Syndicated News Archives - Page 5 of 306 - Kelly Rahill Accountants

Euro zone economy continues steady growth in third quarter

The euro zone economy continued to grow at a modest pace in the third quarter as expected, data from the EU statistics office showed today, as Germany narrowly escaped a technical recession and other big economies expanded. 

Eurostat said gross domestic product in the 19 countries sharing the euro increased 0.2% quarter-on-quarter in the third quarter for a 1.2% year-on-year gain. 

The quarterly expansion was in line with a Eurostat preliminary flash estimate earlier this month and market expectations, although the previous year-on-year figure was 1.1%. 

Germany, the euro zone’s biggest economy, grew 0.1% in the third quarter after a -0.2% contraction in the previous three months, so avoiding a technical recession. 

France, the second biggest economy grew by 0.3% in the third quarter against the previous three months and the third biggest Italy expanded 0.1%. 

Spain and the Netherlands, the fourth and fifth biggest economies of the bloc, each grew by 0.4%.

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Revenue says no surcharge on returns filed this week

Revenue has said that its online system ROS is back up and running after being offline for some time today.

Revenue had earlier said in a statement that it was aware of further difficulties with the ROS system after it also experienced issues yesterday.

“Revenue acknowledges the difficulties and frustration being experienced by taxpayers and agents who are continuing to try and file returns today and apologises for the inconvenience,” it added.

“In light of the difficulties experienced with the ROS system over the last couple of days, a surcharge will not apply to any returns filed this week,” it said.

It said that applies up to midnight on Sunday 17 November.

Revenue again said it sincerely apologised for the inconvenience caused.

The head of Revenue’s Personal Division has said the problems with ROS did not arise as a result of a cyber attack.

Speaking on RTÉ’s News at One, Declan Rigney said an investigation is continuing into the potential causes of the problems.

He said the issues are “complex and extremely technical”, but he was confident they were not caused by “external factors.”

He reiterated that that no surcharge will apply to any returns filed this week.

Yesterday, Revenue had extended the deadline for taxpayers who were filing their returns for last year and paying their provisional taxes for 2019 online until 6pm today.

It said these problems were caused by heavy usage volumes on the ROS system. 

This caused intermittent downtime for some of those using the online system and while it was still possible to file returns, the volume of submissions were less than expected, it added.

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Macroeconomic Scoreboard shows just four breaches of EU thresholds – CSO

Ireland has breached EU limits on four key tests of economic stability, new figures from the Central Statistics Office show. 

The Macroeconomic Scorecard, compiled by the CSO, is part of a system introduced by the European Commission during the financial crisis to flag imbalances in member state economies. 

The number of breaches is down from the high of 10 breaches in 2010 and 2011 and the CSO said it is seeing continuing improvements.

Ireland is out of step with European limits when it comes to house price inflation, private and government debt levels and our international investment position. 

However, Ireland is way ahead of European norms when it comes to unemployment, growth in labour costs and exports. 

Irish government debt, at 63.6% of GDP, remained slightly above the EU threshold of 60% last year, while the deflated house prices indicator – which measures inflation in the housing market – recorded an 8.3% annual change, above the 6% EU threshold. 

Private sector debt, at 223% of GDP, continued to breach the EU threshold of 133%. 

But for the first time since the lead up to the economic crisis, the combined total of Irish owned debt – households and Irish non-financial corporations – was below the EU threshold.

This trend continued in 2018 with the combined total of Irish owned debt making up less than half of the total private sector debt, the CSO said.

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German economy dodges recession with 0.1% expansion in Q3

The German economy escaped a recession in the third quarter as strong consumer spending helped output grow 0.1% quarter-on-quarter, defying expectations of a contraction, preliminary data showed today. 

Gross domestic product in Europe’s largest economy expanded by 0.5% from July to September after a 0.3% expansion from April to June.

This is according to seasonally adjusted figures from the Federal Statistics Office.

Private household spending was higher than in the second quarter and the state also increased spending, the statistics office said, adding that construction also supported growth. 

“We do not have a technical recession, but the growth numbers are still too weak,” Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said. 

While exports edged up, imports remained at about the level of the previous quarter, the office said, suggesting that net trade had a positive impact on the economy. 

The Statitics Office revised down the quarterly GDP rate for the second quarter to a 0.2% quarter-on-quarter contraction from a previously reported 0.1% decline. 

Analysts polled by Reuters for the third quarter had expected a 0.1% contraction quarter-on-quarter and a 0.5% expansion year-on-year in seasonally adjusted terms.

September housing commencements up 28% on last year

The number of new homes which have commenced construction in September was 28% higher than in the same period last year.
Figures published by the Department of Housing show that 26,106 Commencement Notices were recorded in September.

The figure for the three Dublin local authorities was 8,714 (up 23%), while the Mid-East Region comprising counties Meath, Wicklow, Kildare and Louth was 6,594 (up 23%).

The number of Commencement Notices in the rest of the country was 10,798 (up 35%). 

Commencement Notices are issued to local authorities by builders in advance of construction getting underway. 

Other figures published today showed that 31,804 planning permissions were granted in the second quarter of 2019. This was 21% up on the same period last year. 

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Rent inflation slows to lowest level in six years

The rate of rental inflation dropped to its lowest level in six years in the third quarter of this year, the latest  report from property website shows.  

Daft said that the average rent across the country rose by 5.2% – the smallest increase since the second quarter of 2013. 

However the average monthly rent in the country in the third quarter of this year hit €1,403 – the 14th consecutive quarter of record rents. 

Daft said the average listed rent is now €373 per month higher than the previous peak in 2008 and almost €660 higher than the low seen in late 2011.

It noted that the increase in rents in Dublin in the year to September was 3.9%, the 33rd consecutive quarter where rents have risen but the slowest increase since the middle of 2012.  

Inflation has also slowed in Leinster, with rents 4.3% higher than a year ago, down from inflation of 10% or more between 2014 and 2018. 

Meanwhile, rents in Cork city were up 5.5% to €1,372, while they increased by 5.9% to €1,299 in Galway. Rents in Limerick grew by 5.9% to €1,219 while they rose by 5.5% to €1,007 in Waterford city. 

But elsewhere in the country, rents continued to rise at faster rates and Daft reported increases of 10.1% in Munster and 8.2% in Connacht-Ulster in the year to September.

The property website also said that the number of homes available to rent nationwide rose by 10% on the same date a year ago. 

This marks the eleventh time in twelve months that rental availability nationally has improved, though this is from record lows. 

It added that despite the increase there is just 3,500 rental homes available for the whole country. 

Ronan Lyons, economist at Trinity College Dublin and author of today’s report, said that over the last decade, Ireland’s rental market has experienced a persistent and worsening shortage. 

Mr Lyons said that only in recent months have signs emerged of any improvement in this situation, with both improved availability and lower inflation. 

“Nonetheless, rents continue to climb and from a base where they are already high compared to wages.” he said. 

“As has been the case throughout the last ten years, there is no quick-fix regulatory solution for the sector. Rather, fixing it will involve the construction of tens of thousands of new rental homes every year for the foreseeable future,” he added.

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AA research shows big jump in the cost of running a home

The annual cost of owning and maintaining a family home has risen by over €1,000 a year, with the average homeowner now spending over €17,000 on their home. 

This is according to the latest “Cost of Running a Home” analysis from AA Home Insurance.

Research from the insurance intermediary has found that the cost of running a home in Ireland this year came to €17,393.25, up from last year’s figure of €16,374.45. 

The AA’s study looks at the total cost of owning and running a house one in Ireland and it said this year’s increase follows a rise in the national average price of a second-hand home in Ireland. 

Values increased from €243,000 during the third quarter of last year to €269,000 in the third quarter of this year.

The hike in the cost of buying a home has caused a significant increase in mortgage repayment costs, the main driver behind the increase in home ownership costs.

Maintenance, repair and contingency funds is the second single most expensive bill for Irish householders and has increased by 0.7% on 2017, according to the AA. 

The group estimated that the average homeowner is likely to spend or set aside €1,264.35 each year to keep up with wear and tear.

The AA said its latest findings means that the cost of owning and maintaining a home equates to about 43.4% of the current average Irish national wage.

Conor Faughnan, AA Director of Consumer Affairs, said that while we are still significantly off the peaks seen during the Celtic Tiger, house prices have continued to surge in the past 12 months.

“In fact, the increase in monthly mortgage repayments almost single-handedly accounts for the over €1,000 increase in home running costs that we have seen this year,” Mr Faughnan said.

“The good news is that many of the other increases seen in home running costs are offset by drops in the cost of electricity and broadband/tv charges, meaning if you were fortunate enough to purchase your home when prices were lower, your financial situation is largely unchanged,” he added.

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Construction activity declines at fastest pace since 2013

Activity in the construction sector fell at the sharpest rate since June 2013, according to the latest Ulster Bank Purchasing Managers Index.

Activity in the construction sector fell at the sharpest rate since June 2013, according to the latest Ulster Bank Purchasing Managers Index.

The index, which tracks changes in total construction activity, fell to 46.2 in October from 48.3 in September. A figure under 50 signals contraction in the sector. 

Ulster Bank said that for the second month in a row, housing was the only monitored category to record an increase in activity during October. 

The rate of reduction of commercial activity quickened from September and was the fastest since June 2013. 

Meanwhile, civil engineering activity declined for the fourteenth consecutive month and at a sharper pace than in September, Ulster Bank noted. 

The index shows that new business among construction firms decreased in October for the first time since June 2013 with companies saying that Brexit uncertainty had contributed to this reduction.

Despite the decreases in activity and new orders, construction firms added to their headcounts in October. 

But Ulster Bank noted that the rate of job creation was marginal and matched the almost six-year low recorded in September. 

Simon Barry, chief economist at Ulster Bank, said today’s survey showed a further loss of momentum in construction activity in October with the index falling for the second month in a row.

He said the detail behind the headline reading also painted a disappointing picture, with weaker activity patterns reported across all three main sub-sectors. 

“Commercial activity decreased for a second month running in October and, similarly to the headline index, the pace of contraction quickened to its fastest since June 2013,” the economist said. 

“More encouragingly, housing activity continues to grow, with its PMI reading of 51.3 still above the expansion threshold of 50. Housing remained the strongest sub-sector for a 10th month in a row, though the pace of residential activity growth has also softened materially in recent months and currently stands at a four and a half year low,” he added. 

Simon Barry said the survey highlights the concerns about Brexit as its continues to weigh on activity and sentiment regarding the sector’s prospects for the coming year.  

“In this context, the recent easing of concerns regarding Brexit crashout risk may offer some support for construction confidence and activity in the months ahead,” he stated.

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Reduced oil demand pulled energy costs down in October

Energy costs here fell by 4% in October, driven by weaker oil prices the latest Bord Gáis Energy Index has found.

Oil fell by 3% over the period because of lower demand caused by the weakening global economy and despite the attack on Saudi oil infrastructure in the middle of September.

Because oil makes up the largest part of the index, this had the effect of dragging the overall measurement down, despite a 6% strengthening of gas prices.

This rise was driven by the sterling recovery that was propelled by the Brexit agreement between the EU and UK that took a no-deal threat off the table.

The researchers predict that while gas prices remain low because of a well-supplied system, they are under significant pressure heading into the winter months, with weak Asian demand and increasing LNG capacity weighing on market sentiment.

Electricity fell 7% during the month as wind generation rose, while coal prices registered the strongest reduction, of 9%, as demand softened.

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130,000 PAYE taxpayers due refunds from Revenue

Revenue is writing to 130,000 PAYE taxpayers who have paid tax but have not claimed any additional tax credits or reliefs in the last five years, to remind them that there is a four-year time limit for claiming a refund of tax.

Revenue has issued letters over the last few years to assist taxpayers in claiming their due entitlements and ensuring they only pay the correct amount of tax. Analysis of a previous campaign suggests that the letters have a significant positive effect on taxpayer engagement with Revenue.

Pat Murphy, National PAYE Manager in Revenue’s Personal Division, has timely advice for taxpayers. “You can claim a refund of tax paid if there are entitlements you are due but have yet to claim. However, there is a four-year time limit for claiming tax refunds and the deadline for 2015 claims is December 31, 2019, so now is a good time to check that you have claimed all of your entitlements.”

For taxpayers who want to make a claim, the quickest, easiest and most convenient way to do so is online using PAYE Services, which is available in Revenue’s myAccount portal. The services in myAccount are accessible on all mobile devices.

Mr Murphy said, “Even if you did not get a letter from Revenue, you can review and update your tax record online at any time, using PAYE Services in myAccount. When you submit a claim, it is processed and verified by Revenue and most online refund claims are paid within five working days.  So, there is still plenty of time to submit your claim and have your refund paid into your bank account before Christmas.”

In summary:

  • There is a four-year time limit for claiming tax refunds, so if you have a claim for 2015 you will need to submit it by December 31, 2019.
  • The quickest, easiest and most convenient way to submit your claim for tax back is online using PAYE Services in myAccount, which is accessible on all mobile devices.
  • If you are not already registered for myAccount, you can register quickly and easily on the Revenue website at
  • If you add your bank account details to your myAccount profile, any refund due can be paid directly into your bank account, usually within 5 working days.

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