SFA want an end to USC surcharges for self-employed

23rd August 2016 | News

The Small Firms Association (SFA) has issued its pre-Budget submission, calling for an end to the three per cent surcharge on Universal Social Charge (USC).

The SFA claims the surcharge, which is an additional fee and only applicable to Ireland’s self-employed community, must be culled, claiming it is out of line with the aim of encouraging entrepreneurship across the country.

AJ Noonan, chair, SFA, believes the charge sends out mixed messages to Ireland’s self-employed professionals, stating it was “only fair that farmers and the self-employed are treated the same as others”.

Mr Noonan added that his own experience of growing up on a small mixed farm in the west of the country gave him the ideal grounding to run his own business.

“Having a farm or opening a business involves taking a risk and people should be rewarded for that,” added Noonan.

Within the SFA’s pre-Budget submission is a call for a 10 per cent Capital Gains Tax (CGT) rate on the profits from any sites sold where planning permission already exists.

“At the moment there is a 33 per cent tax and that’s a huge disincentive for disposing of land,” added Noonan.

“This would give people a chance to sell at a reasonable and equitable tax.

“Ireland has one of the highest rates of CGT and this is putting people off. This would give people who have planning permission but cannot develop the land an opportunity.

“Practice over the last 20 years has shown that when the CGT rate drops, the Exchequer benefits due to a surge in activity, so this is a clear win-win.”

Noonan believes a new CGT rate would represent a big opportunity to bring development opportunity to rural Ireland.

“This country is completely over dependent on Dublin and this could be a way of developing rural Ireland, but it has to be a part of an overall encompassing project,” said Noonan.

“We have to develop proper infrastructure throughout Ireland, with motorways linking all the cities so they can all develop, and rural broadband is part of that too.

“We are just not ambitious enough but developing rural areas is crucial to the country.”