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Budget 2014 changes of interest to employers

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan announced 25 pro-business and pro-job measures worth €500m in his speech. The revenue raising measures of interest to HR professionals announced by the Minister included:

  • No increases in income tax, USC or VAT.
  • Pension levy reduced to 0.15%.
  • Personal pension fund threshold to be reduced from €2.3m to €2m.
  • Abolition of tax relief on ex gratia lump sum payments.
  • Abolition of tax relief on private health insurance plans over €1,000 per adult and €500 per child.
  • Introduction of a two day subsidised financial training programme for SMEs.
  • New Start Your Own Business scheme giving people who have been unemployed for 15 months a two year exemption from income tax when they start their own company.
  • Introduction of a Build Your Own Business initiative to support new start up companies.
  • Introduction of a home renovation tax relief incentive.
  • Employment and Investment Incentive changed to allow high earners to invest up to €150,000 a year into businesses.
  • €200m stimulus plan for capital projects.
  • Commercial property purchased by end of 2014 exempted from Capital Gains Tax.
  • Living City Initiative extended to Cork, Galway, Kilkenny and Dublin and properties built before 1914.
  • Dirt tax increased to 41%.
  • 12.5% corporation tax to remain.
  • Tourism and leisure sector VAT stays at 9% and Air Travel Tax suspended.

The spending cuts of interest to HR professionals announced by Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin included:

  • Standardisation of maternity benefit at €230 per week.
  • Doubling of the qualifying period for illness benefit from three days to six.
  • Withdrawal of the bereavement grant.
  • No change to basic social protection rates for pensioners and people of working age and child benefit.
  • Reductions in unemployment benefits for new claimants under 26.
  • €14m for Youth Guarantee Fund activation places for those under 25.
  • 300,000 places in work/education/training programmes including 94,000 places for long-term unemployed
  • 1,250 new teachers to be hired in 2014.
  • €250 rise in college registration fees.
  • More staff for the Garda Vetting Service.
  • Garda recruitment to begin in 2014.
  • 1,000 reduction in the number of frontline health workers cut.
  • €9m to complete the rollout of Intreo.
  • Free GP care for children aged five and under.
  • €450m capital expenditure for the DJEI to drive the jobs and enterprise agenda.