Sinn Féin recognises that the number one priority to our economic well being must be the creation of decent jobs with decent pay with a real commitment to our SME sector. 70% of people employed in the private sector work for SMEs, and these businesses are the engine of our economy.
Providing relief to our self employed, encouraging entrepreneurship, supporting our retailers, fostering the Craft Beer industry, easing the administration of taxation, opening up public procurement and advocating a new system to getting credit flowing to SMEs are ways are ways in which we would foster business in Ireland.
Relief to the self employed - Cost €39m
Sinn Féin recognises the contribution that the self- employed, from entrepreneurs to carpenters to farmers, make to our economy and are conscious that the current taxation system discriminates against them in comparison to PAYE workers. We wish to alleviate some of their tax burden through a tax credit on earned income similar to that available to PAYE workers of €500.
The credit shall be available on earned income for the self-employed up to €80,000 and reduced by 5% per €1,000, for gross income between €80,000 and €100,000 with no entitlement to the credit on gross income in excess of €100.000.
encouraging entrepreneurship - Cost €5m
The Start Up Relief for Entrepreneurs (SURE) currently in place, aims to incentivise individuals currently or recently in employment to start and invest in their own business. SuRE enables such individuals to claim income tax relief on investments in their business which Sinn Féin would would limit to €15,000.
The relief is limited to the amount of income tax the individual has paid through PAYE over the previous 6 years. The individual must control at least 30% of the new trading company and must take up employment with that company.
However, this relief has not been effective to date due to its exclusion of the self-employed who have no PAYE income from the scheme. The requirement that the individual must have paid PAYE is limiting this relief for a whole group of entrepreneurs. We believe that all tax payers should be able to avail of the scheme.
Double current trading online Voucher scheme for 2016 - Cost €2.73m
Retail is one of the forgotten sectors of the economy, although it has probably suffered the most outside of construction in recent years. Of increasing concern for the sector is the radical reorientation of people’s spending patterns from the shop to online purchasing with a massive 75% of this business is going abroad. Government figures show online is expected to reach €21bn by 2017, yet 75% of these sales are going outside of the state. We will double the current trading on line voucher scheme.
Ease the Administration of the tax system for Business
Sinn Féin are cognisant of a number of difficulties entrepreneurs and SMEs face in relation to the administration of the tax system and would take the following action:
Delays in VAT registration: Feedback from a recent survey conducted by the Irish Tax Institute indicated that over a fifth of VAT registrations are taking more than four weeks to be processed. In many cases, the turnaround time on these registrations is in excess of 2 to 3 months. These delays are impacting businesses and preventing economic activity and the creation of jobs from taking place. Sinn Féin would ensure that sufficient resources are provided to Revenue resolve the VAT registration process.
As part of their simplified filing arrangements, Revenue allows small companies to pay their VAT and PAYE/PRSI liabilities on a less frequent basis. We would like to see a similar arrangement extended to small businesses for corporation tax and income tax so that they do not pay a large tax bill in one lump sum. We agree with the Irish Tax Institute that it would be useful to allow businesses to pay tax “on account” during the year. This would be of particular use to for example, businesses in the service sector with seasonal cash-flow.
Extend the 50% relief for indigenous Craft Beer to 35,000 hectolitres Cost €500,000
In recognition and support of our indigenous and burgeoning Craft Beer Industry, we propose to support Irish Microbreweries through the extension of the maximum quantity of beer on which 50% on Alcohol Products is allowed for any brewery in a calendar year from 30,000 hectolitres to 35,000 hectolitres.
Improve Access to Public Procurement Contracts for SMEs
Sinn Féin has long argued that public procurement acts as a critical stimulus for the domestic economy and is an important driver of Ireland’s recovery both in terms of employment and employment standards across the economy. Sinn Féin seeks a system of procurement that brings real value to the citizen and society. Government has to be more ambitious for the economic and social return of the €12bn annual public spend on goods, services and capital projects.
The Office of Government Procurement to put in place robust predatory pricing safeguards at the mini-competition
Clearly define a micro, small and medium size organisation and collect and disseminate procurement data that pertains accurately to each category
Set up key performance indicators for micro, small and medium size enterprise participation for all public procurers and a monitoring mechanism ensuring these performance indicators are met
Reduce the size of tenders to make them accessible to the relevant enterprise size
Review the current centralised tendering model to provide an alternative approach that better marries cost benefits with wider regional economic and social policy objectives
Extend categorising of suppliers by number of employees, and also a ‘subsidiary’ classification for companies who are Irish subsidiaries of multinational companies