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Cowen Signs Orders Extending Irish Investment Tax Breaks

by Jason Gorringe, Tax-News.com, London

11 September 2007


In line with State-aid approval recently received from the European Commission for the Business Expansion Scheme (BES) and the Seed Capital Scheme (SCS), Brian Cowen, Irish Minister of Finance, on 6 September, 2007 signed the Commencement Order bringing the schemes into effect from 1 January 2007 to 31 December 2013.

“I am delighted that these two schemes will now be available up to the end of 2013," commented Cowen. "The Commencement Order I have signed today brings the schemes into effect from 1 January 2007 to 31 December 2013 in line with the terms of the approval obtained from the European Commission under State aid rules.”

In summary, the Commencement Order and Regulations provide that as and from 1 January 2007, medium-sized enterprises may qualify if they are located in “assisted areas”. (Currently, the assisted areas are defined as all of the Republic of Ireland apart from Dublin, Kildare, Meath and Wicklow. From 1 January 2009, Cork City and county will be non-assisted, apart from Cork docklands). Medium-sized enterprises will benefit from the scheme if located in non-assisted areas only where they are in seed or start-up phase.

The Regulations also provide powers for the Revenue Commissioners to publish on their website a list of companies that have raised finance under the BES and SCS schemes, together with details of the amounts raised. This information will also be made available to State agencies with responsibility for the administration of other State-aided schemes, and will be reported to the European Commission.

These powers relate to a further condition of European Commission approval, which is that the aid provided under the BES and SCS must be cumulated with other State aids. According to Cowen, this is not provided for in the Regulations, but is being implemented in accordance with the Commission Decision under existing State aid Regulations, and the existing powers of grant-assisting State agencies.

A comprehensive report in our Intelligence Report series examining tax-sheltering arrangements for investors, including Venture Capital, Forest Finance, Film Finance, is available in the Lowtax Library at http://www.lowtaxlibrary.com/asp/subs_reports.asp and a description of the report can be seen at http://www.lowtaxlibrary.com/asp/description_report5.asp

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