To ask the Minister for Finance the number of businesses that have availed of tax relief on research and development as outlined in the Finance Bill 2012; the way this compares to 2010 and 2011; if there are available statistics on the benefit of the scheme; if it is due to be increased in 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Minister for Finance (Mr Noonan) : I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the total number of companies benefiting from the research and development tax credit for 2010, the latest year available, was 1,172 at an estimated Exchequer cost of €224 million. I should highlight that these are provisional figures.
Corresponding data cannot yet be provided for 2011 and 2012 as the tax returns for those years are either not yet due or are still being processed. Therefore it is not possible to provide the comparison requested by the Deputy.
Regarding the benefits of the current R&D scheme, the purpose of the scheme is to encourage R&D and innovation to be carried out in Ireland with a view to encourage the productive, high value-added sectors of our economy.
Regarding any changes to the R&D tax credit, I am unable to comment at this time, but all options will be considered as part of the regular process for Budget 2013.