UK BUDGET – AUTUMN 2018 – Stamp Duty and Land Tax



The Chancellor announced today that the government will extend first-time buyers relief to all first-time buyers of shared ownership properties in England and Northern Ireland.


The relief will not apply to purchases of properties valued over £500,000.


This amendment will apply to relevant transactions with an effective date of on or after 29th October 2018.  The measure will also apply retrospectively to transactions with effective dates on or after 22nd November 2017, which was the date first-time buyer’s relief was originally introduced.


The relief must be claimed in an SDLT Return or by amending an SDLT return which has already been filed.


For those who completed their transaction before 29th October 2018, the opportunity to amend their SDLT Return will be extended by a further 12 months until 28th October 2019.


A technical correction was included to extend the time frame in which the 3% SDLT on additional dwellings can be reclaimed.  This applies to situations where an individual sells his or her home within three years of making a replacement purchase.  The amendment, which comes into effect from 29th October 2018, extends the reclaim period from three to twelve months following the sale of the old home.






The Chancellor announced two key changes to Entrepreneurs’ Relief in today’s budget which will impact shareholders and business owners.



What is Entrepreneurs’ relief?

Entrepreneurs’ Relief reduces the rate of Capital Gains Tax on disposals of certain business assets from 20% to 10%.



What changes were introduced today?

 Today’s Budget introduced two new additional tests to be met:

  1. The First one which extends the qualifying holding period from one year to two years for disposals on or after 6th April 2019.  In other words, it increases the holding period for shares held by individual shareholders. Individuals will now be required to hold the shares for at least 24 months rather than the current 12 months before they can claim Entrepreneurs’ Relief on the disposal of their shares. This change will apply to disposals made on or after 6 April 2019.
  2. The second change immediately introduces two further tests that must be satisfied before Entrepreneurs’ Relief is available. These tests will require the claimant to have at least a 5% interest in both (a) the distributable profits and (b) the net assets on a winding up of the company. The measure will have effect for disposals on or after 29 October 2018.


What does the 5% Rule mean?

 The changes introduced in today’s Budget mean that along with existing conditions that an individual must hold at least 5% of the ordinary share capital and voting rights of a trading company, the individual must also be entitled to:

a)       5% of distributable profits and

b)       5% of assets available on a winding up of that company.




How is Entrepreneurs’ Relief affected by Dilution?

 As previously announced, the Government confirmed that legislation will be implemented from 6th April 2019 in relation to individuals’ shareholdings diluted below 5% as a result of a commercial cash investment.


These individuals will be able to elect to preserve their Entrepreneurs’ Relief on gains to the date of dilution by treating their shareholding as having been disposed of and simultaneously reacquired at market value at the time of dilution. Another way of looking at this is, under the new rules, a shareholder can elect to claim Entrepreneurs’ Relief on the capital gains accrued before dilution below 5%.  This is provided the dilution resulted from an issue of new shares for cash. The Entrepreneurs’ Relief will be claimed on the eventual disposal of those qualifying shares.  There is, of course, the prerequisite that the share issue has not occurred for the purposes of tax avoidance.


There will also be an election allowing the individual to defer any tax due until a future liquidity event.


It is important to keep in mind that this provision will also not be available if the percentage entitlement falls below 5% due to a part-disposal of shares.




What about Entrepreneurs’ Relief in situations where there has been a transfer of a business to a limited company?

 The changes to Entrepreneurs’ Relief introduced in today’s Budget will affect the availability of the relief on the sale of shares originally issued after the incorporation of a trade.


A transfer of a trade in exchange for shares in a trading company should benefit from Entrepreneurs’ Relief if the trade existed for at least two years prior to the date of incorporation.

Under the current regime the claimant was required to hold the resultant shares for at least two years prior to the date of disposal.


Therefore, this amendment to the Entrepreneurs’ Relief is deemed to benefit sole traders who incorporate the trade shortly before selling their business.



UK – AUTUMN BUDGET – CGT on Disposal of Principal Private Residence



Current UK Legislation

Principal Private Residence Relief (PPR) is a capital gains tax relief on the disposal of an individual’s only or main residence.


Under current U.K. legislation, an individual can claim relief for any period where the relevant property is deemed to be the individual’s “Principal Private Residence” (PPR).


The individual can claim Principal Private Residence relief for the final eighteen months of ownership providing the property had been that individual’s principal or main residence at any point during his or her ownership.  In other words, the final eighteen months always qualify for Principal Private Residence Relief even if the dwelling was no longer the individual’s only or main residence.


Lettings relief currently provides relief of up to £40,000 to individuals who let out a property which is or has been their main or principal residence.




Budget 2018 Amendments

The government proposes to make the following two changes with effect from April 2020:

1)      The Lettings Relief will be reformed so that it only applies where the owner of the property is in “shared-occupancy” with a tenant.  The relief can reduce the capital gain, per person, by up to £40,000, giving a potential tax saving of up to £11,200 (£40,000 x 28%) and

2)      The final period of exemption, which applies if a property has been an individual’s PPR at any point during their period of ownership, will be reduced from eighteen months to nine months.   There are no proposed amendments to the thirty six months that are available to disabled persons or those residing in a care home.

The government will consult on the proposed changes before legislating.


Government Building




The Minister for Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe T.D. delivered Budget 2019 today, 9th October 2018.




A number of changes aimed at easing the tax burden on low and middle income earners were announced in this year’s budget which include the following:




The income tax standard rate band will increase by €750 for a single earner.


This will raise the entry point to the 40% income tax rate

a)      from €34,550 to €35,300 for single earners and

b)      from €43,550 to €44,300 for married couples (with one earner).


The marginal rate of tax on income on earnings up to €70,044 per annum is now 48.5%.


The marginal rate of tax for those earning over €70,044 will remain at

a)      52% for employees and

b)      55% for self-employed individuals earning in excess of €100,000.




The 0% rate on BIK on electric cars has been extended to 2021 subject to a €50,000 cap in car value.




There will be a reduction in the third band of USC from 4.75% to 4.5%.

There will be an increase of €502 in the existing lower band of USC. This is worth a maximum of €139 per annum.   In other words, the band to which the 2% USC rate applies will be increased from €19,372 to €19,874.




There will be a €200 increase in the Earned Income Credit for the Self Employed from €1,150 to €1,350.

There will be a €300 increase in the home carer credit from €1,200 to €1,500.   This credit can be claimed by a jointly assessed couple where one spouse/civil partner works in the home to care for children or other dependents, as defined.




The weekly income threshold for the higher rate of employer’s PRSI will be increase from €376 per week (€19,552 per annum) to €386 per week (€20,072 per annum).

There will be a 0.1% increase in employers’ PRSI in 2019 from 10.85% to 10.95% and from 10.95 to 11.05% in 2020.


The National Training Fund Levy will increase from 0.8% to 0.9% from 1st January 2019. The levy forms part of employer’s PRSI for Class A and Class H employments.





There is strong reaffirmation of the Government’s long-term commitment to 12½% corporation tax rate.



Key Employee Engagement Programme (KEEP)

There are Increases to the KEEP scheme. The scheme provides for tax relief for certain share remuneration provided to key employees by unquoted SMEs. The three separate amendments are as follows:

  1. The ceiling on the maximum annual market value of shares that can be awarded must equate to the full amount of the employee’s salary.
  2. A replacement of the three-year limit with a lifetime limit.
  3. An increase in the value of shares granted under the scheme from €250,000 to €300,000.


Further clarification on these measures is expected in the forthcoming Finance Bill.



Film Relief

Film relief, which was due to expire at the end of 2020, has been extended until 2024.



Three Year Start Up relief

The Start up Relief from corporation tax has been extended until end of 2021.



Controlled Foreign Company (CFC) rules

Controlled foreign corporation rules are to take effect from 1st Jan 2019.



Capital Gains Tax Exit Tax

CGT Exit Tax at 12½% is to apply from midnight on 9th October 2018 for companies ceasing to be Irish tax resident on any unrealised capital gains arising as well as in situations where the company transfers assets out the State.  This new exit tax regime is to ensure compliance with the EU Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive (ATAD) by 1st January 2020.






Income averaging

The Minister has proposed removing the restriction on income averaging for farmers with income from a non-farming source.


The current situation is that where a farmer or his/her spouse

a)      carries out another trade or profession or

b)      owns more than 25% of the share capital of a trading company

then they cannot avail of the income averaging provisions.



Stamp Duty Relief for Young Trained Farmers

The Young Trained Farmer Stamp Duty Relief which was due to expire at the end of 2018 will be extended for a further three years to 31st December 2021.



Stock Relief

The current stock relief measures will be extended for a further 3 years up to and including 31st  December 2021.






Interest relief for landlords

Interest relief on loans used to purchase, improve or repair a rental property will be increased from 85% in 2018 to 100% in 2019.



Review of local property tax

Any future changes will be moderate and affordable.






The Minister confirmed that the reduced 9% VAT rate which applies to certain tourism activities will be increased 13½% from 1st January 2019.


The 9% VAT rate which applies to the provision of facilities for taking part in sporting activities is being retained.


The 9% VAT rate which applies to certain printed matter  will also be retained, e.g. newspapers


The VAT rate on e-books and electronically supplied newspapers will be reduced from 23% to 9% with effect from 1st January 2019.







CAT Threshold

The CAT Group A tax free threshold has been increased to €320,000 for gifts and inheritances received on or after 10th October 2018.

Group A generally applies to gifts and inheritances from parents to their children.




Additional Measures

  • The VRT relief available for hybrid vehicles including plug-in electric hybrids is being extended for one year i.e. until 31st December 2019.
  • A 1% VRT surcharge will apply to diesel engine passenger vehicles registered in Ireland from 1st January 2019.  This VRT rate is being introduced across all VRT bands.
  • Betting Duty on bets entered into by a bookmaker with an individual in Ireland will be increased from 1% to 2% effective from 1st January 2019.
  • From 1st January 2019, the duty on commissions earned by betting exchanges or intermediaries which are used by persons in Ireland will be increased from 15% to 25%.
  • The measure to allow accelerated capital allowances for employer provided fitness and childcare facilities, as introduced by Finance Bill 2017, will now take effect from 1st January 2019.
  • An accelerated capital allowances scheme will be introduced for refuelling equipment and gas propelled vehicles.






VAT treatment of virtual currencies and transactions – GERMANY



On 27th February 2018, the Germany‘s Federal Ministry of Finance (MOF) issued guidance clarifying the VAT treatment of bitcoins and other “virtual currencies.”


It determined that although transactions to exchange a traditional currency for a virtual currency and vice versa were deemed to be a “taxable supply” these transaction are considered to be VAT exempt.


The guidance confirms that Germany will not impose a VAT charge in circumstances where the virtual currency is a substitute for a traditional currency and is used merely as a form of payment.


This guidance is in line with the ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU)— Hedqvist (C-264/14, 22nd October 2015).

Revenue Investigations for Airbnb Hosts




  1. Are you letting a property through Airbnb?
  2. Have you recently received a Letter from Revenue advising you that your tax affairs are “under investigation”?
  3. Do you believe that you may be at risk of a Revenue Investigation?


The Irish Revenue is cracking down on anyone who has a listing on the accommodation website Airbnb.

It appears that Revenue is focusing on the tax years 2014, 2015 and 2016 but please be aware, Revenue have the legislative powers to extend the scope of their investigation to include previous years.


So, what does that potentially mean for a Tax Payer?

Once the Tax Payer receives a Notice of Investigation the option to make a voluntary disclosure no longer exists.

Previously unreported income from the letting of property via an accommodation website such as Airbnb will be liable to interest and penalties with potential publication of the Tax Payer’s name on the defaulters list.


What should the Tax Payer do?

If you haven’t received a Notice of Investigation, then you should file the relevant Income Tax Returns NOW.  If you have already filed tax returns for 2014, 2015 and 2016, you should make the necessary amendments to those forms as soon as possible.

If you file your Tax Returns immediately you are reducing the risk of being selected for a Revenue Investigation.


What should the Tax Payer include in his/her Return?

Your Rental Profit is liable to Income Tax, PRSI and Universal Social Charge.

The profit is arrived at by reducing your “Rents Receivable” figure by expenses which are wholly and exclusively incurred for the purpose of your business which include:

• Repairs and Maintenance including decorating, laundry and cleaning.

• Airbnb fees/commission

• Insurance

• Legal fees

• Accountancy / Taxation Fees

• Advertising Costs

• Utilities



Non-allowable expenses include:

• Food

• Commuting/Travel



Recent Revenue eBrief

Revenue eBrief No. 59/18 was published on 17th April 2018 in relation to the Tax treatment of income arising from the provision of short-term accommodation:


This comprehensive and detailed guidance material differentiated between frequent hosting and occasional hosting:


Frequent Hosting – Schedule D Case I

If the property is expected to be available for rent on a frequent and/or regular basis as opposed to a once-off or occasional basis then any profits arising from the provision of the accommodation will be liable to Income Tax under Case I Schedule D.


Allowable Case I Expenses:

  • Capital allowances – The annual wear & tear allowance of 12½% for plant and machinery used for the purposes of a trade e.g. furniture and fixtures.
  • Pre-trading expenses – expenses incurred up to three years prior to the date of commencement of a trade are completely tax deductible where the expenditure would be deductible had it been incurred after the trade commenced. Examples include the cost of painting or wall papering a room or purchasing towels and bed linen in advance of the guest accommodation being put into use for the first time.
  • Expenses wholly and exclusively expended carrying on a trade


Occasional Hosting – Schedule D Case IV

If the property is let only on an occasional or infrequent basis then the profits generated will be taxed under Schedule D Case IV.

Allowable Case IV Expenses:

  • No Capital Allowances
  • No Pre-trading expenses
  • Annual costs with a property will not be permitted such as the Television licence, Insurance, etc.



Additional Tax Issues to Watch Out for

VAT @ 9% could arise if your turnover figure is greater than €37,500.  Please be aware that the VAT registration is based on Turnover (i.e. what you received in rental income) and not Profit (i.e. the difference between your rental income and the allowable expenditure).


In the event of a subsequent sale of this property, since it won’t have qualified as your home for the entire period of ownership, you may not be entitled to the full CGT exemption afforded by Principal Private Residence Relief.



What to do Next

If any of this post has affected you and you’re worried about a potential tax liability or Revenue Investigation, please don’t hesitate to contact us to see what we can do for You.




Zero-rated GST implemented in Malaysia



According to Malaysia’s Ministry of Finance, the supply of goods and services made in Malaysia will now be subject to the zero rated Goods and Services Tax (GST) effective from 1st June 2018.  The “Goods and Service Tax (Rate of Tax) (Amendment) Order 2018” amends the rate of tax on the supply of goods or services as well as on the importation of goods from 6% to 0%.


Please be aware that the zero rating will not apply to the supply of goods and services listed under the Goods and Services Tax (Exempt Supply) Order 2014.  These goods and services will remain exempt from GST.


All persons registered for GST (Goods & Services Tax) must comply with the new legislation in relation to zero rating but will continue to be governed by the current regulations with regard to invoicing, filing and claiming input tax credits.


GST registered persons must continue to ensure that the pricing of goods and services provided adheres to the Price control and Anti-Profiteering Act 2011.

VAT Treatment of Staff Secondments (Ireland)



Revenue eBrief 66/18, published on 23rd April 2018, contained guidance on the VAT treatment of staff secondments to companies established in Ireland from related foreign companies.


These guidance notes confirm that staff secondments are subject to VAT at the standard rate, being 23%. This applies even where both companies are connected and members of an international group.  Revenue, however, have provided a concession whereby VAT will not be charged on payments in relation to the seconded staff provided that correct Irish PAYE and PRSI have been operated on these payments.



This concessionary treatment will only apply in situations where the staff members are seconded from a company established outside Ireland but which is part of the same corporate group as the recipient company and where the staff are seconded to an Irish established company or an Irish branch of a foreign company. In addition, the Irish company to which the employee is seconded must exercise control over the performance of his/her duties or the secondee must effectively have managerial responsibility for the operation of the Irish company or Irish branch. Finally, the PAYE and PRSI liabilities relating to the payments to the seconded employee must be paid over to the Irish Revenue in a timely manner.


If the company sending the employee does not charge in excess of the emoluments paid then no VAT liability will arise.  However, where the company sending the employee charges the Irish company an amount which is in excess of the amounts payable to the employee, then the excess will be subject to VAT in the hands of the Irish company engaging the employee on the “reverse charge basis.”


Tax Treatment for short term rentals e.g. through online accommodation booking sites




Yesterday, Revenue eBrief No. 59/18 was published.


This comprehensive nine page document outlines the tax treatment for income arising from the provision of short-term accommodation:


short term letting is defined as a letting of all or part of a house, apartment or other similar establishment:

- to a tourist, holidaymaker or other visitor
- for a period which does not exceed or is unlikely to exceed 8 consecutive weeks


There are a number of different circumstances which will be covered by this new guidance material including

(i) persons staying in hotels, guesthouses, B&Bs, hostels, etc.,
(ii) persons either sharing a property with the owner or occupying the whole property for a short period of stay or
(iii) persons occupying self-catering holiday accommodation for short periods


If your rental income meets the criteria outlined in this document, you could be looking at an obligation to register for VAT depending on your turnover as well compliance obligations under Cases I or IV Schedule D.  In addition to the annual tax on the rental profits and the potential VAT exposure, you could encounter a Capital Gains Tax liability on the sale of the property generating this rental income which might otherwise have been tax exempt.


This document has clarified situations where Rent-a-Room Relief will not be available.  Specifically if you are someone who rents out one or more rooms in your home through online accommodation booking sites you will not be entitled to the Rent-a-Room Relief.  Instead you may be treated as if you are carrying on a trade with an obligation to register and account for Income Tax and/or VAT.


If you provide short term rentals to tourists, guests or visitors where the room or property is available for rent on a regular or frequent basis with a view to making a profit and involves you, the owner, carrying out some or all of  the following activities then you may be deemed to be carrying on a trade and if so, this document is relevant to you:

  1. Advertising the property online on accommodation booking websites
  2. Dealing with booking enquiries, reservations and payments
  3. Arranging for cleaning, laundry and maintenance during and between lets
  4. Providing meals
  5. Providing information to visitors about local tourist attractions, restaurants etc.
  6. paying staff to provide such services, etc.


According to this document:

“The provision of traditional short-term guest accommodation in hotels, guesthouses, B&Bs and hostels will generally constitute a trade. Persons who provide short-term guest accommodation, either in their home or in another property owned by them, will only be trading to the extent the activity is sufficiently frequent and regular and is carried on a commercial basis and with a view to the realisation of profit.”


If you are renting out a room in your own home or an entire property using an online accommodation booking site and you are unsure of the correct tax treatment pertaining to your situation, why not contact us to discuss the matter further.

VAT Amendments – South African Budget 2018


globe on newspaper2

On Budget Day, 21st February 2018, the South African Minister for Finance released updated draft regulations in relation to VAT levied on electronic services provided by foreign businesses.  The aim is to extend the definition of “electronic services” to include “any service supplied by means of an electronic agent, electronic communication or the internet…”


If enacted, the amended draft regulations could result in a significant overhaul of the VAT treatment electronic services.


In 2014 Section 89 of the Value Added Tax Act 1991 was amended.  From 1st June 2014 on-wards the definition of “enterprise” was to include in the supply of electronic services provided by foreign suppliers to recipients within South Africa. As a result, non-resident suppliers of these services were required to register for VAT where their supplies exceeded the threshold amount of R50 000 in a twelve month period.


The amendments proposed in this Budget, which should take effect from 1st October 2018, include the following:

  • Repealing the current Regulation – This would allow for the deletion of the specific types of services currently outlined as “electronic services” and
  • Revising the definition of “electronic services” to effectively include any type of service supplied electronically with the exception of telecommunication services and educational services provided by a person who is regulated by an educational authority in a foreign jurisdiction.


This new definition will bring into the South African VAT regime; foreign suppliers whose services were previously outside its scope including online advertising, broadcasting, cloud computing, access to databases and information systems, etc.


The VAT Act does not, however, distinguish between Business to Business (B2B) supplies and supplies made directly to South African consumers (B2C). This will have a significant impact on the tax compliance burden for foreign suppliers who supply services electronically into South Africa as well as for the South African Revenue Service.


Amendments have been proposed for intermediaries and platforms to be allowed to register as vendors.  This will enable them to account for the VAT arising on sales made through such platforms providing the platform or intermediary facilitates the supply and assumes responsibility for the issuing of invoices and collection of the associated payments.


The National Treasury has allowed until 22nd March to provide comments.  Following which, if the proposed amendments are enacted they will become effective from 1st October 2018.