VAT Rate Application

Questions (73)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

73. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Finance if he will ensure that the VAT rate is maintained at 9% with regard to restaurants and other key areas of the tourism industry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26409/13]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

Any proposals to maintain the 9% rate into 2014 will be considered in the context of Budget 2014.

Property Tax Collection

Questions (74)

Andrew Doyle

Question:

74. Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Finance if he will outline in tabular form, the total number of local property taxes that have been paid at the stated deadline set by the Revenue Commissioners on Tuesday 28 May 2013; if he will provide a break down of the figures into each rate band; the total amount of money they have received for the number of properties in each rate band; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26457/13]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that Local Property Tax (LPT) Returns, personalised letters and an LPT Guide issued earlier this year to owners of 1.69 million residential properties either by post or by way of their ROS (Revenue Online Service) inbox. The Commissioners have confirmed that at close of business on Tuesday 28 May 2013 1,517,902 LPT Returns have been filed. However, as the Deputy will be aware, in light of the unprecedented demand on the LPT Helpline, the Revenue Commissioners extended the deadline to 8pm on Wednesday 29 May. At the end of the extended deadline 1,539,822 LPT Returns have been filed.

According to Budget estimates prepared by my Department, Local Property Tax is expected to generate an overall yield of €250 million in 2013 and €500 million in 2014. I am also advised that by the end of May 2013, approximately €100m will have been transferred by Revenue to the Exchequer. This is a very significant sum of money given that payment of the tax is not due until 1 July 2013. Further payments will be collected between July and December 2013 as the various phased, and other, payment options available to property owners are met.

As the Deputy will appreciate, with returns still being filed yesterday evening, the Commissioners' focus is on processing the Returns, dealing with correspondence, telephone calls and payment processing. It is therefore not possible at this time to provide the details requested by the Deputy until the Revenue Commissioners have had time to carry out the necessary analysis of the Returns filed and payments.

For completeness sake, the Deputy should note that in light of the arrangements provided for local authorities and social housing associations in the Finance (Local Property Tax) (Amendment) Act 2013, discussions are taking place on the most practical approach to securing LPT returns from those bodies. Where local authorities and social housing associations are liable for LPT, payment is not due until on or before 1 January 2014.

Tax Code

Questions (75)

Michael McNamara

Question:

75. Deputy Michael McNamara asked the Minister for Finance if he is aware of the total amount of corporate tax avoided by companies registered in Ireland as a result of the double Irish tax scheme in 2010, 2011 and 2012, respectively; if he will outline that amount; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26474/13]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

The so-called ‘Double Irish’ two-tier structure is a tax-planning arrangement which has been designed and developed by tax and legal advisers. It relies on arbitrage between the different tax rules used in different countries and is categorically not part of the Irish tax offering. Differences arise in the legal and tax systems between countries. International tax planning takes account of these differences in national systems and rules. What companies do outside of Ireland is beyond the scope of the Irish tax system. We cannot conclusively determine the effective rate of tax paid under international tax structures by reference to taxation in Ireland alone.

The profits charged in Ireland fully reflect the functions, assets and risks located here by a multinational group. The payments to the non-resident company represent the required remuneration of intellectual property assets funded and owned outside the State and its tax payments are properly reduced in these circumstances by reference to expenditure incurred for the purpose of its trade. Ireland cannot expect to receive or retain the remuneration of these assets.

The only way to effectively deal with such arrangements is for countries to work together to examine these structures and to consider how international rules can be amended to ensure fair levels of taxation. Ireland remains fully committed to this approach to ensure fair play in international taxation. In this regard, Ireland is participating in projects at EU and OECD level which aim to address international tax issues.

My Department has been actively engaged in the OECD "Base Erosion and Profit Shifting" project, which aims to address these issues, and an action plan is expected later this year. The Irish Presidency of the EU Council is making significant progress on a number of key files in the area of tax evasion and tax fraud and we hope to bring them to a conclusion in the coming months. As President of the EU Council, I and EU Tax Commissioner Algirdas Semeta sent a joint-letter to the Finance Ministers of the other 26 EU Member States outlining seven key areas where concrete action can be delivered in the short term. Significant progress on the seven priorities set out in the joint-letter was made at the May Ecofin and further progress is hoped for at the June Ecofin.

Tax Code

Questions (76)

Michael McNamara

Question:

76. Deputy Michael McNamara asked the Minister for Finance if he is aware of the total amount of corporate tax avoided by companies registered in Ireland as a result of our laws on transfer pricing in 2010, 2011 and 2012, respectively; if he will outline that amount; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26475/13]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

Ireland's transfer pricing legislation is based on the OECD arm's length standard which requires associated companies to price transactions on the same basis as independent parties would. Ireland’s legislation takes account of the OECD’s Transfer Pricing Guidelines. It is not correct to suggest that this legislation could be a basis for tax avoidance. The operation of the arm’s length standard and the OECD Guidelines as they apply in relation to intangible assets, including IP, are currently being considered by the OECD. Ireland is participating in this on-going OECD review of specific aspects of the international Guidelines and whether they may require adjustment in the context of the current organisation of global business.

Credit Availability

Questions (77)

John Deasy

Question:

77. Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Finance the level of lending to small and medium enterprises by State controlled banks over the past three years. [26496/13]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

As the Deputy is aware, the Government has imposed SME lending targets on the two domestic pillar banks for the three calendar years, 2011 to 2013. Each bank was required to sanction lending of at least €3 billion in 2011, €3.5 billion in 2012 and €4 billion in 2013 for new or increased credit facilities to SMEs. Both banks have reported that they achieved their 2011 and 2012 targets.

The pillar banks are required to submit their lending plans to the Department and the Credit Review Office (CRO) at the beginning of each year, outlining how they intend to achieve their lending targets. The banks have submitted their lending plans for 2013 to my Department. My Department, in conjunction with the CRO, has analysed the plans and has met with the banks to discuss them. At the end of the first quarter 2013, both banks are on schedule to meet their targets. The Credit Reviewer has stated in his last report that over €8bn was sanctioned by the banks in 2012, of which approximately €2.5bn (27%) is new lending drawn down.

Separately, the Central Bank of Ireland publishes data on lending to Small and Medium Enterprises by all credit institutions resident in the Republic of Ireland, and commenced compiling these data in March 2010. These figures show that total gross new lending drawdowns by non-financial SMEs between March 2010 and December 2012 amounted to €8.7 billion. (Gross new lending drawdowns refer to funds accessed by SME customers during the period which were not included in the previous period’s stock of credit advanced. This excludes the value of renegotiations/restructures that takes place during the period. It is also not equivalent to sanctioning activity, nor does it cover contingent liabilities, such as letters of credit or similar guarantees. Non-financial SME credit excludes lending to certain financial vehicle corporations in the financial intermediation sector, as their balance sheet size brings them into the SME category.) This is available at http://www.centralbank.ie/polstats/stats/cmab/Documents/ie_table_a.14.1_credit_advanced_to_irish_resident_small_and_medium_sized_enterprises.xls

The Central Bank of Ireland does not publish these data separately for state controlled banks. Data for March 2013 are due to be published before the end of June.

Household Savings Rate

Questions (78)

John Deasy

Question:

78. Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Finance Ireland's gross domestic saving rate as a percentage of GDP. [26497/13]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

I am assuming the Deputy is referring to the household savings rate. The latest preliminary estimates from the Central Statistics Office indicate that gross household savings amounted to €11,084 million in 2012. This equates to 6.8 per cent of GDP in 2012. I would point out that the gross household savings rate is typically expressed as a percentage of gross household disposable income. Expressed in this way, the savings rate was 12.5 per cent last year.

Tax Code

Questions (79)

Michael McGrath

Question:

79. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance if he has requested that Revenue write to the US authorities to correct any inaccuracies in the portrayal of Ireland's corporation tax regime during recent Senate hearings; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26537/13]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

As I have said in the Dáil previously and also earlier this week in answer to other Parliamentary Questions on this subject, we are in regular contact with our friends in the United States and we will communicate the issues referred to by the Deputy in the appropriate way at the appropriate time. In relation to the company specifically referred to in the question, I understand that their CEO has now publicly confirmed that they "have no special deal with the Irish Government that gives us a 2% flat tax rate ".

NAMA Debtors

Questions (80)

Michael McGrath

Question:

80. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the action that the National Asset Management Agency will undertake if it believes it was furnished with a deliberately misleading statement of affairs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26538/13]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

The provision of false or inaccurate information to NAMA as part of a sworn statement of affairs by debtors is a criminal offence, under Section 7 of the NAMA Act. NAMA has no hesitation in fulfilling its statutory obligations. I am advised by NAMA that it has, to date, referred two formal complaints to the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation arising from the possible failure by debtors to fully disclose their assets and liabilities in their statements of affairs to the Agency.

NAMA Portfolio Value

Questions (81)

Michael McGrath

Question:

81. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance his views on whether the value of National Asset Management Agency's property portfolio would be enhanced by alterations to the planning regulations for the Dublin docklands. [26539/13]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

NAMA has publicly indicated that it has a significant exposure to the Dublin Docklands through its debtors and Receivers and has indicated that it is willing to support investment if it is commercially viable. I am advised that the formal consultation period for the Draft Strategic Development Zone (SDZ) Scheme relating to the North Lotts and Grand Canal Dock areas of Dublin closed on 10th May. I am advised that NAMA, along with a large number of other organisations and individuals, made a formal submission on the Draft SDZ Scheme and that the Agency is otherwise in dialogue with the planning authority and with other State agencies as to how to meet accommodation requirements in the area.

I understand that the Dublin City Manager will shortly issue his report on the submissions received. The elected members of Dublin City Council will then consider and make a decision on the draft scheme. I am confident that NAMA will continue to work towards maximising the value of its assets under prevailing market parameters, including the planning regulations in force.

Departmental Budgets

Questions (82)

Seán Fleming

Question:

82. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Finance if he has received any indicative figure from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform regarding the fiscal adjustments his Department will be asked to make in 2014 and 2015; the size of that adjustment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26548/13]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

In the context of the forthcoming Budget, the Department of Public Expenditure & Reform has asked my Department to identify savings which will feed into the expenditure decisions by Government for the Estimates 2014 and the setting of future Ministerial ceilings. The scale of the adjustments for 2014 were set out in part 1 of the Expenditure Report 2013, which was published in December 2012. 2014 Summary Estimates will be published in October and my Department will consider resource requirements for 2014 over the coming months.

Tax Code

Questions (83)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

83. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Finance if he will provide details of all special tax arrangements available to executives and special assignees under section 12 of the Finance Act 2012; the number of persons claiming in each case and the value of tax foregone; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26566/13]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

Section 12 of Finance Act 2012 provides a deduction from income for income tax purposes for employees who travel abroad to certain countries as part of the duties of their employment. A deduction from salary of up to a maximum of €35,000 will be granted for employees travelling to the so-called BRICS countries, namely Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa as part of the duties of their employment. The provision applies as respects the years 2012, 2013 and 2014. The individual claiming the deduction must be absent from the State for a minimum of 60 days in a period of 12 months beginning or ending in a relevant tax year. These days can be accumulated from a number of trips. However, in order to qualify each trip must have a minimum duration of four days.

The numbers of employees who availed of the scheme in 2012 was 12 and the amount of tax forgone was €61,000 (amount rounded to nearest €10). However, it is possible that not all potential claimants have submitted their claims yet. Also, the figures provided do not include the details for claims that may yet be made in the Form 11 tax returns for 2012 to be filed under the self-assessment system in October/November of 2013. The deduction was extended to include related travel to Egypt, Algeria, Senegal, Tanzania, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana and the Democratic Republic of the Congo for the 2013 & 2014 tax years.