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Payments to Staff – 15 Tax Free Options

It is difficult for businesses to retain staff and we are often asked for ways to remunerate them in a tax efficient manner.

Detailed below are 15 various options:-

1. Working from Home

Where employees work for substantial periods outside the employer’s business premises in the course of the performance of the duties of their employment, an employer can cover certain costs on a tax free basis:

  • Equipment such as computers, printers, office furniture, telephone line and internet access provided to facilitate work in the employee’s home where personal use is incidental.
  • A contribution of up to €3.20 per day for light and heat expenses. The employee can also claim additional amounts on a vouched basis where actual costs incurred exceed this level.
  • Costs of business calls on home and personal mobile phone.

2. Sport Club Subscriptions

If the employer pays the subscription on behalf of the employee, the amount paid is declared as notional salary and the equivalent tax is deducted from the employee.  For example a golf club subscription costing €1,500 will in effect only cost the employee €750, assuming 50% income tax marginal rate applies.

These can be made tax free where membership of the club is available to all employees.

3. Non-Cash Gift – Voucher or Benefit

The limit for giving a tax free voucher to an employee is €500 per annum. These are normally provided as vouchers and are tax free to the receiver.

4. Company Car or Pool Car

If private use is excluded, then the cost to the employee can be zero.

Depending on the amount of business mileage, Read more

Posted on August 10, 2017 by Cooney Carey

Bankruptcy – What Happens To Your Pension?


Bankruptcy is a High Court process that deals with secured debt and unsecured debts. When you are made bankrupt, your assets transfer to a person in the Insolvency Service of Ireland (ISI) called the Official Assignee. Most forms of unsecured debt are written off and you may be able to agree on a schedule of mortgage payments with the bank and the Official Assignee to enable you to remain in your home. Bankruptcy normally lasts for one year.

Generally, pension assets are not transferred to the Official Assignee. 

However, pension income receivable by you will be treated as income for the purposes of your bankruptcy. An ARF and Vested Personal Retirement Savings Accounts (Vested PRSAs) may be included in your bankruptcy estate for realisation and payment to your creditors.

If you have a pension entitlement that matures within five years of your bankruptcy order, the Official Assignee will have the right to claim it for the benefit of the bankruptcy estate.

What questions do you have?

We are happy to help. Please post your comment below or call Paul Leonard, Partner at Cooney Carey, on 01 677 9000. Alternatively, send him an email:

If this article helped you, please share it.

Posted on December 17, 2016 by Cooney Carey

Default Interest – Ireland Revisits the Test for Penalty Clauses


Default interest and penalty clauses were revisited by the Irish High Court recently in two connected cases.

Both cases taken by the plaintiff, Breccia, related to loans that which were initially granted by Anglo Irish Bank Plc and were since sold to a third party fund.

The loan agreements provided for the application of surcharge interest at a rate of 4% on amounts unpaid. The relevant provision was contained within the standard terms and conditions for the loans and had the effect of doubling the interest payable.

A central issue in both disputes was whether the inclusion of default interest in the loan redemption figures constituted a penalty and whether the application of any such default interest was, as a result, unlawful and unenforceable.

UK and Irish Precedent

In Ireland, the leading authority on penalty clauses is ACC Bank Plc v Friends First Managed Pension Funds Ltd & others (the “ACC case”). In that case the court found surcharge interest rates to be penal in nature where such rates could not be considered a “reasonable pre-estimate” of likely loss in the event of a default.

Recently the UK Supreme Court in the Cavendish decision handed down Read more

Posted on October 27, 2016 by Paul Leonard

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