Author Archive

The Vultures have landed-What do I do?

August 1, 2018

The term Vulture Fund is not new as this was the method used by Nama, IBRC, Anglo, Bank of Scotland and National Irish bank (to name a few) who used the sale of their loans books to 3rd parties to clear up their under performing loans.

These Vulture Funds or Investment Funds as they prefer to be called, have bought these bad loans from the main banks at a substantial discount and their only mission is to recover as much as possible from the debts they have bought. Given that both PTSB and Ulster bank announced earlier this year that they will sell circa 25,000 loans to Vulture Funds; this is already a hot topic in 2018 with demonstrators gathered outside the Ideal Homes Exhibition at the RDS on Saturday 21st April 2018 to protest the event’s main sponsors Permanent TSB.

This sale of loans by PTSB has now come to fruition by todays announcement that PTSB has sold 10,000 loans to an investment fund managed by Start. The portfolio contains around 10,700 non-performing loans, 7,400 of which are owner-occupier mortgages.

I think that no more than the IMF 10 years ago the advent of Vulture Funds entering our financial system is a wake up call that the years of kicking the can down the road by the Irish banks is now over.

Unlike the main Irish banks these vulture funds are not concerned with the negative publicity of pursuing these debts through any means possible. This could be through debt collection agencies, legal proceedings, home repossession and general harassment from their arrears support teams.

The Vulture Funds business model is short-term, they have no interest in having a long-term arrangement or relationship with their new customer. They just want cash!!!

Where does this leave the hundred thousand plus home owners who are in fear of losing their homes…….it leaves them in a tough spot.

Despite the fact that debt solutions were introduced by the Government in 2012 through the personal insolvency legislation less than 2,000 people have availed of the legislation.

The main reason in my experience is that they don’t understand that this solution applies to them and that it can help them. There is a lot of misinformation (I call it pub talk) about the legislation but from my hands on experience there is no other method to resolving your debt than by getting Court protection to save your home through a Personal Insolvency Arrangement (PIA) or a Debt Settlement Arrangement (DSA).

The good news is that 90% of those that avail of the personal insolvency legislation through a PIA retain their family home and at the end of the process they end up with a sustainable mortgage and their other debts are written down as part of the process.

The personal insolvency legislation is the only method to protect yourself from your creditors and to protect your family home.

These arrangements are working and we have put 100’s of people through the process in the last number of years. In some cases they have already exited the process and they are out the other side and they have started to finally move on with their lives.

There is not a specific profile of an insolvent person as each case is different. For example the problem could be a split loan on a family home that can never be paid, a property portfolio that will never recover, debts or judgements due to a business failure, revenue debts or residual debt left after the sale of a property or development site etc.

In my experience most of the people I meet know they are in trouble they just don’t know how to solve that problem.

I am one of less than 30 active PIPs in Ireland who specialise in the Personal Insolvency Legislation. I would recommend that you contact an active PIP to see how the personal insolvency legislation can help you to resolve your debt problems. The first question I would ask your PIP is how many cases they manage and how many cases they have gotten approved.

If you are struggling to manage your debts and you want to know how to get help then please click on the links below for more information on personal insolvency and on Abhaile which is the Government’s free mortgage arrears support scheme, which includes a free Personal Insolvency Practitioner consultation for those worried about their debts and under threat of repossession of their family home.

Alternatively please send me an email setting out your situation to and I will get back to you with a plan on how to solve your debt problem.

Kind Regards,

Mark Ryan, CPA,

Personal Insolvency Practitioner (PIP),

Director, Quintas

Mark Ryan is authorised by the Insolvency Service of Ireland to carry on practice as a personal insolvency practitioner.


A brief guide to Personal Insolvency and the options that are available.

June 27, 2013

In April we saw the official launch of the Insolvency Service of Ireland which included the new website

The ISI will help restore people who are insolvent to solvency in a fair, transparent and equitable way using one of three mechanisms.

Summary of mechanisms:

Arrangement Type of debt covered Value Duration Apply through
Debt Relief Notice (DRN) Unsecured (and secured in certain cases) Up to €20,000 3 years Approved Intermediary (AI)
Debt Settlement Arrangement (DSA) Unsecured No limit 5 years (+1) Personal Insolvency Practitioner (PIP)
Personal Insolvency Arrangement (PIA) Unsecured and secured No limit on unsecured up to €3m secured (though cap can increase if agreed) 6 years (+1) Personal Insolvency Practitioner (PIP)

Each of the new debt resolution mechanisms has its own rules and procedures but the following main rules apply to all of them:

Limits on usage

You can be involved in only one of the new mechanisms (DRN, DSA or PIA) or in the bankruptcy process at any one time. If you use one of these 4 processes, you will generally have to wait some years before applying to use another.

You may use each of the new mechanisms only once in your lifetime. (There is no such limit on bankruptcy but it would be rare for anyone to go bankrupt twice.)

Provision of information

You will have to complete a Prescribed Financial Statement, giving full and honest information about your financial circumstances. You will have to sign a Statutory Declaration to this effect. You must act in good faith and co-operate fully with the process.

You will have to give your written consent to the accessing of certain personal data held by banks and other financial institutions so that your financial situation can be verified. Government Departments and agencies will have the power to release certain information about you.

Public registers

If you use any of these new mechanisms, your name and details will be published on a register that will be accessible to the public. The success or failure of the process will also be recorded.

Reasonable Living Expenses

The ISI have published a guideline on this.  Lorcan O’Connor the Director of ISI stated at the launch –

‘A reasonable standard of living does not mean that a person should live at a luxury level but nor does it mean that people should be punished and live only at a subsistence level.  These guidelines are meant to be flexible.  They are a baseline for negotiations and discussions’

Click here to view the Guide to Reasonable Living Expenses

Click here to view the Debts Solutions Scenario Pack


The ISI have indicated that Debtors will be able to apply for any of these arrangements in early July. Applications for the DSA and the PIA must be done through a Personal Insolvency Practitioner (a PIP). It is likely that MABS offices will be responsible for preparing DRN’s.

For further information or any questions on the above please contact me. 


Mark Ryan

Mark is a Director at Quintas

The views expressed in this article are not reflective of the views or opinions held by Quintas. The material contained herein includes facts, opinions and recommendations which we neither guarantee the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of, nor do we endorse. We do not accept any liability for any act, or decision not to act, use, misuse or distribution resulting from use of this material”.

What does running a marathon and a business have in common?

May 27, 2013

1352797906xv6OB0To start with it takes a brave person to do either. I have great admiration for anyone who is willing to take a risk and follow their dream of running (excuse the pun) and owning their own business.

With the Cork City Marathon fast approaching on the 3rd June I thought I would try to find some common ground:

Passion – without passion or a love for what you are doing you will struggle during the hard miles that we all experience when things aren’t going our way,

Planning –   hugely important to have a plan mapped out of how you are going to achieve your goals,

Training Buddy – find someone (a friend, colleague, peer, advisor etc) that you can rely on to keep you motivated when the need arises and also to allow you openly express your hopes and fears for your business,

Patience – ‘all good things come to those that wait’. Try to remain patient and don’t take any unnecessary risks or rash decisions without taking into consideration your overall strategic plan,

 Hard Yards – ‘nothing worth doing is easy; if it was everyone would be doing it’. The hard yards are the times when you find out how much you really want something,

 Set backs – injuries are part and parcel of running and as with any part of life set backs and disappointment will happen throughout the lifetime of a business. It is how you respond and react and learn from them that will determine the long term future of the business,

 Feel the burn – a common phrase in high intense exercise that is appropriate to those moments when your brain is completely fried and you feel that you cannot go on – these are the moments that should be cherished, as what better way to know that what you are doing is actually working,

Hang in there it will pass – They say that for a marathon anyone can run 20 miles it’s the last 6.2 that are the hardest part. The phrase ‘Hitting the Wall’ has legendary status and it is one of the biggest fears for a runner as they are unsure when it will come and how they will react when it does. After doing the Dublin marathon last year, a frequent question that I was asked was what was it like and when did I hit the wall, my response  was always the same ‘the wall hit me and it hurt’. When you hit an obstacle or problem in your business that you feel is insurmountable ‘Hang in there it will pass’

Top Class Equipment – You wouldn’t run a marathon in a pair of football boots, GAA jersey and sweatpants would you? The same thought process and Fit for Purpose attitude should apply to your business. It may cost a bit extra but it is essential to have the most up to date equipment, software, training etc to ensure that you are always one step ahead of the competition,

 Expert advice – whether it is your 1st marathon or you are starting up a new business we all face the challenge of entering into the unknown. It is important to seek as much advice, help and assistance from people you know and trust who may have been through a similar experience before and that would be willing to help you on your path. This may just be small tips on mistakes to avoid at the start of your adventure.

Where to now? – The 1st thought after crossing the line is usually where do I go from here? Am I done or will I try for one more. A business as with a runner never really has a finish line it just has another challenge ahead. As a business owner you should set small goals and big goals that you want to achieve throughout the year and commit to a finish line date where you will review last year and set your business goals for the next 12 months.

 It seems these days that there are more people running, cycling, swimming and exercising outdoors than ever before. Everyone is different and they maybe doing it to lose weight, stay in shape, achieve a goal, honour someone’s memory, raise money for charity or in a lot of cases help to relieve some of the stress that we all face in our daily lives.

 I hope that some of the above makes sense and if you are running a business or a marathon now or in the near future I hope that all your dreams and goals come through.


Mark Ryan

Mark is a Director at Quintas

The views expressed in this article are not reflective of the views or opinions held by Quintas. The material contained herein includes facts, opinions and recommendations which we neither guarantee the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of, nor do we endorse. We do not accept any liability for any act, or decision not to act, use, misuse or distribution resulting from use of this material”.

Business Start Up “I’m going out on my own with another fella”

April 5, 2013

130806609953pvwQAs an Accountant I’ve heard some great stories over the years from the diverse range of characters I’ve met. Possibly my favourite saying is the rather peculiar “I’m going out on my own with another fella” although you’d also hear the less kosher saying “I am taking on a fella next week he’s been working with me the past two months”. Both of these would be used by people to explain that they were getting into business with a partner or a colleague or in the latter case expanding and employing staff.

Unfortunately in the current environment the sayings or the sentiment they express are used far less often as few people are tempted to take the leap of faith and set up their own business or expand and employ more staff. Yet ironically there’s possibly never been a better time to do so when one looks at the varied forms of assistance that is available. Anyone who is thinking of setting up or expanding a business should take the time to study the different options available for assistance.

A very brief description of the most popular forms of assistance are as follows:

Seed Capital Scheme – being able to claim back up to €100k of the income tax you paid over the past 6 years to invest in a start-up company.
Three Year Corporate Tax Exemption – Being able to make up to €320k tax free in the first three years of trading and not pay corporation tax on same.
Employers Job (PRSI) Incentive Scheme – No Employers PRSI for 18 months on taking someone off the live register and creating a new job. Also note the Action for Jobs initiative launched in Budget 2013.
MicroFinance Fund – Small businesses can avail of a loan of €25k for a viable proposal that the banks won’t lend to, due to the risk criteria.
Credit Guarantee Scheme – The Government may partially guarantee a loan to a business that the banks refuse to lend to if the business can demonstrate an ability to repay the loan.
Innovation vouchers – Free access or links for small businesses to Ireland’s public knowledge providers to the value of €5,000 to afford the opportunity to explore innovative ideas.
JobBridge – An internship scheme whereby businesses can employ a college graduate at no cost to the business for a period of 9 months. The graduate gets paid by the State.

There’s also several Grant Schemes with Enterprise Ireland and the County Enterprise Boards, Research & Development Tax Credits, Double Tax Reliefs, and the very attractive Employment & Investment Incentive (EII).

With all these schemes the devil is in the detail and you should research same very carefully and seek professional advice if indeed you are “going out on your own with another fella”.


Fachtna O’Mahony

Fachtna is a Partner at Quintas.

The views expressed in this article are not reflective of the views or opinions held by Quintas. The material contained herein includes facts, opinions and recommendations which we neither guarantee the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of, nor do we endorse. We do not accept any liability for any act, or decision not to act, use, misuse or distribution resulting from use of this material

The Property Tax – time to face facts

March 7, 2013

12176237440dTOqLThe much talked about Property tax is on the way and there is no hiding from it.

The first two weeks in March will tell a lot. Every house owner in Ireland will receive a letter from Revenue outlining the details of the Local Property Tax. For the Celtic Tiger generation this letter will contain the painful details of what Revenue believe to be the value of your home. Thus for many, this will be the first time they have come face to face with just how much debt they are in. However negative equity is a whole other issue which we will not get into here.

 However fair or unfair you consider this new property tax to be, it has arrived and it is here to stay. The government had great difficulties in implementing this tax so there is little chance that it is going to go away anytime soon.

The Revenue Commissioners have been given the job of collecting the tax and this is bad news for any of those who consider ignoring such levies. Revenue powers and resources are greatly superior to the city and town councils who were collecting the household charge in 2012. Revenue can collect the tax directly from your payroll, bank accounts and even from your welfare payments. You also have the option of paying online or by Direct Debit. It appears the Government have learned from their previous mistakes with regard to collecting the Household Charge. It is also worth mentioning that anyone who has not paid the household charge in 2012 will now have to pay double (€200) as well as the property tax. Revenue will also be collecting this €200 so it’s going to be difficult to avoid.

Some basic facts about the tax. It will be paid annually. However In 2013 we only have to pay half of it. Was this a ploy by the Government to gently ease us into the tax? Or was it a case that this was the earliest point in time in which they could organise it? A bit of both I would suspect.

The rate of tax is .18% of the value of your house and .25% if over €1,000,000. The house values are broken down into bands. As an example one band is between €150,000 and €200,000. If the value of your property comes between these amounts then you will pay tax of .18% on the mid point of this band, i.e. €175,000. Therefore the annual tax would be €315.  I would expect the majority of homes to fall into this band, which again highlights just how far the property market has fallen.

Revenue will attempt to value each house in Ireland. This is slightly ambitious considering they have never even seen your house, the neighbours house or the grass on the green that has never been cut and probably never will unless you do it yourself. In fairness Revenue do stress that the valuation is just a starting point and is no way meant to be 100% accurate. However if you feel that their valuation is accurate then you should accept it and pay the corresponding tax. This will mean that you will avoid any painful Revenue audits and the tax liability will remain constant until 2016. If you believe the value is lower than what Revenue suggest then it is your right to pay the tax on your own valuation. By doing this Revenue may chose to audit your valuation and if they find that you submitted an incorrect return then they could land you with a fine of up to €3,000.

The Finance Bill has also snuck in a clause that if you are selling your property you will legally be enforced to tell the purchaser how much you valued the house for the property charge. It has already become known as the “snitch clause” as if the buyer disagrees with the valuation they must inform the Revenue of the new valuation and the seller could then be issued with a €500 fine. At least it will make the negotiations slightly more interesting!

The timeline of events also needs to be considered. Revenue will issue letters in early March. This will contain a tax return in which you will need to file before the 7th of May or if filing online then by the 28th of May. Revenue will issue an explanatory form with the tax return which should tell us everything we need to know. They will also issue you guidelines for valuing your property. Payment of the tax will begin in July, with the dates depending on how you choose to pay the tax.   

There are of course certain exemptions, mainly applying to first time buyers who purchase new properties and certain houses in ghost estates and a deferral for people who are unable to pay, however the income limits for this are extremely low.

For anyone who feels they may be exempt or if they want to find out more about the tax then the following links should be of benefit:

 Property Valuation Guide and Tax Calculator – This gives an overview of the tax, a guide to valuing the property and an online calculator to help you determine the tax payable. 

List of the estates exempt from the 2012 household charge. This will be updated for the 2013 property tax however this has not been updated as of yet.

 List of the exemptions


Dave O’Brien

Dave is Tax Manager at Quintas.

The views expressed in this article are not reflective of the views or opinions held by Quintas. The material contained herein includes facts, opinions and recommendations which we neither guarantee the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of, nor do we endorse. We do not accept any liability for any act, or decision not to act, use, misuse or distribution resulting from use of this material”.

Is the Black Economy impacting on your business?

February 20, 2013

blackeconomy1It is accepted that there is a certain amount of Black Economy activity in every country but it is during a recession that it is at its highest.

A recent report (August 2012) compiled by EPS Consulting for Retail Ireland estimated that the Black Economy was costing the Exchequer € 1 billion per annum in lost revenues and taxes. A press release by ISME in November 2009 estimated that the Black Economy was worth € 461m per week and that it was costing the exchequer € 4.8 billion per annum in lost revenues.

I would argue that as a result of the harsh spending cuts and tax increases of the last 5 budgets since the economic crisis started in September 2008 that this figure is probably somewhere in the region of € 3 billion per annum in lost revenue. I would also suggest that this loss to the Exchequer will continue to rise as the austerity measures agreed with the Troika continue being implemented over the next 3 years.

To put this figure in context, the Black Economy (€ 3bn pa) is equivalent to the recent Budget 2013 spending cuts and tax increases of € 3.5 billion introduced by the Ministers of Finance (Michael Noonan) and Public Expenditure & Reform (Brendan Howlin) last December. It is estimated that a further adjustment package (taxes & spending cuts) of €8.6 billion will be required over the forthcoming three-year period if the annual deficit targets (3% of GDP) are to be achieved by 2015. The annual deficit in the Irish exchequer in 2012 was € 15 billion (8% of GDP).

The amount of zeros involved above can sometimes be dizzying and this has led to a sense of helplessness by the general public over the last 5 years as budget after budget took more and more of our hard-earned cash out of our pockets.

There is a way that each of us can assist in Ireland’s recovery, firstly by understanding what is involved in the black economy and secondly by then deciding not to support it. In some cases this may involve having to pay a bit more for certain items but this is a decision that we will all have to make when deciding whether or not to support ‘Team Ireland’.

I have included below some examples of Black Economy activities:

  • Under declaration/omission of income – Foxers, Nixers or whatever working ‘for cash’ is called in your part of the country
  • Fuel Laundering
  • Illegal Tobacco
  • Illicit Alcohol
  • Counterfeit Products and Piracy
  • Counterfeit Medicines
  • Digital Piracy
  • Shoplifting and Theft
  • Social Welfare Fraud i.e. ‘working without paying income tax or social insurance, while simultaneously receiving social welfare payments.

The above are bad value for the consumer (no refund policy/customer care dept. for counterfeit goods and services!) and in some cases (tobacco, alcohol and medicine’s) can lead to serious health risks to individuals.  This was highlighted in a 3 part series last year called ‘Black Market Ireland’ that was produced for TV3, which is definitely worth a watch if you had the time.

Black market activity and criminality also threatens jobs in the Irish Economy as counterfeit sales, contraband goods and smuggling activity are on the rise and the trend is continuing.

It is also leading to the closure of genuine tax compliant businesses who cannot compete with non-tax compliant competitors who don’t  pay taxes on their income earned or return Paye/PRSI to revenue on the wages that they are paying to their ‘off the books’ employees.

Below are some of the ways we as individuals can stamp out black market activity and measures that government could or are introducing to combat this rampant practice:

  • A consumer awareness campaign (TV, radio & newspaper ad’s) similar to that which was implemented for insurance fraud over the last number of years i.e. those involved in the Black Market are taking money from your pocket!
  • Only use a tax registered and compliant business when purchasing business/personal goods and services
  • Always insist on a quote and ensure that a vat invoice is produced before the product/service is delivered and before payment is made
  • Rebates by the exchequer in relation to the purchase of diesel for the farming/agri and haulage industries
  • Rebates/grants for home improvements and renovations
  • Investment of additional resources into detecting cigarette, alcohol, clothing and other smuggling.
  • In addition, street markets are a major source of illegally sold goods and they need to be policed by both revenue and the Gardai
  • There should be zero tolerance even for the most minor of crimes. In addition, penalties should be more commensurate to the scale of the crime. Penalties and fines could be repaid to the exchequer by reducing an individual’s future tax credits/allowances or social welfare benefits.
  • More resources need to be (re)deployed towards enforcement activities.
  • Whistle-blowing – Revenue are encouraging tax payers to make telephone calls to their local tax office  in relation to tip offs for illegal activities and they insist that any information will be treated in the strictest confidence and anonymously if that individual does not wish to provide their contact details.

In summary it is up to each individual to make a stand against the Black Economy by making a conscious decision of where they are purchasing their goods and services.

As outlined above for every €1 that is spent in the Black economy the government will take a portion of this amount from each of us on Budget day by increased taxes or reduced public services due to spending cuts this year and every year thereafter.

Are you willing to make a stand?


Mark Ryan

Mark is a Director at Quintas

Quintas Quarterly Economic Review (Winter 2013)

February 6, 2013

2c9c806Since mid 2008 successive Governments have taken over €28 billion out of the Irish economy in tax rises and spending cuts, the equivalent of well over 15% of national output. The most recent budget removed €3.5 billion. The Governments aim in doing this is to leave the EU/IMF austerity programme and to reduce the budget deficit to below 3% of GDP by 2015, which currently stands at 8.2%, one of the highest in the EU.

The Government is relying on economic growth to meet its budget targets in 2013. It is forecasting 1.5% GDP growth for the year. This growth level could be seen as optimistic given our dependence on an export led recovery to achieve this. Our main export markets continue to experience difficulties, particularly with the eurozone in recession and a weakening British economy.

While bond yields reflect success for the Government in meeting its targets set by the EU/IMF, the sustainability of Ireland’s public debt which is expected to hit 118% of GDP this year is of concern. Almost a third of this debt is accounted for by Government support to the banking sector. This is where much emphasis has been placed by the Government, trying to negotiate a restructuring with the ECB on promissory notes worth €30 billion. A reduction on our debt is important and there is now much emphasis being placed on Ireland having the EU presidency at the start of 2013 as a means of achieving this.

by James McCarthy,

James is an Investment Analyst in Quintas Wealth Management

This article featured in the recent Quintas Quarterly Newsletter Winter 2013

The views expressed in this article  is not reflective of the views or opinions held by Quintas. The material contained herein includes facts, opinions and recommendations which we neither guarantee the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of, nor do we endorse.  We do not accept any liability for any act, or decision


January 31, 2013

1336692185QCT392Starting up your own business can be a daunting task for anyone, and unless you are an accountant, the bookkeeping and accounting element of a new start-up can be especially testing. The current environment is posing significant challenges to new, small businesses, therefore getting all of your ducks in a row on start-up is vital. One of the most important “ducks” is your accounts. The following are some useful start-up tips that every individual should consider:-

  1. Start Off on the Right Foot

Make your business accounting function a habit. Set aside a regular time period every week to gather your records together, check and file documentation, invoices and bank statements.

  1. Separate your Banking Activities

Small business start-ups, especially sole traders, often use their existing private bank accounts to conduct their business activities. By keeping separate bank accounts for your business and personal activities, you will save yourself (or your bookkeeper) hours of work analysing transactions that have nothing to do with your business.

  1. Keep it Simple

Do not overcomplicate your structures or records. It will only become confusing and end up distracting you from what’s important.

  1. Value Good Advice

Get professional financial advice early in your start-up process. A little money spent early on can save a fortune correcting possible mistakes down the line.

  1. Software Packages

There are many very good accounting/bookkeeping packages out there, some of which are very inexpensive, are relatively easy to use straight out of the box, and will do everything a small business would require, including Sales Invoicing, Debtors and Creditors Control, Bank Reconciliation and VAT Returns. Consult your financial advisor as to which package best suits your needs.

  1. Don’t forget to get paid

This might seem obvious, but if you are not regularly tracking your invoices and debtor balances, invoices, and by default, payments will be missed. Months of extra credit will be lost to customers. The vast majority of customers will not volunteer payments and will need, at the very least, regular statements and gentle reminders.

  1. Sales to family and friends – Value Your Service/Product

Do not be afraid to ask for payment for services or products supplied to family or friends. Offer a discount if you wish, but value the work, service or product that you provide.

Starting your own business presents a significant number of challenges to even the best entrepreneur. Whether it’s Accounting, Marketing, Product Development, Sales, Manufacturing, Banking, etc., early planning and organising will help you face those challenges in a properly prepared manner.


Eugene O’Callaghan

Eugene is a Partner at Quintas.

The views expressed in this article are not reflective of the views or opinions held by Quintas. The material contained herein includes facts, opinions and recommendations which we neither guarantee the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of, nor do we endorse. We do not accept any liability for any act, or decision not to act, use, misuse or distribution resulting from use of this material”.

Have you set Financial Goals for your Business in 2013?

January 24, 2013

1338615605yGFYQVPlanning is one of the most important parts of running a business, be it a multinational business or a small business. No business can thrive without setting realistic financial goals. A set of financial goals is like a road map for a business, always providing a progress report on where a business is at and where it is going. Starting without a roadmap is a risk and whilst you may eventually reach your final destination, don’t be surprised if you get lost along the way.

Here are a couple of the key stages to assist you in setting your goals:

  • Set aside a couple of hours in your weekly diary to work on your Financial Plan for 2013. Something as simple as the first two or three hours on a Monday morning might be suitable. Remember you will need to keep this weekly timeout in 2013 to review actual performance v’s plan.
  • The first step for setting financial goals is to calculate your monthly break-even amount. This is the income you have to generate if you don’t want to lose money. To calculate this you’ll need to list all your expenses. This might seem odd but the first expense you need to calculate is the personal expense of the business owner. Without this it is impossible to calculate the salary that must be taken from the business to cover basic living expenses.
  • Next calculate your fixed costs. Fixed costs are expenses incurred each month that would not be easy to get rid of – office rent, staff salaries, light & heat etc.
  • Now that you know what your fixed costs are you are ready to calculate a minimum income goal. Naturally your aim is to make a profit so add the target profit to the minimum income goal to arrive at the overall income goal.
  • Don’t forget to provide for cost of goods sold where applicable. If your average Gross Profit Margin is 40% and your annual income goal is €200k to cover your costs and profit, then your target sales will need to be €500k to allow for the purchase cost of the goods you have sold.
  • Finally break down your income goal into manageable bite sizes, spread throughout the year and adjust where necessary for seasonal fluctuations.

Once you have managed to set out your financial plan for 2013, don’t let it gather dust on a shelf in the corner of the office. Use the plan as a benchmark against actual performance on a weekly and monthly basis.


Paul O’Connell

Paul is a Director at Quintas.

The views expressed in this article are not reflective of the views or opinions held by Quintas. The material contained herein includes facts, opinions and recommendations which we neither guarantee the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of, nor do we endorse. We do not accept any liability for any act, or decision not to act, use, misuse or distribution resulting from use of this material”.

Budget 2013 – a lack of positivity and innovation

December 6, 2012

budget-300x169As predicted the Budget will have a significant impact on all individuals but will effect middle class families in particular. A property tax, reduced child benefit payments, increased excise duties on cigarettes and alcohol and changes to the PRSI system were among the main measures announced. Average low to middle income families will lose up to €1,100 a year as a result of property tax, cut in child benefit and PRSI changes.

The Budget has had limited changes in income tax, namely;

  • USC – Eligibility test to pay the lower 4% rate is being amended to introduce an income threshold of €60,000 to those aged 70 years and over
  • Maternity Benefit to be taxable
  • PRSI – withdrawal of the €127 per week Employee’s PRSI-Free Allowance
  • PRSI – extended to unearned income, rental etc

The main form of taxation measures has been through indirect taxation, with

  • Property Tax introduced with banded system at 0.18% on residential properties up to €1m and 0.25% applying in excess of €1m
  • Excise Duty increases of €0.10 for beer, cider and spirits and cigarettes and an increase of €1 on a 75cl bottle of wine
  • Motor Tax increases

The CGT, CAT and DIRT rates all increased from 30% to 33%.  This increase to 33% on DIRT rate is applicable to ordinary deposit accounts and from 33% to 36% on long-term deposit accounts.

The tax relief on pensions will continue at the marginal rate of 41% but will be restricted to pension schemes that deliver a pension of €60,000 per year.

There were some positive measures introduced for business, namely;

  • Hauliers Diesel Rebate
  • Increase in cash receipts threshold for VAT to €1.25m
  • Enhancement of the start up company exemption
  • Extension of Film and EII Tax Reliefs to 2020

However, it is unfortunate that the Government did not take the opportunity to bring in more targeted measures rather than the generic nature of the SME 10 Point Tax Reform Plan. The Budget lacked any real form of positivity and it is a pity that nothing was introduced to assist the construction sector where unemployment levels are highest.

As always there will be further changes in the Finance Bill itself.


Sean McSweeney

Sean is Tax Director at Quintas.

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