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Chartered Accountants Abroad

Five Chartered Accountants consider the benefits of working overseas and share their tips for those who wish to broaden their horizons. Paul Murray Title: Commercial Manager – Sales, Programming & Operations Company: Seven Network Location: Sydney, Australia There are great personal development opportunities in multicultural nations such as Australia. I was fortunate enough to enter the market here at manager level thanks to my Big 4 background and extensive client exposure, something that wouldn’t usually happen in Ireland. Having started my career in Rugby Australia, I am now responsible for $1 billion in revenues and $500 million in costs at Seven Network, the most-watched free-to-air television network in Australia, and manage a team of seven women who all hail from different countries. The diversity in our team has really helped me develop from a people management perspective. My top tip Reach out to recruiters before you make the move abroad. This gets your name into the market and generates early opportunities. It also saves time, which is important as Sydney, in particular, is an expensive place to move to. Sarah McEneaney Title: Partner, Digital Talent Company: PwC Location: Chicago, US I’ve spent my whole career living, working and travelling all over the world. I would encourage anyone to take advantage of these opportunities, whether they present themselves or you have to create them. Working with people from so many cultures, and navigating situations and solving problems – often as a “minority” – are skills that are difficult to acquire without living them. Working overseas can allow you to have impact at a global scale – my experience has truly borne that out. As PwC’s Digital Talent Leader in the US, I am responsible for future-proofing our workforce of 50,000 colleagues and considering the impact of technology on the firm’s people strategy. My top tip A professor of mine once said: “Beware of the once-in-a-lifetime opportunities that come along every single day”. I wish I had heard this sooner, but I’m becoming more judicious in what I say yes to and what I decline. Oh, and get more sleep – that’s the true magic for better work. Caoimhe Toouli Title: Partner, Audit and Assurance Company: KPMG Location: Sydney, Australia I left Ireland in 2002, bound for Silicon Valley on an international secondment sponsored by KPMG. I really only wanted to go for 12 months, but had to commit to 18 months and I haven’t looked back. In my view, diversity of experience is invaluable for professional development. You can only grow when challenged by new situations, new people and new environments. Working overseas completely tests one’s ability to adapt and respond to change and difference. For me, working overseas in places like Silicon Valley and Sydney exposed me to much larger capital markets than in Dublin, more complex corporate structures and different cultures. This challenged and enhanced my experience, ensuring I continued to learn and develop throughout my career. As change is the only constant, you must remain open to change and continually adapt your managerial style. But if you are thinking specifically of working overseas, my one piece of advice would be to back yourself. Don’t be afraid to change direction; talented people will succeed anywhere in the world. Matthew Britton Title: Manager, Financial Planning and Analysis Company: Abu Dhabi Investment Authority Location: Abu Dhabi   During my four years in Abu Dhabi, I worked for a sovereign wealth fund. The role involved running the strategic financial planning process, evaluating investment projects and providing management with performance insights. My team boasted 11 nationalities and the company itself employed people from 65 countries. This in itself was incredibly interesting, but it was also very rewarding from a communication perspective.  Navigating cultural nuances and understanding how to influence effectively in a diverse environment has certainly benefited my career. In addition, the mission of the organisation is to secure the wealth of future generations so in a sense the “shareholders” are not even born yet. This brings with it a very different mindset to that of a PLC and learning to adapt to that culture – and, more importantly, to respect that culture – was a valuable learning. My top tip There is an understandable tendency for Irish people to gravitate towards other Irish people when living and working overseas, but being overseas gives you a great opportunity to develop a wider international network – something that needs to be nurtured from an early stage. Margaret Berney Title: Senior Financial Analyst Company: Tarion Warranty Corporation Location: Toronto, Canada Moving to Canada certainly pushed me out of my comfort zone, both professionally and personally. Learning from a new culture has expanded my skillset to that point that I now excel in my role and work extremely well with all colleagues, irrespective of their nationality or background. The move also impacted my outlook on work as I no longer see difficult situations as a challenge. I tackle them with confidence and this is perhaps attributable in part to the new environment I work in and the different philosophies and approaches I encounter each day. The only thing I would do differently in terms of my career overseas is to do it sooner. My top tip If you have an inclination to work abroad, follow your gut instinct and make it happen. Most won’t regret the decision and even if it doesn’t work out, you can always move home having learned from the experience. You can read more about living and working overseas in Chartered Accountants Abroad, the publication from Accountancy Ireland for Chartered Accountants Ireland members abroad.

Aug 06, 2019
Tax

A lack of affordable housing coupled with a lack of supply in the wider market has resulted in the housing crisis continuing into another budget year. In an attempt to alleviate this crisis, the Minister promised to increase capital spending on all housing measures to €2.5 billion in 2020. Many of the measures are aimed at fixing supply issues, with the taxation measures involving the extension of the Help to Buy Scheme to 31 December 2021 and an extension of the Living City Initiative to 31 December 2022. Help to Buy Scheme In his speech, the Minister announced that he will be extending the Help to Buy (HTB) scheme in its current form to 31 December 2021. The HTB scheme provides for a refund to first-time buyers of income tax and deposit interest retention tax (DIRT) that they have paid over the previous 4 years (up to a maximum value of €20,000) to go towards the deposit on a house.  Social and affordable housing €1.1 billion has been allocated for the delivery of 11,000 new social homes in 2020. A further 12,000 units are to be delivered in 2021. An extra €80 million will be allocated for the Housing Assistance Payment in 2020 to provide an additional 15,750 new tenancies. An additional €20 million will be provided for homelessness services in 2020. €17.5 million is being provided to the Land Development Agency and €186 million is being allocated for the Service Site Fund and local infrastructure housing activation in 2020. €130 million in urban regeneration and development funding is being allocated for 2020 to support the rejuvenation of Ireland’s five main cities and other larger towns. €2 million has been allocated to the Residential Tenancies Board to support their increased powers to investigate and sanction non-compliance with rent pressure zone measures. Living City Initiative A scheme of property tax incentives for the regeneration of certain areas in Cork, Dublin, Galway, Kilkenny, Limerick and Waterford, this initiative will be extended in its present form until 31 December 2022.  This is tax relief is available for money spent on refurbishing or converting residential or commercial properties in these areas.

Oct 08, 2019
Tax

This year the Minister has again reaffirmed Ireland’s commitment to retaining the 12.5% corporation tax rate amidst the changing international tax environment. Recognising the volatility of such receipts, the Minister has published the Fiscal Vulnerabilities Scoping Paper which examines corporation tax over-performance and policy options aimed at ensuring the sustainability of the public finances. The measures introduced are enhancements to the R&D tax credit for small and micro companies, as well as a number of anti-avoidance provisions with immediate effect. As expected, anti-hybrid rules and updates to Ireland’s transfer pricing rules will be written into Finance Bill 2019.   Anti-hybrid rules As outlined in Ireland’s Corporation Tax Roadmap, Finance Bill 2019 will introduce Anti- hybrid rules with effect from 1 January 2020 as required under the EU Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive (ATAD). These rules are an anti-abuse measure designed to prevent arrangements that exploit differences in the tax treatment of an instrument or entity under the tax laws of two or more jurisdictions to generate a tax advantage. According to the Minister, consequential provisions are also being introduced to ensure that the existing treatment of stocklending and repo transactions – and of investment limited partnerships – is clear in legislation. The detail of these measures will be included in Finance Bill 2019. Transfer pricing As expected, the Minister confirmed that Ireland’s transfer pricing rules will be amended to transcribe the OECD 2017 Transfer Pricing Guidelines into Irish legislation. The rules will also be extended to cover cross-border non-trading and material capital transactions, and to extend the application of transfer pricing rules to SMEs, subject to a Ministerial Commencement Order. The detail of these amendments will be included in Finance Bill 2019. Research & Development tax credit The Minister announced a number of changes to the R&D tax credit, with a particular focus on small and micro companies accessing the credit. The R&D tax credit will increase from 25 percent to 30 percent for micro and small companies. The Minister also announced the introduction of a new provision that will allow these small companies to claim the credit before the business commences to trade. The credit will be limited to offset against VAT and payroll tax liabilities only. These provisions are subject to state aid approval. Another change to the R&D tax credit is that the limit of outsourcing to third-level institutions of education will be increased from 5 percent to 15 percent of R&D spend or €100,000 (whichever is greater). The Minister outlined that this measure is aimed at benefiting smaller companies who rely on outsourcing to undertake R&D, and also to support R&D activities in the third-level sector. Exit tax The Minster announced that a technical amendment to the exit tax provisions will take effect via a Financial Resolution from Budget night. This amendment is being made in order to ensure that the rules function as they are intended to. The exit tax provisions were amended in last year’s Budget to bring them in line with the Anti Tax Avoidance Directive (ATAD), where a new exit tax regime of 12.5 percent was introduced on any unrealised capital gains arising when companies migrate or move assets offshore. Anti-avoidance measures Announced were several anti-avoidance measures aimed at Irish real estate funds (IREFs), real estate investment trust companies, section 110 companies and capital expenditure on scientific research. The Minister outlined in his speech that “institutional investors have an important role to play in terms of increasing supply of both commercial and residential property”; however, he also outlined how “it is essential that an appropriate level of tax is paid by such investors”. Irish real estate funds and section 110 companies The Budget papers highlight that Revenue, following an analysis of the first sets of financial statements filed by IREFs, has identified aggressive activities by some IREFs, including the use of excessive interest charges to avoid the payment of tax in respect of profits from Irish property. To address these issues, limitations on interest expenses based debt to property cost and on an income to interest ratio are being introduced. These measures will come into effect on Budget night via a Financial Resolution. Anti-avoidance provisions in section 110 of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 (TCA 1997) are also being strengthened to ensure that they operate as intended. These changes will be brought in as part of Finance Bill 2019. Real estate investment trust companies A number of amendments are also being introduced regarding real estate investment trust companies (REITs) to ensure that an appropriate level of tax is being collected, particularly in the area of capital gains, and also to ensure such companies operate in line with the original policy intention of encouraging stable, long-term investment in the rental property market. The following amendments were announced: The distribution of proceeds from the disposal of a rental property will now be subject to dividend withholding tax upon distribution. An existing provision whereby a deemed disposal and re-basing of property values occurs should a company cease to be a RIET is being limited to apply only where the REIT has been in operation for a minimum of 15 years. These changes will take effect from Budget night via a Financial Resolution. Allowance for capital expenditure on scientific research Section 765 TCA 1997 provides allowances for capital expenditure on scientific research. According to the Budget papers, an anomaly has been identified whereby the interaction of this section with other provisions could create the potential for unintended additional claims to relief. The Budget papers outline that this was not the policy intention of the legislation, and the anomaly is being corrected in Finance Bill 2019.

Oct 08, 2019