I propose to take Questions Nos. 9 and 12 together.
Capital allowances for intangible assets were introduced in Finance Act 2009 to support the development of the knowledge economy and the provision of high quality employment. When the capital allowances were introduced, to ensure that a measure of tax remained in charge annually, a restriction was provided to cap the amount of income that the allowances could be used against in any year at 80%. The restriction did not deny the use of the capital allowances. It merely lengthened the period over which they could be utilised.
Ireland is not unique in providing capital allowances for intangible assets and the tax treatment of intangible assets is similar to the approach taken in other countries, such as the UK and the US. In the Finance Act 2014, the cap of 80% was increased to 100%, effective for accounting periods commencing on or after 1 January 2015. The rationale for increasing the cap was to bring the tax treatment of intangible assets into line with the tax treatment of similar assets in other jurisdictions. The change also ensured that the treatment of intangible assets was in line with the treatment of other capital assets in our tax code. Noting a significant increase in the use of the capital allowances in 2015, the Coffey review recommended that to ensure some smoothing of corporation tax revenue over time, the 80% cap be restored. The cap does not affect the overall capital allowances available but merely lengthens the timeframe over which they can be used.
Regarding meetings, my officials and I meet a range of organisations and individuals regularly and I note that this subject was discussed at length on Committee and Report Stages of the Finance Bill. As I noted on those occasions, as part of regular pre-budget meetings, I met with the American Chamber of Commerce but the subject of capital allowances for intangible assets was not discussed. I did, however, have many meetings with my officials on this and other policy choices. On the basis of these discussions, I implemented the recommendation of the Coffey review and re-introduced the 80% cap to capital expenditure incurred from budget night.
Regarding meetings held at the time of the 2014 change, I gave an undertaking on Committee Stage of the Finance Bill to ask my Department to review its records from that time to establish the position with regard to that period. This review is ongoing.