The Deputy will appreciate that any proposals regarding taxation policy are ultimately a matter for the Minister for Finance.
While there is no record in my Department of a proposal being received in 2016 on the specific issue of tax breaks for companies that support international athletes that work full-time, proposals were received in recent years regarding the operation of the tax relief scheme for donations to sport more generally.
The National Sports Policy 2018-2027 recognises the significant financial investment by individuals and businesses to support local sports clubs. This is a welcome funding source and the Government tries wherever possible to ensure an enabling environment for sporting bodies to further develop these funding opportunities.
On 29 November I published a Sports Action Plan for the period 2021 to 2023 which sets out the key initiatives that we are going to pursue on our continuing journey to get more people involved in sport and to enhance the way that sport is managed and administered.
With a planned doubling of investment in sport to an annual level of more than €220 million by 2027, the State intends to take the lead in delivering more investment but others will increasingly need to play their part through, for instance, corporate and philanthropic finance. Taxation reform can assist this drive for more funding diversity in Irish sport, not just for high performance sport but also for grassroots sport.
The Action Plan includes several actions relating to funding for sport, including Actions 3.4 and 3.7.
Action 3.4 commits to the introduction of a scheme for the attraction of corporate and philanthropic finance to support Ireland’s high-performance programme, modelled on the “Black Gold” programme in New Zealand.
Action 3.7 commits to the preparation of business cases for possible taxation reform for (a) the granting of charitable status for NGBs (b) the lowering of the €250 eligibility threshold for capital reliefs on individual donations to sports capital projects (c) the extension of the zero-rated VAT regime (d) the extension of taxation reliefs on capital donations to include donations for sports participation/coaching programmes, and (e) the incentivisation of personal exercise opportunities.