I increased the annual tax free benefit that an employer may give to an employee from €250 to €500 in last year's Finance Act. Section 112B of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 provides that the benefit must not exceed €500 in value, must not be in the form of cash and may not form part of any salary sacrifice arrangement between the employee and the employer. Only one such benefit may be given in any tax year. The exemption applies to benefits granted on or after 22 October 2015.
The Programme for a Partnership Government states that, working with the Oireachtas, we would increase the Small Benefits Exemption (voucher) from €500 to €650. In my Budget statement I noted that we will be true to the commitments we made in that Programme. However I also said that we will divide the resources available between increased investment in public services and tax cuts in proportions of at least two to one in favour of public services. Therefore the Deputy will understand that not everything can be accomplished in or more years and I am not proposing to make any changes to this measure at this particular time.