Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Questions (114)

Terence Flanagan

Question:

114. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Social Protection the position regarding the deduction of local property tax from the back to education allowance in respect of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21650/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

In the context of its role in processing and making income support and related payments, the Department makes 87 million payments per annum to over 2 million recipients in any year. Payments are based on a range of entitlement conditions and are aimed at serving various social welfare policy requirements. These payments are of various types: universal payments, means assessed payments, payments based on social insurance contributory history and grants. Payments can be once-off, based on short term need or of long term duration.

Because of the sheer scale, variety and nature of payments made by the Department, ‘deduction at source’ arrangements require substantial development of IT systems and business processes and impose a significant additional administrative burden on the Department and on the requesting agency. The Department has undertaken, as a service to a significant amount of its clients, to invest the resources needed to provide the facility on the schemes agreed with the Revenue Commissioners. Any other arrangements required to pay the tax are a matter for the Revenue Commissioners.

The Department is currently engaged in major transformation programmes to meet Government objectives, for example in relation to activation and supporting the provision of integrated income support and activation services through Intreo to clients of working age. The Department has embarked on a major programme of business and system change to support these objectives and is focussing its development efforts in this regard.

The back to education allowance payment is not included in the schemes specified for deduction at source of local property tax and there is currently no plan to extend the list of scheme from which local property tax can be paid. However, it is intended to review this position based on the experience of operating the facility over a period of time.