Tax Reliefs Application

Questions (84)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

84. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Finance the action he has taken to date to give effect to his budget speech commitment that tax relief on pension contributions will only serve to subsidise pension schemes that deliver income of up to €60,000 per annum; and the target date for publication of the legislation to give effect to this by 1 January 2014. [26567/13]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

In my 2013 Budget speech, I indicated that the necessary arrangements to give effect to the Programme for Government commitment to effectively cap taxpayers’ subsidies for pension schemes that deliver income of more than €60,000 would be put in place next year. A cross-Departmental Working Group of officials has been established to examine, among other things, the changes required to the existing arrangements governing the maximum allowable pension fund at retirement (the Standard Fund Threshold) and other potential alternative approaches for achieving the commitment. The Working Group has also sought views from various interested parties as part of the examination of options for delivering on the Budget commitment.

A Steering Group of senior officials has also been established to provide direction and guidance to the activities of the Working Group. Both Groups have held regular meetings over recent months and their work is continuing. I expect to receive a report on the results of this work during the Summer on which I will base decisions on changes to give effect to the Budget commitment. Budget 2014 will be delivered in October this year and I would expect that any legislative changes in this area will be included in the Finance Bill giving effect to that Budget.

Corporation Tax

Questions (85)

Joanna Tuffy

Question:

85. Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Finance if he will provide an update on claims in the United States Senate hearings that Ireland made a special deal with Apple and the other claims that Ireland was a tax haven; the steps being taken to rebut these claims; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26595/13]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

I would remind the Deputy that owing to taxpayer confidentiality I am only able to speak in general terms about this issue and matters that are already in the public domain. As the Taoiseach, the Tánaiste, numerous other Ministers, and I have explained already, there is no special tax rate deal done with any company in Ireland. All companies in Ireland pay the standard 12.5% rate on their trading profits arising in Ireland. All companies here pay a corporation tax rate of 25% on their non-trading income, and chargeable capital gains are taxable at the capital gains tax rate of 33%. These rates are set down in statute law and are not open to negotiation with taxpayers.

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 ”. I would also restate that Ireland is not a tax haven. The OECD identifies four key indicators of a tax haven and none of these apply to Ireland: the first is having no taxes or only nominal taxes; the second is a lack of transparency; the third indicator is an unwillingness to exchange information with tax administrations of OECD member countries; and the fourth indicator is absence of a substantial activity requirement. None of these criteria apply to Ireland. We are in regular contact with our friends in the United States and we will communicate these issues via the appropriate channels at the appropriate time.

School Transport Eligibility

Questions (86)

Michael McCarthy

Question:

86. Deputy Michael McCarthy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding a school transport issue (details supplied) in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26394/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

One of the main objectives of my Department's School Transport Scheme is to provide a basic level of service for children who live long distances from school, and who might otherwise experience difficulty in attending regularly. Children are eligible for Post Primary School Transport where they reside not less than 4.8 kms from, and are attending, their nearest education centre as determined by the Department/Bus Éireann, having regard to ethos and language.

Bus Éireann which operates the School Transport Scheme on behalf of my Department is responsible for the planning and timetabling of school transport routes. Bus Éireann endeavours, within available resources, to ensure that each eligible child has a reasonable level of school transport service in the context of the Scheme nationally. In general, transport services are not established in areas where public scheduled bus services already exist. Eligible pupils in such cases are facilitated with travel permits for public scheduled services. Bus Éireann has advised that the families in question, who have been availing of school transport, have a service within guidelines and it not proposed to alter the current arrangement. New families who have applied for school transport will be assessed by Bus Éireann for eligibility in line with the terms of the Post Primary School Transport Scheme.

FÁS Training Programmes Eligibility

Questions (87)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

87. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if and when payment will be effected in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26512/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

Persons who are unemployed but, not in receipt of a social protection payment are generally eligible to take part in FÁS training courses. However, only those who were receiving a social protection payment prior to commencing training may be eligible to receive a FÁS training allowance while undertaking a course. I am informed by FÁS that the individual in question commenced a FÁS Career Planning and Employability Skills course in Swords on 13th May, 2013. The F103 form completed by the Department of Social Protection (DSP) indicates that he is not currently in receipt of a DSP payment and in those circumstances he has no entitlement to a FÁS training allowance.

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

Questions (88)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

88. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Education and Skills when resource hours will be allocated to a child (details supplied) in County Cavan by SENO in view of the report of their school and the educational psychologist into their behaviour at school. [26344/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I wish to advise the Deputy that the NCSE, through its network of local Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs), is responsible for processing applications from schools for special educational needs supports, including the allocation of resource teachers and Special Needs Assistants to schools. The NCSE operates within my Department's established criteria for the allocation of Special Education supports and the staffing resources available to my Department.

All schools were advised to apply to the NCSE for resource teaching and SNA support for the 2013/14 school year by 15th March 2013. The NCSE are currently processing these applications and schools will be notified by SENOs of their resource teaching and SNA allocation for 2013/14 in advance of the coming school year, based on the number of valid applications received. All schools have the names and contact details of their local SENO. Parents may also contact their local SENO directly to discuss their child's special educational needs, using the contact details available on www.ncse.ie.

Student Grant Scheme Eligibility

Questions (89)

John O'Mahony

Question:

89. Deputy John O'Mahony asked the Minister for Education and Skills if there are any grants for a person (details supplied) in Dublin 8 doing a PhD in London; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26387/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The student grant scheme does not extend to postgraduate courses pursued outside of Ireland. Tax relief at the standard rate of tax may be claimed in respect of tuition fees paid for approved courses at approved colleges of higher education including approved undergraduate and postgraduate courses in EU Member States and in non-EU countries. Further information on this tax relief is available from the Revenue Commissioners on www.revenue.ie.

Departmental Reports

Questions (90)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

90. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Education and Skills his response to the findings in the report, School Completers - What Next?, that two thirds of students who attend fee-paying secondary schools go on to higher education in comparison to 40% of students from other school types and only one quarter of students from DEIS schools went on to higher education in 2010; the way he intends to address the inequalities of the education system here to ensure more equal levels of progression to third level education across the education spectrum; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26398/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

A new National Plan for Equity of Access to Higher Education (2014-2019) is currently being prepared by the National Access Office for my Department. The findings of the School Completers - Whats Next report will be considered in the context of this new Access Plan.

Student Grant Scheme Eligibility

Questions (91)

Heather Humphreys

Question:

91. Deputy Heather Humphreys asked the Minister for Education and Skills his views on a student grant application (details supplied); his plans to review the requirement that an applicant must be in receipt of a jobseeker’s payment for 390 consecutive days; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26402/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The Deputy will appreciate that in the absence of all of the relevant details that would be contained in an individual's application form and supporting documentation, it would not be possible for me to say whether or not a student should qualify for the special rate of maintenance grant. However, the qualifying criteria for the special rate of maintenance grant in the 2012/13 academic year as specified under the 2012 student grant scheme is as follows:

1. Student must qualify for the standard rate of grant.

2. Total reckonable income net of income disregards and Child Dependant Increase must not exceed €22,703

3. As at 31st December, 2011, the reckonable income must include one of the eligible long-term social welfare payments prescribed in the Student Grant Scheme. Jobseekers Allowance is considered to be a short-term payment unless it is held for 390 consecutives days at the 31st December 2011. A student may however apply for the special rate in subsequent years of their study. It is not proposed to depart from the existing arrangements for the determination of the eligibility for the special rate of maintenance grant.

Schools Building Projects Administration

Questions (92, 93)

Robert Troy

Question:

92. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he intends to publish a revised school building list; and if a school (details supplied) in County Westmeath will be included on this list. [26406/13]

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Robert Troy

Question:

93. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he intends to publish a revised school building list; and if a school (details supplied) in County Westmeath will be included on this list. [26407/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 92 and 93 together. My Department's over-riding objective is to ensure that every child has access to a physical school place and that our school system is in a position to cope with increasing pupil numbers. To ensure that this is achieved, the delivery of major school projects to meet significant demographic demands nationally will be the main focus for capital investment in schools in the coming years. The Five Year Construction Plan that I announced in March 2012 is focused on meeting those demographic needs.

In addition to the Five Year Plan, my Department is committed to publishing a detailed annual programme in relation to planned expenditure on individual major school projects commencing construction. The first of these, which related to 2012 expenditure, was published in December 2011 and the 2013 construction programme, representing the second phase of the five-year plan, was published in December 2012. Details are available on my Department's website at www.education.ie.

However, there are a number of proposed school building projects, including the schools referred to by the Deputy, which simply could not be included in the five year plan. The Deputy will be aware that my Department has continued to progress projects outside the five year plan to the final planning stages in anticipation of further funding becoming available to my Department in future years. A building project for the first named school requires a site to be identified and secured. A building project for the second named school is currently at an advanced stage of architectural planning and a stage 2(b) submission is currently with my Department for review.

Information in respect of the current status of all assessed applications for major capital works is available on my Department's website which is updated regularly throughout the year.

Pension Provisions

Questions (94)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

94. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a request for a pension to be electronically transferred to an An Post account will be facilitated in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26412/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

Under the Public Service Transformation Plan, which was published by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in November 2011, Payable Orders will be abolished as a method of payment from August 2013. This decision is being implemented by all Government Departments. Hereafter pensions will be paid by Electronic Funds Transfer only. In order to ensure continued payment of pension when Payable Orders cease the Department is seeking account details from the remaining small number of pensioners who continue to get paid by Payable Order. An Post has confirmed to officials from my Department that they are unable to accept payments by way of Electronic Funds Transfer into their accounts. The person referred to by the Deputy should seek to make arrangements to provide account details which will accept payment of pension by Electronic Funds Transfer. All banks accept EFT payments and a number of Credit Unions now also accept EFT payments.