Category: Legislation


General Data Protection Regulations – what has this to do with you?? On 25th May 2018 the biggest change to data regulation in the EU comes into force. This affects you as an individual and also your business if you collect people’s names, addresses or other personal information. It will affect your golf club, your GAA club, your Resident’s Association and your walking group. Yes – it will affect you!GDPR

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) from 25th May 2018 will replace current data protection laws in the European Union.

The new regulation will give individuals greater control over their data by setting out additional and more clearly defined rights for individuals whose personal data is collected and processed by organisations. The GDPR also imposes corresponding and greatly increased obligations on organisations that collect this data.

Personal data is any information that can identify an individual person. This includes a name, an ID number, location data (for example, location data collected by a mobile phone) or a postal address, online browsing history, images or anything relating to the physical, physiological, genetic, mental, economic, cultural or social identity of a person.

The GDPR is based on the core principles of data protection which exist under the current law. These principles require organisations and businesses to:
• collect no more data than is necessary from an individual for the purpose for which it will be used;
• obtain personal data fairly from the individual by giving them notice of the collection and its specific purpose;
• retain the data for no longer than is necessary for that specified purpose;
• to keep data safe and secure; and
• provide an individual with a copy of his or her personal data if they request it.

Under the GDPR individuals have the significantly strengthened rights to:
• obtain details about how their data is processed by an organisation or business;
• obtain copies of personal data that an organisation holds on them;
• have incorrect or incomplete data corrected;
• have their data erased by an organisation, where, for example, the organisation has no legitimate reason for retaining the data;
• obtain their data from an organisation and to have that data transmitted to another organisation (Data Portability);
• object to the processing of their data by an organisation in certain circumstances;
• not to be subject to (with some exceptions) automated decision making, including profiling.

The rules for dealing with subject access requests (i.e. a request for your personal information held by the business) will change under the GDPR. In most cases, companies will not be able to charge for processing an access request, unless the company can demonstrate that the cost will be excessive.

There are also special requirements for Processing Children’s Data.

This move is being overseen by the Data Protection Commissioner and more information can be obtained at http://gdprandyou.ie/.

Cliff Kirker will be speaking on Capital Acquisitions Tax at the CPD Conference of the Association of International Accountants in the Camden Court Hotel on 6th December 2016.  Further details at AIA CPD Conference.

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This affects your favourite charity, your club, your sports group and the list goes on.  There are two cut-off dates of 31st August 2016 and 30th November 2016 for limited companies to change (convert) to one of the new company formats under the Companies Act 2014.  This applies to ALL limited companies, both trading companies and those charities, clubs or sports groups who are set up as limited companies.

This is not something that can be done in five minutes.  A Special Resolution needs to be submitted to the Companies Registration Office (CRO) together with a new constitution for the company.  The CRO will then issue a new Certificate of Incorporation when the company is converted.

For charities there is an extra step.  Charities need to draft their new constitution and submit it to the charities section of Revenue for them to agree it.  This is a requirement for those charities who are able to reclaim tax on donations.  Then the constitution needs to be lodged with the CRO for the company to be converted.  If you leave it to the last minute then you will be caught in bottlenecks in Revenue and also in the CRO and may miss the deadline.

More information on these matters can be found at www.cro.ie/Conversions/Overview; www.cro.ie/Publications/Publications/Information-Leaflets leaflet No 31; http://www.charitiesregulatoryauthority.ie/

Charities Regulatory Authority

The Charities Act 2009 requires all charitable organisations carrying out activities in the State to be registered with and to provide information relating to their organisation to the Charities Regulatory Authority. This includes both those charities who are, or who are not, registered with Revenue for the purpose of receiving tax back on donations.

There are currently about 8,500 charities registered with Revenue and these can be seen at http://www.revenue.ie/en/business/authorised-charities-resident.html .

Charities are now required to complete their registration at www.charitiesregulatoryauthority.ie . The process has been simplified in response to feedback from users. After the basic registration has been done the charity can maintain various information relating to their charity themselves. Depending on their turnover, they may also be required to supply financial accounts.

Staff from the Authority are currently doing road-shows in a very co-operative hand-on fashion explaining the process of registration and answering questions.

This registration process will, in due course, also extend to all schools and to Parent Teacher Associations and other sub-level groups.

More information can be found at www.charitiesregulatoryauthority.ie .

This is a new code that addresses the late payment culture in the UK. It is a government initiative that is trying to encourage bills to be paid within 30 or 60 days of invoice. A new website www.promptpaymentcode.org.uk went live in March 2015 and encourages companies to sign up to the code. Large company signatories are being asked to start half-yearly reporting from the summer 2015 on their payment performance information and all companies will be required to report from April 2016.

Will it make a difference? A recent survey conducted by the Federation of Small Businesses (in the UK) found that only one in five (21%) of members are confident that the code will be enough to address the UK’s poor payment culture. The top five reported reasons why their customers are paid late were:

(1) No excuse or justification was given;
(2) Internal invoice processing issues caused a delay;
(3) The customer extended the payment terms without consent;
(4) Invoice was lost or misplaced: and
(5) Invoice was never received.

Any ideas here for Ireland???

Yes the New Companies Act has finally come! After many years of waiting the Act has been signed into law and we have the most comprehensive overhaul of company law since our state was founded. Every limited company will be affected. Every director, company secretary, auditor, member and many others will be affected. For your information, there will be PLCs, DACs, UCs, PULCs, CLGs, ULCs as well as LTDs. Now – don’t you feel better knowing all that?

But don’t put your head in the sand. It will be necessary for each company to see what type of new company structure best fits their purpose and make the necessary changes. There will be an 18 month transition period from the date the Act is commenced (expected to commence on 1st June 2015).

Then forms will need to be filled in and changes made to your corporate structure. Information is still a bit sparse but check the Companies Act 2014 for more details as they become available.

By the way – changes will apply to charities too under this legislation.

These are the facts, the accurate facts, not the embellished facts, not the political facts, not the opportunistic facts, but the accurate facts.

Glass of water 11.12.14
The Dáil has passed an Act called the Water Services Act 2013 which set up Irish Water as a semi-state body. This body will charge:

• Each person who uses the public water system, and / or
• Each person who uses the public waste water system,

a sum of money which will be used for maintaining and improving our drinking and waste water systems.

When will charging start? Charging will start from 1st January 2015 with the first bills being issued to customers in April 2015.

How much will the charge be? Water services charges are capped at a maximum annual amount of €160 / €260 shown below until the end of 2018. Water services for children under the age of 18 are free.

For those who do not have a water meter:

Household* Water supply and wastewater services Water supply or wastewater services
1 Adult
€160 per year
€80 per year
2+ Adults
€260 per year
€130 per year

For those who have a water meter:

The charge will be based on the usage as recorded by the meter. The charge will be €1.85 per cubic metre (1,000 litres).

Household* Water supply and wastewater services Water supply or wastewater services
1 Adult
€1.85 per cubic metre
€1.85 per cubic metre
2+ Adults
€1.85 per cubic metre
€1.85 per cubic metre

When a domestic property is not permanently occupied the “not permanently occupied” charge applies.

Household* Water supply and wastewater services Water supply or wastewater services
not permanently occupied
€1.85 per cubic metre
€62.50 per year

* A household is taken as meaning a housing unit – house, apartment, flat.drops 11.12.14

Water Conservation Grant: There will be a water conservation grant of €100 per year that will be available for all primary residences of customers who apply to Irish Water, payable through the Department of Social Protection. The grant will be paid to the registered householders annually in respect of their primary dwellings, with the first payment to be paid in September 2015 and each subsequent year up to and including 2018.

The Department of Social Protection will be communicating with people in the middle of 2015 inviting them to apply for the Water Conservation Grant.

What about water meters? These are being installed by contractors on behalf of Irish Water outside your property on the public path or road. The contractors will not need to enter onto your property either with or without your permission. The meters are the property of Irish Water and any deliberate interference or damage to them is therefore illegal.

The meters will be used to show how much water is used by the household and the charge will be based on this.  The meter will also show water leakage or wastage and it is known that in Ireland our unaccounted water amounts are up to 48%.

Is the water charge a tax? Strictly speaking no. It is a charge for a service just like the electricity or gas. You cannot claim any tax allowances for water charges.

Do landlords or tenants pay? In the case of tenants in private rented accommodation, legislation will be introduced to insert into all tenancy agreements/leases a deemed obligation on the tenant to discharge their liability for water charges. If the tenant has not registered with Irish Water the landlord will be able to put the tenant’s name forward to Irish Water. If the tenant does not pay the landlord does not have to pay the bill and any outstanding bill may be taken by the landlord from the tenant’s deposit and sent to Irish Water.

Landlords will be able to charge any water charge they pay against their rental income just like other utility bills that they pay.

If I say I won’t pay: Irish Water have said that no water will be cut off for non-payment but that water pressure will be reduced. Late payment provisions shall automatically apply, unless the customer enters into a payment plan.

However, my tax business is based on the principles of the Holy Bible and it is stated there that we should obey the law and pay what is due. (Matthew 22:2)

drip&drop 11.12.14
If I don’t agree with the charge: We are a democratic country. The Water Act was passed into law by the representatives that we, the people, elected to run our country. If you want to change the law then the process is to contact your TD and get him or her to do it through the Dáil. That is what they are elected to do.

We do not rule by demonstrations that have as their stated aim to topple the Government or by elected TDs who encourage us to break the law and not pay the charge.

Background Information: Incorporated in July 2013, as a semi-state company under the Water Services Act 2013, Irish Water is bringing the water and wastewater services of the 34 Local Authorities together under one national service provider.

Irish Water is gradually taking over the responsibilities from these Local Authorities on a phased basis from January 2014. It will take approximately five years for Irish Water to be fully established, at which point it will be responsible for the operation of public water services including management of national water assets, maintenance of the water system, investment and planning, managing capital projects and customer care and billing.

As well as responsibility for public water services, Irish Water will also be making capital and investment decisions regarding the country’s water infrastructure on a national basis.

Irish Water will be accountable to two regulatory bodies – the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) who is the economic regulator for the water industry, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) who is the environmental regulator.

Irish Water is a registered subsidiary company of Bord Gáis Éireann.

Sources:

http://www.welfare.ie/en/Pages/Water-Charges-and-your-Water-Conservation-Grant.aspx

http://www.water.ie/news/irish-water-welcomes-publ-1/

http://www.environ.ie/en/PublicationsDocuments/FileDownLoad,39547,en.pdf

http://www.water.ie/about-us/company/about-irish-water/