Betting Licences

Questions (58)

Jonathan O'Brien

Question:

58. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Finance the number of licensed betting offices in the State. [18296/14]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that the number of betting offices in the State licensed to date (15th April 2014) for the current licensing year, is 888.  I am further advised that the licensing year runs from the 1st December to the 30th November.

Budget 2014

Questions (59)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

59. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance if he will list all the measures announced as part of budget 2013 or 2014 that are still awaiting EU approval. [18303/14]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

The following is a list of measures which were announced in Budget 2013 and Budget 2014 where EU approval has yet to be obtained. The Living City Initiative, announced in Finance Bill 2013, is a pilot project which provides certain tax incentives to make it more attractive for people to live in historic and culturally significant city centre houses. The initiative also offers incentives for retailers and small businesses in those areas. Budget 2014 extended the Living City Initiative to include residential properties constructed up to the end of 1914 in designated areas, and extended it to other cities Cork, Galway, Kilkenny and Dublin. This Initiative is subject to EU State Aid approval and a commencement order.

Finance Act 2013 introduced new provisions to ensure that Film Relief tax reliefs will accrue to the producers rather than investors and result in tax savings for the Exchequer. Budget 2014 extended the definition of 'eligible individual' to include non-EU talent, in conjunction with the introduction of a withholding tax. It is intended to commence this provision once EU State Aid approval has been given.

A capital gains tax relief for entrepreneurs who reinvest the proceeds from the disposal of assets made on or after 1 January 2010 in certain chargeable business assets was announced in Budget 2014 and provided for in Section 45 of Finance (No 2) Act of 2013. The section requires a Commencement Order, which has not been made.

Commencement of the legislative provisions is subject to EU state-aid approval. My Department is liaising with the European Commission to obtain this approval. It is not clear how long this process will take. However, my Department is endeavouring to obtain this approval in as timely a manner as possible.

Budget 2014 - The exemption from stamp duty on any conveyance or transfer of stocks or marketable securities admitted to the Enterprise Securities Market operated by the Irish Stock Exchange plc (S86A of the Stamp Duties Consolidation Act 1999 as inserted by s70 of the Finance (No. 2) Act 2013) is subject to a commencement order pending EU approval.

The tax scheme for the construction or refurbishment of certain aviation services facilities as provided for in Finance Act 2013 is subject to EU approval. We are in discussions with the Commission regarding same.

NAMA Property Leases

Questions (60)

Joe Higgins

Question:

60. Deputy Joe Higgins asked the Minister for Finance when the National Asset Management Agency will be transferring the allocated properties at Clare Village, Malahide Road, to Túath Housing. [18306/14]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

I am advised by NAMA that the process of acquiring these properties by NARPS, the special purpose company established by NAMA to facilitate the long-term leasing of houses and apartments by Approved Housing Bodies, is ongoing. Once NARPS has acquired the properties, it will immediately facilitate their onward leasing to Túath. NAMA advises that it expects the properties to be made available to Tuath within the next three months.

Government Bonds

Questions (61)

Luke 'Ming' Flanagan

Question:

61. Deputy Luke 'Ming' Flanagan asked the Minister for Finance if he has investigated the effect on the State's finances of the Central Bank of Ireland accelerating its disposal of the Irish Government bonds in its investment account; if he has further investigated the potential effect on the State's finances of such an accelerated disposal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18328/14]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

I am advised that no specific investigation of the type described has been conducted by the Department. As the Deputy will be aware the Central Bank has committed to disposing of these bonds as soon as possible provided conditions of financial stability permit. The Central Bank of Ireland provide the Department of Finance with an estimate of expected surplus income to be paid to the Central Fund on a regular basis. This estimate is considered by the Department and will continue to form part of the Government's overall budgetary strategy.

NAMA Property Sales

Questions (62, 63)

Billy Kelleher

Question:

62. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Finance if it was necessary to have cross-departmental consultations with the National Asset Management Agency on the sale of the UPMC Beacon Hospital Dublin and UPMC Whitfield Waterford; if so, if he will detail the contents of those consultations; if the former owners were involved the sale; if so, to what extent; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18364/14]

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Billy Kelleher

Question:

63. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Finance if a guarantee on the continuation of the purchase of private beds by the Health Service Executive at the UPMC Beacon Hospital Dublin and UPMC Whitfield Waterford formed part of the negotiations for the sale on the part of the National Asset Management Agency; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18368/14]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 62 and 63 together.

I am advised by NAMA that it has no involvement with the assets referenced by the Deputy.

Dormant Accounts Fund Administration

Questions (64)

Clare Daly

Question:

64. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Finance further to Parliamentary Question No. 42 of 10 April 2014, if he will instruct the Central Bank of Ireland to require financial institutions to tailor their procedures for dormant accounts by removing the three-year inactive classification, ensuring that local offices can overturn decisions to freeze customers accounts, in view of the fact that the current position has caused significant confusion and distress for elderly customers. [18387/14]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

Under the Dormant Accounts Act 2001, an account is deemed to be a dormant account where no transaction has been effected by the account holder for a period of 15 years. The Act makes no provision in relation to an account being classified as inactive after a period of 3 years. If the Deputy has information that financial institutions may not be complying with the provisions of the Dormant Accounts legislation, she may wish to forward details, which I will have examined. 

Mortgage Repayments

Questions (65)

Michael McGrath

Question:

65. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the reason Bank of Ireland finds it necessary to take proceedings in both the High Court and the Circuit Court for the same cause of action, namely, the recovery of mortgage debt on the same property, that is, repossession in the Circuit Court and an order for recovery of mortgage debt in the High Court; his views that it is grossly unfair to put distressed borrowers to the stress and expense of two sets of legal proceedings for the same debt in two separate court systems; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18396/14]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

As the Deputy is aware, I have no statutory function in relation to banking decisions made by individual institutions at any particular time. Although the State is a minority shareholder in Bank of Ireland, I must ensure that the bank is run on a commercial, cost effective and independent basis to ensure their value as an asset to the State. The Relationship Framework that has been put in place defines the nature of the relationship between the Minister for Finance and each bank.

Notwithstanding this, officials in my Department have asked Bank of Ireland to comment on the scenario as outlined by the Deputy. The bank has confirmed that this is not its normal practice and that it will take legal action to maximise recoveries dependent on case circumstances.

Customs and Excise Staff

Questions (66)

Charles Flanagan

Question:

66. Deputy Charles Flanagan asked the Minister for Finance the current staff numbers in County Offaly and from where in the county such Customs and Excise service is provided. [18405/14]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that their office is a fully integrated tax and customs administration and that it is not possible to disaggregate the resources deployed exclusively at any given time on customs or excise work. If there is a particular Excise or Customs service which the Deputy has in mind, it may be possible for Revenue to give a more helpful reply. Customs work, i.e. declarations relating to the movement of goods in and out of the State are made online, supported by helpdesks based in Customs Division in Nenagh. Large elements of Excise customer service have been centralised for many years. For example disabled drivers excise refunds in Monaghan, excise licences in the National Excise Licence Office in Waterford.

If the Deputy is concerned about non-compliance, I am further advised that Revenue currently has approximately 2,000 staff engaged on activities that are dedicated to target and confront non-compliance. These front-line activities include anti-smuggling and anti-evasion, investigation and prosecution, audit, assurance checks, anti-avoidance, returns compliance and debt collection. Enforcement strength at particular locations is regularly augmented with additional personnel on a risk-assessment basis, or when particular operations are taking place. The Deputy will appreciate that, for reasons of operational sensitivity, the Revenue Commissioners are not in a position to give precise details of enforcement deployment in specific locations.

While 10 Revenue staff are currently based in County Offaly (at Tullamore), that county is managed as part of Revenue s Westmeath/Offaly District where the bulk of the staff (81 in total) are based in Athlone.

Property Tax Yield

Questions (67)

Robert Troy

Question:

67. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Finance the amount of revenue generated from the introduction of the local property tax in counties Westmeath and Longford. [18431/14]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that compliance data in relation to the Local Property Tax (LPT) is available broken down by city and county councils nationally and the most up to date figures for LPT collected relating to properties in Longford and Westmeath County Councils were published on 16 April 2014 on the Commissioners' website at: http://www.revenue.ie/en/tax/lpt/lpt-stats-0414.pdf.

The Commissioners have also confirmed that by the end of December 2013, €318m had been transferred by Revenue to the Exchequer in respect of LPT. Of this amount, €242m was in respect of LPT for 2013 and €76m relates to 2014 LPT. By the end of March 2014, a further €214.3m was transferred by Revenue to the Exchequer.