The Revenue Appeals Commissioner has made a ruling to the effect that debt management services should not be subject to VAT. The case was taken by the debt management company, Money Village.

Money Village's chief executive Eugene McDarby explained that the case related to people who were already struggling to pay their debts. Up to now, they had been subject to VAT on top of money that they already could not afford to pay out. "This ruling means that from now on, hundreds of thousands of people who are in debt and needing advice on how to deal with that debt will no longer have to pay VAT on any debt management services," he said.

Mr McDarby said people who had paid VAT on debt management could be entitled to a rebate but he said they would have to take it up with the debt management company. Money Village did not charge its clients VAT. Eugene McDarby said it was a risk they took for the last five years as they awaited the outcome of this appeal. "We manage over €40m of debt. There are over 55 advisors out there. This is a business that has grown since recession and will continue to do so with over 100,00 in arrears with mortgages," he concluded.

**** 
The recruitment website, Indeed.com, is to take on 30 new staff at its European, Middle East and Africa headquarters in Dublin. Indeed already employs 200 staff here. The company's vice president of EMEA Operations, Gerard Murnaghan, explained that the new positions would be in sales initially and the new staff were being recruited to help in the surge in recruitment requirements of small and medium sized enterprises in particular. 

"We're seeing 20% year on year growth in areas like IT, healthcare, retail and services. In Ireland alone there are 200,000 SMEs operating. 68% of the professional Irish workforce are employed by those SMEs. To see them gain recovery and come back to pre-recession levels and take on more people is a fantastic indicator," he said.

Mr Murnaghan said the trend of job searches moving online, particularly mobile devices, was continuing. "Over half of jobs are searched for online on mobile devices now. There's a misconception that SMEs can't compete with the bigger players, but when you're online, everyone is equal in a search.  The power of search means that everyone is open to the same job seeker market. We've got 800,000 active job seekers per month. Those companies can take advantage of that," he concluded.

***
MORNING BRIEFS - The Economic and Social Research Institute has warned the Government that some of the "fiscal space" it identified in the Spring Economic Statement will be absorbed in simply preventing income taxes from increasing. In a paper on tax and welfare options facing the Government in the Budget, the ESRI points out that if a return to modest wage growth materialises as expected next year, average tax rates would rise even if the Government took no action. This is a concept known as "fiscal drag" where, even if no changes to taxes are implemented, more income would be taxed at a higher rate because of income growth. The ESRI looks at a variety of options and outcomes facing the Government as it distributes what is expected to be a €1.5 billion package of tax cuts and spending increases.

*** The Banking Inquiry has decided not to call businessman Denis O'Brien as a witness. The members of the Inquiry received legal advice that calling him would be outside its terms of reference. It is understood Fianna Fáil's Michael McGrath, who had proposed calling Mr O'Brien, objected to the decision not to invite the businessman to give evidence.