Funding plea to Cowen by ISA

THE Irish Software Association (ISA) has asked Brian Cowen to increase the level of funding firms can raise through Business Expansion Schemes by 400%.

In its submission to the finance minister ahead of the December Budget, the ISA said not only should the limit companies can invest through BES and Seed Capital Schemes be raised from €1 million to €5m, but individuals should also be able to invest up to €300,000 a year.

It said similar schemes in Britain have shown that for fast-growing firms there is an appetite from individuals to investment large amounts of money and the government there has allowed this.

“If the Irish software sector is to maintain and develop its role as one of the most successful global software players, more needs to be done to encourage individuals to invest directly or indirectly in smaller, higher risk companies by offering income tax relief to such investors,” ISA chairman Cathal Friel said yesterday.

The association is also looking for the establishment of an internal research and development fund for government departments, local government and semi-state organisations.

This would enable these departments to highlight innovative software systems that would deliver benefits to the running of departments while also supporting innovative and enterprising software.

Mr Friel said the association would also be seeking improved terms for the R&D tax credit announced in the last Budget.

It wants amendment of legislation governing the tax treatment of employee stock options under a revenue approved scheme to allowing more schemes to qualify for approval.

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