Tuesday 20 March 2018

High-profile tax deal nets just five jobs

Finance Minister Michael Noonan. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Finance Minister Michael Noonan. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

A tax-relief scheme introduced by the Government to help lure senior foreign executives to Ireland and promote employment growth created just five jobs in 2012, according to a review by the Department of Finance.

The Special Assignee Relief Programme (SARP) was introduced in the 2012 Budget, and was seen as a key piece of legislation to underpin foreign direct investment that would result in jobs creation and business expansion.

But the review, in which the Revenue Commissioners was involved, said there is a "lack of measurable evidence" that the Special Assignee Relief Programme had resulted in an increase in foreign direct investment or the roll-out of new projects in the companies involved.

In 2012, just 12 employees in 11 companies availed of the relief under SARP. That resulted in just five jobs being created and six jobs retained, according to official figures.

Preliminary statistics for 2013 showed that 31 people claimed SARP relief that year, including seven who had claimed in 2012.

"The low number of jobs created as a result of SARP indicates that the scheme has not provided any significant increase in employment," noted the review just published by the Department.

When it was first introduced, criteria for eligibility meant that an individual assigned or contracted to work in Ireland could disregard 30pc of their income between €75,000 and an upper limit of €500,000 for income tax purposes. They also had to have been employed by the same employer abroad for at least 12 months before coming to Ireland.

In the last Budget, the SARP programme was extended to 2017. The upper threshold on income was removed, while the 12-month stipulation was cut to six.

A previous requirement that a qualifying individual must have been resident here and not elsewhere during the year for which a claim is made was also removed.

The Department of Finance also undertook a review of the Government's Foreign Earnings Deduction (FED) incentive, designed to support efforts by multinationals and indigenous companies in expanding their businesses to countries including South Africa, Russia, China, India and Brazil.

That review said that "it cannot be definitively stated that the existence of FED has led to an increase in exports to qualifying countries".

In numbers

5: Jobs created by SARP in 2012

24: Number of new SARP claimants in 2013

6: The number of jobs retained in 2012 because of SARP

Irish Independent

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