Budget 2014 was announced today, 15 October 2013.  Its primary aim is to facilitate Ireland’s exit from the EU/IMF programme, which it is hoped will occur before the end of the year.  A number of pro-business measures were announced, including improvements to the R&D regime and a package of 25 measures designed to support entrepreneurship, jobs and growth.  The Minister for Finance confirmed Ireland’s steadfast commitment to the 12.5% corporate tax rate and published its International Tax Strategy Statement, which reinforces Ireland’s open and transparent tax system and its support for the OECD’s Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) project. DIRT and exit tax on life assurance policies and investment funds are due to increase to 41% from 1 January 2014. On a positive note, no changes were made to income tax, capital tax or VAT rates.