Thursday, 1 February 2018

Questions (78)

Niall Collins

Question:

78. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Finance the position regarding the establishment by the Revenue Commissioners of a research and development discussion group to consider the administrative burdens faced by those engaging with research and development tax initiatives in tandem with a new practice for SMEs regarding the qualifying science test; the estimated costs associated with setting up and maintaining this discussion group; and the number of part-time and full-time staff working in the Revenue Commissioners in a dedicated unit with respect to research and development tax related matters. [5247/18]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

I am advised by Revenue that there is a Research & Development (R&D) discussion group which reports to the Direct and Capital Taxes Sub-Committee of the Tax Administration Liaison Committee (TALC).  The main purpose of the discussion group is to provide a forum for Revenue and representative organisations to raise and address issues affecting the operation of the R&D tax credit and the Knowledge Development Box (KDB).  The group provides a platform for issues to be raised with Revenue, but also for Revenue to raise issues and concerns with representative bodies.

As with all TALC interactions, the relevant Revenue officers take part in the discussion group as part of their normal functions.  All members of the group are there in a representative capacity.  There is no cost associated with the setting up or maintaining the group. 

Revenue does not have a dedicated unit exclusively looking after Research and Development matters.  The R&D tax credit, like all other elements of corporation tax, is administered within the existing Revenue structures. This includes customer service to assist taxpayers to voluntarily comply with their tax obligations together with compliance and verification programmes to assess and manage risk. Where a risk is identified then a compliance intervention and any subsequent non-compliance will be dealt with in accordance with the Code of Practice for Revenue Audit and other Compliance Interventions.  A small number of staff in the Revenue Legislative Service deals with the R&D tax credit and the KDB as part of a larger legislative workload.

This approach and the overall administration of the R&D tax credit by Revenue were extensively reviewed by the Comptroller and Auditor General and is set out under Chapter 14 of the 2015 Annual Report. 

I am advised by Revenue that it has issued extensive guidance on the R&D Tax Credit most recently in 2015. Additional guidance specifically to reduce the administrative burden for relatively small claims for SME’s and micro-companies was issued in February 2017.