Tax Credits

Questions (118)

Jack Wall

Question:

118. Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Finance the reason a person (details supplied) in County Kildare has not been in receipt of an incapacitated child tax credit since 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22696/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I have been advised by the Revenue Commissioners that the person concerned has been granted the incapacitated child tax credit. PAYE Balancing Statements (P21) issued to the person concerned as follows:

2009 - P21 issued on 21/06/2012, 2010 - P21 issued on 23/07/2012, 2012 - P21 issued on 22/04/2013 and 2013 - P21 issued on 15/05/2014.

Incapacitated child credit was included in the P21 for each of the above years. Refunds of tax overpaid have been made for each of the years with the exception of 2012 as no tax was paid in that year. While the PAYE Balancing Statement (P21) for 2011 did not include the incapacitated child credit, all tax paid for that year was refunded on 14th December 2011. A tax credit certificate for 2014 including the incapacitated child credit issued to the person concerned on 8 May 2014.

Pension Levy

Questions (119)

Stephen Donnelly

Question:

119. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Minister for Finance the length of time the pension levy will be used to fund State jobs initiatives in view of the fact that the private pension sector has already contributed €2.2 billion via the levy to fund job creation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22727/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I announced in my Budget 2014 speech that the 0.6% Pension Fund Levy introduced to fund the Jobs Initiative in 2011 will be abolished from the 31st of December 2014. I have, however, introduced an additional levy on pension funds at 0.15% for 2014 and 2015. I am doing this to, among other things, continue to help fund the Jobs Initiative. Finance (No. 2) Act 2013 provides for the application of the levy up to 2015.

The receipts from the stamp duty levy on pension fund assets have amounted to €463 million in 2011, €483 million in 2012 and €535 million in 2013 giving a total of €1.481 billion to date. On the other hand, from 2011 to 2013, the cost of the expenditure and taxation measures introduced as part of the Jobs Initiative has been estimated at over €1.7 billion.

Freedom of Information Requests

Questions (120, 121)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

120. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance if the ECB has expressed to him any fear that it would be open to legal action if the letter of November 2010 from Jean Claude Trichet is published. [22728/14]

View answer

Pearse Doherty

Question:

121. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance if the ECB has indicated to him that it would be happy to release the letter of November 2010 from Jean Claude Trichet after the period where the Statute of Limitations has expired for any citizen or body to take legal action based on its content. [22730/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 120 and 121 together.

I should say that, in early 2014, when the ECB initially sought my views in the context of its discussion on the possible release of the letter, I indicated that the decision to release the letter was a matter for the ECB. It is important for relationships between institutions to be developed and sustained in order to allow for confidential negotiations to take place especially on particularly sensitive issues. Requests to release the letter have been considered under our own Freedom of Information legislation on a number of occasions. The decision has been to refuse these requests in line with relevant sections of the FOI Act and the refusal to release has been upheld on one occasion by the Office of the Information Commissioner.

Separately the European Ombudsman investigated the refusal by the ECB to release the letter under the ECB's freedom of information processes. I understand the Ombudsman's Office found that the ECB was entitled not to disclose the letter. I understand that when the European Ombudsman suggested a "friendly solution" and invited the ECB to disclose the letter, the Governing Council of the ECB came to the view that it was appropriate that the letter would not be disclosed at this time but indicated that it will revaluate disclosure of the letter at a more advanced stage of post-programme surveillance.

I am not aware of any concerns expressed by the ECB regarding the possibility of legal action arising from the disclosure of the letter at this time or in the future.

Bank Stress Tests

Questions (122)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

122. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Finance if he will confirm that no future injections of capital will be made by this Government to Irish banks regardless of the outcome of the ECB bank stress tests. [22736/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I have said on many occasions in the recent past that I do not expect the ECB exercise to result in a requirement for additional capital given the very large amount of new capital that has gone into the Irish banks in recent years and all the work that has been done by the Central Bank including the Balance Sheet Assessment in Q4 2013. At the conclusion of the Balance Sheet Assessment it was confirmed that, having recognised additional provisions, each of the banks' capital ratios were above the minimum regulatory requirement.

It is not possible for me to give a definitive answer as to how a capital deficit would be addressed, should such a deficit be identified during the course of the European wide stress test, in advance of the conclusion of the exercise.  It is important to keep in mind that, in the unlikley event that new capital was required, the following sources of capital would be accessed before any consideration of redress to the State:

- The conversion of existing contingent capital notes.

- Internally generated capital through retained earnings.

- Private sources including existing equity investors. 

Mortgage Repayments

Questions (123)

Michael McCarthy

Question:

123. Deputy Michael McCarthy asked the Minister for Finance the supports available for mortgage holders whose life assurance or mortgage protection policy might have lapsed due to illness or unemployment; the responsibility banks have in this regard; if there is a duty of care to ensure that customers have sufficient policies in place to cover the value of mortgages; if they are required to ensure that customers are made aware of the risks of falling into arrears on their insurance policy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22744/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I have been advised by the Central Bank that Section 126 of the Consumer Credit Act 1995 requires that, subject to certain exemptions set out in the Act, a mortgage lender shall arrange a life assurance policy providing, in the event of the death of a borrower before a housing loan made by the mortgage lender has been repaid, for payment of a sum equal to the amount of the principal estimated by the mortgage lender to be outstanding in the year in which the death occurs on the basis that payments have been made by the borrower in accordance with the mortgage.

In the case of mortgages in arrears, under Provision 42 of the Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears, where an alternative repayment arrangement is offered by a lender, the lender must provide the borrower with a written explanation of how the alternative repayment arrangement works including a statement that the alternative repayment arrangement may impact on the borrower's mortgage protection cover.  In addition, the terms and conditions of the relevant mortgage contract(s) may set out any obligations of a borrower in this regard. I would advise anyone whose financial situation puts insurance policies in jeopardy to seek the advice of the Money Advice and Budgeting Service.

Departmental Meetings

Questions (124)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

124. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance if the practice of publishing the Secretary General's diary on a monthly basis has ceased and, if so, the reason for same. [22750/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I am informed by the Secretary General that his diary is published at regular intervals, following a review of the diary by the Secretary General to ensure accuracy and non-disclosure of commercially sensitive information. This review takes a similar form to a review under the FOI process. I understand that the Secretary General's diary for the months of January, February, March and April was published on Monday, May 26th.

NAMA Staff Remuneration

Questions (125)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

125. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Finance if he will provide a breakdown in tabular form of the number of employees in the National Asset Management Agency earning between €150,000 and €200,000, €200,000 and €250,000, €250,000 and €300,000 and €300,000 and €400,000. [22770/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

As the Deputy may be aware, all NAMA staff are employees of the NTMA and under section 42 of the National Asset Management Agency Act 2009, the NTMA assigns staff to NAMA.  Information on NTMA salary bands is published each year in the NTMA Annual Report and Accounts.  Information in respect of 2013 will be set out in the 2013 Annual Report to be published in July, and is set out in the following table.

NTMA Salaries by Salary Band at End 2013

Up to €50,000

99

40

139

€50,001 to €75,000

112

99

211

€75,001 to €100,000

50

83

133

€100,001 to €125,000

26

54

80

€125,001 to €150,000

13

36

49

€150,001 to €175,000

11

11

22

€175,001 to €200,000

5

5

10

€200,001 to €225,000

1

0

1

€225,001 to €250,000

2

1

3

€250,001 to €275,000

4

1

5

€275,001 to €300,000

0

0

0

€300,001 to €325,000

1

0

1

€325,001 to €350,000

0

0

0

€350,001 to €375,000

0

1

1

€375,001 to €400,000

0

1

1

€400,001 to €425,000

1

0

1

Notes:

1. The public service pension deduction is applied to NTMA employees..

2. The pay reductions provided for in the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act 2013, which took effect from 1 July 2013, apply to NTMA staff and are reflected in the above table.

Carbon Tax Implementation

Questions (126)

Robert Dowds

Question:

126. Deputy Robert Dowds asked the Minister for Finance if he will enumerate the amount of carbon tax per unit of fuel as bought by the consumer, as distinct from the unit of carbon dioxide emitted, for each of the fuels to which the tax applies. [22774/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

The Finance Act 2010 provided for the application of carbon taxation to mineral oils, natural gas and solid fuel.  Carbon tax was applied to petrol and auto-diesel with effect from 10th December 2009. It was extended to other mineral oils and to natural gas from 1st May 2010 and to solid fuels from 1st May 2013. The rate applicable to solid fuels was increased from 1st May 2014 to bring it into line with the rate of carbon tax applicable to the other fuels, that is, €20 per tonne of CO2 emitted.    

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that the tax rate applicable to each fuel is calculated by multiplying the net calorific value of the fuel by its carbon emission factor, giving the tonnes of CO2 emitted per tonne of the fuel combusted.  This value is then multiplied by the current rate of €20 per tonne of CO2 to give the effective carbon tax rate for the fuel concerned. The following table sets out the carbon tax per unit of the main fuels to which the tax applies, as bought by the consumer and the carbon emissions of these fuels on combustion.

Fuel Type

Carbon Tax Rate per unit of Fuel

Unit(s)

Petrol

4.587 cent

per litre

Auto-diesel

5.33 cent

per litre

Marked Gas Oil

5.492 cent

per litre

Kerosene

5.073 cent

per litre

Liquefied Petroleum Gas

3.286 cent

per litre

Coal

€2.107

40kg bag

Peat Briquettes

45.84 cent

12.5 kg bale

Natural Gas

€3.70* 

Megawatt hour

* The rate shown for Natural Gas is based upon measurement using Gross Calorific Value.

Mortgage Schemes

Questions (127)

Jim Daly

Question:

127. Deputy Jim Daly asked the Minister for Finance the assistance, incentives or grants available to first-time buyers of residential properties; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22811/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

The recently announced 'Construction Strategy' sets out a comprehensive strategic approach to housing that is being undertaken by Government. As part of this strategy, I am committed to examining international best practice and developing proposals for additional models of mortgage financing in Ireland, including the concept of a mortgage insurance scheme, to ensure sustainable levels of mortgage lending in the medium term. As part of my examination, I will be considering the applicability of such a scheme to the Irish market and have asked my officials to undertake an economic impact analysis considering certain design parameters including restrictions to first time buyers.

My colleague, the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Deputy Phil Hogan, may be in a position to advise on residential property schemes under the remit of his Department.

Seized Property

Questions (128, 129, 130)

Stephen Donnelly

Question:

128. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Minister for Finance for each of the years, 2011, 2012 and 2013, the number of motor vehicles annually seized by officers of the Revenue Commissioners under section 141(1) of the Finance Act 2001 on the grounds that they were liable to forfeiture under section 139(6) of the Finance Act 1992. [22843/14]

View answer

Stephen Donnelly

Question:

129. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Minister for Finance the number of motor vehicles, analysed by year in which they were seized, currently in the possession of officers of the Revenue Commissioners as a result of seizures under section 141(1) of the Finance Act 2001 on the grounds that the vehicles were liable to forfeiture under section 139(6) of the Finance Act 1992. [22844/14]

View answer

Stephen Donnelly

Question:

130. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Minister for Finance for each of the years, 2011, 2012 and 2013, the number of motor vehicles disposed of by the Revenue Commissioners and the disposal proceeds, arising from seizures under section 141(1) of the Finance Act 2001 on the grounds that the vehicles were liable to forfeiture under section 139(6) of the Finance Act 1992; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22845/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 128 to 130, inclusive, together.

Section 139 (6) of the Finance Act 1992 provides that  motor vehicles  in respect of which certain offences relating to Vehicle Registration Tax were committed are liable to forfeiture, and section 141 (1) of the Finance Act 2001 empowers officers of the Revenue Commissioners to seize any vehicles that are liable to forfeiture. In the majority of cases in which a vehicle is seized in connection with an offence relating to Vehicle Registration Tax, the vehicle is subsequently released on payment of a penalty by the person concerned. There are certain instances, however, such as the existence of aggravating circumstances, where the possibility of resolving matters by way of payment of a penalty is not considered appropriate. Cases also arise in which the person concerned does not wish to avail of the possibility of paying a penalty. In such circumstances the vehicle may ultimately be forfeited to, and disposed of, by the Revenue Commissioners.

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that the specific information sought by the Deputy is as set out in the following table.

-

2011

2012

2013

Number of motor vehicles seized

1,587

1,181

1,112

Number of seized vehicles currently  in the possession of Revenue, by year seized

9

12

47

Number of motor vehicles disposed of by Revenue

93

96

82

Proceeds from disposal of vehicles

€35,534

€136,584

€96,613

IBRC Liquidation

Questions (131)

Stephen Donnelly

Question:

131. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Minister for Finance further to his statement of 20 February 2014 in respect of the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation mortgage borrowers that if the special liquidators were to sell mortgages individually, rather than in loan books, it could result in a mortgage holder's neighbour who had a row over planning permission buying the mortgage and, alternatively, someone with whom the mortgage holder is in dispute or another family member, in circumstances where the family is not pulling together, could come in and buy the mortgage; if, following the sale of the mortgages to Oaktree and Lone Star, he can confirm the protections that are now in place to prevent the scenarios outlined; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22846/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I am advised by the Special Liquidators that following due consideration to advice provided by PwC, they decided to sell the residential mortgage book of Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (in Special Liquidation) in portfolios in order to maximise market interest and return. Should it have been decided that the mortgages be sold individually, individuals, such as those described in the question above, would have been entitled to bid for the individual mortgages, if they met the criteria to be considered qualifying bidders. Any further decision regarding the onward sale of the mortgage book is a commercial decision for the acquirers of these loans and I have no role in the matter.

The Government is committed to bringing forward legislation that will protect mortgage holders and believes the sale of loan books to unregulated third parties Bill is the most effective way to address the issue in a comprehensive manner. The legislation will ensure the protection of the CCMA or any replacement code in the future will continue to apply to mortgages which are sold to unregulated financial service providers.

IBRC Liquidation

Questions (132)

Stephen Donnelly

Question:

132. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Minister for Finance if the special liquidators of the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation managed to achieve sale prices for any of the circa €22 billion of par value loans that were recently offered for sale, which were in excess of the par value of the loans in question; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22847/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I have been advised that the Special Liquidators will not be providing the information requested as it is considered commercially sensitive financial information. As a general comment however I understand  that the majority of loan documentation permits a maximum recovery of outstanding par debt plus interest and fees.

NAMA Loan Offers

Questions (133)

Stephen Donnelly

Question:

133. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Minister for Finance if it remains the position on the part of the National Asset Management Agency that the maximum amount it can recover on a loan is the par value of the loan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22848/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I am advised by NAMA that the majority of loan documentation permits a maximum recovery of outstanding par debt plus interest and fees.

NAMA Operations

Questions (134)

Stephen Donnelly

Question:

134. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Minister for Finance if it is the policy of the National Asset Management Agency to market openly assets which are being sold, except in circumstances where full outstanding par debt is recoverable; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22849/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I am advised that NAMA's policy guidelines provide that wherever feasible the sale of property by NAMA debtors or receivers or the sale of loans by the Agency shall be openly marketed.  The marketing strategy for any given asset is determined by a range of factors, including asset class, size, value and location.  I note in this respect the Comptroller and Auditor General's (C&AG) finding, which is set out in its third special report on NAMA, that almost all NAMA property disposals examined by it had been sold through an open competitive process, or with testing of disposal prices against market valuation.  The C&AG concluded that "this provides reasonable assurance that the prices obtained were the best on offer in the market at the time a property was sold".