Our first International Business Group update of 2015 will bring you updates on a number of key Irish and EU legal developments that may impact your business in Ireland.

Ireland update

Forbes’ “Best Countries to do Business” report 2014 ranked Ireland as one of best locations in which to invest.  It was no surprise then that there were an additional 197 new investments by multinational organisations in Ireland during 2014 representing a 20% increase on 2013.  This external validation underlines the confidence that exists in Ireland as a location of choice for international companies and as a gateway to the European Union market.

Ireland’s infrastructure continues to evolve to meet the needs of modern business. The enactment of a new moderncompany law code and further steps being taken to refine our tax rules, in particular the proposed introduction of a “knowledge development box” to incentivise the development of intellectual property, have been widely welcomed.

At Matheson, we continue to be the law firm of choice for international businesses and financial institutions doing business in and through Ireland.  The firm was again ranked among the top European law firms for M&A transactions in 2014, and the growth of the firm continues apace; in January 2015 Matheson announced the appointment of seven new partners at the firm, including Gina Conheady, resident corporate counsel at our Palo Alto office.

Irish Companies Act 2014 enacted 

The Companies Act 2014 (the “Act”) was enacted on 23 December 2014 and is expected to come into effect on 1 June 2015.

As forecasted in our December 2014 update the provisions of the Act are largely in line with the draft bill with only minor amendments introduced in the final legislative stages.  In brief, the Act consolidates, simplifies and modernises Irish company law and introduces a number of positive reforms which further enhance Ireland’s competitiveness in attracting foreign direct investment.  However, you will need to assess the Act’s practical implications for your organisation and your business, and now is the perfect time to begin that process. Read more.

Update on Ireland’s Knowledge Development Box 

One of the key announcements for international businesses made by the Minister for Finance in the Irish budget statement for 2015 was the proposed introduction of a ‘knowledge development box’ (“KDB”) – a low rate income tax regime that will benefit qualifying businesses who develop and exploit intellectual property rights in Ireland similar to other patent and innovation boxes in other jurisdictions.  The Irish Government’s intention is that the KDB will be “best in class” and, to further support investment by multinationals in Ireland, will offer qualifying businesses a “low, competitive and sustainable tax rate”. Read more.

European Union Law update

EU VAT Mini-One-Stop-Shop

The new EU VAT Mini-One-Stop-Shop (“MOSS”) regime came into effect in Ireland on 1 January 2015.  The MOSS scheme applies to EU businesses in particular that supply telecommunications, broadcasting and electronic services to consumers in Europe. Read more.

Update on the Network & Information Security Directive

The latest update from the trilogue discussions from late 2014 suggested compromise on the outstanding issues regarding the scope of the Network and Information Security Directive (the “NISD”) is imminent.  If these optimistic projections are to be believed, we should see an agreed scope for the NISD early in 2015.  Read more.

Digital Single Market plans unveiled

On 16 December 2014 the European Commission (the “Commission”) announced its work programme for 2015.  The 2015 programme consists of the Commission’s ten primary objectives for the coming year – central among which is the furtherance of plans for the Digital Single Market (the “DSM”). Read more.

Data Protection Regulation update

The introduction of the proposed General Data Protection Regulation (the “Regulation”) is progressing with the Council of the European Union (the “Council”) releasing the latest version of the draft Regulation on 19 December 2014.  Read more.

Matheson in the News 

Finally, we bring you a roundup of some of Matheson’s high profile industry award wins in the last 12 months. Read more.