I propose to take Questions Nos. 79 and 132 together.
The legislation governing entitlement to the incapacitated child tax credit is contained in section 465 of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997, as amended. The legislation provides that an individual is entitled to a tax credit of €3,300 per qualifying child for a year of assessment if he or she proves that at any time during the year of assessment, he or she has a child who is under 18 years of age and is permanently incapacitated by reason of mental or physical infirmity, or if over the age of 18 years at the beginning of the year, is permanently incapacitated from maintaining herself or himself and had become so permanently incapacitated either before reaching 21 years of age or after that age while receiving full-time instruction at any university, college, school or other educational establishment.
A child under 18 is regarded as permanently incapacitated by reason of infirmity only if that infirmity is such that, if the child were over the age of 18, there would be a reasonable expectation that he or she would be incapacitated from maintaining himself or herself.
For the purposes of the credit, "maintaining" means the ability to support oneself by earning a living from working. In order to establish entitlement to the credit in respect of any such child, medical evidence provided by the child's medical practitioner is required to confirm both the extent of the incapacity and whether the incapacity permanently prevents the child from being able in the long term to maintain himself or herself independently when over the age of 18.
Detailed information on the operation of the tax credit is available on Revenue's website.
This is a matter that was assessed, albeit some time ago, in 2009, when the former Commission on Taxation recommended for reasons of equity that, ultimately, “the appropriate level of State support be provided to all incapacitated children through direct expenditure and that the tax credit be discontinued”. Such a course of action would obviously require very careful consideration and is not on the agenda at the present time. Equally, while tax measures are monitored by my Department as a matter of course, I currently do not have plans for a detailed review of the credit. I am sure Deputy Naughten wants to raise particular issues in regard to the operation of the credit and I will respond at that point.