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From an employment tax perspective, Finance Bill 2015 reduces the income tax burden on employees in a manner consistent with Minister Noonan’s Budget speech of “making work pay”.

The Irish economy has stabilised and grown over the past two years, and it is clear that the intention of this Finance Bill is to reward entrepreneurship and work whilst being supportive of the corporate sector.

The Department of Finance yesterday published the Finance Bill 2015 which gives effect to the taxation measures announced on budget day earlier this month.

In addition to the Budget measures the Bill also contains details of a number of further changes not
yet announced. Members should note the following two provisions in particular:

Travel Expenses of Nonexecutive Directors

Section 6 inserts a new section 195B into the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 and provides for
an exemption from income tax and USC of certain vouched expenses of travel and subsistence of a non-resident nonexecutive director of a company. Such expenses must be incurred solely for the purpose of attendance by such a director, in his or her capacity as a director, at a relevant meeting.

Consequently, nonexecutive directors living overseas who travel to Ireland to attend board meetings will no longer be held liable for USC or income tax on their travel expenses. Please note this measure only applies to non-resident nonexecutives.

Increased Tax Exemption on Vouchers

Section 10 provides an increased exemption from Income Tax, PRSI and USC in circumstances where employers give a qualifying voucher to an employee in a year of assessment. That voucher cannot exceed €500 in value, nor may it be exchanged in part or in full for cash or be part of any salary sacrifice arrangement between the employee and employer. Furthermore only one voucher may be given in any one year. This provision copper fastens in law an existing Revenue administrative concession whereby employees may receive a voucher to the value of €250.

Rather than opting for cash bonuses companies can thus give staff once-off annual bonuses in the form of vouchers and benefit from tax exemptions. Notably, this measure can be effectively used for businesses to support the local economy and local retailers.

This of course is excellent news as it will have a positive impact on the local economy

Both measures above take effect from 01 January 2016 and are subject to Dáil approval.