Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Questions (25)

Dara Calleary


25. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Finance his plans to review capital acquisition tax thresholds in view of the impact of rising property prices on the amount of inheritance tax many persons now face; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23038/14]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

Capital Acquisitions Tax (CAT) is the overall title for both Gift and Inheritance Tax. The tax is charged on the amount gifted to, or inherited by, the beneficiary of the gift or inheritance. I assume the Deputy is referring to the "Group thresholds" for CAT. For the purposes of CAT, the relationship between the person who provides the gift or inheritance (i.e. the disponer) and the person who receives the gift or inheritance (i.e. the beneficiary), determines the maximum life-time tax-free threshold, known as the "Group threshold" below which gift or inheritance tax does not arise.

There are, in all, three separate Group thresholds based on the relationship of the beneficiary to the disponer.

Group A: tax free threshold €225,000 applies where the beneficiary is a child (including adopted child, stepchild and certain foster children) or minor child of a deceased child of the disponer. Parents also fall within this threshold where they take an inheritance of an absolute interest from a child.

Group B: tax free threshold €30,150 applies where the beneficiary is a brother, sister, a nephew, a niece or lineal ancestor or lineal descendant of the disponer.

Group C: tax free threshold €15,075 applies in all other cases.

Where a person receives gifts or inheritances in excess of their relevant tax free threshold, CAT at a rate of 33% applies on the excess over the tax free threshold. These thresholds have been reduced in recent years as part of the effort to restore the public finances as taxes on capital are less harmful from an economic perspective than taxes on employment.

The property market continues to show signs of improvement with positive developments which had been restricted to the Dublin area now manifesting in other areas of the country though not to the same extent in terms of price rises. I recognise, of course, that there are supply issues in certain areas of the Dublin property market. The Group thresholds will be considered, in the same way as other relevant tax provisions, as part of the normal preparations for Budget 2015 and consequent Finance Bill.