Archive for the ‘Accounting’ Category

Lights Camera Action……

August 7, 2014

film image

If like me you always had an interest in film but never quite made the cut in acting class, there is still an opportunity for you to get involved. Section 481 TCA 1997 film relief allows individuals to get tax relief for an investment in a qualifying film or television series. This investment relies on the successful completion of the film/television project.

Successful shows which have availed of this scheme include Penny Dreadful, Mattie, Tashi & The Widower to name but a few.

Film Relief is available, generally for high income individuals, who invest up to a maximum of €50,000. Individual investors can invest amounts exceeding €50,000, but only €50,000 relief is allowed in one tax year. Any amounts exceeding €50,000 can be carried forward to the proceeding tax years. Therefore it is generally recommended investing a maximum of €50,000 in any one year.

To get the tax benefit from film relief an investor would typically raise the €50,000 investment slot by part equity / part loan agreement. Based on the credit application being approved, the investor issues a cheque for €17,500 and the remaining €32,500 is financed by a loan, which is applied for through the film production company. The individual then subscribes to shares of €50,000 and Revenue will issue a Film 3 certificate to confirm the investors’ investment.

The investor then makes a claim to the Revenue Commissioners and receives tax relief of 41%, assuming they have enough income at the higher rate. Based on a €50,000 investment, the investor should receive a refund of €20,500 from Revenue.

PAYE investors should see this refund on their payslips before the end of the year in which they invest. Self-assessed investors will have to wait until they file their tax return before seeing their return.

The overall return for an investor will be €3,000 if they invest €50,000 in the scheme.

If you are interested in investing in film relief, please contact us on 021-4641400 or email

Blog by Laura Simpson, Trainee Accountant, Quintas


Best Practice for Charities

June 19, 2014


After many months of continuous bad press concerning the management of a few charitable organisations, all charities may feel themselves tarnished with the same brush. The revelations of how some charities have been managed and how the funds they raised were used have caused huge alarm among the public. In the absence of full implementation of the Charities Act 2009, the absence of a strong and ethical board, poor internal corporate governance policies and the lack of a uniform framework of how best to disclose their financial stewardship, some charities are left struggling to achieve “Best Practice for Charities”.

Charities Act 2009

The Charities Act 2009 was enacted on 28 February 2009 but to date has not been fully implemented and the aim is to undertake it in stages.

The purpose of the Charities Act 2009 is to reform the law relating to charities in order to:

  • ensure greater accountability
  • protect against abuse of charitable status and fraud
  • enhance public trust and confidence in charities and increase transparency in the charity sector

Important parts of the Act will provide for:

  • a definition of charitable purposes for the first time in primary legislation
  • the creation of a new Charities Regulatory Authority to secure compliance by charities with their legal obligations and also to encourage better administration of charities, (a CEO has been appointed to the office, with operation of the office to hopefully begin later this year)
  • a Register of Charities in which all charities operating in the State must register
  • the submission of annual activity reports by charities to the new Authority
  • updating the law relating to fund-raising, particularly in relation to collections by way of direct debits and similar non-cash methods
  • the creation of a Charity Appeals Tribunal
  • the provision of consultative panels to assist the Authority in its work and to ensure effective consultation with stakeholders.

Review of the Board, Management & Corporate Governance Procedures

All charities need to review their boards, their management and their corporate governance procedures to identify that they have the personnel, policies and procedures in place that will ensure the proper management of the charity and that they will also achieve the objectives of the charity. The personnel need to be adequately experienced for their roles and have the correct moral and ethical beliefs for the proper management of the charity.

Good corporate governance is achievable, however it has to form part of the culture of the organisation and all charities should implement a programme to communicate and raise awareness amongst all participants within the charity of its policies and procedures.

Accountability and Financial Reporting

The Charities Act 2009 has not yet prescribed the financial reporting format which charities are to use when presenting their financial information for a period, but it is widely expected that it will be similar in nature to what is currently used in the UK by the Charities Commission. In 2005 the UK Charities Commission issued a Statement of Recommended Practice (SORP) in connection with the preparation of financial statements by charities, which some of the larger charities in Ireland have used in the preparation of their financial statements.

Charities may well be advised in preparation for the new regulations and reporting requirements to review their day to day operations and internal workings on matters such as how they raise their money, who is involved in raising their funds, what are the charity’s costs and how the funds raised are used. This exercise should bring to light any costs and practices which the public would deem to be both wasteful and ethically questionable and that also may fall foul of the new legislation.  Any problems arising should be addressed and rectified immediately.

Most charities will welcome the regulation and requirements of the Charities Act 2009, to prove how they have been compliant and to show how they have been conducting the charities’ operations. They will want to present the information publicly, so that the charity and its’ board are seen to be accountable, transparent and above all beyond reproach in all the financial transactions that have taken place.

However, the Act cannot provide for the human element of boards and management and in this respect there is a need for strong, ethical individuals, a culture and adherence to the application of internal corporate governance and full disclosure of all monetary transactions.

If you are a board member or involved in a charitable organisation and feel it could benefit from an independent review of its operations/financial reporting contact us on 021 4641400 or email

Blog post by Patrick Kearney, Partner, Quintas.

Interaction between debt write downs and Capital Gains Tax

March 31, 2014

debt writedown

New rules have come into force restricting the amount of capital losses available on disposals where there has been a debt write down.

Since 1 January 2014 new legislation aims to ensure that only the economic loss on disposals is available against capital gains in situations where there has been debt forgiveness.

Under the old rules, if you disposed of an asset for €1 million, which originally cost you €2 million (all purchased through bank finance) then you had a capital loss of €1 million which could be used against future gains. This was the case irrespective of whether the €2 million bank loan was partially forgiven by the bank.
From 2014, if your €2 million loan was written down to €1.5 million and you sold the asset for €1 million the CGT loss would only be €500,000, i.e. your economic loss.

While this new legislation does seem fair and equitable, problems can arise where you dispose of the asset now but do not receive the debt write off until sometime in the future. Where debt is released after the year of disposal, the capital loss is not amended, however there is a chargeable gain deemed to arise in the year of the write off. An example will best explain this:

John disposed of an asset for €1 million in 2014. It originally cost him €2 million. He purchased the asset using bank borrowings. In 2014 he has a capital loss of €1m which he can use against other gains going forward.
In 2016 the bank write off €1 million of the loan. Instead of amending the losses in 2014, Revenue will view the write off to be a chargeable gain in 2016 of €1 million. The 2014 losses can be set against this, if not already used. However if they have been used then John has a €330,000 CGT liability arising from an asset disposed of in 2013.

The purpose of this article is to highlight the additional issues which can arise when a person or company receives a debt write off. It is important to contact your advisor in relation to debt forgiveness in order to get advice as to what implications the write off will have from a taxation point of view.

By Dave O’Brien, Tax Manager, Quintas
For further information contact Quintas on +353 (0)21 4641400 or email

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”.

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

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”.

Top tips for saving tax

November 15, 2012

It is that time of year again when self-employed people are preparing their 2011 tax return, before the online filing deadline of 15 November(today). Therefore it is an appropriate time to revisit the available tax reliefs to ensure that all tax payers, whether self-employed or a PAYE worker, are claiming all their available tax reliefs for 2011.

Most tax reliefs are now allowable at the standard rate of tax ie 20%, but there are some that are still available at the marginal rate ie 41%. They include tax relief on pension payments, nursing home fees, film investment relief and deed of covenants. The balance of the reliefs can be claimed by tax payers as a deduction from the tax they paid in 2011, at a rate of 20%.

The most common reliefs are as follows:

Medical expenses: Family medical expenses can be claimed as a tax deduction at 20%. Including non-routine dental expenses, on receipt of a Form Med 2 from your dentist.

Home carer’s credit: This is claimable by married persons who are jointly assessed and where one spouse works at home to care for children, the aged or incapacitated persons. The relief for 2011 is €810.

Rent credit: Tax relief may be claimed by tenants for the rent paid in respect of rented residential accommodation which is their sole or main residence. This relief was abolished by the Finance Act 2011, for new tenants but is available on a phased out basis for individuals who were paying qualifying rent under a qualifying tenancy before 7 December 2010. The tax credit for persons under 55 years is a maximum of €320 for a single person or €640 for a married couple and for persons over 55 years it is doubled.

Third –level tuition fees: Tax relief is available in respect of tuition fees paid to an approved college for an approved course. The maximum annual relief is restricted to €7,000.

Service charges: Tax relief may be claimed on a prior year basis on service charges paid. An upper limit of €400 applies. The relief has been abolished from 2012 onwards.

Tax payers beware!

When claiming tax relief it is important that you have the relevant documentation to verify the claim, as The Finance Act 2011 introduced new legislation whereby there is now a penalty of €3,000 payable, by any person who makes a false claim, regardless of how little the refund claim was.


Abina Kenneally

Abina is Tax 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