News

Self-Employed to receive Illness Benefit from December 2017

For the first time, the Self-Employed will be entitled to sick pay in the event of illness or injury from the 1st of December 2017. This will benefit some 326,000 Self-Employed people here in Ireland, providing them with the safety net of a State supported income.

The illness benefit or invalidity pension is paid weekly at a rate of €198.50, with the possibility of increases for a dependent adult and dependent children. It’s provided to those who cannot work due to long term illness or disability and is not means tested, but is taxable.

It is expected to benefit the Self-Employed, such as small business owners, farmers, tradespeople, freelancers, contractors and professionals. It is also expected to cost the state somewhere in the region of €23 million in 2018. To plan for this, it is thought that the rate of PRSI which stands at a rate of 4% would have to be increased to cover the cost of extending the benefit. However, the Minister for Social Protection, Regina Doherty, confirmed that the rate will remain at 4%.

The Self-employed who now seem themselves out of work due to illness, will now be able to claim the benefit, provided they have paid the relevant number of PRSI contributions. Minister Regina Doherty said this was in line with the Government’ policy of encouraging Self-Employment and Entrepreneurship, making it pay.

“This measure will give the self-employed access to the safety-net of State income supports if they have a serious illness or injury that prevents them from working. It is based solely on their PRSI contributions, it is not means assessed and whatever savings or assets they have will not affect their payment. Similarly, if their partner is working, that income will not affect the payment of the invalidity pension.”

Self-employed workers pay PRSI at a rate of 4 per cent, typically less than that of employees (4%+ employer’s PRSI @10.75%). To qualify for the payment, applicants will need 260 PRSI paid contributions (Class A, E, H or S) since they started paying social insurance and 48 PRSI paid or credited contributions (Class A, E, H or S) in the last complete contribution year or the second last contribution year before the date of their claim.

Successful applicants for the benefit/pension will also receive a free travel pass, which is not means tested and may also qualify for other benefits, such as the Household Benefits Package, which is means tested.

Right now, the Self-Employed already receive benefits such as maternity and paternity leave and the state pension. Earlier this year, they had also received access to the Treatment Benefit Scheme, which is inclusive of free eye tests, dental examinations and contributions towards the cost of hearing aids. These additional benefits have been provided from October 2017 for both Employees and the Self-Employed. The Self-Employed will also pay on average, €200 less tax in 2018, following an increase in the earned income credit, from €950 to €1150 in October’s budget.

News

BRIAN KEEGAN: Self-employed can’t afford to be sloppy with…

Monday, November 13, 2017 http://www.irishexaminer.com/business/columnists/brian-keegan/self-employed-cant-afford-to-be-sloppy-with-tax-462739.html

They pay more but self-employed must still comply, writes Brian Keegan

It’s income tax return filing season and this week is the critical week. The returns of income which Revenue expect to receive between now and November 16 are largely made by the self-employed. The tax affairs of employees are mostly handled through PAYE. But tax is full of rules to catch out the unwary.

Opening a foreign bank account means a person must send in a return of income, even if they’re not self-employed. So, too, must someone who received a benefit from their employer in the form of shares during the year. Proprietary directors — those with more than a 15% shareholding — even if all their income is taxed under PAYE, must file a return. Such exceptions aside, PAYE workers don’t usually have to complete income tax returns. But it’s a must for anyone self-employed – whether you’re trading, like wholesalers and retailers, or providing services; like doctors, engineers, solicitors or accountants.

Anyone who’s not familiar with the tax system and the way it mangles otherwise ordinary and harmless words could understandably be puzzled by some of the questions asked and details demanded on the tax return. That’s because, first and foremost, a tax return is a legal document. It is designed to leave Revenue in a position to take legal action against you if you get it wrong, just as much as it is designed for them to collect the information they need to work out your tax bill.

The tax take from the self-employed is critically important to the national finances. While most income tax comes from employees through the PAYE system, or from withholding systems like the DIRT tax levied on the interest earned on savings, the self-employed pay significant amounts in taxes each year. Every month about €1.5bn of income tax flows into the national coffers. This month that amount should double due to the contribution of the self-employed.

While it may be an advantage not having to suffer PAYE throughout the year and make a tax payment in one lump sum, the tax system is harsher on the self-employed, in comparison with how employees are treated. The self-employed tend to pay more tax than employees on similar earnings, because the PAYE tax credit of €1,650 is higher than the earned income credit for 2017 of €950.

High earning self-employed people pay USC at a rate of 11% on income over €100,000 – the employee rate stays at 8%. On the other end of the scale, a minimum PRSI contribution of €500 means that the effective PRSI rate on low incomes is far higher than the 4% paid almost universally by employees. It’s unjust to tax people by reference to how they earn their money, rather than by reference to how much they earn.

The key thing, however, for self-employed people this week is to manage the exposure to tax penalties, interest and surcharges by making sure the income return is filed on time. A late return will add 5% or even 10% to the tax bill as a surcharge. Late payments attract interest charges. Even if it’s not possible to make the full payment due, make sure Revenue receive the return. Most back taxes, interest and penalties become due because people are inattentive or careless rather than fraudulent.

Brian Keegan is director of public policy and taxation at Chartered Accountants Ireland.

News

Accounting Pro Ireland Discounted Healthcare service

Accounting Pro provides Healthcare to our PAYE Umbrella and Personal Limited company contractors at a discounted rate. This means you can avail of a discounted rate which will be significantly cheaper than any quote you could achieve yourself.

You can avail of LAYA schemes such as:
Flex 375 schemes (Explore, Plus & Choice)
Flex 500 schemes (Explore, Plus & Choice)
Advantage 375 schemes (Explore, Plus & Choice)
Advantage 500 schemes (Explore, Plus & Choice)
Simply Connect

There are also other related offers:
Corporate Member Discounts:
35% corporate discount on our Laya multi trip travel insurance http://www.layatravelinsurance.ie/?discount=laya35&oid=LAYA01
discounts on teeth whitening and laser eye surgery
Laya Life insurance discounts https://www.layalifeinsurance.ie/
Care on call – https://www.careoncall.ie/pages/laya/how_it_works
FREE Heart Screening every 2 years (exclusive to Laya healthcare members) – Heartbeat screening https://www.layahealthcare.ie/
Full cover for Orthopaedic and Ophthalmic procedures in private hospitals – we are currently the only health insurer in the market providing this cover

LAYA have also just launched a new claims app. They are the only provider on the market offering this service. Basically, you can take a picture of your receipt using your smartphone, send it to Laya using the app, within 48 hours they will process your claim and within 5 working days the refund will be sent to your bank account! There are no restrictions on when you can send your receipts during the year.

Claims app https://www.layahealthcare.ie/layaclaimsapp/

LAYA advise that all new joiners will be covered immediately for all new conditions, and will not have to serve the 26 week waiting period.

https://www.layahealthcare.ie/productsandservices/waitingperiods/

To learn more OR to access our discount code please contact us on info@accounting-pro.ie OR call 061 518 274

News

Net Pay Calculator

Today, a Net Pay Calculator was published to Accounting Pro. The calculator can be found @ https://accounting-pro.ie/calculator/ It comes with a disclaimer, it is a rough guide outlining your potential Net Pay. The intent is to show contractors and ltd owners what they could take home, but we aim to seek out additional tax reliefs and entitlements for each contractor on a case by case basis.

It is apart of our service offering and in time, will be rolled out as part of a Windows, iPhone, Android application available to all clients of Accounting Pro, which will streamline our services and make life more convenient when it comes to submitting time sheets and expenses.

So keep an eye out for future developments on cross platform desktop and mobile applications, which will expedite our services.

News

Persistence

By Damien Hunter – Accounting Pro

I’m not writing to share knowledge, but some experience and even less wisdom. I obtained my Honours Degree in Software Engineering many years ago and upon setting foot into the real world, work was difficult to find. I did what I could, starting from the absolute bottom, offering what knowledge I did have to do odd jobs for friends and family, eventually landing a role in IT Repairs and Sales. Like building a house, I used what I learned to build on my experience in the industry, working my way from a small beginning all the way to working with companies such as Yahoo, IBM and HP, even if they were contract roles.

I’ll never invalidate the experience I gained through any means necessary to get me where I wound up and I certainly won’t invalidate the experiences of other in relation to their ongoing path through life. I do think that working hard from the bottom gave me perspective on persistence.

When I finished up in HP, I found it difficult to gain another role in IT. I tried and tried and tried, but maybe not hard enough. In the free time I did have, it allowed me to think and evaluate my life. I will always love IT and Computer Hardware as my first passion, but I also have an interest in Finance, Accounting and Taxation, especially with a focus on the Farming Industry. I suppose if I were to work in Accountancy, assisting Farmers, it may feed into my love of Farm Machinery, including the Massey Ferguson and other Vintage Equipment. I took on a course in Accounting and Business designed by the CPA Ireland. I also decided to up skill with evening courses in Payroll.

And, as the title suggests, I persisted and persisted and in time my persistence paid off. I’m now working with Accounting Pro as an Accounts Executive. It’s a great place to work and it is dynamic and fast paced. It trusts you to back yourself and to take on responsibility. It is going places in terms of national and international growth and has opened an office in London with plans to move to Europe in 2018. My persistence paid off and has allowed me to do and learn so much in the last month, something I will continue to do in the coming months and years.

News

Finding A Good Accountant In Ireland

The author of this opinion piece is the owner of a successful international business and has over 10 years experience in the social media business. The author has requested that the piece is published without being named.

From experience and hearing some disaster stories from Irish businesses over the last number of years (post-recession), here are a few things to consider asking yourself before committing to someone with you and your business money.

How competent are they?

Due diligence goes both ways for a client and a service provider, in any industry.

Do your homework at the companies house, Solocheck.ie, business owner referrals and good old fashioned picking up the phone for a chat one-to-one with them.

How do they bill for their fees?

In most cases people will avoid any service provider these days who bill by the hour.

A flat, transparent monthly or yearly fee agreed upon in advance for what is needed is less stressful and fair to both parties.

Are they trustworthy?

The horror stories out there about Irish accountants are told all too often but it is important to remember that the vast majority of accountants and finance companies are honest, hard working and law abiding people.

Keep in mind you are going to be revealing information about your business to this person that could be commercially sensitive and / or of a personal nature – so make sure they are the right fit for you personality-wise and are someone you can trust.

Also, do they genuinely care about you as a client or is it just a pay check for them?

Obviously no one will be as passionate about your business as you, the owner / board of management, but if you are talking to someone who does not give a you know what about you or your business, why should you care about them enough to hire them and trust them with your money?

How tech savvy are they?

Ireland traditionally as a small country is slow on the uptake for technology.

Most top worldwide accountants tend to use accounting packages to streamline their process and make it as easy as possible for themselves these days.

Ask what accounting software they use and check to see how up to date it is in comparison with the rest of the finance market.

See if they have a website and how they promote themselves online. It’s quiet baffling how many accountants in Ireland don’t even have a website.

If they demonstrate they are willing to move with the times this shows they are not the stereotypical boring accountant-type and are genuinely interested in their work and their clients’ progress.

Ultimately, will they save you money and time?

Perhaps these are the two most important questions business owners way up when selecting the appropriate accountant.

Running the core aspects of one’s business is time consuming enough and you want someone who once what you need is agreed upon, can work on their own and save you on the time it would take to do book keeping duties.

Different government schemes and legitimate tax avoidance advice to only pay what you have to is crucial for your cash flow, capitalisation and business’s continued growth.

A good, competent accountant should be doing all this for you automatically and advising you of it – not just filing a tax return at the end of the year.

If you want to learn more about working with Accounting Pro Ireland please email info@accounting-pro.ie or call 061 518 264

News

Executive Pensions

Firstly, an Executive Pension is a one member Occupational Pension Scheme or Company Pension Scheme for an individual employee or director. An Executive Pension is allowed to accept/make pension contributions from the company i.e. an employer contribution. Employee contributions to an Executive Pension are also possible. Employer contributions can be written off fully as a tax deductible expense in the P&L (profit & loss) account. In other words it can be written off for Corporation Tax & Income Tax/USC/PRSI Tax at source each year and there is an option to fund to provide for back service. Depending on your personal circumstances a company could pay in higher levels of pension contributions into an executive pension than a normal self-employed pension.

If you are Self Employed you can contribute up to the limits below and claim tax relief, subject to a Salary Cap of €115,000.

The same limits apply to employee contributions to a company/executive pension scheme.

AGE % Salary
<30 15% 30-39 20% 40-49 25% 50-54 30% 55-59 35% 60 & Over 40% For example if you have a Salary of €60,000 and are aged 42 you can contribute €15,000 (25% x €60,000) per annum into a pension fund and get full income tax relief against your marginal/higher rate of tax. From 2018 the Tax Band for 20% Income Tax is €34,550. Therefore pension contributions on a Salary over that amount are subject to income tax relief at 40%. There is no PRSI or USC relief on employee pension contributions to an occupational pension scheme. It is a condition of approval for a scheme or executive pension scheme by revenue that the employer must contribute a meaningful contribution to the Scheme. Meaningful normally means not less than 10% of the total contributions between the employer and employee. The amount an Employer can contribute to an Executive Pension Plan for an employee is dependent on a maximum funding test. In general, if you have 10 years or more of service with an employer, the employer can make contributions that could buy a pension income for you of up to 2/3rd of Final Salary as an income for life. To determine the maximum annual contribution that can be made by an employer the following factors/variables are needed to complete the calculation; 1. Date of Birth. 2. NRA (Normal Retirement Age) 3. Term to Retirement 4. Marital Status 5. Annual Salary 6. Existing Pension Funds 7. Interest Rates 8. Annuity Rates 9. Growth Rate to NRA

News

Budget 2018

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Budget 2018

Introduction
Budget 2018 was announced on 10 October 2017. This document sets out the main changes in the areas of taxation, social welfare, health, housing, education, employment and other areas. It is an overview and not a complete statement of the measures announced in Budget 2018.

Some of the changes announced in the Budget come into effect immediately. Others take effect from the beginning of January 2018 or later in 2018. Many others have to be finalised before coming into effect.

Some elements of these measures may change when the legislation required to bring them into effect is enacted.

For a full list of the Budget changes that were announced, please see the Department of Finance and Department of Public Expenditure and Reform website, budget.gov.ie.

Taxation

Income tax
• The standard rate income tax band for all earners is increasing by €750. This means, for example, an increase from €33,800 to €34,550 for single individuals and from €42,800 to €43,550 for married one-earner couples (January 2018).
• The Home Carer Tax Credit will increase from €1,100 to €1,200 (January 2018).
• The Earned Income Tax Credit will increase from €950 to €1,150. This is relevant for taxpayers earning self-employed trading or professional income in certain cases and for business owner/managers who are ineligible for a PAYE credit on their salary income (January 2018).
• Mortgage interest relief is being extended for remaining recipients (owner occupiers who took out qualifying mortgages between 2004 and 2012) on a tapered basis. 75% of the existing 2017 relief will be continued into 2018, 50% into 2019 and 25% into 2020. The relief will cease entirely from 2021.

Universal Social Charge (USC)
Incomes of €13,000 or less will continue to be exempt from USC in 2018. Once your income is over this limit, you will pay the relevant rate of USC on all of your income as follows:

• €0 to €12,012 @ 0.5%
• €12,012 to €19,372 @ 2%
• €19,372 to €70,044 @ 4.75%
• €70,044+ @ 8%

Medical card holders and individuals aged 70 years and older whose aggregate income does not exceed €60,000 will now pay a maximum USC rate of 2% (January 2018).

Excise Duties

Tobacco Products Tax
The excise duty on a packet of 20 cigarettes increased by 50 cents (including VAT) with a pro-rata increase on other tobacco products, and an additional 25 cents on roll-your-own tobacco. This took effect from midnight on 10 October 2017.

Sugar Tax
A tax on sugar sweetened drinks is to be introduced on 1 April 2018. The tax will apply to sugar sweetened drinks with a sugar content between 5 grams and 8 grams per 100ml at a rate of 20c per litre. A second rate will apply for drinks with a sugar content of 8 grams or above at 30c per litre.

Benefit in Kind on Electric Vehicles
A 0% benefit-in-kind (BIK) rate is being introduced for electric vehicles for a period of 1 year. This will allow for a comprehensive review of benefit in kind on vehicles which will inform decisions for the next Budget. Electricity used in the workplace for charging vehicles will also be exempt from benefit-in-kind (1 January 2018 to 31 December 2018).

Social Welfare
The total social protection budget in 2018 will be €20 billion.

Increases in social welfare payments
Weekly social welfare payments will increase by €5 per week with proportional increases for qualified adults and those on reduced rates of payment (see rates table below). This also applies to employment programmes such as Community Employment (CE), Tús and the Rural Social Scheme (from week beginning 26 March 2018).

• Those aged 26 and under who are getting a reduced rate of Jobseeker’s Allowance will receive the full €5 increase (from week beginning 26 March 2018).
• The weekly rate for a qualified child will increase by €2 from €29.80 to €31.80 (from week beginning 26 March 2018).
• State Pensions will increase by €5 per week with proportional increases for qualified adults and those on reduced rates of payment (from week beginning 26 March 2018).

Working Family Payment
Working Family Payment (formerly called Family Income Supplement) income thresholds will increase by €10 for families with up to 3 children (from week beginning 26 March 2018).

Back to Work Family Dividend
The Back to Work Family Dividend scheme which aims to support families to move from social welfare to employment, and which was due to end on 31 March 2018, will now be retained.

Fuel Allowance
The Fuel Allowance season will be extended by 1 week, from 26 to 27 weeks, into the first week of April 2018.
Free Travel Scheme
An additional €10 million in funding is being provided towards the Free Travel Scheme.

Christmas Bonus
A Christmas Bonus of 85% will be paid in December 2017 to people getting a long-term social welfare payment (minimum payment of €20).

Telephone Support Allowance
A new Telephone Support Allowance at a weekly rate of €2.50 will be introduced for those getting the Living Alone Allowance and who are eligible for the Fuel Allowance (June 2018).

One-Parent Families
The earnings disregard for the One-Parent Family Payment and the Jobseeker’s Transition payment will increase by €20 per week, from €110 to €130 per week (March 2018).

Rural Social Scheme
The number of places on the Rural Social Scheme will increase by 250.

School Meals Programme
An additional €1.7 million is being provided towards the School Meals Programme for newly designated DEIS schools.

Youth Employment Support Scheme
A new Youth Employment Support Scheme will be introduced in 2018 to support long-term unemployed young people back into the workplace.

Housing, Employment and Business, Education and Childcare

Housing
A total of €1.83 billion is allocated to the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government for housing in 2017.

Social Housing Support
• An increase of €31 million has been allocated to the Social Housing Current Expenditure Programme, bringing the total to €115 million. Local authorities and approved housing bodies are to build approximately 3,800 new social houses in 2018.
• From 2019, an extra €500 million will be provided for the direct building programme, to build an additional 3,000 social houses by 2021.
• Funding for the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme is increasing by €149 million to €301 million. This will provide for an additional 17,000 households to be accommodated under HAP in 2018 and support the nationwide rollout of the HAP Place Finder Service for people who are in emergency accommodation.
• Funding of €134 million is allocated to the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS) to provide for an additional 600 new transfers under the scheme, as well as the ongoing cost of households already supported under RAS.
• Funding of €32 million is allocated for the Repair and Leasing Scheme, which is expected to deliver 800 vacant properties for social housing.
• Funding of €12 million is allocated for a range of Traveller-specific accommodation schemes, to deliver 110 homes in 2018.
• The energy efficiency programme for social homes receives funding of €25 million to improve a further 9,000 homes.

Supports for Homeless People
• The current allocation for homelessness services is increased by €18 million, to over €116 million.
• It is intended that there will be 3,000 exits from homelessness in 2018.
• As part of the development of the Family Hubs programme, 6 new facilities are due to become operational by the end of 2017. An additional €18 million is provided for this programme in 2018.

People in Mortgage Arrears
An extra €5 million is provided for the mortgage to rent scheme, bringing its funding to €22 million for 2018.

Housing Tax Reliefs
Mortgage Interest Relief, which only applies to mortgages taken out by 31 December 2012, was due to end on 31 December 2017. It will now be retained, on a tapered basis, for remaining recipients – owner occupiers who took out qualifying mortgages between 2004 and 2012. 75% of the existing 2017 relief will be continued into 2018, 50% into 2019 and 25% into 2020. The relief will cease entirely from 2021.

A gradual reduction in Rent Tax Relief was announced in Budget 2011. From 2018 onwards, this relief will no longer be available.

Housing Finance
Up to €750 million of the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund is being made available for commercial investment in housing finance. These funds will be made available to a new entity, to be known as Home Building Finance Ireland (HBFI), which will increase the availability of debt funding on market terms to commercially viable residential development projects.

Measures to Encourage Supply of Land for Housing
A new scheme is being introduced to refund stamp duty on property transactions in respect of commercial land bought for the development of housing. To avail of the refund scheme, developers will have to start the relevant development within 30 months of buying the land.

A Vacant Site Levy will be charged from 2019 on lands that are suitable for housing but are not being developed. A levy of 3% will apply in 2019, as already planned. The rate will now increase to 7% in the second and subsequent years.

At present, property owners can get full relief from Capital Gains Tax if they retain qualifying assets for 7 years. This period is being reduced to 4 years.

A new, time-limited tax deduction for pre-letting expenses is being introduced to encourage owners of vacant residential property to bring it into the rental market for a minimum period of 4 years. The property must have been vacant for at least 12 months to qualify. A cap on allowable expenses of €5,000 per property will apply. This relief will be available for qualifying expenses incurred up to the end of 2021. It will be subject to clawback if the property is withdrawn from the rental market within 4 years.

Affordability
An Exchequer allocation of €75 million is provided for a second phase of the Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund, which accelerates the provision of public infrastructure to support the development of sites for private housing in urban areas. The fund will also support the delivery of affordable housing on land owned by local authorities, using co-operative housing and similar models.

Remediation, Adaptations and Regeneration
• Funding of €30 million is allocated for the remediation of a further 430 houses affected by pyrite.
• Funding for housing adaptation grants is increased to €53 million to enable up to 11,000 home adaptations for people with disabilities and older people.
• The National Regeneration programme will receive funding of €61 million.

Private Rented Housing
The Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) receives €7 million in funding to reflect its expanded role and commitments under the Strategy for the Rental Sector, including increased inspections of rented accommodation.

Employment and Business

National Minimum Wage
The national minimum wage will increase from €9.25 per hour to €9.55 per hour (from 1 January 2018).

Key Employee Engagement Programme (KEEP)
An incentive is being introduced to facilitate the use of share-based remuneration by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to attract key employees. Gains arising to employees on the exercise of KEEP share options will be liable to Capital Gains Tax on disposal of the shares, in place of the current liability to income tax, Universal Social Charge (USC) and Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI) on exercise. This incentive will be available for qualifying share options granted between 1 January 2018 and 31 December 2023.

Earned Income Tax Credit
The Earned Income Tax Credit will increase from €950 to €1,150. This is relevant for taxpayers earning self-employed trading or professional income in certain cases and for business owner/managers who are ineligible for a Pay As You Earn (PAYE) credit on their salary income.

Stamp Duty
• The rate of Stamp Duty on non-residential property increased from 2% to 6% from midnight on 10 October 2017.
• A new scheme is being introduced to refund stamp duty on property transactions in respect of commercial land bought for the development of housing. To avail of the refund scheme, developers will have to start the relevant development within 30 months of buying the land.
• Consanguinity stamp duty relief for family farm transfers is being maintained at 1% for a further 3 years.
• The exemption for young trained farmers from stamp duty on agricultural land transactions continues.

Brexit Loan Scheme
A new €300m Brexit Loan Scheme will provide affordable financing to Irish businesses that are either currently impacted by Brexit or will be in the future. A loan scheme of up to €300m will be made available to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), along with large firms employing fewer than 500 people, to help with short-term working capital needs.

VAT Rate
The VAT rate on the tourism and services sector remains unchanged.

Education

Primary and Post-Primary Schools
• There will be an additional 1,280 teaching posts in schools in September 2018.
• In addition, a further 1,091 Special Needs Assistants will be recruited, bringing the total number to over 15,000.
• €2 million is provided to start a pilot in-school speech and language therapy programme.

Higher and Further Education
• There will be 6,000 new apprenticeships and 10 new apprenticeship schemes in 2018.
• 1,000 additional Springboard places will be introduced.
• 2,100 extra places will be provided in higher education to cater for demographic growth.

Child and Family Support

Early Childhood Care and Education Scheme (ECCE)
• From September 2018, ECCE will be extended from the current average of 61 weeks to give an entitlement of a full two years (76 weeks) of care and education.

Tusla
Additional funding will allow Tusla to recruit staff to facilitate the introduction of mandatory reporting and to make improvements to the out-of-hours social work services.

Health and Environment

Health
• From 1 January 2018, the prescription charge for medical card holders under the age of 70 will be reduced from €2.50 per item to €2 per item. The monthly cap will be reduced from €25 to €20.
• The monthly threshold for the Drugs Payment Scheme will reduce from €144 to €134, from January 2018.
• A new primary care fund will support the development of GP services, the expansion of community intervention teams and the hiring of more Occupational Therapists.
• Additional funding is provided for day services for school leavers with disabilities.
• An additional €35 million will be provided for mental health services in 2018.
• A tax on sugar-sweetened drinks will be introduced from April 2018. The tax will be 30 cent per litre on drinks with over 8g of sugar per 100ml, with a lower rate of 20 cent for drinks with between 5g and 8g per 100ml.
• VAT on sunbed services will increase from 13.5% to 23%.

Environment
• An additional €35 million is provided to expand energy efficiency programmes in the residential, commercial and public sectors.
• Funding of €7 million is allocated to roll out the Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme.
• Funding of €10 million is allocated to increase uptake of electric vehicles.

Reference: http://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/money_and_tax/budget_2018.html

News

Accounting Pro Site Features

Updates and Changes to the Website

In the last month, the Accounting Pro (Irl) website has undergone several subtle changes. This is meant to improve our clients experience and interactions with Accounting Pro. Once these changes have been completed and finalised, these improvements will be mirrored on the Accounting Pro (UK) site.

Browser Notifications

One noticeable change is the in-browser update feature. Users can choose to receive notifications from Accounting Pro, directing them to the site, when a change has been made to the site or our services. Users also have the option to unsubscribe if they wish.

Accounting Pro Live Chat

It was decided that a live chat feature would be a useful tool to interact with clients and leads. Like the notifications feature, it was as simple as downloading and configuring a WordPress plugin.

Irish Tech News Podcast

WordPress allows for considerable extension of each site to expand on offerings to Clients. It could also serve as a means of marketing to clients and leads. It could also serve as a means of marketing to Clients, both existing and potential Clients.

Timesheets and Expense Uploads

A new feature allows clients to upload their weekly timesheets and expenses.