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News Business Advice

  Brexit

Is Brexit Having a Damaging Impact on your Profit Margin? – Solutions Considered

As an Irish based accountancy and business advisory firm, Roberts Nathan assists frustrated UK and Irish business owners who are confused, worried, and uncertain where to turn to in a bid to maintain their turnover and profitability following Brexit.   Main Challenges of Brexit Companies in the UK have been approaching us to help them find a way forward when they experience one or all of the following challenges:
  • Extra Brexit-related charges for exporting into the EU means your profit margins are eroded and now it’s far less viable to continue to trade in the EU.
  • Your customers in Europe are being asked by couriers to pay VAT upfront on the goods being shipped to them, resulting in those customers becoming disgruntled and ultimately sourcing the same product elsewhere.
  • Delays at ports which means your customers are not getting their goods on time when needed.
  • More forms and paperwork resulting in more admin and headaches. Many businesses had to hire more staff to handle the extra admin - meaning more costs.
  Options Available to Overcome the Challenges Faced with the above challenges, our UK clients are left with only three options:   1. Continue to export goods to the EU as before Brexit Bite the bullet and pay the VAT and other charges yourself - instead of your customer paying these. For many, this isn't financially viable as profit margins will be eroded significantly.   Or   2. Stop exporting to the EU altogether The majority of clients have told us that without ongoing access to the EU markets, as has been the case for many decades, their businesses will be compromised and face the risk of closure.   Or   3. There is a final option - a solution which we recommend to many of our UK clients. We can set up and register your business here in Ireland through a subsidiary company, wholly owned by its UK parent. In circumstances where products are imported from outside the EU, goods can be shipped from Ireland to your EU customers, helping you to avoid various Brexit related charges. Your customers will receive their goods on time. We can assist you in dealing with the VAT matters arising in Ireland. This solution will allow you to keep running your business at the required profit margin you need while avoiding the Brexit challenges faced above.   If you would like to explore this valuable solution further, please contact Peter Roberts or Tomas O’Leary, who would be very pleased to assist you in considering this worthwhile option.   Please contact:   Peter Roberts:
peter.roberts@robertsnathan.com Tel: +353214217940 Or Tomas O’Leary: tomas.oleary@robertsnathan.com Tel: +353214217940
February 2, 2021
  Business

Do you help international companies enter new markets?

Join Aidan Scollard, Partner at Roberts Nathan, who in conjunction with Soft Land Partners will be speaking to professionals who help international companies enter new markets at this free online event taking place on Thursday 4th February from 4-5pm. Register your attendance by clicking here.
February 1, 2021
  Business Advice

Are you a UK Based Director of an Irish Registered Company?

The (European Union) EU and the United Kingdom (UK) finally reached agreement on a Free Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), avoiding a hard Brexit.  However, this does not change the fact that the UK has left the EU and therefore is no longer part of the EU single market and customs union and is now regarded as a third country.  This creates a very real issue for a number of companies and their Directors in the UK and Ireland.

In this article, Roberts Nathan Partner Aidan Scollard reviews the potential significant changes for UK resident Directors of Irish registered companies as the UK now becomes a third country.  Although there are more than 60,000 Irish Directorships of UK registered companies there are also a significant number of UK based directors of Irish companies for which Brexit now creates significant changes.

EEA Resident Director Requirement

Companies Registration Office have previously alerted service providers to the fact that under Irish company law an Irish registered company must have at least one European Economic Area (EEA) resident Director on the board on an ongoing basis or a bond in place to cover filing liabilities.

Many Directors based in the UK who are either of Irish decent or UK based companies who have established Irish entities as part of their Brexit planning will need to consider this likely change.

Where an existing Irish company has fulfilled this Director requirement by appointing a UK resident director they should now consider replacing that director or adding an additional director who is an EEA-resident.

It should be noted that this requirement is based on residency, not nationality. Thus for example, a company director of Irish nationality who lives in the UK and has done so for a number of years is unlikely to satisfy the EEA requirement in the future which is a question a number of our clients have been considering.

S137 Bond

It is possible for a company to put in place a Section 137 Revenue Bond which is an insurance policy that CRO approve in replacement of having an EEA resident individual on the board. This insurance policy covers against fines or penalties incurred to the value of €25,000 for non-compliance and covers the company for a period of two years at which point the company will either need to renew the bond or appoint a director who meets the requirement.

The bonds are relatively easy to put in place but will have a premium cost to maintain for the two year period and we have put these in place for a number of clients recently.

The Exception to the Rule – ‘Real and Continuous link’

It is possible for the Directors of an Irish Company who have no EEA-resident directors to apply to the Revenue Commissioners for a Statement under Section 140 of the Companies Act 2014 which, if granted, will relieve the company from the requirement to hold a Bond or to have an EEA-resident director.

This Statement is granted based on the company having a ‘real and continuous link to the State of Ireland’. The successful company will need to satisfy one or more of the following two conditions:

  1. The affairs of the company are managed by one or more persons from a place of business established in the State and that person or those persons is or are authorised by the company to act on its behalf.
  2. The company carries on a trade in the State.

Furthermore, a company may be granted this Statement based on either of the following two conditions:

  1. The company is a subsidiary or a holding company of a company or other body corporate that satisfies either or both of the conditions specified in 1 and 2.
  2. The company is a subsidiary of a company, another subsidiary of which satisfies either or both of the conditions specified in 1 and 2.

This Statement is granted based on retrospective activity and will generally not be granted to a company that intends to have a real and continuous link to the state.

Once the Statement is made by Revenue to the successful company, the Company Secretary can apply to the Registrar of Companies for a certificate that exempts the company from the Section 137 bond requirement or the need to have an EEA-resident director appointed to the board.

Application for this exemption to Companies registration office must be accompanied by this statement from the Revenue Commissioners made within two months of the date of the application of the Revenue Commissioners statement.

This is the common basis that we see UK parent company clients using for their Irish operating subsidiaries and we have helped a number of clients in this area where they can clearly prove that there is a real and continuous activity here in the Irish state.

Final Word

Company Directors need to consider the implications since the UK has left the EU and consider their options. As with any legal or accounting issue early advice is important.

Contact us if you wish to discuss the impacts of any of these changes to your company structures here in Ireland and any structure planning requirements or to obtain a bond.

January 21, 2021
  Brexit

Brexit deal done; What next?

Aidan Scollard, Partner at Roberts Nathan, provides his view on what Irish businesses dealing in cross-border trade with the UK need to consider following the recent Brexit agreement between the European Union and United Kingdom of the Free Trade and Cooperation Agreement.   The Deal The (European Union) EU and the United Kingdom (UK) finally reached agreement on a Free Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), avoiding a hard Brexit and the risks of duties and tariffs under WTO rules. However, this does not change the fact that the UK has left the EU and therefore is no longer part of the EU single market and customs union and is now regarded as a third country. This status has significant consequences for businesses in different areas such as cross border trade, the imposition of VAT on transactions and the free movement of people. At 1,246 pages and affecting over $900 billion worth of goods and services, the TCA is the most ambitious and far-reaching trade agreement ever concluded by the EU. Irish businesses will need to fully comprehend the effect of the TCA on cross-border trade between the EU and UK. A new Partnership Council, co-chaired by the European Commission and the UK government, will oversee the agreement’s implementation and management. A large number of committees and working groups will be established to oversee the details of new arrangements at a more-granular level, including resolving any technical issues arising from the agreement or ensuring proper functioning of new rules. The new UK-EU relationship is fluid, and these bodies will be making judgments and issuing guidance that will have the potential to change market access and frameworks. In short, things are likely to change and there will be an extended period of adjustment. Highlights Further review of particular aspects of the TCA will be required in the coming months, but in the meantime we set out some highlights of the main initial impacts of the TCA:  TARIFF AND QUOTA FREE TRADE OF GOODS
  • The TCA establishes zero tariffs or quotas on trade between the UK and the EU, where goods comply with rules of origin requirements.
  • Notwithstanding the tariff and quota free trade enshrined in the TCA, certain technical barriers to trade continue to apply and address issues related to technical regulation, conformity assessment, standardisation, accreditation, market surveillance and marketing and labelling.
  • While Brexit ends the EU ease and simplicity of moving goods freely, the TCA adds administrative burdens and no duty or tariff taxes.
TRADE IN SERVICES
  • The TCA includes well-established provisions on cross-border trade in services that will secure continued market access across a broad range of sectors, including professional and business services, financial services and transport services, and will support new and continued foreign direct investment.
  • In relation to financial services, although the TCA provides for “continued market access” the details have been left for later. The EU and the UK are yet to discuss “specific equivalence determinations” which will eventually be codified in a Memorandum of Understanding.
  • The UK and the EU have agreed a framework for the recognition of professional qualifications which is based on the EU’s recent free trade agreements.
  • The effect of Brexit and the TCA on cross-border trade in services differs from sector-to-sector. For example, UK resident financial services firms previously possessed “passporting rights” which allowed them to sell financial services into the EU. The TCA has not granted equivalent rights meaning that on 1 January 2021 UK resident financial firms will (as expected) lose their right to sell financial services in the EU.
SUBSIDIES AND STATE AID
  • One of the key issues of concern of the EU was ensuring that the UK could not grant subsidies (tax or otherwise) to UK businesses which would effectively allow them to undercut similar businesses in the EU.
  • The EU and UK are free to determine their own rules relating to the granting of subsidies but are bound by broad principles which must inform the contents of the rules which must ensure that the granting of a subsidy does not have detrimental effects on the trade between the EU and UK.
  • The EU and UK shall each establish independent bodies which will design and oversee these rules and which are subject to the review of their respective domestic courts.
  • The EU and UK have agreed on a reciprocal dispute resolution mechanism (an accelerated arbitration procedure) where a party is of the opinion that a subsidy is causing, or is at risk of causing, significant harm to its industries.
  • Whilst part of the EU, the UK was bound by EU laws related to state aid and government subsidies and was subject to oversight by the European Court of Justice (EUCJ), a sore point for the UK public. Brexit effectively removes the applicability of these laws and jurisdiction of the EUCJ.
  • There is also a ‘most-favoured nation’ clause, which ensures that, if either the UK or the EU gives more-favourable terms to another country in future, those terms will automatically extend to the UK/EU deal.
  • However, these provisions are subject to a long list of exceptions, which vary from one member state to another.
PEOPLE AND MOBILITY
  • Residence rights in existing cases in the UK and EU will continue to be respected as long as the residence situation remains unchanged. New residency applications after the transition period will likely be subject to the same procedures as for third countries.
  • Existing (frontier) workers will have the right not to be discriminated against on grounds of nationality as regards employment, remuneration and other conditions of work and employment. In addition, they will have the right to take up and pursue activities and assistance by employment offices in the same way as offered to own nationals as well as rights to tax, social advantages, housing benefits and access to education for their children.
  • Prior to Brexit, UK citizens (like all other EU citizens) were granted unrestricted rights to live and work in the EU, and vice versa. Post Brexit, closer consideration will be required for non-EU workers and transfers, however the UK / Ireland Common Travel Area provisions allow for continuation of citizens of each of those countries to live, work and retire to each other’s jurisdiction.
Conclusion While many potential immediate difficulties have been avoided the devil will be in the detail. The implementation of the trade and cooperation agreement (TCA) in the coming months will require ongoing review by Irish companies trading with the UK (and vice versa) as practical issues arise on the movement of goods and supplies of services.  Particular changes around taxation and accounting treatments will likely arise as the UK changes its relationship to having a third country status with the EU. We will provide ongoing updates and can assist your business as circumstances change. If you require any assistance on these matters please contact your usual contact Partner in Roberts Nathan.   Document References:
EU-UK_Trade_and_Cooperation_Agreement_24.12.2020 (1) Brexit agreement summary
January 8, 2021
  Audit

RN Podcast: 2020 – The Year that was, and 2021 potential for business growth

As we close out on 2020, we have produced a podcast where we take a look at the year that was, and provide our view on what businesses might expect in 2021. Aidan ScollardBrendan Kean and Derek Dervan, partners with Roberts Nathan discuss three main areas likely to impact Irish businesses as well as some tips when planning for 2021:
1. The implications of the Covid vaccine on Irish businesses. Cashflow and succession planning have become very important for business owners, however some good has come from Covid in terms of the opportunities it has created for doing business in a new way. It may also bring about potential M&A and real estate activity, and possible increased consumer spending in the year ahead.
2. Brexit and planning around UK businesses setting up operations in Ireland.
3. Budget 2021 Capital Acquisition and Gains taxes, Entrepreneurial Relief, Pensions and Retirement Relief.
Roberts Nathan podcast discussing 2020 the year that was, and why 2021 has potential for business growth for Irish SME businesses
We hope you enjoy listening to our podcast and if you have any questions regarding any of the points raised please let us know.
 
December 17, 2020
  Audit

Roberts Nathan Welcomes New Audit Director

Roberts Nathan has announced Eilish Haughton as a key senior appointment to provide and oversee audit and advisory services for entrepreneurial led and SME companies in Ireland and the UK. Eilish Haughton is an experienced accountant with over 18 years’ experience gained in two of the top six accountancy firms in Ireland. Eilish is a Business Studies and Accountancy graduate of TU Dublin and a Chartered Accountant. Welcoming Eilish to her new role, Brendan Kean, Dublin Managing Partner said: "I am delighted Eilish has joined us, not only will she bring very strong functional experience to enhance further our audit and advisory services, but her addition will also grow our capabilities as a key full-service accountancy firm supporting Irish business and entrepreneurs.” Eilish Haughton added, “Providing an attentive client service, combined with a strong reputation for excellence is what is different about Roberts Nathan – I’m very excited to join the team here and look forward to us delivering on our ambitious plans and building life-long partnerships with our clients.” Established in 1997, Roberts Nathan has grown significantly since inception. With offices in both Dublin and Cork the firm has grown to become one of the most trusted professional practices in Ireland with a team of more than 50 professionals. Pictured (Pre-Covid) L/R: Eilish Haughton, Audit Director; Brendan Kean, Dublin Managing Partner; Aidan Scollard, Partner; Derek Dervan, Partner.  
December 2, 2020
  Business Advice

Government Supports for Covid-19

Covid-19 has already caused a major disruption to businesses which has led to financial insecurity for both employers and employees. Below, we have summarised the Government supports to help both employer and employees through this difficult period. Please note that the below has been prepared based on the information available to us and we will regularly update you as new information is released.   Provisions for SMEs   The most challenging difficulty facing employers at present will be managing cash-flow, the below are some of the steps the Government and Revenue Commissioners have announced to ease the burden for employers.   The Revenue Commissioners have made the following concessions for SMEs (i.e. Irish companies with a turnover of less than €3 million):  
  • The application of interest on late payments is suspended for January/February VAT and both February and March PAYE (Employer) liabilities.
  • All debt enforcement activity is suspended until further notice.
  • The current tax clearance status will remain in place for all businesses over the coming months.
  • The RCT rate review due to be conducted on 28th March 2020 has been suspended.
  The Revenue Commissioners have advised that taxpayers should continue to make returns on time, even if the payment will not be made. They are also actively encouraging taxpayers and agents to engage with them during this difficult period.   Please note that the above concessions only apply to SMEs and all other businesses experiencing cash-flow and trading difficulties should contact the Collector General’s office on 01-7383663.   Employer Covid-19 Refund Scheme   The Department of Employment and Social Protection (DEASP) is asking employers to retain employees on the payroll to avoid a surge of applications for the Temporary Lay-Off Payment. DEASP is requesting employers assistance by paying employees the flat-rate of €203 per week,  the Revenue Commissioners will refund the payment to employers on a ‘next day’ basis for returns filed by 2pm.   Please note that if employers ‘top-up’ this amount then they will not be entitled to receive any refund from Revenue. Therefore, employers availing of this payment on behalf of employees should only pay the €203 flat rate.     Self-Employed & Employees Temporarily Laid-Off   Where a self-employed individual has ceased trading or an employee has been temporarily laid-off they can apply for the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment. This is a flat rate of €203 per week for a maximum of 6 weeks. Employees should apply for Jobseekers Benefit at the same time to ensure that they continue to receive a payment after the 6 weeks of the emergency payments has ended. It is important to note that you do not need to go to your Intreo Centre – any employees affected by temporary layoff can process an application online, without the need to present in person at their Intreo or social welfare branch offices.   You may apply in the following ways:
  • If you do not currently hold a Public Services Card an application form for the new Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment can be completed and returned to FREEPOST PO BOX 12896, Dublin 1;
or
  Short Time Work Support Payment   This payment is available to qualifying individuals whose hours have been reduced or who have been put on short-time working. To apply for this Employees must work 3 days or less having previously been employed on a full time basis.  A person’s duration of eligibility and rate of payment for Short-time Work Support depends on their PRSI contributions, weekly earnings and the nature of the change to their work pattern.   There are 2 forms to be completed when making an application, a Jobseeker’s allowance/Benefit Application Form (UP1) and a Short-time Work Support form (UP14 STWS).   Revenue will continue to closely monitor the evolving situation regarding Covid-19 and will issue further updated guidance for businesses when required and particularly in good time before the March/April VAT returns, and other future returns are due.   If you would like any further information on the supports available to you and/or your business please do not hesitate to contact us.
March 21, 2020