Ireland – An Ideal Location For Intellectual Property Trading Companies – Research & Development Relief – Part 3

Apart from a highly skilled, English speaking workforce; membership of the E.U.; an excellent standard of living for employees seconded to Ireland; a large network of international routes and a successful track record of investment, research and development from United States corporations there are many advantages to setting up Intellectual Property Trading companies in Ireland.

The main focus of this article is the tax advantages which can be summarized under the following headings and viewed in Parts 1 through 4 on TaxConnections Worldwide Tax Blogs:

1.  Corporation Tax – Part 1
2.  Capital Allowances – Part 2
3.  Research & Development Relief – Part 3
4.  Withholding Tax – Part 4
5.  Stamp Duty and Summary – Part 4



The 2012 Finance Act introduced a new tax relief which allowed a company to surrender a portion of its R&D tax credit to key employees engaged in research and development activities.

This relief reduced the employee’s Income Tax (but not Universal Social Charge) on relevant emoluments providing the employee’s effective income tax rate didn’t fall below 23% in any tax year.

To be eligible for this relief:

a)  The key employee must have performed 75% or more of the duties of his/her employment in “the conception or creation of new knowledge, products, processes, methods and systems.”

b)  In addition 75% of the employee’s emoluments with the employer in question must qualify as expenditure on R&D within the provisions of Section 766 TCA 1997.

2013 Finance Act

The 75% thresholds were reduced to 50%.

This applies to accounting periods commencing on or after 1st January 2013.

The Finance Act 2013 increased the amount of qualifying R&D expenditure that can be ignored when referencing current year expenditure to base year expenditure from €100,000 to €200,000.

This means that the first €200,000 of qualifying expenditure is effectively on a volume base.  Any qualifying amount in excess of this €200,000 is compared to the 2003 threshold amount and the R&D credit will be calculated on this portion of qualifying expenditure in the normal manner.

How does this relief work?

The R&D Tax Credit is available to:

•  offset the current year corporation tax liability of the company (the aggregate amount to be surrendered cannot exceed the corporation tax for the accounting period).
•  to reward key employees who have been involved in the development of the R&D i.e. a “relevant employer” can surrender the benefits of the R&D credits to the employee who will then be entitled to have his/her income reduced by the amount of the tax credits surrendered in the tax year following the tax year in which the accounting period of the employer ends.
•  Excess credits can be (a) carried forward indefinitely, (b) carried back to previous year, (c) surrendered within the group or (d) reclaimed from Revenue over a three year period, provided certain conditions are met.

In addition to the above relief, there is also a tax credit for capital expenditure on buildings or structures used for the purposes of R&D activities.

The tax credit is 25% of the cost of construction or refurbishment of a building or structure used to facilitate the R&D activity.  This is available on a proportional basis if at least 35% of the building is being used for the purposes of R&D.

Two points to remember:

1.  The full R&D credit can be claimed in the year in which the expenditure was incurred.
2.  There is a ten-year claw back in situations where the building is (a) sold, (b) ceases to be used for the purposes of R&D or (c) ceases to be used for the purposes of the same trade by the company.

Since founding Accounts Advice Centre in Dublin in 1996, Claire McNamara has established a reputation for successfully advising businesses, corporate and personal tax clients. Her knowledge spans various sectors and her experience includes corporate transactions, inheritance tax planning, International Tax Treaties, personal tax as well as advising on issues affecting non domiciled individuals and offshore clients. She constantly delivers a value added service and efficient tax management solutions to high net worth private clients, property owners, executives, entrepreneurs, entertainers and members of various professions.

As a Chartered Tax Adviser, Claire has considerable experience in professional practice and will personally help you to deal with all your tax affairs competently, professionally and successfully. She has also lectured extensively in taxation on courses for the main professional accountancy qualifications including A.C.C.A., A.C.A. and C.P.A. and is actively involved in preparing students for the Irish Tax Institute’s CTA qualification.

Claire has effectively handled a number of Revenue Audits and Appeals on behalf of her diverse client base and has successfully negotiated solutions resulting in substantial differences to the eventual tax liability, surcharge and penalties.


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