The Association has forwarded its Pre Budget-Submission to the Department of Finance in recent days, having previously engaged with the Tax Strategy Group on a number of specific measures we believe to be necessary to provide tobacco retailers a fairer legal basis to provide these products to our customers.
Among the Key measures proposed are:
- Reduce employers PRSI so that businesses can partially offset increased salary costs
- Reduce the standard rate of VAT from 23% to 21%
- Extend the 9% VAT rate for the hospitality and newspaper/magazine sector until the end of 2024
- We believe that there should be new measures to incentivise both private individuals and the private business sector to invest in green properties, for example, to introduce additional “green “tax relief in respect of CGT liability is arising on the disposal of properties that have been retrofitted.
- We have also sought a commitment to review the commercial rates regime given the extraordinary advances that online retailing has made, much of which is to the detriment of traditional “bricks-and-mortar outlets.
- With regards to our employees, the Association has suggested that the Income Tax bands and credits should be increased significantly, and that they should, on a three-yearly cycle, be adjusted for inflation and CPI.
- The existing €500 Small Benefit Exemption for employees should be increased to €1,000 per annum.
- Serious consideration needs to be given to the introduction of a 50% reduction of PRSI ( EE and ER) for a period to counter some of the extraordinary pressures both parties are experiencing.
- One of the very real difficulties that many employers in our sector are experiencing is the problems our potential staff are having in finding accommodation; CSNA are seeking the introduction of incentives to let properties to staff, either long or short-term. This could include taxing rents received at 12.5% ( currently it is 25%). We are also suggesting that where properties have been retrofitted, that both the employers and employees could obtain tax credits and/or reduced BIK if rent paid is less than market rent.
- Businesses such as ours need to have both the provision of ring-fenced funding AND support from the Government to make investments that will support the Green Economy. This can be by way of continuing the Capital allowances for energy efficiency and incentives to invest in green properties. Stamp Duty exemptions on properties where retrofitting takes place within an agreed timeframe should be considered.
Finally, there needs to be an acknowledgement that Irish society has undergone radical changes in Working from Home and other changes in workplace practices. While population changes will see enormous benefits, many traders will struggle to maintain their businesses unless there are new initiatives to meet the changes highlighted in Living City and Night time economy Reports. As a matter of urgency, all stakeholders need to be considered on solutions to these changes.