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MAXIMUM ALLOWABLE PENSION FUND

In addition to the recent imposition of the Pension Levy, the Finance Bill 2011 reduced the maximum pension fund size. The maximum allowable pension fund on retirement for tax purposes (known as the Standard Fund Threshold (SFT)), has been reduced from €5.4 million to €2.3 million.

TAX ON PROFESSIONAL SUBSCRIPTIONS

For the tax years 2004 to 2010, expenses incurred by an employer on behalf of an employee in connection with the payment (or reimbursement) of annual membership fees of a professional body were exempt from tax where such membership was regarded as “relevant to the business” of the employer.

Finance Act 2011 stated that this tax exemption is not available for the tax year 2011 and subsequent tax years.

TAX EXEMPTION FOR NEW START-UP COMPANIES

The Revenue Commissioners have issued the following guidance to the tax exemption for new startup companies:

1. Introduction

Tax Briefing Issue 06/10, issued in June 2010, highlighted the availability of relief from corporation tax for new start-up companies under the provisions of section 486C of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997. The article set out details of the scheme of relief which applies for the first 3 years of trading and indicates the maximum and marginal tax-exempt amounts allowable, the time limits for the relief and the provisions relating to the de minimis grant aid requirements.

2. Changes introduced in Finance Act 2011

Section 34 of the Finance Act 2011 provides for the extension of the 3-year tax relief for start-up companies to those companies which commence a trade in 2011. It also modifies the existing relief so that the value of the relief will be linked to the amount of employers’ PRSI paid by a company in an accounting period, subject to a maximum of €5,000 per employee and an overall limit of €40,000. Credit is also given for any employers’ PRSI exempted under the Employer Job (PRSI) Incentive Scheme in respect of a company’s employees in determining the amount of corporation tax relief available to the company. The purpose of these changes is to better target the relief at start-up companies generating employment.

The Finance Act changes mean that where the total corporation tax payable by a qualifying start-up company for an accounting period does not exceed €40,000, the aggregate amount of corporation tax referable to income and gains [1] of the qualifying trade in that period will be reduced to nil or, if greater, to that aggregate as reduced by the amount of qualifying Employers’ PRSI. Where the total corporation tax payable exceeds €40,000 but does not exceed €60,000, the aggregate amount of corporation tax referable to income and gains [1] of the qualifying trade will be reduced to an amount as calculated in accordance with the existing marginal relief formula or, if greater, to that aggregate as reduced by the amount of qualifying Employers’ PRSI. For accounting periods of less than 12 months, the various limits are proportionately reduced. Some examples of how the modified relief is computed are given below.

To ensure that the scheme is focussed appropriately on new business activities, the section contains a provision which excludes from relief a trade set up by a new company, the activities of which, if carried on a by an associated company of the new company, would form part of an existing trade carried on by that associated company.

The changes introduced in Finance Act 2011 apply to all qualifying companies for accounting periods beginning on or after 1 January 2011. However, companies which set up and commenced a qualifying trade in 2009 or in 2010 will be able to obtain relief on the previous (i.e. pre-Finance Act 2011) basis for profits earned in accounting periods commencing before 2011.

3. Examples

N.B. – In the examples below it is assumed that the corporation tax referable to income from the qualifying trade represents total corporation tax payable for the accounting period before relief under section 486C.

Example 1

Company A accounting period ending 31/12/11

Corporation Tax referable to income from qualifying trade: €20,000

Employee Details Employers’ PRSI paid in accounting period
Employee 1: €2,000
Employee 2: €3,000
Employee 3: €6,000 [capped at €5,000]
Total Employers’ PRSI contribution: €11,000

Qualifying Employers PRSI paid in accounting period: €10,000

Relief available under section 486C: €10,000

Example 2

Company B accounting period ending 31/12/11

Corporation Tax referable to income from qualifying trade: €20,000

Employee Details Employers’ PRSI paid in accounting period
Employee 1: €4,000
Employee 2: €4,000
Employee 3: €5,000
Employee 4: €4,000
Employee 5: €4,000
Employees [Job Incentive Scheme] Amount Exempted
Employee 6: €2,000
Employee 7: €2,000
Total Employers’ PRSI contribution: €25,000

Qualifying Employers PRSI paid in accounting period: €25,000

Relief available under section 486C: €20,000 [maximum relief available]

Example 3

Company C accounting period ending 31/12/11

Corporation Tax referable to income from qualifying trade: €50,000

Employee Details Employers’ PRSI paid in accounting period
As per Example 2: As per Example 2
Total Employers’ PRSI contribution: €25,000

Qualifying Employers PRSI paid in accounting period: €25,000

Relief available under section 486C

Marginal relief applies – corporation tax payable reduced to greater of:

a) €50,000 less qualifying Employers’ PRSI paid and

b) amount per formula 3 * (€50,000 – €40,000)

Corporation tax payable reduced to (b) above i.e. €30,000

Relief available under section 486C: €20,000

If you require advice on this or other Corporation tax issues , please contact Anthony Casey.

RESTRICTION OF PROPERTY BASED ALLOWANCES DEFERRED

The Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan has today published the Finance Bill 2011. The Ministers speech and the Bill itself can be found here

A key provision of the Budget – the restriction of property based Capital Allowances has been deferred until ‘the next tax year’ pending the publication of an economic impact assessment of the changes. All that lobbying paid off!

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