Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Questions (189)

Pearse Doherty


189. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the estimated revenue that could have been raised if intangible assets onshore between 2015 and 2018 were taxed at the current 80% cap; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21943/19]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

I am advised by Revenue that tax returns do not record the onshoring of assets (or the year in which onshoring occurred). The available information is the amounts of capital allowances claimed in respect of intangible assets.

The 80% cap on capital allowances was re-introduced in Finance Bill 2017 and it applies to all intangible assets acquired from 11 October 2017. It is important to note that the imposition of a cap on capital allowances for intangible assets only affects the timing of relief in the form of capital allowances and related interest expenses for intangible assets but does not affect the overall quantum of relief.  This is because any amounts restricted in one accounting period as a result of a cap are available for carry forward and utilisation in a subsequent accounting period, subject to the application of the cap in that period. Therefore no additional tax revenue would be raised in the long-term through the Deputy's proposal.

I am advised by Revenue that, based on levels of capital allowance claims in tax returns for recent years, it is tentatively estimated that there would be a cash flow benefit of approximately €750 million if intangible assets acquired between 2015 and 11 October 2017 were subject to the 80% cap. It is important to be clear that such a change would not lead to more tax overall and this simply a timing matter - to present this as additional tax for the exchequer would not be correct. I do not wish to repeat the mistakes of the past by increasing expenditure through unsustainable tax changes. I would also note that this estimate is on the basis of assuming no behavioural change on the part of the companies involved. Furthermore, as the Deputy will be aware, changes to tax law are generally made on a prospective basis such that they apply only from the date on which they have legal effect.