My tax bill is due, and I need help

If you don’t have the money to pay your tax bill, what are your options? Also, what expenses can you claim back against tax?
If your tax bill is due and you don’t have the cash flow to pay it, you are not alone.
This is an issue that affects thousands of small business owners and sole traders around the country each year.
The annual tax bill, however, doesn’t have to cause you sleepless nights.
“You can pay off the loan as quickly as you want without paying additional fees.”
One of the best and most affordable solutions is to take out a small business loan with competitive interest rates and no prepayment penalties. This allows you to pay off the loan as quickly as you want without paying additional fees.
You can quickly apply for the loan here.

Related Resource

What expenses can I claim back each year? 
You are allowed to claim against expenses that are directly related to the running of the business. These include: 

Purchase of goods for resale
Wages, rent, rates, repairs, lighting and heating 
Running costs of cars, vans or machinery used in the business
Accountancy fees
Interest paid on any money borrowed to finance the business 
Lease payments on vehicles or machinery used in the business

What can I not claim back? 
Section 81(2) Tax Consolidation Act 1997 (TCA 1997) lists expenses specifically disallowed. Some of which are:

Capital items purchased.
Expenses for domestic or private use e.g. apportionment of dwelling house expenses if working from home.
Entertainment costs (any lunches with clients, coffees, etc.)
Any interest paid to Revenue for late filing.
All food and subsistence paid by a self-employed person.

Rule of thumb – any expenditure incurred which is not wholly and exclusively incurred for business activity is disallowed.

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How to be productive and happy at work

Happy employees are more productive. Here’s how to foster a culture of continuous improvement in your business. 
The link between productivity and wellness
It’s not just the business leaders who strive for higher productivity. Most employees want to be productive too. If people can’t get their work done, they feel stressed, and this causes them to worry. In today’s business world where priorities and deadlines are continually shifting, people often don’t feel in control. Despite working hard and long hours employees often feel they are not on top of their workload.
In contrast being productive gives employees a sense of achievement and accomplishment. There is a satisfaction that comes with being able to make a plan and stick to it.
Moreover, that satisfaction allows employees switch off after work which in turn will enable them to relax and refresh.
On the other hand, a lack of productivity can have an adverse effect on the employee’s stress levels and general mental wellness.
“A culture of productivity encourages everyone to perform at their best level.”
Causes of stress at work
In fact, if we look at some of the causes of stress cited by employees we see factors that also cause a lack of productivity:
• Changing demands and priorities
• Inefficient systems and processes
• Lack of clarity around role and expectations
• Poor communication with managers
• Long hours, poor work-life balance
“Foster a culture of continuous improvement.”
A productive culture benefits everyone
So by removing these barriers to productivity businesses can also reduce the stress levels of their employees. Not only will employee wellness and happiness increase, but employee engagement and output also will too. A culture of productivity encourages everyone to perform at their best level.
To foster this culture a business needs to make sure it provides the best tools, the best processes, the best managers and the best training.
Here are some questions to

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John Bruton to discuss CAP reform

Succession planning, the impact of Brexit on CAP reform and planning for success are the big themes at an agri-seminar to be held in Kells on May 2. 
How will Brexit affect CAP reforms? It’s a question many farmers are asking. Who better to give an informed analysis than John Bruton, former Taoiseach and Ambassador of the European Union to the United States. 
Bruton will speak at the latest agri-seminar hosted by Bank of Ireland to be held in the Headford Arms Hotel in Kells, Co. Meath On May 2, 2018.
Book your free place here. 
Other significant issues to be addressed at the seminar include succession planning and tax; as well as sustainable farm finance. 
“It’s going to be a very useful and informative evening,” says Sean Farrell, head of agriculture at Bank of Ireland. 
“Everyone is concerned about Brexit to some degree and the CAP reforms are top of the agenda. I’m looking forward to the deep insights that John Bruton will bring to the table. 
“The other big issue facing farmers today is how they grow their farm in a sustainable way. Strategic planning on the part of the farmer and the farmer’s attitude to risk affects everything they do, and this will be examined in detail.”
Another keynote speaker on the evening is Declan McEvoy, head of taxation with IFAC accountants who will give valuable advice on succession planning and the tax implications for farms.
To book your place at this evening event, go here. 

Related Resource

To speak with an advisor on how we can help you grow your farm click here. 

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How to apply for the Brexit loan scheme

The Irish Government has launched a €300m loan scheme for SMEs to offset the impacts of Brexit. If you are eligible, you can apply now for a discounted loan.
What is the SBCI Brexit loan scheme?
To put it simply, it’s a €300 million loan fund made available to eligible firms in Ireland as they face into Brexit. Many SMEs will need to innovate and adapt to Brexit, and the money will be lent at a fixed rate of 4%.
Is that rate good?
Yes. It’s the most affordable rate there is. For example, an SBCI loan of €50,000 at 4.00% over a two-year term will require 24-monthly repayments of €2,170.95. The total cost of this credit is just €2,102.80.
Who can apply?
Be aware that there is an eligibility check. Before you apply for the loan from the bank, you must satisfy the Brexit and innovation eligibility checks. For a list of the criteria go here. 
Independent businesses that are established and operating in the RoI, with fewer than 250 employees and with a turnover of €50 million or less can apply.
How much can I borrow?
Between €25,000 and €1,500,000. There are unsecured loans up to €500,000, and you can apply online for loans up to €120,000.
For loans greater than €120,000 you need to talk with your bank’s relationship manager.
How do I know I am eligible to apply?
If you need the money to fund working capital and innovation, you are in an excellent position to apply. Check the criteria here.
Businesses that are not allowed to apply include those in the primary agriculture and/or aquaculture sectors and firms that are in financial difficulty or are bankrupt.
What next, what are the steps I should take?
1: Complete the SBCI Brexit loan scheme pre-eligibility application form here.
2: Get your eligibility confirmation letter from the SBCI.
3: Go online to apply for your

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Where are all the female leaders?

Gender imbalance in business leadership and pay inequality do not just hurt the women of Ireland. Brid Horan of the 30% Club explains why. 

‘I’m a firm believer in equality and in fully developing the talents of all, to the benefit of both the individual and of society, like many others, I assumed that progress would come with time, but it has become clear that more is needed,’ says Brid Horan, co-founder of the 30% Club (Ireland), former deputy CEO of the ESB, and a shrewd player who has spent decades in the upper echelons of Ireland’s boardrooms.
The picture of Horan in the company of Taoiseach Leo Varadkar; Hand Kablawi (EMEA chairman BNY Mellon); Dame Vivian Hunt and her 30% colleagues Carol Andrews and Rachel Hussey demonstrates just how accomplished Horan is at driving progress.
The Donegal born actuarist has spent a considerable part of her enviable career challenging the status-quo, often as the only woman at the helm of major energy (ESB) and consultancy (KPMG) firms. She’s frank about her journey, insightful about how to navigate change and unrelenting about driving diversity and inclusion.
Now, on the eve of International Women’s Day and as Chair of the forthcoming IWDC Conference, Horan reaffirms just how much change is needed, the paradoxes of female leadership and role of the 30% Club in Ireland today.
“Paradoxes abound in female leadership.”
My career goes back to the 1970s, a time when career options and opportunities for women were limited in many ways. This made me conscious of the negative impact of such limitations on the women affected, but also on businesses and society itself. If anything, I’ve become more convinced of this as my career progressed. Any organisation that limits its choice and source of talent is, in my opinion, limiting its potential as well as the potential

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What if my staff can’t get to work?

Extreme weather conditions bring all sorts of problems. One of the most significant issues for business owners is that of employee absence and payment. Here is a brief guide.
What if an employee can’t get to work? 
Regarding pay, you are under no obligation to pay the employee if they can’t get to work, even if it’s no fault of their own. 
However, if you do pay for such missed days, make sure all employees are treated the same. 
Are there other options?
You can agree on a short-term annual leave request with the employee or, when applicable, employees can work from home. 
You could also agree with employees that they can make up the time. 
It’s up to you to agree on the right course of action with the people you employ and it’s important to be fair to all involved. 
What if I can’t open the business, the place of work? 
In this case, your employees are entitled to full pay so long as they are able (or would be able) to get to work. 
What if I decide to send people home during the day? 
Then you will still have to pay people for the full day. 
Can I make employees take holidays for days missed due to bad weather? 
If you want to ‘enforce’ a holiday, you must give notice that is equal to twice the length of time that you want to be taken off. This means for one day’s holiday you must give two days notice. 
What about employees with children who have to stay at home due to school closures?
There is no legal obligation to pay employees if schools close and they have to stay at home to mind children.
However, again, at your discretion, it may be best that you consider agreeing on a holiday or the employee making the time up.
Please note that parents are entitled

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FutureScope 2018

FutureScope 2018 is a conference aimed at promoting collaboration between entrepreneurs and multinationals.
Founders, CEOs and leaders from prominent firms, including Vodafone, Enterprise Ireland, Facebook, IBM, Google, Alltech, Blueface, Circle, Newswhip, Jobbio, Science Foundation Ireland and more, are looking to collaborate and share their views on what they see as the major emerging trends affecting their business.
“The central premise of the event is to create a platform for global multinationals, large innovative Irish companies and successful entrepreneurs to explore business opportunities,” says Michael Culligan, CEO, Dublin BIC.
Martina Larkin, head of Europe and Eurasia, World Economic Forum, is one of the big name speakers confirmed. Other speakers on the day include Jaime Cudden, Smart City programme manager at Dublin City Council and Barry O’ Sullivan, director at Insight Centre, with more to be announced.
Tickets to FutureScope 2018 are limited to 1,200. There will be 120 speakers and more than 40 exhibitors.
Key themes at this year’s event include the Internet of Things, data analytics and AI, the business applications of VR/AR, digital transformation and technologies driving the future world.
The event takes place on May 31, 2018, in The Convention Centre Dublin. For more, go here. 

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Twelve inspirational Irish food shops

What are the best food shops in Ireland? Stephen Conmy examines some inspirational Irish food stores that are worth a visit.
Country Choice
Where: Nenagh, Co Tipperary.
Who: Peter and Mary Ward’s country store is an intriguing treasure trove of high quality, and mostly local, produce. Peter, a big fan of the slow food movement, is a vocal champion of Irish artisan foods.
What’s good? The terrine made from the family’s Saddleback pigs and any of Mary’s delicious jams.  

Manning’s Emporium
Where: Ballylickey, West Cork.
Who: The business has been family-run for over 70 years.
What’s good? Everything, it has long been a treasure trove for food lovers everywhere.
Ardkeen Stores
Where: Dunmore Road, Waterford.
Who: Colin Jephson. He was also a former sponsor of The Theatre of Food at the Electric Picnic.
What’s good? A vast range of smoked fish, but this is a proper artisan food supermarket. You can also shop online and have your goods delivered.
Where: Galway.
Who: The McCambridge family. The shop was established in 1925.
What’s good? The cold meats from the deli. Plus, an excellent selection of wines & spirits. The company also runs a catering business.
Where: Bandon, Co Cork.
Who: Ruth Healy.
What’s good? Hampers, especially the ‘Made in Cork’ collection.

Fallon & Byrne
Where: Wicklow St., Dublin.
Who: Paul Byrne and Fiona McHugh.
What’s good? The sourdough baguette and the soft cheeses. 
Scally’s SuperValu of Clonakilty
Where: Faxbridge, Clonakilty, Co. Cork. 
Who: The Scally family.
What’s good? Everything. The store won the prestigious ‘Most Creative Retailer’ in Ireland award at the annual Checkout ‘Best in Fresh’ awards in 2017.

Nolan’s of Kilcullen
Where: Main St Kilcullen, Co.Kildare, Ireland (open since 1886). 
Who: The Nolans.
What’s good? The meat. It is foremost a butcher shop with prizewinning products from sausages, to spiced beef to the incredible puddings. 
Foodstore Claremorris
Where: Ballyhaunis Road, Claremorris, Co. Mayo. 
Who: Niall Heffernan.
What’s good? The deli meats and the organic fruit and veg. 

The English Market
Where: The English Market (a gathering of great food shops), Cork City.

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The future of work is flexible

The future of work is becoming clear. Karen O’Reilly is the founder of Employmum, an agency that specialises in finding flexible work solutions for women and mothers returning to the workplace.

How it all began
I lived in France for twelve years and ran the largest English speaking property agency in the South of France between 2002 and 2008. When the property market collapsed in 2008, we diversified into English speaking property tours and ran The French Tour Co., eventually specialising in wine tours in the Languedoc Roussillon. We became the biggest English speaking tour company in the area.
In 2013 and with two children aged six and eight, we moved back to Clonakilty. Our main catalyst was that we wanted our children to grow up in Ireland and be Irish, a decision we have not regretted for a moment. We love the community in Clonakilty, and the schools are second to none. Our children are very happy, growing up in a very nurturing environment.
On return, I wanted to find flexible work that would fit around my family life. My husband works for the oil and gas industry and is away a lot, and I wanted to be there for my children who were transitioning from a French lifestyle to the Irish scene.
I found that there was no agency out there to find flexible work. That was the Eureka moment, and Employmum was born. I took part the EXXCEL programme in the Rubicon Centre in CIT – an entrepreneurial programme for women with a background in STEM (I am a qualified accountant) and this focused me to set up the business. We have now been in business for two years.
The biggest challenge for me was trying to find the time to do everything as a ‘solopreneur’ – the marketing, PR, accounting, networking, meeting

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Thinking innovation with Gillian Barry

Gillian Barry, Head of Innovation & Enterprise at LIT, talks about paying it forward and how to build an innovation system between industry, higher education, government and the people of Limerick. 
What’s your role?
Head of Innovation and Enterprise at LIT.
What interests you the most?
I have a passion for innovation, design and technology and helping entrepreneurs through the most critical stages of their startup journey or supporting business leaders and their teams through their innovation and business improvement journeys. I’m passionate also about community, social and economic development and I work with numerous organisations to support growth in our regions. I also have a real interest in psychology and sociology.
“For every high-value job created five other jobs are formed in the economy.”
What are your ambitions?
This might sound far-fetched, but my ambition is to help make our region and country one of the best place in the world to live. I know I can’t do anything about the weather, but I can help ambitious, creative, entrepreneurial people to create great companies, impactful products and services and ultimately create jobs which help to improve the lives not just of their direct employees, but they have an impact downstream too. For every high-value job created five other jobs are formed in the economy. I can help a little and appreciating it takes a community to support any ambitious entrepreneur I am delighted to be part of that. I can also help our fantastic youth and social organisations to make an impact in our region. I believe that every little does help and we need to make it a goal and give all these organisations our time – pay it forward – work it into your goals. We all benefit.
What drives you?
I’m a highly positive person and get energy from creative people with ambitions as wild

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