Dáil Éireann - Volume 632 - 22 February, 2007

Written Answers. - Grant Payments.

Mr. Lowry asked the Minister for Finance if supports or incentives are available from his Department for the development of an equestrian centre. [7076/07]

  Mr. Cowen: I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the Business Expansion and Seed Capital schemes provide tax relief to investors in respect of investments in companies operating certain approved tourism facilities, including equestrian centres. Approval has been sought from the European Commission for an extension to the schemes for a further seven years and the Commission’s response is awaited. To qualify under the schemes, an equestrian centre must submit a three-year marketing and development plan for approval by Fáilte Ireland.

Apart from the schemes mentioned, there are no other specific tax supports or incentives available for the development of equestrian centres. However, the general position under tax law is that expenses incurred wholly and exclusively for the purposes of a trade are deductible in arriving at taxable profits. Relief is also available for capital expenditure on plant and machinery used for the purposes of a trade. Tax relief, in the form of capital allowances, may still be available under one of the general property-based incentive schemes, depending on where the premises is located and the circumstances of the case. Under the Urban Renewal, Town Renewal and Rural Renewal schemes, tax relief is available for the construction of certain commercial premises [580] which could include equestrian centres. However, at this stage, as these schemes are now being phased out, relief would only apply in the case of projects already established or those which met the various transitional arrangements put in place as part of the phasing out process. In general, commercial premises must be in use either by an owner-occupier for the purposes of a trade or profession or by a lessee who is renting the premises on commercial terms.

In order to qualify for tax relief under the Urban and Town Renewal schemes the relevant local authority must certify that the particular development is consistent with the aims, objectives and criteria of the particular scheme. This does not apply to the Rural Renewal scheme. This scheme applies to the entire counties of Leitrim and Longford and to certain areas of Roscommon, Sligo and Cavan. The Finance Act 2006 provided for the ending of these schemes on 31 July 2008. However, as already indicated, this extended deadline applies only to pipeline projects where certain transitional conditions were met.

Information on the various property-based incentive schemes is available on the Revenue website at www.revenue.ie in the ‘Leaflets and Guides’ section and in the publication ‘Tax Briefing’ Issues 63, 64 and 65, also available on the Revenue website, contain articles on the transitional arrangements for the phasing out of the various property incentive schemes.