Thursday, 25 October 2018

Questions (82)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

82. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Finance his views on the report on tax expenditures of October 2018; the key components and estimated total cost of tax expenditures as a percentage of total voted expenditure and of GNI in 2017; the likely costs in 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43863/18]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

I refer the Deputy to my reply to his two parliamentary questions of 24 July this year (Nos. 221 and 222; reference Nos. 33483/18 and 33484/18).

My Department's Report on Tax Expenditures for 2018 is now available and can be found on the Budget 2019 website at:

http://www.budget.gov.ie/Budgets/2019/Documents/Tax%20Expenditures%20Report%20Budget%202019.pdf.

The annual Tax Expenditure Reports (of which there have been four to date) do not purport to be a complete record of all revenue foregone through tax expenditures in a given year. This is due to a number of factors including:

- data for many tax expenditures for the most recent full year may not be available due to filing dates for returns for a given year falling late in the following year (so that returns for 2017 may not have been returned and/or collated by the time the report is published);

- there is a concern on the part of Revenue that the release of data on some tax expenditures availed of by a small number of taxpayers could present a risk that they could be identifiable;

- the data necessary is not required to be provided to/gathered by Revenue;

- the tax expenditure has recently been abolished; or

- the tax expenditure concerned may be new so data is not yet available.

Pages 307 to 328 of the Tax Expenditures Report 2018 list 165 tax expenditures. This presents the revenue foregone in the most recent year for which information is available, which may in some instances include figures for 2016 or estimates and comes to a total of just below €3 billion.  Revenue foregone data on 74 of the listed tax expenditures is not available for the reasons listed above.

Due to the challenge of providing the full cost of revenue foregone figure for tax expenditures in 2017, it may not be useful to compare this figure to the GNI* for 2017 of €181,175 million (nominal and rounded to nearest €25 million) or the gross provisional outturn figure (current and capital) of €58,525 million for 2017.

I am aware of the recent report on tax expenditures from the Parliamentary Budget Office "Tax Expenditures in Ireland: Key Issues for Consideration".  My Department is reviewing the main issues raised in the report.