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Ireland Extends Tax Break For Investors In SMEs

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Irish Government is to introduce a new exemption from stamp duty on transfers of shares in Irish companies admitted to the Enterprise Securities Market (ESM) of the Irish Stock Exchange (ISE).

The ESM is the ISE's market for growth companies.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan said: "The purpose of the measure is to encourage more investors to back Irish Small and Medium Enterprises, increasing the supply of equity available to SMEs for growth and job creation. It is also our intention that the measure will encourage entrepreneurs and growing businesses to use public equity to raise finances."

Under the current rules, transfers of shares in Irish companies incur a one percent stamp duty charge. When a company's shares are transferred, stamp duty is a cost to the purchaser of the shares and not the company.

The measure is also designed to remove any competitive disadvantage that Irish companies may face compared to companies located in other EU jurisdictions where a stamp duty regime is not in place. The UK has also stamp duty for UK companies listed on its Alternative Market (the UK equivalent of Ireland's ESM).

The measure will come into effect on June 5. The cost of the exemption is estimated at EUR5m (USD5.6m) a year.