Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Research and Development James Lawless TD has welcomed the decision by the Dáil to support two proposals put forward by his party to help strengthen the research and development sector.

Deputy Lawless made the comments after two Fianna Fáil amendments to the Knowledge Development Box (Certification of Inventions) Bill 2016 were passed by the Dáil.

“The Knowledge Development Box legislation is intended to extend the tax credit that was granted to larger companies in the 2015 Finance Act to smaller and medium size companies. This measure is fully OECD approved and is a world first in taxation measures of its kind. However with lesser resources, taking up the innovation credit can pose more of a challenge to the SME sector,” said Deputy Lawless.

“The amendments put forward by Fianna Fáil will assist businesses applying for this credit by providing greater certainty on how to apply and what will qualify. Many small businesses are highly innovative and the brightest of ideas can come from the smallest of enterprises. But it is important to provide the supporting framework and maximise that opportunity.

“The purpose of the amendments is to maximise take-up of the Knowledge Box Tax Credit for SME’s. The amendments provide greater clarity and certainty to companies considering applying for the tax credit. They also require the Minister to compile and publish an annual report on unsuccessful applications as guidance to prospective firms. This would omit specifics of firms or investigations to protect their confidentiality but also give a flavour of what did and didn’t make the cut and the reasoning for these decisions.

“I have been engaging in comprehensive briefings with stakeholders in the research and development sector with the aim of strengthening economic activity in this area. The amendments we put forward came about as a result of this consultation process and it’s encouraging to see the Dáil support our proposals. It’s important that we continue to support research and development as it can act as the engine of economic growth in the years ahead,” concluded Deputy Lawless.