Revenue Commissioners Audits

Questions (190)

Niamh Smyth

Question:

190. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Finance if an audit by the Revenue Commissioners of a person (details supplied) will be reviewed; if the process will be expedited; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12949/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

Revenue has advised me that the person in question was the subject of a compliance intervention in respect of their 2016 tax liabilities. The issues raised during the intervention were subsequently dealt with by the person and fully resolved. Revenue informed the person that the intervention was concluded on 5 September 2018.

Revenue has also confirmed that the person manually filed their 2017 tax return (Form 12) in late January 2019. The return is now processed and Revenue has written to the person setting out their overall tax position for that year. Revenue has also provided the person with direct contact details should they require any further clarification.

VAT Rate Application

Questions (191)

Seán Fleming

Question:

191. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Finance if consideration will be given to allowing VAT on houses built for the rental residential market to be claimed as a cost of the building against corporation tax or income tax liability in respect of building residential houses for rental; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12977/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

A property developer is liable for VAT on sales of developed residential property and is entitled to recover the VAT incurred in the development of that property. However, under the EU VAT Directive, there is no scope to allow VAT deductibility in relation to the development of properties that are to be put to a tax-exempt use. The VAT Consolidation Act 2010 provides that the letting of residential property is exempt from VAT. Thus, where a developer incurs VAT on the construction costs of a residential property and lets the property upon completion, the developer is not entitled to recover the VAT on those costs as the letting of the property is exempt from VAT.

Section 97 Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 (TCA) sets out the deductions allowable in computing rental income chargeable to income tax or corporation tax under Case V of Schedule D. Income chargeable under Case V is computed on the gross amount of rent receivable less allowable expenses incurred in earning that rent, as specified in section 97(2). These are:

- rent payable on the property by the person chargeable,

- rates payable on the property by the person chargeable (either in accordance with the terms of a lease or as an expense of the agreement under which the rent/receipts were received),

- the cost of goods provided and services rendered by the person chargeable in relation to the letting of the property (where such person is either legally bound under the lease to provide such goods and services or the provision of such goods and services constitute an expense of the agreement under which the rent/receipts were received),

- the cost of maintenance, repairs, insurance and management of the premises borne by the person chargeable and which constitute an expense of the agreement under which the rent/receipts were received, but excluding any capital expenditure,

- interest on money borrowed to purchase, improve or repair the premises.

Accordingly, any VAT incurred on the purchase of a premises is not deductible under section 97(2) TCA against rental income from the premises, for either income tax or corporation tax purposes.

I would add that where a person, not being a property developer, has incurred VAT on the conversion of a property that is to be let as residential accommodation in a special regeneration area under the Living City Initiative scheme (Chapter 13 of Part 10 TCA refers), capital allowances will be available on the VAT inclusive eligible expenditure, provided the terms and conditions of that scheme have been met.

Home Building Finance Ireland Remit

Questions (192)

Darragh O'Brien

Question:

192. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Finance his plans to task Home Building Finance Ireland with an expanded remit to issue loans to owner management companies to cover remedial building costs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12988/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

In the first instance I would like to acknowledge the stressful circumstances which the owners and residents of buildings face when defects occur in their homes.

HBFI was established late last year as a supply based measure to help address as shortage of new housing in the State. I have always been clear that HBFI was to be established on a commercial basis and that its activities would comply with State aid rules. Any funding provided by HBFI will be backed by appropriate security and normal banking terms and conditions will apply. Any deviation from this structure could give rise to State aid issues and may impact the expected balance sheet treatment of HBFI's activities.

While there is nothing contained in the Home Building Finance Ireland Act 2018 that excludes loans to owner management companies to cover remedial building costs, the Act requires that HBFI lend on commercial terms. The commerciality of funding such remediation is risky from two perspectives:

1. The projected costs of such projects can often exceed the estimates once the ‘opening up’ works are undertaken due to the discovery of other issues which were not evident or identified during the investigation work.

2. Management Companies do not generally have the ability to provide security for the sums being borrowed.

Based on the high level of risk that would pertain to such lending, it may not be considered commercial in many cases and could put HBFI in breach of its commercial remit.

HBFI will examine each application received on its own merits and particular circumstances. It is a matter for HBFI to assess and, if thought appropriate, issue a term sheet having regard to State aid rules and its commercial responsibilities.

I am advised by HBFI that only a very small number of calls and emails have been received in relation to this type of funding to date and that none of these enquiries have progressed to a full application at this time.

Motor Insurance Costs

Questions (193)

Seán Fleming

Question:

193. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Finance the measures he has taken and plans to ensure that the cost of car insurance is reduced here relative to other EU countries; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13023/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

As the Deputy is aware, the Cost of Insurance Working Group was established in July 2016 and undertook an examination of the factors contributing to the increasing cost of insurance in order to identify what short, medium and long-term measures could be introduced to help reduce the cost of insurance for consumers and businesses.

The initial focus of the Working Group was the issue of rising motor insurance premiums and the Report on the Cost of Motor Insurance was published in January 2017. The Report makes 33 recommendations with 71 associated actions to be carried out in agreed timeframes, which are set out in an Action Plan.

Work is ongoing on the implementation of the recommendations by the relevant Government Departments and Agencies and there is a commitment within the Report that the Working Group will prepare quarterly updates on its progress. The eighth such update was published at the start of March 2019 and shows that 29 of the 33 recommendations have either been completed, are categorised as “ongoing” and in respect of which work is continuing, or have been concluded in so far as the direct involvement of the Working Group is concerned.

It is envisaged that the implementation of all the recommendations cumulatively, with the appropriate levels of commitment and cooperation from all relevant stakeholders, should achieve the objectives of delivering fairer premiums for consumers and a more stable and competitive insurance market.

In this regard, it has to be acknowledged that the CSO CPI statistics indicate that pricing in the private motor insurance market has stabilised over the last year or two and I welcome the direction of travel which this index has displayed since it peaked in July 2016. However, it is accepted that premiums may still be at a high level for many people.

Finally, I understand from my officials that it is difficult to obtain reliable data to accurately compare the cost of motor insurance here to that in other EU countries. In any event, such international comparisons on the basis of price alone would not take into account factors such as the various regulatory environments and liability systems in place in different jurisdictions. For example, in certain EU countries, it is mandatory only for the vehicle to be insured meaning direct comparisons are not useful or instructive.

State Pensions

Questions (194)

Seán Haughey

Question:

194. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Finance if his attention has been drawn to the fact that married State pensioners with additional occupational pensions do not benefit greatly from the usual €5 annual increase in the State pension due to the income tax provisions for this cohort of taxpayers; if the issue will be addressed in future budgets; the assistance provided generally to State pensioners in the income tax system; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13284/19]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

I am advised by Revenue that both the State Contributory Pension and the State Non-Contributory Pension are chargeable to income tax, but not to Universal Social Charge (USC) or Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI).

Where a person is in receipt of both a private pension and a State pension, any income tax that may be due in respect of the State pension is effectively collected by reducing the annual income tax credits in relation to the private pension by the value of the State pension. Thus, for example, in the case of a person in receipt of a State pension and a private pension, an increase of €5 per week in the State pension could mean that tax on an additional €260 would have to be collected over the course of the year by reducing the person’s tax credits in relation to the private pension. €260 extra income at the standard rate of income tax of 20% gives rise to a reduction in tax credits of €52 for the year or €4.34 per month. For standard rate taxpayers this means the individual, or couple, would retain almost 80% of the weekly increase. In the case of higher rate taxpayers, the amount retained would represent almost 60% of the weekly increase.

However, in the context of the Deputy’s question as to what assistance is provided generally to State pensioners in the income tax system, I would draw his attention to section 188 of the Taxes Consolidation Act (TCA) 1997 in particular. That section provides that a person aged 65 and over is fully exempt from income tax where his or her total income from all sources is less than the relevant exemption limit. For 2019, the exemption limits are €36,000 for a married couple or civil partners and €18,000 for a single individual. An individual or couple whose income is below the respective limit can also apply directly to their financial institution to have interest due on deposits accounts paid without any deduction of Deposit Interest Retention Tax (DIRT).

For those taxpayers, who do not qualify for exemption under section 188 of the TCA 1997, section 464 TCA 1997 provides for an “Age Tax Credit” for all individuals aged 65 or over. This credit is currently set at €245 for single individuals or €490 for married people.

In the broader context of limited Government resources, it is my position that an appropriate amount of funds are currently allocated, to ensure a fair and consistent tax treatment for those over the age of 65 through these exemptions and credits.

EU Budget Contribution

Question No. 196 answered with Question No. 188.

Questions (195)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

195. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance further to Parliamentary Question No. 105 of 12 March 2019, the EU contributions to be made by Ireland in each of the next five years if the contributions were based on GNI*, based on best forecasts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13299/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

Member State contributions to the EU Budget are calculated by the EU Commission in line with the provisions outlined in the Own Resource Decision (ORD) Regulation (2014/335). This Decision lays down the three main sources of EU revenue, or ‘Own Resources’:

- Customs duties in respect of trade with non-member countries and levies on sugar production within the Union. These are collectively known as “Traditional Own Resources” (TOR).

- VAT: the VAT own resource is calculated on the basis of a notional harmonised rate.

- Gross National Income (GNI)-based contributions: the amount due is calculated by taking the same proportion of each Member State’s GNI. The GNI-based resource is the Budget-balancing item; it covers the difference between total expenditure in the Budget and the revenue from the other resources, subject to the overall Own Resources ceiling.

The GNI component of the EU budget accounted for 56.3 per cent of the budget's total revenue in 2017.

Ireland is obliged to make GNI payments to the EU budget based on Ireland's share of overall EU GNI. To accurately estimate the application of GNI star for Ireland’s EU Budget contributions would require making the same technical adjustments to the GNIs of each of the remaining EU-27 Member States. Such data is not available for all other Member States.

Regrettably, therefore, it is not possible to assess the impact of moving EU budget contributions from GNI to GNI star in the absence of such data.

It is worth recalling that GNI star, or Modified GNI, was developed by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) as a supplementary method for measuring and analysing Irish domestic economic activity by stripping out the impact of globalisation activities. It is important to stress that, from a legal perspective, the CSO is compelled to produce existing macroeconomic statistics (GDP, GNI, etc.) in accordance with internationally-agreed methodologies.

Question No. 196 answered with Question No. 188.

Insurance Compensation Fund

Questions (197, 243)

Niall Collins

Question:

197. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Finance the options available to a person (details supplied) in circumstances in which a claim by a company settled in October 2018 has not been paid to date and the solicitor is unable to confirm when payment will be received; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13325/19]

View answer

Michael McGrath

Question:

243. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance when the State Claims Agency expects to have a High Court hearing for the next tranche of moneys to be drawn down from the Insurance Compensation Fund for claimants yet to be paid as a result of the failure of a company (details supplied). [14250/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 197 and 243 together.

Setanta Insurance ("Setanta") was placed into liquidation by the Malta Financial Services Authority on 30 April 2014. As it was a Maltese incorporated company, the liquidation is being carried out under Maltese law.

The Deputy will be aware that the Insurance (Amendment) Act 2018 (Act 21 of 2018) was enacted in July 2018. The Act inter alia provides for revised arrangements for the on-going administration of the Insurance Compensation Fund ("ICF"), including for the relevant applications to the President of the High Court. The most recent tranche of payments to Setanta claimants took place in late November 2018.

To date, 670 personal injury claimants have been compensated in full. The liquidator of Setanta has informed me that since the last application was submitted, a further 126 personal injury claimants have now been agreed and these will be included in the next submission to the Fund bringing the total number of personal injury claimants who have agreed settlements to 796. There are a further 410 personal injury claimants who have yet to settle their claims. The latest information from the liquidator estimates that the total value of the next tranche will be approximately €8.3 million.

In relation to when the next payment will be made, my officials have confirmed with the State Claims Agency that the preparatory work is ongoing with a view to arranging a court date in the coming weeks with a view to payments being issued in April. Any individual (or their solicitor) who has queries about their payment should contact the liquidator via phone at +353 (0)818 255 255 or via email at iesetanta@deloitte.ie.

Finally, it should be noted that the process of settling claims is still ongoing and is subject in some cases to court procedures. The liquidator of Setanta estimates that the process of settling the vast majority of these outstanding claims should be completed by end-2019.

Real Estate Investment Trusts

Questions (198, 199, 200, 201, 202, 203)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

198. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the net tax take from IREF dividend withholding tax in 2017 and 2018. [13337/19]

View answer

Pearse Doherty

Question:

199. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the declared net profit on rental income from IREFs in 2017 and 2018. [13338/19]

View answer

Pearse Doherty

Question:

200. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the declared net profit on rental income from REITs in 2017 and 2018. [13339/19]

View answer

Pearse Doherty

Question:

201. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the declared capital gains from property held in IREFs in 2017 and 2018. [13340/19]

View answer

Pearse Doherty

Question:

202. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the declared capital gains from property held in REITs in 2017 and 2018. [13341/19]

View answer

Pearse Doherty

Question:

203. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the net tax take from REIT dividend withholding tax in 2017 and 2018. [13342/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 198 to 203, inclusive, together.

The rules relating to Irish Real Estate Funds (IREF) are set out in Chapter 1B of Part 27, Taxes Consolidation Act 1997, and were introduced by Finance Act 2016. An IREF is an investment fund that derives 25% or more of its value from Irish real estate. As an investment undertaking, the profits or gains of the IREF are not taxed within the fund, but instead are subject to tax in the hands of the investors. As a result information on net rental profits or capital gains from property within IREFs is not available as distributions of value (generally comprised of accrued income and/or gains) are the reference point for taxation.

Where an investor receives value from the IREF, an IREF withholding tax of 20% will generally apply. There are a number of classes of investor that are exempt from the operation of this withholding tax, such as pension schemes and charities as they are more generally exempt from tax. Investors who own less than 10% of the IREF can make a claim for a repayment of dividend withholding tax if they are entitled to a lower rate of withholding tax under a double tax agreement.

IREFs are required to declare and pay this withholding tax on an annual basis and I am advised by Revenue that the first return and payment of IREF withholding tax was due 30 July 2018 where a fund had an accounting period that ended in the second half of 2017. The amount of IREF withholding tax collected on the distribution of profits by relevant IREFs was in the region of €9m for this period. The data collected by Revenue relates to the distributions paid out of the funds. It is important to note that any profits which remain within the fund will be subject to tax when they are eventually distributed to investors. Returns were due to Revenue in January in respect of funds with accounting periods ending in the six months to July of 2018, these returns are currently being processed and information will be available in due course.

The rules relating to Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) in Ireland are found in Part 25A of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997, and were introduced by Finance Act 2013. In order to be a REIT, a company must be listed on the main market of an EU stock exchange within three years of forming, and it must be widely held. Irish REITs are collective investment vehicles which invest in Irish property. As such, their income and gains from Irish property are not taxed within the REIT but are instead taxed in the hands of the investor when distributed. REITs must distribute at least 85% of their property profits and gains to their shareholders each year. A REIT is subject to corporation tax on any income or gains arising from any other business (i.e. non-property business) that it carries on.

Dividend withholding tax at 20% must be applied to all distributions from REITs, other than distributions to certain limited classes of investors such as pension funds and charities as they are more generally exempt from tax. Investors can make a claim for a repayment of dividend withholding tax if they are entitled to a lower rate of withholding tax under a double tax agreement. I am advised by Revenue that net dividend withholding tax amounting to €11.8 million in 2017 and €12.4 million in 2018 was collected in respect of dividends paid by REITs.

As REITs are not subject to Corporation Tax on their Irish property profits or gains, there is no obligation to report these amounts to Revenue. Revenue has also confirmed that, due to the small number of REITs involved and its obligation to maintain the confidentiality of taxpayer information, it cannot provide specific information in relation to the income or capital gains associated with these entities.

Real Estate Investment Trusts

Questions (204, 205)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

204. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance if he will consider appropriate actions to curb the competitive advantage that IREFs and REITs have through their tax neutral or minimal tax status in view of recent comments in the media (details supplied). [13343/19]

View answer

Pearse Doherty

Question:

205. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance if he has conducted a detailed analysis of the proportion of property here held in REITs and IREFs which have tax neutral status due to EEA pension funds owning shares in the property funds. [13344/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 204 and 205 together.

Finance Act 2013 introduced the regime for the operation of Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) in Ireland. The function of the REIT framework is not to provide an overall tax exemption but rather to facilitate collective investment in rental property by removing a double layer of taxation which would otherwise apply on property investment via a corporate vehicle.

Property rental income and gains arising are exempt from tax within the REIT and are taxed at the investor level when distributed. The legislation requires that 85% of all property income profits be distributed annually to shareholders. The REIT is subject to corporation tax on income and gains not arising from the property rental business of the REIT.

Introduced in Finance Act 2016, Irish Real Estate Funds (IREFs) are investment undertakings, excluding UCITS, where at least 25% of the value of that undertaking is made up of Irish real estate assets.

The IREF provisions addressed the concerns raised regarding the use of collective investment vehicles by non-residents to invest in Irish property. The investors had been using the structures to minimise their exposure to Irish tax on Irish property transactions.

IREFs must deduct a 20% withholding tax on certain property distributions to non-resident investors. REITs must also deduct withholding tax on distributions to shareholders. In both cases the withholding tax does not apply to certain categories of investors such as pension funds, life assurance companies and other collective investment undertakings as these funds also operate on a gross-roll-up basis with tax payable by the pensioner/investor (as relevant) on receipt of income or distributions.

Information in relation to the proportion of property in REITs and IREFs held by EEA pension funds is not readily available. However the Deputy will recall a commitment I made during committee and report stages of the 2018 Finance Bill process regarding the preparation by my officials of a policy paper relation to the impact of the REITs, IREF and section 110 regimes on the property market. This will include research into the investors in such funds and the resulting report will be presented before the Tax Strategy Group this summer.

National Vehicle and Driver File Registration

Questions (206)

James Browne

Question:

206. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Finance the position regarding the registration of all-terrain vehicles as part of the maintenance of the national vehicle and driver file; the way in which the Revenue Commissioners act in the registration of these vehicles; if unregistered vehicles can be taxed or insured; if second-hand vehicles not from here can be registered as an all-terrain vehicle on the national vehicle and driver file; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13348/19]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

The registration of vehicles is provided for in Finance Act 1992, Part II, Chapter IV (as amended). Revenue registers vehicles, both new and used (previous registered), under these provisions and all vehicles, including all-terrain vehicles and other off-road vehicles, may be registered provided they have type approval under the EU system of classification for vehicles. Vehicles which are not designed and constructed for road use cannot be registered under the above-mentioned provisions.

Registration can be carried out on the Revenue Online Service for new vehicles or by making an appointment at a National Car Test Centre for used vehicles. Once a registration is completed, the relevant data is transferred overnight to the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTaS).

New vehicles at registration must be accompanied by the appropriate Certificate of Conformity and used vehicles must be accompanied by the Foreign Registration Certificate. Both documents indicate the type approval provisions under which the vehicle may be registered or has been previously registered.

The question of motor tax and insurance is a matter for the DTTaS.

Tax Credits

Questions (207)

Peter Burke

Question:

207. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Finance if he has considered extending the home carer tax credit (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13371/19]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

Where a couple is cohabiting, rather than married or in a civil partnership, each partner is treated for the purposes of income tax as a separate and unconnected individual. Because they are treated separately for tax purposes, credits, tax bands and reliefs cannot be transferred from one partner to the other. Cohabitants do not have the same legal rights and obligations as a married couple or couple in a civil partnership which is why they are not accorded similar tax treatment to couples who have a civil status that is recognised in law.

The basis for the current tax treatment of married couples derives from the Supreme Court decision in Murphy vs. Attorney General (1980). This decision was based on Article 41.3.1 of the Constitution where the State pledges to protect the institution of marriage. The decision held that it was contrary to the Constitution for a married couple, both of whom are working, to pay more tax than two single people living together and having the same income.

To the extent that there are differences in the tax treatment of the different categories of couples, such differences arise from the objective of dealing with different types of circumstances while at the same time respecting the constitutional requirements to protect the institution of marriage. Any change in the tax treatment of cohabiting couples can only be addressed in the broader context of future social and legal policy development in relation to such couples.

I have been advised by Revenue that from a practical perspective, it would be very difficult to administer a regime for cohabitants which would be the same as that for married couples or civil partners. Married couples and civil partners have a verifiable official confirmation of their status. It would be difficult, intrusive and time-consuming to confirm declarations by individuals that they were actually cohabiting. It would also be difficult to establish when cohabitation started or ceased. There would also be legal issues with regard to ‘connected persons’. To counter tax avoidance, ‘connected persons’ are frequently defined throughout the various Tax Acts. The definitions extend to relatives and children of spouses and civil partners. This would be very difficult to prove and enforce in respect of persons connected with a cohabiting couple where the couple has no legal recognition. There may be an advantage in tax legislation for a married couple or civil partners as regards the extended rate band and the ability to transfer credits. However, their legal status has wider consequences from a tax perspective both for themselves and persons connected with them.

Insurance Industry

Questions (208)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Question:

208. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Finance the number of customers impacted by the failure of a company (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13397/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

Qudos Insurance A/S (Qudos) was authorised and prudentially regulated by the Danish Financial Services Authority (DFSA). It sold non-life insurance policies (mainly motor and home policies) in Ireland through Patrona Underwriting Ltd. on a freedom of services basis.

On 20 December 2018, the DFSA notified the Central Bank that Qudos had been declared bankrupt. Existing policies continued to remain in force but will automatically be cancelled on 29 March 2019 i.e. three months after the date of the bankruptcy.

In response to the Deputy’s question as to the number of customers impacted by the failure of Qudos, my officials have sought the relevant information from the Central Bank. Figures provided last week indicate that, at end-November 2018, Qudos had 51,012 policyholders in Ireland. However this has now fallen substantially due to policies being transferred to new insurers. The latest policyholder figures in respect of Qudos Insurance as of 20 March 2019 are set out below:

Product Name

Number of Policies

Household

2

Van

44

Total

46

The Central Bank has been working closely with the DFSA to ensure all Irish policyholders are identified and communicated with directly. Any policyholder who has concerns about their policy are advised to contact their broker in the first instance.

VAT Exemptions

Questions (209)

Ruth Coppinger

Question:

209. Deputy Ruth Coppinger asked the Minister for Finance if he will remove VAT from silicone menstruation cups and other reusable products; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13438/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

VAT is guided by the EU VAT Directive, with which Irish VAT law must comply. In Ireland, certain sanitary products, such as sanitary towels and tampons, are charged to VAT at the zero rate.

Article 110 of the VAT Directive allows Member States to apply a zero rate of VAT to goods or services that are social in nature, that benefit the final consumer and which applied at a zero rate on and from I January 1991. Sanitary items like sanitary towels were applied at the zero rate since 1975, while sanitary tampons have applied at the zero rate since 1984.

As both applied at the zero rate since before 1991, it is possible to retain the zero rated VAT treatment on these products. However, it is not possible to apply the zero rate to other newer sanitary products that were not zero-rated on 1 January 1991.

NAMA Investigations

Questions (210)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

210. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Finance the number of complaints NAMA has received arising from alleged breaches of section 172(3) of the National Asset Management Agency Act 2009 since its enactment; the number of complaints under section 172(3) made in respect of loan sales and property sales; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13443/19]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

Section 172(3) of the National Asset Management Agency Act 2009 is a legal provision which prohibits the sale of assets held as security for NAMA loans to debtors who have defaulted on those loans or persons acting on behalf of defaulting debtors.

To ensure compliance with this section, I am advised that NAMA has a policy of obtaining written confirmation from purchasers of NAMA-secured assets which confirms that, among other things, the purchaser is not a party precluded from completing the purchase by virtue of section 172(3). Under section 7(2) of the NAMA Act, any person who intentionally, recklessly or through gross negligence provides false or inaccurate information to NAMA commits a crime. In addition, under section 6 of the Statutory Declarations Act 1938, it is a criminal offence for a declarant to make a declaration which is false or misleading.

I am informed by NAMA that two complaints have been brought to their attention and that both these complaints have led to investigations into potential breaches of Section 172(3) of the NAMA Act 2009. In relation to one of these alleged breaches, I am advised that NAMA has concluded its investigations and is satisfied that no breach has occurred. I am advised that NAMA is aware that An Garda Síochána is separately investigating the other alleged breach. Criminal investigations are a matter for An Garda Síochána and the DPP and to date, their investigations have not resulted in a prosecution.