The EU VAT reclaim deadline is two days away. Research by Taxback International estimates that up to 70% of VAT paid by Irish companies overseas which could possibly be reclaimed is lost. The average amount reclaimed for a small or medium sized company is just over €8,000. while larger companies claim an average of €70,000 and the figure can reach the billions for multinationals. 

Catherine Quirke, chief commercial officer with Taxback International, said that all Irish companies registered for VAT can apply for the rebate. She said that any registered company whose staff travel abroad - stay in a hotel, eat out or hires a taxi - or has purchase spend abroad for products or services is entitled to reclaim that VAT back for the business. Ms Quirke pointed out that average VAT rates in Europe are over 20%, so VAT can be a significant amount of money for most businesses. Travel expenses are the second largest budget for some companies after their payroll costs, she also noted.

When you know how to do it, getting the reclaimed money back to a company's bottom line is relatively simple, according to Catherine Quirke. She said it is a "real shame" that businesses are just leaving thousands and thousands of euro behind every single year. The unclaimed foreign VAT is due to a lack of awareness and Ms Quirke said that even if companies do know they can reclaim VAT, they don't actually how to go about the process. 

She said that companies have to know what is eligible for reclaiming in the different countries and they also have to have eligible receipts. Credit card receipts are not sufficient, and businesses make that mistake quite a lot, she added. The key message for businesses who have not claimed so far is to start looking at the issue now for 2017 and keep the proper receipts, she stated.

MORNING BRIEFS - The value of global private equity deals is at its highest level since the financial crisis. Figures compiled by Thompson Reuters show debt-fuelled buyouts are up 25% over the first nine months of the year to $212 billion. That is already higher than any full year since 2007.

*** The Irish Times said it recorded an operating profit of €1m last year compared to an operating loss in 2015 thanks to rising digital revenue and cost cuts. Overall revenue for Irish Times DAC, publisher of the newspaper and the owner of property website, was down 2% to €82.1m. Advertising and circulation revenue were both lower but digital revenue was up 12%. The Times made a net loss of €1.2m, however, due to one-off restructuring costs of €1.4m.

*** Retailer H&M has reported a drop in quarterly profit and said that sales had slowed toward the end of September.  Pre-tax profit from June to August, H&M's fiscal third quarter, was down 20% from the same period a year ago to 5.02 billion Swedish crowns (€520m).

*** The dollar is at a one month high against the euro as investors react to ambitious tax reform plans by US president Donald Trump. The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, also rose overnight by 0.2% and is now at its highest level since August.