Written Answers. - Tax Reliefs.

Bernard Allen

Question:

156 Mr. Allen asked the Minister for Finance when a ministerial order will be made on the Finance Act 2002 decision which allowed residential investor relief to be claimed under the 1999 urban renewal scheme; when he proposes to make the ministerial order on foot of the recommendations of the areas that are to be designated for investor relief purposes from the Minister for the Environment and Local Government; and if he has received the recommendations from the Department for the Environment and Local Government. [11069/03]

Section 25 of the Finance Act 2002 amended the Urban Renewal Act 1998 and the Town Renewal Act 2000. This allowed the Minister for the Environment and Local Government to recommend to the Minister for Finance that certain areas be designated for the purposes of rented residential relief in relation to construction, conversion or refurbishment expenditure. The areas in question are certain areas where the Minister for the Environment and Local Government has already recommended to the Minister for Finance that they be designated for residential owner-occupier relief.

Section 25 also provided that where such a recommendation is made then the expenditure involved may be treated by the relevant local authority as consistent with the objectives of the integrated area plan or the town renewal plan concerned, even though the plan may not have contained or been accompanied by a recommendation from the local authority that designation for the appropriate rented residential relief should apply. The section applies as respects expenditure incurred on or in relation to a qualifying residential property on or after 5 December 2001 generally and in certain cases for expenditure prior to that date, subject to conditions.

A number of technical amendments to the residential reliefs provided for under the scheme were required in the Finance Act 2003 so as to facilitate the making of the Orders in line with the recommendations of the expert advisory panel on urban renewal. It was deemed appropriate that the signing of the Orders should await the enactment of the Finance Act 2003.
With regard to the designation of the areas in question for rented residential relief, draft Orders designating the sites and areas recommended for relief in the 49 urban areas covered by the scheme are currently being prepared. It is expected that they will be signed in the near future.

Joan Burton

Question:

157 Ms Burton asked the Minister for Finance the estimated cost to the Exchequer from 1997 to date of tax foregone by virtue of tax breaks available to owners of significant houses and property qualifying for special tax reliefs on condition that they remain open to the public for limited periods; the supervision of owners honouring such conditions that is carried out by the Revenue Commissioners; the number of properties that qualify for such relief; and the names of the owners of such properties. [11115/03]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the estimated cost to the Exchequer of tax forgone in respect of expenditure incurred on the repair, maintenance and restoration of approved buildings under Section 482 of the Taxes Consolidation Act, 1997 is as follows:

Claims Allowed

Cost €m

1997-1998

36

1.9

1998-1999

50

1.9

1999-2000

56*

3.9*

* Provisional figures, 1999-00 being most recent year for which data are available.
I understand from the Revenue Commissioners that the owner-occupier of each property is contacted annually. A letter accompanied by the annual registration form is issued to the owners-occupiers of these buildings in September-October of each year requesting details of the dates and times the property will be open to the public for the coming year. Bórd Fáilte and the Revenue Commissioners jointly publish on an annual basis a list of the owners-occupiers of all properties concerned together with the dates and times of opening in each case. This is available in booklet form and is also published on the Revenue website, www.revenue.ie. The Revenue Commissioners also monitor the availability of ongoing public access through visits made under the Revenue audit programme.
There are currently 172 properties entitled to the relief.