Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Questions (99)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

99. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Finance his plans to increase the threshold band of inheritance tax payable for nieces and nephews in view of the high rate of tax that they are liable to pay on current thresholds; if investigations have been carried out on the implications of potential amendments to the thresholds; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11575/19]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

As the Deputy is aware, there are, in all, three separate lifetime CAT Group thresholds based on the relationship of the beneficiary to the disponer.

I would say that there has been changes to the three threholds in recent times. In Budget 2017, the Group A threshold which generally applies to gifts to or ineritances by children, adopted children and some foster children, was increased from €280,000 to €310,000 and in Budget 2019 was increased to €320,000. The Group B threshold, which generally applies to gifts to or inheritances by nephews. nieces, brothers, sisters and which is the subject of the Deputy's question, was increased in Budget 2017 from €30,150 to €32,000. In additon the Category C threshold which applies to all other categories was increased from €15,075 to €16,250. These changes have been introduced where resources allow and in the light of competing priorities.

I would add that in relation to the threshold for nieces/nephews (Group B), there is a specific relief from CAT available in certain circumstances, known as the CAT favourite niece or nephew relief. This applies to the inheritance of business or agricultural property where certain conditions are met. Where the niece or nephew has worked substantially on a full-time basis for 5 years prior to inheritance, they are entitled to the Group A tax-free threshold of €320,000 when calculating their CAT liability for the inheritance, rather than the Group B threshold (currently €32,500). In order to qualify for this relief, the nephew/niece must work for the disponer for a minimum number of hours per week (either 15 or 24, depending on the size of the business/farm).

The aim of this relief is to target nieces/nephews who have placed their labour and expertise at the disposal of the disponer for an ongoing period, to the benefit of the business. This relief applies to all businesses, including farming.

Consideration of possible changes to CAT rates and thresholds, including in respect of inheritances or gifts to nephews and nieces generally takes place as part of the annual Budget and Finance Bill process.