I move amendment No. 6:
In page 15, between lines 2 and 3, to insert the following:
"3.—The Principal Act is amended—
(a) in section 238(2) by the insertion after “yearly interest of money” of “and apart from any period payments made to a plaintiff by means of compensation or damages for any wrong or injury referred suffered by an individual in his or her person or in his or her profession”, and
(b) in section 613(1)(c) after “profession” insert “, whether by once-off lump sum or by way of periodical payment””
I understand an amendment was introduced to finance legislation many years ago by my colleague, Deputy Pat Rabbitte, when Albert Reynolds was Minister for Finance in 1990. The purpose of the amendment was to relieve such a court payment from any income tax implications. Various parties to court proceedings, including various judges, PIAB and others, have all recommended that, in addition to single lump sums being paid, there may be occasions when it is desirable and perhaps even necessary to make partial or staggered payments of awards. The purpose of this amendment is to provide that, in such a case, exactly the same exemption from income tax would apply.
I was disappointed at the end of Committee Stage when this was previously discussed that the Minister of State announced his intention to appoint Mr. Justice Quirke to some kind of review body. While the Minister of State, Deputy Martin Mansergh, in saying this may have wished to have been helpful, I see no reason not to have periodic payments exempted from income tax in the same way as single court awards are exempted. The system of exemption has worked very well up to now and I see no reason that it should not be extended to periodic payments because all of these matters are subject to court proceedings and generally are very carefully measured. I think the Minister could have confidence that this would represent a positive step in the administration of significant awards of the courts.