The Minister for Finance has announced that an exemption from Irish stamp duty (currently at a rate of 1%) on transfers of shares in Irish companies admitted to the Enterprise Securities Market (“ESM”) of the Irish Stock Exchange will come into effect on 5 June 2017.

The regulatory regime of the ESM is specifically designed for companies in a growth phase, with fewer requirements and a more simplified approach than that of the Main Securities Market of the Irish Stock Exchange. The purpose of the stamp duty exemption is thus to encourage investment in Irish small and mid-sized companies to assist such companies in the early stages of development when they have specific funding needs.

The provision will bring the stamp duty treatment of Irish growth companies in line with the treatment of similar UK companies, following the abolition of UK stamp duty on transfers of shares in UK companies listed on the UK equivalent to the ESM, the Alternative Investment Market, in April 2014.