and criteria.

The Ready for Customs Grant:

Enterprise Irelands “Ready for Customs” grant has been set up to provide companies with the financial assistance they may require as a result of Brexit. Once Brexit occurs, companies may incur additional costs in hiring in house customs officials, mobilizing existing staff to other locations for customs related roles. The grant allows for €9,000 to be made available for each full-time employee as well as €4,500 available for each part-time employee. Repayment may be required if it is established that a customs role was not sustained. Applications will be accepted until December 15th via Enterprise Ireland’s online portal. Visit Enterprise Ireland’s website for full details and eligibility criteria.

Deferred Payments:

Deferred payment can be applied for via Revenue and can allow the deferral of the payment of import charges until the month following import. There may be other reliefs available to you, we advise researching via the Revenue site to see what is available.

Communication:

With the issue of customs, open communication will be key. Communicate with your courier’s & logistics carriers so that you have the full picture of your product’s journey going forward. In uncertain times, knowledge is key.

Funding

We have recently discussed the funding opportunities available to Irish SMEs due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and with Covid rightfully taking up so much airtime, it may slip the notice of many that there are still some funding options available to assist in the Brexit transition for Irish businesses.

Brexit Loan Scheme:

The Brexit Loan Scheme is operated by the SCBI (Strategic Bank Corporation of Ireland) and is intended to assist with liquidity issues that may arise as a result of Brexit and makes funds of up to €300 million available to Irish businesses. Applications can be made through the SCBI website.

Ready for Customs Grant:

The Ready for Customs Grant was announced in the July Jobs Stimulus Package. It was announced that Enterprise Ireland would manage a new fund to assist Irish businesses to increase their capacity to manage the new customs processes ahead. Eligible businesses should visit the Enterprise Ireland website for full information.

Brexit Information Hub

In terms of overarching preparedness, it is advised to visit the Government’s new Brexit Information Hub which is intended to help business prepare for Brexit and beyond. This new service is free of charge and provides information, resources and webinars for all businesses.

We hope that this information assists you in some way to get ready for these further business changes. As always, should you have any concerns or queries about these or any other business and financial issues, please don’t hesitate to contact us here at EcovisDCA where we remain open and ready to help. 

The SME Credit Guarantee Scheme

The SME Credit Guarantee Scheme

We have discussed Covid-19 business supports at length since the onset of this global emergency, while also discussing the vital nature of the SME area in Ireland. SMEs make up a huge portion of Irish businesses, and whilst last years looming Brexit panic may have seemed like an enormous threat to their business activities, this year has proven the ultimate challenge. With this in mind today we will be discussing another area of assistance for these types of businesses both in the wake of Covid and in the realm of what the new normal will look like.

The SME Credit Guarantee Scheme is intended to encourage additional lending to SMEs, something we can all agree is absolutely essential. This scheme offers a partial Government guarantee of 80% to banks against losses, essentially placing the Government as a guarantor against the SME’s loan. The scheme is aimed at SMEs facing difficulty in accessing traditional lending and is operated on behalf of the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SCBI) and is accessible from lenders such as AIB, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank. These loans are available to fund working capital, refinancing current Covid19 funding and also in order to invest in your business so it can adapt to the current emergency.

Loans range from €10,000 to €1million and can have a term of up to 7 years. A guaranteed premium will apply to be paid directly to the Government. The scheme is available until December 2020. We recommend checking in with your local banking branch for further information and eligibility requirements.

As always, we here at Ecovis DCA are available should you have any concerns or queries on any business or financial matters.

For more information visit Enterprise.gov.ie

Revenue Irish Tax Firm

Important Tax Deadlines 2020

We are living and working through some challenging times at present with a need to adjust to a ‘new normal’ which can be as difficult in the business world as it is in our home lives. As always, we here at Ecovis DCA want to help our clients and friends stay up to date, and have compiled the current tax return deadline changes we believe you may need to be aware of.

In light of the current public health situation, any shift in deadlines may make all the difference to your company. In addition to the below, it is worth noting that the HMRC are currently readying for Brexit, if your company has dealings with the United Kingdom, it would be wise to stay up to date on any changes here. In these volatile times, any shift in deadlines can be a massive boost to companies.

Income Tax:

The Government have recently stated that income tax will remain unchanged in the coming Budget. The deadline for self-assessed customers filing online will be extended from November 12th to December 10th.*

Corporation Tax:

Revenue recently announced a 4-week extension of the online filing system for Pay and File customers. The new date for customers submitting their 2019 self-assessment online will be Thursday, December 10th. Those not paying online must still file by October 31st. In addition to this change, Revenue has confirmed that the deadline for Corporate Tax return surcharge suspension will remain September 23rd.

Gift Tax:

Revenue has also announced that they will be extending the filing deadline for beneficiaries of gifts or inheritance for the year ending August 31st, 2020. This deadline has been shifted to December 10th for customers to make their CGT return, and as always this must be done via the Revenue Online System (ROS).

Local Property Tax:

For the third time, the reevaluation date for Local Property Tax has been deferred. The new date has been set as November 1st, 2021. This deferral is intended to bring forward legislation on the basis of fairness, bring new homes previously exempt into the system and to ensure that all monies collected in a given county will stay within that county.

Carbon Tax:

Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe has stated that he intends to repeat last year’s change to carbon tax and reinvest funds into areas that will assist with climate change.

*Please remember that these deadline extensions apply only to those filing online via ROS. If you are not filing online, your deadlines of October 31st will remain unchanged and failure to file on time may result in disciplinary action.

We hope that this information will be of use to you and that if these extensions are the wiggle room your company needs. As always, we here at Ecovis DCA are here for you. Should you require any assistance or guidance on any business or financial matters, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Research and Development (R&D) Credit: Appointment of expert to assist in audits

Revenue have recently released a manual setting out the Revenue procedure for appointing and briefing an independent expert to assist in evaluating the science test in R&D tax credit audits.

By way of background, each year, Revenue’s Incentives unit places an advertisement on the public procurement website, www.etenders.gov.ie1 , inviting applications for placement on a panel of experts to advise in relation to claims for tax credits in respect of incremental expenditure incurred wholly and exclusively on R&D.

Applications for membership of the panel will be accepted at any time during the year. In order, to be eligible to apply for a place on the panel, individuals must hold a relevant PhD or experiential equivalent. Where an independent expert is required in a field that is not represented on the panel formed from the above process, the Incentives unit will identify suitable experts and approach them with a view to their joining the panel.

The appropriate timing for appointing an independent expert will vary from case to case. In some cases, it will be necessary to appoint an independent expert at the outset of a review while in others one may only be required where Revenue and the company reach an impasse in relation to an aspect of the science test.

Independent experts should not be engaged to explain the science: they should only be engaged where there is a doubt that the science test has been met.

Full details of the manual and procedure can be found here

 

 

5 Tips for leading your company out of a crisis

Getting out of a crisis is difficult and requires extraordinary measures and great efforts from a company and its people. Since we’re here to help, we’ve listed 5 tips for leading your company out of a crisis or turnaround situation. Read on and make smart use of these tips.

1. Identify (and solve) the problem

The first step to overcoming a crisis is to identify the main problem that caused it. You can’t deal with a crisis until you determine its core issues. It can be caused by internal factors such as poor financial assistance by management accountants or external factors such as natural disasters like the COVID-19 pandemic. To solve the causes of underlying problems, you should analyze the common signs of distress listed below.

Distress signals

  • Declining or negative cash flow;
  • Declining stock price;
  • Regulatory inquiries;
  • Large or unplanned workforce reductions;
  • Increase in outstanding accounts payable;
  • Resignations of key finance staff;
  • Management turnover;
  • Shrinking EBITDA (Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) margin.

2. Find (and retain) talented people

One of the few good sides of a crisis is that the opportunity arises to find the next level of talent in an organization. As a turnaround manager, you should look beyond the leadership team for people with institutional knowledge. They know all the ins and outs of the company and are essential to realizing the impact of potential changes on the business. Be aware though, in many cases, they are the dissatisfied ones, unhappy with the company’s performance. But because of this, they are willing to point out the painful truths – and that’s just what needs to be done on the road to leading a company out of a crisis.

You should also keep an eye out for people that want to add value and impact. In most cases, you won’t find these people sitting around the table at the beginning, but two or three levels down – waiting for an opportunity to be part of something greater than themselves. Retaining these people isn’t always about money and bonuses: it’s about figuring out their individual needs and get them involved.

3. Approaching financial experts

A crisis is usually not the result of a single decision but an accumulation of multiple unsound decisions. Trying to deal with it by yourself and not asking for help can be an unsound decision. Financial advisors are adept at solving cash flow issues that are stifling the growth of an organization. Their strategies can be useful in a crisis scenario that requires you to make hard choices as well. Getting help from experts such as chartered accountants and business support advisors can lead your company out of a crisis.

4. Concentrate on cash

In general, the board and management of most companies focus on complex, long-term metrics like EBIT and turnover. There’s nothing wrong with that, but unpleasant surprises are waiting when no one is concentrating on cash, especially during a crisis. So, the opposite needs to be done to keep a company financially healthy. The best way of doing this is by finding out which investments are making or burning cash, and by subsequently bringing your business back to its fundamental element of success.

Monitoring your cash flow will help you understand your company’s income and expenses. Every asset the company owns, from investments, physical assets to services rendered should be numbered and assessed for monetary value. When going through a crisis, it is critical to make sure employee salaries, credit payments and invoice payments can be met. You should also consider loans to ease through the current deficit. But make sure to not burden yourself further since banks and other financial institutions charge high interest on loans.

5. Dare to criticise your own business plan

The best thing you can do to avoid distress is to periodically review your business plans and see how the company scores on operational and market performance. Find out where you stand as a company using essential financial and cash flow milestones, and do the same concerning your business and competitors. If that shows that you’re not moving with – or outpacing – the rest of the industry, then your business plan may be out-of-date.

Conclusion

According to recent reports, the corporate crisis has increased in Ireland due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic. Getting out of a crisis may take some time and effort since it can’t be controlled instantly. At last, don’t forget to analyze your past mistakes, get help from experts like business advisors and accountants, make an effective strategic plan and manage your company’s finances. By following the steps mentioned above, you will be able to recover and overcome the ongoing crisis.

Revenue Irish Tax Firm

Revenue Announce Measures during Covid 19 Outbreak

In recent days, the news around the spread of Covid-19 has become inescapable and naturally worrying for individuals, families and business owners. Here at EcovisDCA we have and will always be committed to providing SME and larger business owners with practical and useful advice to help their businesses survive and thrive, and we intend to continue that trend during this period of adversity and whatever aftermath lies ahead.

In the brief few minutes of the recent announcement by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar regarding the Covid 19 pandemic, it seems that Irish life and business life would be instantly changed. As all schools, childcare facilities and tourism sites would be closed for a period of at least 2 weeks, workers worried about their capacity to continue working. Following on from that, new social distancing recommendations suggesting that workers should work from home where possible and limit direct social contact in the form of group lunches and face-to-face meetings instantly changed how businesses would function in Ireland. Obviously, this is uncharted territory and something that wasn’t planned for in anyone’s business plan for 2020 so it is natural that the business landscape and our economy will suffer to some extent as a result. We here at EcovisDCA will be updating on any and all information pertaining to business life and any news that may light up the uncertain darkness we find ourselves in.

  • Due to the new recommendations and the concerns that workers had for their working capacity going forward, the Government and Revenue have announced updated advice to support workers and SMEs who may experience cashflow issues.
  • All debt enforcement activity is suspending until further notice.
  • The Relevant Contract Tax review due to take place this month is suspended until further notice.
  • A customs ‘green routing’ status will be given to critical pharmaceutical products and medicines.
  • Tax returns should continue to be sent on time.
  • Extended availability of Government subsidised or Government guaranteed loan finance will be offered to businesses affected by Covid 19.
  • Extended grant availability through Enterprise Ireland, Udaras na Gaeltachta and local Enterprise Offices specifically allocated for businesses affected by Covid 19.

Meanwhile, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank have also become the first banks to assure their customers that practices like deferrals will be put in place for mortgage holders who may find themselves unable to keep on top of their payments during this time.

For social welfare support for self-employed please click on the links to get the latest information from Revenue:

https://www.revenue.ie/en/corporate/press-office/press-releases/2020/pr-130320-revenue-announce-measures-to-assist-smes-experiencing-cashflow-difficulties-arising-from-covid-19.aspx

https://www.revenue.ie/en/corporate/press-office/press-releases/2020/pr-100320-engage-early-with-revenue-key-advice-to-businesses-experiencing-tax-payment-problems.aspx

Should you find that your business is beginning to struggle during this time, it is advisable that you contact Revenue directly to discuss your own specific case.

How to Release Cash Flow from your Business

Here at EcovisDCA we are constantly striving to ensure that our clients and friends have the most successful business and financial lives possible. We are not just a faceless company who talk the talk, we walk the walk. We know that your business is a labour of love and we endeavour to ensure the one-to-one advice and care you and your business deserve. With that in mind, we have decided to focus this week on ways in which you can release cash flow from your business. As you know, we are great supporters of Irish SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) and these businesses are often the first to suffer any ill-effects of a downturn and as such it is vital that they are protected. Cash doesn’t often flow readily in February after the excesses of the festive season and the January sales, so we are here to discuss the ways you can manage and release business cash flow.

Projections:

When projecting cash flow, the impulse is to assume regular income, however, the peaks and valleys of business life are often first seen through cashflow, so it is important to take this into account when projecting the year ahead regardless of the size or avenue of your business. Being armed with the knowledge of potential financial issues ahead and projecting a realistic cashflow cycle for the year ahead may allow you to avoid a cash shortage during tighter times.

Enforce Payment Terms:

The payment terms for your business should never be a casual affair, it is essential to create and enforce your payment terms. Create incentives for suppliers to meet your payment terms, and penalties for non-payment. It is worryingly becoming normal for payment terms and dates to be exceeded, if this becomes a problem, we advise strengthening these terms and consistently following up. Having suppliers be consistently late on payments can push you into debt. Enforcing terms will free up cash flow.

Marketing:

Marketing isn’t just a sales pitch; it is the creation of your brand and creates an image of your business in the minds of potential customers. It may seem counter intuitive to spew the adage “You have to spend money to make money” but in this case it is entirely true. Good or bad marketing can make or break your business, so it is worth investing time, money and resources in.

Keep it Simple:

Simplicity is often the key and we regularly find our cashflow tied up in long term projects which are offering no short-term return. Evaluate what are the essential projects your company is budgeted to work on and go from there. The same can be said for many business processes, are there ways your business can be more efficient, are you expending employee time in valuable or invaluable tasks?

Pay Debts:

Again, it seems counter-intuitive to insist on debt payment to release cash flow but once all company debt is paid, that cash becomes available and can be saved or re-invested into the business.

External Income:

Occasionally there will be times when it is not possible to finance your business internally. In these cases, applying to schemes, applying for grants or loans etc. can be the reason for the extended lifespan and rejuvenation of your company.

These are just a few of the ways in which you can better manage the cashflow of your business, should you have any concerns or questions about these or any business or financial matters, please do not hesitate to contact us here at EcovisDCA, where we will be happy to help.

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DCA PARTNERSDECLAN DOLAN & EAMONN GARVEY

Corporation Tax Statement of Particulars – Section 882 TCA 1997

Allow us to be Brief

Here at EcovisDCA it is always our top priority to ensure that our clients and friends are kept fully up to date on any and all issues that could be pertinent to the continued success of their thriving businesses. Today we will be focusing on a new update issued from Revenue which may have an effect on the registration status of some companies. On October 11th 2018, Revenue released a brief entitled “Corporation Tax Statement of Particulars – Section 882 TCA 1997”. The title isn’t exactly snappy or self-explanatory so we thought we would break down the details for you so that you can be fully informed.

As you are all aware, it is essential for all companies to register with the CRO (Companies Registration Office) this should be done immediately upon commencing trade operations. However, there are two other times that registration must take place which may be overlooked:

  • When a pertinent or material change in company details has occurred.
  • When issued with a notice to do so from a Revenue Inspector.

Therefore, it can be just as important to keep an accurate record of your business status with Revenue as it is to take that initial registration step. As these two conditions can sometimes be missed, issues have arisen which have required Revenue to issue notices. These notices concern companies who registered in 2017 but have yet to register their trading status with Revenue. It is essential that a reply is issued to this notice should you receive one, in order to provide an accurate update of your company’s status.

Should your company have begun trading, a tax registration will be required, as well as a notification of commencement. Details can be found on the Revenue website of what else may be required should trading have commenced.

Revenue also require a reply within 30 days detailing the company’s status in the event of any of the following:

  • The Company does not intend to trade.
  • The Company has not yet commenced trading but intends to do so.
  • The Company is non-resident by virtue of a Double Taxation Agreement.

This can all be done using the Revenue online services, which have vastly improved the usability and user-friendly status of dealing with these matters. As always, should you have any concerns or queries on any business or financial matters, please don’t hesitate to contact us we are always available to help.

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DCA PARTNERSDECLAN DOLAN & EAMONN GARVEY

Significant PAYE Changes Coming

Rolling with the Changes.

Following on from our recent series on modernisation, today we will be discussing some more imminent changes which are set to change the face of payroll as we know it. As you will all be aware, we here at EcovisDCA have long been great supporters of Irish SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises). As we have discussed in the past, SMEs now make up over half of all Irish businesses, so to say they now form the backbone of Irish business is no exaggeration. In the past we have spoken at length about new methods of funding available to these vital businesses as we continue to support their survival. This week we have decided to take a look at one major upcoming change which could have a large impact on SMEs and which they may need to begin planning for as soon as possible.

This year it was announced that the PAYE (Pay as You Earn) system would undergo what is likely the largest overhaul the system has experienced since it was introduced in 1960. These changes will have wide ranging effects on all businesses. Having remained largely unchanged for decades, the system is naturally due a major changes and such a large change could of course have detrimental effects on any smaller businesses who may not be as prepared as they could be. These changes are due to come into effect in January, so time is running out to get fully prepared. It is intended that these changes make the payroll process an easier task going forward as well as allowing any issues to be resolved more efficiently.

A survey commissioned recently by payroll software providers Big Red Cloud has discovered the worrying fact that a large number of SMEs do not feel prepared for these imminent changes. While many firms reported that they feel there isn’t enough clear information to hand, as many as 40% feel that they are unprepared and short on detail of how the changes will work in practise.

Rather than payroll information being logged yearly via a form, many of our current ‘P’ forms will become outdates, with data being instead inputted on a regular basis. This new system will require an update of company payroll software, with companies employing less than 9 people qualifying for free software. This is a major shift towards real-time electronic logging of data which will remove the need for the classic forms.

Big Red Cloud CEO Marc O’Dwyer has said of the company’s findings:

“As the year progresses, it is becoming increasingly apparent to us that, not only are many businesses not ready, many are simply unaware and/or uninformed of the changes and what they will mean for their business.”

Whilst Revenue Chairman Niall Cody has stated that the changes:

“Represent an important step in the continuous improvement in service […] businesses, particularly those at the smaller end of the scale will need some help to get there.”

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

Taxation of Vacant Lots

The vacant site register has become a hot topic of conversation in recent months as many of Ireland’s development firms have begun to fight back against their inclusion on the list. This register was introduced in 2017 in an attempt to deter the hoarding of land in areas that could be utilised for housing development. As we have spoken about recently, housing supply is running low as prices continue to soar so naturally the hoarding of land has become somewhat of a bone of contention.

One issue that development companies are fighting here is the financial cost. Once added to the register, the local council can issue levies of up to 3% of the site’s market value to the owner. The owner will then have 28 days to appeal their inclusion on the list, and failing this, appeal to An Bord Pleanála. This can of course add up to quite significant levies being applied, leading to a number of development firms currently fighting against their local councils to appeal their inclusion on the register including housebuilding giant Glenveagh Properties and Ziggurat, a big name in the student housing business.

According to studies completed by Fora, 39 cases have been appealed to the Board since the beginning of 2017, with 11 having come to an official decision, and only 3 being granted their wish of being removed from the list while 8 were decided to be kept on. Two of the overturned cases related to land owned by the Office of Public Works wherein it was decided that residential properties would not be an agreeable outcome for these sites.

Whilst the effectiveness has been called into question with so few councils taking the land hoarding situation seriously and what was described by Goodbody economist Dermot O’Leary as a “lack of urgency” it seems that there is still room for improvement. Recently, The Minister for Finance has appointed international economic consultancy firm Indecon to complete an independent review of the issue and begin to inform a new government policy in this area. There is currently a period of public consultation until June 29th, so be sure to make your voice heard if you have something to add, or other concerns regarding the taxation of vacant property. This is also an opportunity to suggest alternative options, should you have any in mind.

With housing in such short supply and with these issues being at the forefront of the public mind, this is sure to be an ongoing battle and concern. 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.

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DCA PARTNERSDECLAN DOLAN & EAMONN GARVEY