Reliefs being abolished – Budget 2011

ABOLITION OF RELIEFS (from 1 January 2011 unless
otherwise stated)
Rent Relief to be phased out over 8 years; the same timeline as previously announced for Mortgage Interest Relief.
Patent Royalty Exemption, effective from the launch of the National Recovery Plan on 24 November 2010.
Tax relief on Loans to Acquire an Interest in Certain Companies.
Abolition of tax relief for Trade Union Subscriptions.
Termination of the scheme of accelerated capital allowances for farmers who incur capital expenditure on farm buildings and structures for use in the control of pollution.
Tax exemption from BIK for Employer Provided Childcare.
Abolition of tax relief on subscriptions to professional bodies.
Capital expenditure on new machinery and plant for use in mining.
Approved Share Options Scheme, effective from the launch of the National Recovery Plan on 24 November 2010.
Tax relief for new shares purchased by employees.
Exemption from Tax in respect of grants or payments to the National Co-Operative Farm Relief Services Limited.

Reform of RCT (Relevant Contracts Tax) Budget 2011

The following changes are contained in Budget 2011

• Replacement of the current RCT rate of 35% with a tworate withholding system on a revenue neutral basis:
o 20% rate for subcontractors registered for tax with an established compliance record;
o 35% rate for subcontractors not registered for tax;

C2  registered subcontractors who, as before, are eligible to receive payments without deduction of RCT;

• Abolition of the monthly repayment system and replacement with an offset system;

• Strengthening of the reporting system for RCT Principals in order to enhance compliance and reduce the opportunities for fraud.

More complete details are expected in the Finance Bill which will clarify the criteria for the application of the 20% and 35 % rates. It should also contain more details on proposals to replace the current system of periodic repayments of RCT with a system of offsetting RCT against tax liabilities.

It should be noted that RCT may impact on many industry sectors, including the public sector and telecommunications industry. It is not always limited to the

traditional RCT industries of meat processing, construction and forestry

Pricing policy – Price as a measure of quality

On a recent podcast by Freakonomics radio the presenters discussed the how consumers allowed the price of a bottle of wine to affect their perceived taste. The best example of this was in a survey featured on the podcast.

A group of wine experts were given a taste test. They were told one bottle of wine cost $10 and one bottle cost $50. The price of each bottle was marked on it. The majority of tasters agreed that the $50 wine tasted better. Those giving the survey had lied bottles had cost $20. To further quantify this test the bottles of wine were switched and a new group of tasters brought in. Again they agreed that the $50 wine tasted better.

This survey shows in no uncertain terms that given the absence of other information consumers will use price as a measure of quality. An extremely important factor to consider when setting prices.

I’ve repeated that story from memory so the facts may vary slightly but the fundamental points are correct.

Budget 2011 passes through Dáil

Budget 2011, one of the toughest on record with €6bn in tax hikes and spending cuts, was passed in the Dáil last night with a comfortable majority for the Government.

The budget was passed after vote of 82 to 77 in favour of the financial measures.

Independents Michael Lowry and Jackie Healy-Rae both voted with the Government, as did former Fianna Fáil TD Joe Behan.

The vote was the first major hurdle for the budget but necessary legislation to push through some of its measures must now be passed in the Dáil. First up today is the Social Welfare Bill.

Last night, the IMF welcomed the approval of the budget.

It said, “This is a clear sign of Ireland’s strong commitment to tackle its problems and harness the impressive growth potential of this open and dynamic economy.”

A meeting has now been scheduled for Friday with managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn ready to return from Washington to chair. It is understood the Fund will consider its €22.5bn loan to Ireland at the meeting

Taken from

Universal Social Charge (USC)

In an effort to rationalise the taxation system to some extent the minister has decided to abolish health levy and income levy and replace them with a universal social charge. The universal social charge has been touted as revenue neutral but as I haven not made my calculations I cannot confirm that yet. While this will go some way towards simplifying the administration and understanding of the income tax system there is still a long way to go.

Details of the universal social charge rates and annual thresholds are below.

0% < €4,004

2% €0 to €10,036

4% €10,037 to €16,016

7% > €16,016

Standard rate tax bands 2011

As expected in todays budget the standard rate tax bands have been decreased. Details of the new tax bands are below.

Single/Widowed €36,400 €32,800
Married one income €45,400 €41,800
Married Two Incomes* €72,800 €65,600
One Parent/Widowed Parent €40,400 €36,800

Revenue defaulters list analysed – Results of Revenue Audits

The latest revenue defaulters list has been released for Quarter 3 2010

Outside of Dublin South eastern counties had the highlest levels of tax, fines and penalties collected through the revenue audit system with Waterford coming in at over €3M

In terms of occupation the old reliables are top of the list. With Company directors and farmers in the top 5 as always.

If you have issues in relation to a forthcoming revenue audit or are concerned about your status in relation to tax compliance its better to resolve the issues now before the revenue auditor comes knocking on your door. We can help please contact or 091 -442882 for further information

Destination reference is not valid in pivot table wizard

I was getting the following error in Excel 2010 today while trying to prepare a pivot table. “Data source reference is not valid”

When I copy and pasted the data into an entirely new worksheet it worked fine. The original spreadsheet was downloaded from the internet and it seems that excel throws up this error if you try to run the pivot table while the spreadsheet is stored in a temporary folder.

Hope this helps someone,

Are you wasting time on your accounts?

When I started out working for myself I was using a traditional accounting software package. I would key in all the clients bank transactions, purchase invoices, sales invoices ect. .  and then start my reconciling. The process was laborious and had the potential for human error so everything had to be checked twice.

After two months of this I discovered Xero. When I started using Xero I discovered I could import clients bank statements into the package, Albeit in a round about way it was still much faster and far more accurate than typing them in manually. Spurred on by this I then started using recurring invoices for sales and purchase invoices. (This isn’t an exclusive Xero feature. Most accountancy packages have this feature)

By making those two small changes I can almost double the amount of work I do in a normal working day. This allows me to reduce the amount I charge clients and spend more time giving them quality business information and advice.

If you would like to speak further about saving time and money on your accounts process please contact Ralph on 091-442009 or

Sage line 50 and Sage instant year end checklist

Running a year end in sage can be confusing and cause issues if not run correctly. The best option is to take it step by step

  1. As always first step is to back up Sage and print off a trial balance. Ensure all transactions for the year are posted  onto Sage. It will probably be some time after your year end before you are confident that all such transactions have been captured. Is is preferable not to post any transactions dated after the year end onto Sage.
  2. Run your normal month end procedure
  3. Check that Sage is set up with your correct year end date: Settings > Financial Year. This field is set to the year start month, rather than the year end month. You need to be careful when your period of account is not exactly 12 months.
  4. Change your program date to your year end date: Settings > Change Program Date.
  5. Reconcile all bank  accounts up to the year end date.
  6. Reconcile the VAT account up to the period end for which the last VAT return has been prepared.
  7. Make sure that all nominal accounts are included in the Profit & Loss Account or Balance Sheet, by checking entries in: Nominal > Chart of accounts > Edit > Check.
  8. Again back up your sage. Its important to name the back ups correctly and store some off site away from the PC for example in a drop box account. Also print out a hard copy reports ( including another year to date trial balance).
  9. Run the year end procedure via: Tools > Period End > Year End (checking that the disclosed Year End Journals date is your correct year end). On the bottom left there is an option to create a budget for the new year using the “Copy current year actuals” tick box
  10. If  you wish to compress your data, by removing the detail of all of the transactions for the year just ended, run: Tools > Period End > Clear Audit Trail (checking that the disclosed date is your year end). If sage is running fine and hard drive space are not compromised, its better to ignore this step and keep a higher level of historical data on Sage.
  11. Before posting new transactions, make sure that you are happy with the balances brought forward by running a trial balance.

If you require any asssistance with your financial year end we can help. Email or call us on 091-442882