Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Questions (380)

Sean Fleming

Question:

393 Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the full list of allowances that are not subject to income tax and the rates applicable that are available to him and Ministers of State in his Department in respect of their official duties including allowances relating to periods when they are away from their offices, either within the State or abroad; the actual amounts claimed and paid since 9 March 2011 to him and Ministers of State; if these are currently under review; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35057/12]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht)

Ministers and Ministers of State are entitled to the same allowances as Members of the Oireachtas with the some exceptions. No additional untaxed allowances are paid by my Department to me or to the Minister of State in respect of our official duties. As the Deputy will be aware, the legislation providing for Oireachtas expense allowances is exempt from taxation under section 836 of the Taxes Consolidation Act, which was inserted into that Act by section 3(7) of the Oireachtas (Allowances to Members) and Ministerial and Parliamentary Offices Act 2009.

Ministers do not receive the Travel and Accommodation Allowance provided to Members of the Oireachtas. However, Ministers outside the Dublin area who maintain second homes because of their official duties can claim an income tax deduction in maintaining that second home, as well as the annual mortgage repayment. The availability of this allowance is determined by the Revenue Commissioners. Since 1 May 2011, Cabinet Ministers, with the exception of the Taoiseach, Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Law Reform, now use their own cars on official business. Ministers of State have used their own cars on official business since 1984. In this context, Ministers and Ministers of State can claim travel expenses for official business in line with guidelines set down by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. The amounts claimed in respect of such expenses from 9th March 2011 to 30th June 2012 are set out in the following table.

Travel and Subsistence

Mileage

Minister

€1,551.52

€31,673.29

Minister of State

€5,983.26

€20,363.08