Budget 2019 was announced on 9 October 2018. This was Minister Donohoe’s second Budget speech and, as has been the trend in recent years, many of the measures announced were leaked to the media well in advance. It is the third of three Budgets that the coalition Government has agreed to support under the Confidence and Supply Agreement.
There was speculation that this Budget would be a pre-election give-away Budget and although the Minister outlined an increased capital spending programme and various rainy day funds, it will most likely be considered ‘a little something for everyone’ Budget. The Budget speech was littered with references to the financial crisis and indeed the Minister mentioned that his plan for next year is to announce a “balanced Budget for the first time since 2007”.
The Minister acknowledged that Brexit is the single biggest political, economic and diplomatic challenge of our generation and that Ireland needs to be Brexit ready. The commitment to Ireland’s 12.5% corporation tax rate as well as a stable, transparent and sustainable corporation tax regime were reiterated.
Once again the focus of many of the Minister’s proposals was the chronic under-supply of housing in the Irish market. The measures announced will be funded by increases in the rate of VAT on tourism activities, excise duty on cigarettes/tobacco products, VRT on diesel cars and betting duties. The introduction of an exit tax from midnight on 9 October 2018 where companies migrate or transfer assets offshore will have surprised many.
Full details of the budgetary measures will be set out in the Finance Bill expected to be published on 18 October 2018.