National Treasury Management Agency Expenditure

Questions (41)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

41. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the total number of contracts and their total financial cost awarded by the National Treasury Management Agency to companies (details supplied) in each of the years 2008 to 2012, inclusive, and to date in 2013 or whatever years practicable; if all the contracts were winning public tenders; and if he will provide a breakdown of the contracts by date, purpose and individual value. [50980/13]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

It has not been possible for the National Treasury Management Agency to collate the information requested in the time available. I will write to the Deputy with the information as soon as it becomes available.

Property Taxation Collection

Questions (42)

Michael Ring

Question:

42. Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Finance if he will liaise with the Revenue Commissioners to ensure that queries sent to the local property tax section via email are answered to enable homeowners to notify the Revenue Commissioners of their correct liability for 2014 before the online filing date of 27 November; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50987/13]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

I am advised by Revenue that the introduction of Local Property Tax (LPT) amounted to the largest extension of the self-assessment system in its history and represents a very great administrative challenge. For example, Revenue has answered in excess of 750,000 telephone calls and replied to in excess of 210,000 letters or emails since March 2013. Revenue has taken LPT from concept to a fully functioning tax in a very short period of time, including the enacting of legislation, the building of a brand new Property Register and the provision of customer service to such a large volume of taxpayers.

I am further advised that while Revenue strives to adhere to normal customer service standards and issue responses to all correspondence within thirty days, exceptional peaks can sometimes extend the response time beyond the normal timeframe. Currently Revenue is experiencing very high volumes of both telephone and written correspondence for LPT, including email, and unfortunately as a consequence the standards are not being met in all circumstances. However, Revenue has confirmed to me that significant extra resources have been deployed to deal with the volumes and it is anticipated that backlogs will be worked in the coming weeks. Revenue has also confirmed that any taxpayers that have submitted genuine queries in respect of their 2014 obligations in advance of the filing date will be treated as having complied with their requirements on time, provided they conclude their filing obligations immediately after their query is dealt with.

Property Taxation Collection

Questions (43)

John McGuinness

Question:

43. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Finance if the queries relating to the payment of property tax have been resolved in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Carlow; if payments for 2013 and 2014 have been properly allocated; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51018/13]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

I am advised by Revenue that that there was a misallocation of payments for 2013 between two properties connected to the person in question. The misallocation occurred as the person is a joint owner on one property and an executor on the other. Revenue has confirmed that the 2013 payment queries were resolved on 21 August 2013 and the person was informed in that regard. Revenue has also confirmed that the payment notifications for 2014 were successfully filed in early October. Finally if the person in question requires further information or assistance she should contact the LPT Helpline at 1890 200255.

IBRC Loans

Questions (44)

John McGuinness

Question:

44. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Finance if the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation while in State control procured the services of a foreign company or companies to recover assets beneficially held by the Quinn Group; the amount that was paid to these companies; the way these companies were procured; the projected expenditure on these companies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51019/13]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

The Special Liquidators confirm that Irish Bank Resolution Corporation Limited (in Special Liquidation) (“IBRC Limited”) engaged with foreign companies to assist with the recovery of assets beneficially held by the Quinn Group. I have been advised that in High Court proceedings to recover the debts due to IBRC Limtied, now in special liquidation, by the Quinns, the Bank has sought the direction of the Courts to proceed with the appointment of the Alfa Group Consortium, to recover the Russian assets and one Ukrainian asset of the Quinn International Property Group. Due to commercial confidentiality and sensitivities the Special Liquidators do not propose to provide details of amounts due and paid by IBRC Limited to these foreign entities.

Property Taxation Application

Questions (45)

Finian McGrath

Question:

45. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Finance if he will reply to concerns raised in correspondence (details supplied) regarding the local property tax. [51026/13]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

The issues raised in this question are similar to those raised by the Deputy in Question No. 229 on 5 November (46999/13). The Local Property Tax (LPT) is an annual tax and has an annual pay and file season like other annual taxes. Property owners are being asked to indicate a payment method for 2014 and Revenue is only contacting people whose payment option for 2013 does not automatically apply in 2014. The tax is payable on or before 1 January each year, not before and the Revenue Commissioners have provided taxpayers with a range of payment options to choose from. Credit cards and debit card transactions are effected when the transaction is made.

The query about credit unions is not clear but if it is in the context of payment of the LPT, as outlined above an individual does not have to pay the LPT before 1 January and the range of payment options include phased payments and payment single debit authority which will not be collected by Revenue until 21 March. I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that it is not correct that self-assessed taxpayers pay their income tax in June/July; and that LPT provides significantly more flexibility than the payment options available to such taxpayers by facilitating monthly direct debit payments, weekly/monthly deduction at source and cash payment options.

Strategic Investment Bank Establishment

Questions (46)

Willie Penrose

Question:

46. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Finance if in line with the commitment in the programme for Government, he will take steps to introduce the necessary legal and administrative mechanism to enable a strategic investment bank, which would be stand-alone, and along the lines of KfW in Germany and that which prevailed with the former Industrial Credit Corporation Bank, so as to assist in the development of small businesses; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51042/13]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

As the Deputy will be aware, the Government has decided to establish the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) which will absorb the National Pensions Reserve Fund (NPRF). Using the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund, we will maximise our resources to enhance growth in the Irish economy and improve key infrastructure to maintain Ireland's attractiveness as a place to do business and to create employment. Officials of my Department are currently preparing the necessary legislation which I anticipate will be enacted early next year. Already, in the lifetime of this Government, the NPRF has established funds that support both strategic projects and a number that support SME financing. Further assessment of the need to create a Strategic Investment Bank over and above the contribution expected from the ISIF will be informed by the requirements of the economy once the Government’s key immediate objectives for the repair of the banking system have been completed.

As the Deputy will be aware, the Taoiseach mentioned in this House that he had held discussions with Chancellor Merkel and they had agreed that work would be undertaken to find ways to reinforce Ireland’s economic recovery by improving funding mechanisms for the real economy, including access to finance for Irish SMEs. The German Government has asked KfW, the German development bank, to work with the German and Irish authorities swiftly, in order to deliver on this initiative at the earliest possible date. Officials of my Department have already exchanged working papers on this subject with KfW and the German Ministry of Finance. Discussions with the German Ministry were held in Berlin last week and there was a meeting between Department of Finance officials and KfW personnel in Frankfurt yesterday. We will be moving forward with this work with KfW and other key stakeholders over the coming weeks both here and abroad.

The Government’s intention is to ensure with the support of Chancellor Merkel that an effective and successful initiative emerges from the process. We will therefore be discussing any and all approaches that meet the strategic objectives of both States and ultimately facilitate lending to the real economy, in particular to SMEs in Ireland. Although the precise form and delivery mechanism for any assistance has yet to be agreed, discussion with German colleagues will consider appropriate options for funding the recovery of the Irish Economy in the course of our work with KfW and the German Government.

EU-IMF Programme of Support

Questions (47)

Terence Flanagan

Question:

47. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Finance if he will advise as to what economic policy changes will result from Ireland's exit from the EU-IMF programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51049/13]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

Irish economic policy for the period 2014-2020 will be incorporated in the Medium Term Economic Strategy (MTES), which is being drafted at present. As we approach the conclusion of the Troika programme we are beginning to reap the rewards of our sustained efforts. Economic growth has returned, albeit at a slower pace than was anticipated at the start of the programme. The public finances have been put on a sustainable path and unemployment is declining steadily. Importantly, we have also successfully returned to financial market funding. The financial sector has undergone significant restructuring since the beginning of the crisis and we will continue to progress this agenda. All of this has been achieved by steadfast implementation and delivery of our commitments under the programme. This effort has encompassed the completion of over 260 actions to date.

Looking ahead the Government intends to maintain this momentum and press on with our reform agenda. That is why, together with the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, I am preparing a Medium-Term Economic Strategy (MTES) which will set out the macroeconomic strategy and policy actions for achieving sustainable economic and employment growth for the period 2014-2020. Through a strategic, medium-term perspective, the MTES will not duplicate – but will complement – the necessarily more short-term focus of other related policy efforts such as the Action Plan for Jobs. A publication date for the Strategy has not been decided by Government as yet, but it is intended to produce at least an outline of the strategy by mid-December.