Fine Gael Meath East TD, Regina Doherty, has urged business to take advantage of an number of recent improvements and incentives designed to help businesses retain staff and take on new employees over the past year.
“Times are very challenging at the moment, and the Government has put in place a range of initiatives to set the scene for future growth.
“The Employment and Investment Incentive (EII) and Seed Capital Schemes replace the previous Business Expansion Scheme and Seed Capital Scheme and provide tax relief for investments in small and medium-sized enterprises. The new schemes provide relief for investments in companies operating in most sectors of the economy.”
Tax relief is also available for start-up companies and in addition to this, the Revenue Job Assist scheme is available to all employers who employ qualifying individuals who have been unemployed for at least 12 months. This scheme provides a double deduction from Income Tax and PRSI for employers. A deduction from Income Tax is also available for the employee. This scheme was extended in Finance Act 2012 such that individuals who are signing for PRSI credits can also qualify.
All companies in receipt of the R&D tax credit now have the option to use a portion of the credit to reward key employees who have been directly involved in the development of R&D. This option was introduced in order to help companies to retain key employees. It is envisaged that there would be no additional cost to the Exchequer as the bonus comes from the R&D credit already received by the company and the employee still pays the full tax liability on their other income. This change will be monitored closely and if abused will be removed.
The Finance (No. 2) Act 2011 provided for a second reduced VAT rate of 9% on a temporary basis in respect of certain tourism-related services and goods for the period 1 July 2011 to 31 December 2013. This measure is aimed at contributing towards boosting tourism and the creation of additional jobs in that sector. Initial analysis of the effectiveness of the 9% VAT rate indicates that employment numbers in the tourism and restaurant sector have increased, prices have reduced and Tourism Ireland is targeting growth in overseas visitor numbers in 2012.
In addition, the Department of Social Protection provides for the Employer Job (PRSI) Incentive Scheme. Under this scheme, if an employer takes on an additional member of staff in 2012 that has been unemployed for 6 months or more, an exemption from employers’ PRSI for 18 months is available. Primary responsibility for this incentive rests with the Minister for Social Protection.