VAT Exemptions

Questions (175)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

175. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Finance the reason there is such an unfair VAT system in that emergency services engaged in sea rescue do not have to pay VAT on equipment but persons who provide services such as mountain rescue have to pay VAT at the full rate; the reason this is the case; if the Government has any proposals to reduce the VAT being charged to mountain rescue groups and similar organisations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15075/14]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

Certain persons engaged in water rescue can apply for a VAT refund on the purchase of vessels and ancillary related equipment for the purposes of search and rescue at sea, inshore or on inland waterways. A similar provision is not available for persons providing mountain rescue services.

VAT law is governed by the EU VAT Directive, with which Irish VAT law must comply.  The EU VAT Directive makes specific provision under Articles 148 and 169, for a zero rate of VAT to apply to the supply of vessels for rescue or assistance at sea.  Irish VAT law transposed this provision in 1978 by providing that the zero rate of VAT apply to the supply of large vessels used for sea rescue.  In addition, a VAT Refund Order for the purchase of smaller sea rescue vessels was introduced from 1985, and extended in 2013 to apply to vessels for inland water rescue.  Irish VAT law does not provide for an exemption from VAT on supplies or purchases of mountain rescue equipment as this is not provided for under the EU VAT Directive.

VAT Rate Reductions

Questions (176)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

176. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Finance in view of high Eircom phone charges and the fact that many persons are struggling to pay their bills, his proposals to reduce the VAT rate on these services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15078/14]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

The VAT treatment of goods and services is governed by EU law with which Irish VAT law must comply. While the EU VAT Directive provides that a reduced VAT rate may be applied in certain circumstances and on certain goods and services, this does not apply in the case of telecommunication services.  The VAT Directive provides that the supply of telecom services must apply at the standard rate of VAT, which in Ireland is 23%. It would only be possible to reduce the VAT rate on telephone bills by reducing the standard VAT rate in general, which would be very costly to the Exchequer.

Insurance Levy

Questions (177)

Michael McGrath

Question:

177. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance if he will provide in tabular form the total amount raised from the levy on insurance policies in each year from 2005; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15095/14]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

The levy to which the Deputy refers is the Insurance Compensation Fund (ICF) levy of 2% being applied to home, motor and commercial insurance.  The levy operates under the Insurance Act 1964 and came into effect from 1 January 2012, following the appointment of administrators to Quinn Insurance Ltd (QIL) by the High Court. The total amount raised is as follows:

Year

Total received

2012

€45,565,922.16

2013

€65,697,953.38

2014 (up to 27th March 2014)

€15,073,865.78

Total

€126,337,741.32

A total of €126,276,790.95 has been transferred by the Revenue Commissioners to the ICF. €60,950.37 has been deducted to cover the set up costs and annual administration costs of collecting the levy. 

Under Section 6 of the Insurance Act 1964 the responsibility for deciding whether the ICF (the Fund) has sufficient funds available to it at any particular time is a matter for the Central Bank of Ireland (CBI). Where, in the opinion of the CBI, the state of the Fund is such that financial support should be provided for it, it determines an appropriate contribution to be paid to it by each insurer calculated as a percentage, not exceeding 2% of the aggregate of the gross premiums paid to that insurer in respect of policies issued in respect of risks in the State. Funds from the levy are collected from insurers by the Revenue Commissioners and these funds are transferred on a monthly basis to the ICF.

The ICF levy was previously introduced on 1 January 1984 following the collapse of PMPA in October of the preceding year. The 2% levy was paid by all non-life insurers at this rate until 31 December 1991 and a reduced levy of 1% applied for the period 1 January 1992 to 31 December 1992, when it was discontinued as sufficient moneys had been collected to successfully complete the administration of the former PMPA.

Banking Sector

Questions (178)

Michael McGrath

Question:

178. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the number of customer mobility measures that are in place in respect of Irish banks as a result of EU action; his view on the effectiveness of such measures; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15097/14]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

As the Deputy is aware, KBC bank has recently availed of the customer mobility measures included in the Bank of Ireland Restructuring Plan as agreed with the European Commission. This is the first, and to date the single, instance of an institution availing of these measures.

The Deputy will appreciate that the purpose of these measures is to enhance the competitiveness of the banking sector to the ultimate benefit of the consumer, and accordingly it is welcomed. Given that the move by KBC is so recent, it is not possible for me to comment on its effectiveness. Although it may be surprising that no other institution has availed of these measure prior to this, it is likely that the market will monitor the KBC move and will consider availing of the measures based on its success.

Mortgage Interest Relief Eligibility

Questions (179)

Patrick O'Donovan

Question:

179. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Finance the reason a person (details supplied) in County Wexford is no longer entitled to mortgage tax relief; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15104/14]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

In the Supplementary Budget of 2009, with effect from 1 May 2009, the number of years in respect of which mortgage interest relief (MIR) may be claimed was restricted to 7. The relevant provisions were included in Section 244 of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 via Finance Act 2009. With regard to the specific case to which the Deputy refers, the person in question commenced her mortgage in July 2003.  As such, the relevant years for which it would appear that she was entitled to MIR were 2003 to 2009 inclusive.

The Deputy will be aware that, following on from a commitment in the programme for Government, the rate of MIR was increased to 30% for those that purchased their first principle private residence between 1 January 2004 and 31 December 2008, the period in which property prices peaked. MIR was also extended to 2017 for those individuals that purchased a principle private residence between 1 January 2004 and 31 December 2012. The relief is no longer available in any respect for principle private residences purchased, for the first time, on or after 1 January 2013.

Mortgage Interest Relief Expenditure

Questions (180)

Michael McGrath

Question:

180. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the total tax expenditure in respect of residential mortgage interest relief in 2013; the projected tax expenditure in respect of residential mortgage interest relief in 2014 and each year up to the complete abolition of mortgage interest relief; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15112/14]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the provisional cost to the Exchequer of mortgage interest relief for principal private residences by way of tax relief at source in 2013 is €353 million. The estimate for 2014 is €350 million.

The cost of the relief going forward for the 2015, 2016 and 2017 tax years would depend on a variety of factors, including the numbers of mortgages, the monetary amount of the qualifying loans taken out; the rate of relief applying to those qualifying loans, the year the qualifying loans were taken out and the extent to which the ceilings for relief are impacted by changes in interest rates. Accordingly, it is not possible to provide an accurate estimate of the expected cost of the relief in 2015 and later years.

Pension Provisions

Questions (181)

Michael McGrath

Question:

181. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the total tax expenditure in respect of pension contributiosn in each year from 2010 to 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15113/14]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the total tax expenditure in respect of pension contributions for 2010 and 2011, the latest year for which data is available, is estimated to be in the region of €1,500 million in each year. These costs include the costs associated with employee and employer contributions to approved superannuation schemes, exemption of employers contributions from employee benefit in kind taxation, retirement annuity contracts and personal retirement saving accounts. It does not include the costs associated with the exemption of income and gains of approved superannuation funds or any costs associated with PRSI relief on pension contributions. Detailed data in respect of the year 2012 are currently being processed and will be available in due course while data in respect of 2013 is still in the process of being collected or, in relation to certain data, are not required to be returned until later this year.

Tax Yield

Questions (182)

Michael McGrath

Question:

182. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the total income tax receipts in respect of pensions in payment in each year from 2010 to 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15114/14]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that while social welfare pensions can be separately identified from other sources of income in Revenue statistics, it is not possible to do so in respect of income from other pensions with any degree of certainty. Consequently there is no complete or reliable basis available to Revenue on which an estimate of the income tax receipts on pensions could be compiled.

Property Tax Administration

Questions (183)

Michael McGrath

Question:

183. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the number of properties in each valuation bank for purposes of the local property tax in Dublin in 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15115/14]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that compliance data in relation to LPT for 2013 and 2014 was published on 18 February 2014 on the Commissioners website at: http://www.revenue.ie/en/tax/lpt/lpt-stats-0214.pdf. The report includes details of the number of properties that filed a Return for 2013 and the amount of LPT collected for 2013 by city and county council. The report also provides a breakdown of the percentage distribution of properties across the 20 valuation bands nationally (based on Returns filed for 2013).

The Deputy may be aware that the deadline for property owners to bring their LPT affairs (including the Household Charge) up to date and avoid interest or penalties was yesterday. I am advised by the Commissioners that their current priority is processing the large volume of Returns and payments received and they expect to publish more detailed data and analysis, including analysis in relation to the number of properties in each valuation band in each city/county council area in due course.

IBRC Liquidation

Questions (184)

Joan Collins

Question:

184. Deputy Joan Collins asked the Minister for Finance his views on the breakdown of all moneys spent on consultant reports and consultants by the special liquidator of the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation since 6 February 2013; and if he will provide the names of the consultants. [15280/14]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

I have been advised that the Special Liquidators will comply with their reporting obligations and as such the liquidation accounts will be filed with the Companies Registration Office after two years of the liquidation and yearly thereafter. These accounts will detail the fees payable to all consultants employed by the Special Liquidators during the liquidation, including KPMG, arising from its work as Special Liquidators of IBRC. Some of the key professional service providers that have been used by the Special Liquidators to date include, KPMG, A&L Goodbody, Arthur Cox, PwC, UBS, Savills and Linklaters.

IBRC Staff

Questions (185)

Joan Collins

Question:

185. Deputy Joan Collins asked the Minister for Finance the costs of redundancy payments for workers in the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation; the number of workers involved; the costs if they are to receive a redundancy payment of four weeks per year of service; and a separate costing for statutory redundancy per year of service for these workers. [15282/14]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

The Special Liquidators confirm that on the date of Special Liquidation there were a total of 805 employees employed by IBRC in the Republic of Ireland. Of these 545 employees have received Statutory Redundancy at a total cost of €5,360,926.31 and 260 employees had less than 2 years service and were therefore not eligible for redundancy payments.

I am advised by the Special Liquidators that the total cost of a redundancy payment based on 4 weeks salary* per years of service for these 545 employees would be €22,580,548 which is an additional €17,219,621.69 over and above the Statutory payment made.

I am advised that statutory redundancy is two weeks per year of service capped at €600 per week therefore the cost per worker per year of service  is €1,200. There is also 1 additional week paid at €600 regardless of length of service.

* Minimum payment of €12,500 & limit of €175,000 applies.

Disabled Drivers and Passengers Scheme

Questions (186)

Michael McGrath

Question:

186. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the position regarding the tax relief for disabled drivers and passengers application and subsequent appeal in respect of persons in County Cork. [15300/14]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that they have not received an application from the person (details supplied) for admission to the Drivers & Passengers with Disabilities Scheme.  This was confirmed following a telephone call to the person. It would appear that the person was refused a Primary Medical Certificate by the local Chief Medical Officer (HSE) which is an essential pre-requisite for this scheme. The Revenue Commissioners understand that the person has lodged an appeal. In the event that the appeal is successful, an official from Revenue's Central Repayments Office has briefed the person on the application procedure and provided a telephone number for future contact.

Banking Sector

Questions (187)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

187. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance if he will provide an update on the talks regarding the restructuring of Permanent TSB with the EU Commission; and if he will outline the outstanding issues. [15313/14]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

A way forward for Permanent TSB was agreed with the Troika in April 2012 which envisaged it playing an important role in the future of Irish retail banking, being a more focused retail bank bringing an element of competition to the marketplace which has consolidated significantly since 2008.  In this regard Permanent TSB prepared a Restructuring Plan, which the Department of Finance submitted to the European Commission ("the Commission") in June 2012.  As requested by the Commission an updated version of the plan was submitted in  August 2013 which is broadly in line with the June 2012 plan. 

Discussions are ongoing at a technical level involving the Commission, the Department of Finance and Permanent TSB in relation to the plan, details of which are confidential between the parties and commercially sensitive. I do not intend to speculate on when that process might be concluded.

As the Deputy will be aware Permanent TSB is not alone in seeking such approval. I am also seeking approval from the European Commission for the Restructuring Plan submitted by AIB. While no plan has been approved, Permanent TSB has made significant progress in delivering key elements of the Restructuring Plan submitted over the last year and the business is being managed structurally in the way envisaged in the plan. Permanent TSB continues to work to enhance the value of our investments through the continued delivery of the Restructuring Plan, which will, if delivered, provide the State with more optionality regarding the future structure of Permanent TSB. During 2013 Permanent TSB grew its presence and activity in the retail market in general and in the current account and deposit markets in particular, as well as in mortgages and term lending; and it launched several new products during the year. I am advised that Permanent TSB paid out over €200m in mortgage lending in 2013 and that it had a market share of retail deposits of c 13%.   As a result of the progress made during 2013 Permanent TSB is now a genuine and important competitor in the retail banking market.

Permanent TSB has also made progress in relation to managing its portfolio of mortgages in arrears and has created a dedicated team to deal with those customers and to roll out various solutions to them. I am advised by Permanent TSB that during 2013 it made approximately 18,000 offers of long term sustainable solutions to customers in arrears or having difficulty with their mortgage repayments.

The current strategy is for Permanent TSB to be an independent bank, competing within targeted segments of the retail banking market, and I will continue to support the board and management in the delivery of that strategy.

Mortgage Interest Relief Eligibility

Questions (188)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

188. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Finance the amount of tax relief paid in respect of mortgage interest in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15330/14]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

I am advised by Revenue that it administers mortgage interest relief (MIR) in respect of qualifying loans through the tax relief at source (TRS) system. I am further advised that the amounts due are paid via the relevant lending institutions.

In the case to which the Deputy refers, I am informed that in 2007 Revenue received notification from the persons' lender that all qualifying loans in respect of which MIR had been granted were fully cleared. On that basis the MIR entitlement was ceased and Revenue has no record of any further applications from the persons. If the persons are of the opinion that further MIR was due since 2010 they should make contact with the TRS helpline at 1890 463626 to clarify the issue.

Universal Social Charge Yield

Questions (189)

Pat Deering

Question:

189. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Finance when the universal social charge was first introduced; if he will provide a breakdown of revenue from the charge since its introduction per financial year; if the universal social charge was altered since its introduction to include other financial areas; what those areas are; and the original estimate of income for the first year for the universal social charge when it was first introduced. [15338/14]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

The Universal Social Charge (USC) was introduced in Finance Act 2011 and applies for the tax year 2011 and subsequent tax years.

The yield for each year is

2011 - €3,114m

2012 - €3,790m

2013  - €3,930m

USC is a tax payable on gross income, including notional pay, after any relief for certain trading losses and capital allowances, but before pension contributions. It is not charged on social welfare and similar type payments, or on income which was already subjected to DIRT.  Since its introduction it has not been altered to include other financial areas.

The original estimate of universal social charge payable in 2011 was €3,238m.

Changes made since its introduction are

An increase in the exemption limit from €4,004 to €10,036,

Elimination of the reduced rates that applied to medical card holders and individuals aged 66 and over whose income exceeds €60,000,

Non application of the charge to amounts received by individuals who avail of pre-retirement access to an AVC,

Application of the charge to income relieved from income tax under the special assignee relief programme, and

Non-application of the 3% surcharge, on non PAYE incomes over €100,000, to share options.

When originally introduced, the USC was collected by employers from employees on a week 1 basis which led in certain cases to underpayments by the employee.  From 1 January 2012 it has been collected on a cumulative basis which ensures that the correct amount of USC is collected from an employee throughout the year.

SOLAS Training and Education Programmes Certification

Questions (190)

Derek Keating

Question:

190. Deputy Derek Keating asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding recognition of qualifications in respect of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14743/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

This is a day to day operational matter for SOLAS. I understand from SOLAS that exemption applicants are required to submit a portfolio of evidence outlining their work experience and relevant technical qualifications. The portfolio is reviewed by a Subject Matter Expert who compares the application with the learning outcomes from the apprenticeship curriculum. The purpose of this exercise is to establish if the applicant has attained the required standard and is therefore entitled to an exemption. The apprenticeship curriculum is very broad in content and covers all aspects of the trade.

SOLAS has informed me that an exemption application was received from the individual in question 1st May 2013. His application included letters from QQI confirming the level at which they deemed his 3 City & Guilds qualifications would be placed on the National Framework of Qualifications. Two of these were Level 5 and one was Level 4. He also submitted a letter outlining his employment over an 11 year period. As per procedure, the application was reviewed by a Subject Matter Expert (SME) with experience in both delivering and developing the apprenticeship curriculum and assessments. The content and duration of the City & Guilds qualifications were fully examined. While acknowledging the individual's experience and qualifications, it was the opinion of the SME that there was insufficient depth in the content of the short duration training courses undertaken by him to justify an exemption.

The individual in question was notified of this decision on 3rd May 2013 and I understand SOLAS advised him that he could appeal the exemption decision. To date no such appeal has been received.

School Enrolments

Questions (191)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

191. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his Department will assist a person (details supplied) in County Dublin to find a place in a local school. [14688/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The Educational Welfare Service of the Child and Family Agency (EWS) is the statutory agency which can assist parents who are experiencing difficulty in securing a school place for their child. The EWS may be able to offer assistance and advice on securing a school placement within the pupil's area. The contact details for the EWS is Educational Welfare Service of the Child and Family Agency, 16-22 Green Street, Dublin 7, phone number 01-8738700. The selection and enrolment of pupils in schools is the responsibility of the authorities of the individual school. My Department's main responsibility is to ensure that schools in an area can, between them, cater for all pupils seeking school places in an area. However, this may result in some pupils not obtaining a place in the school of their first choice. As schools may not have a place for every applicant, a selection process may be necessary. This selection process and the enrolment policy on which it is based must be non-discriminatory and must be applied fairly in respect of all applicants. Under section 15 (2) (d) of the Education Act, 1998, each school is legally obliged to disclose its enrolment policy and to ensure that as regards that policy that principles of equality and the right of parents to send their children to a school of the parents choice are respected. Section 29 of the Education Act, 1998 provides for an appeal by a parent or guardian to the Secretary General of my Department, or in the case of an Educational Training Board (ETB) school to the ETB in the first instance, where a Board of Management of a school, or a person acting on behalf of the Board, refuses to enrol a student in a school, expels a student or suspends a student for 20 or more days in any school year.

My Department has no authority to compel a school to admit a pupil, except in the case of an appeal under section 29 of the Education Act, 1998 being upheld. Section 29 appeal application forms are available on my Departments website at http://www.education.ie/en/Parents/Services/Appeal-against-Permanent-Exclusion-Suspension-or-Refusal-to-Enrol/Section-29-Appeals-Application-Form.doc, or from Section 29 Administration Unit, Department of Education & Skills, Friars Mill Road, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath, phone 0761 108584.