asked the Minister for Finance if he will consider making premiums on permanent sickness and accident insurance policies tax-deductible.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Insurance Tax Relief.
The question of income tax relief in relation to such policies is being examined and a decision in the matter will be made in due course.
Without attempting to push the Minister any further, will he not accept as a matter of principle that there is a very strong analogy between premiums of the kind I have described and premiums paid to Voluntary Health Insurance?
That argument can be made.
I am calling Question No. 8.
asked the Minister for Finance if he will consider making household fire insurance premiums tax-deductible:
The answer is in the negative. To grant a deduction for such premiums would generate demands to allow a wide variety of other items of expenditures which would be regarded as equally, if not more, deserving of similar tax treatment.
I appreciate the Minister has to weigh up competing claims but would he not consider that any State measure that tends to make people more independent and less likely to be the victims of the destitution that can result in the event of a fire where the premises are not insured should be favourably considered even at the cost of a gesture of a financial kind?
That argument can be made but the Deputy will appreciate that other arguments can be made against it. Inevitably one must consider other possible claims that might be made and which could be regarded as more deserving of tax relief than the premiums mentioned by the Deputy.
In a limited number of cases—perhaps in the case of insurance paid on people's homes or on premises where a business is carried out— would the Minister consider making such premiums even partially tax deductible as an encouragement to people to make sure they are fully insured and thus to ensure that they are less likely to become a social casualty if a fire should occur?
I am not saying that I would not consider this at some stage but, rather than mislead the Deputy and anybody else who might be interested in the matter, I must repeat that the answer is in the negative. I have given my reasons. In due course I will give further consideration to it but, in the short-term, people should not expect that relief.
Perhaps the Minister would keep the file in his "in" tray.