Revenue Commissioners Data

Questions (211)

Joan Burton

Question:

211. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the number of Frontex officers working with the Revenue Commissioners; and the number that will be working with it after 29 March 2019. [13450/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, promotes, coordinates and develops European border management in line with the EU fundamental rights charter and the concept of Integrated Border Management.

I am advised by Revenue that there are no Frontex officers working with them.

Tax Data

Questions (212, 213, 214, 215)

Joan Burton

Question:

212. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the number of rulings the Revenue Commissioners have made in respect of golf, soccer, rugby or other recognised sports in each of the years 2014 to 2018, inclusive, in respect of to Article 16 of the OECD Model Tax Convention (Article 17 of the UK Ireland treaty), in tabular form. [13451/19]

View answer

Joan Burton

Question:

213. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the number of rulings the Revenue Commissioners have made in respect of artistes in each of the years 2014 to 2018, inclusive, in respect of Article 16 of the OECD Model Tax Convention (Article 17 of the UK Ireland treaty), in tabular form. [13452/19]

View answer

Joan Burton

Question:

214. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the amount of additional tax collected by the Revenue Commissioners in respect of golf, soccer, rugby or other recognised sports in each of the years 2014 to 2018, inclusive, in respect of Article 16 of the OECD Model Tax Convention (Article 17 of the UK Ireland treaty), in tabular form. [13453/19]

View answer

Joan Burton

Question:

215. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the amount of additional tax collected by the Revenue Commissioners in respect of artistes performing in each of the years 2014 to 2018, inclusive, in respect of Article 16 of the OECD Model Tax Convention (Article 17 of the UK Ireland treaty), in tabular form. [13454/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 212 to 215, inclusive, together.

In relation to the questions regarding rulings in the years in question, I am advised by Revenue that although the Tax Treaty Branch of its International Tax Division replied to a very small number of internal Revenue queries in relation to the Artistes and athletes Article of the Double Taxation Convention (DTC) between Ireland and the United Kingdom, corresponding to the relevant OECD Model Tax Convention Article, it did not issue any rulings to any sportspersons, athletes, artistes or their representatives in relation to these Articles.

In relation to the other two questions I am advised by Revenue that paragraph 1 of the Artistes and athletes Article provides that, notwithstanding the provisions of the Income from employment Article, “income derived by public entertainers, such as theatre, motion picture, radio or television artistes, and musicians, and by athletes, from their personal activities as such may be taxed in the Contracting State in which those activities are exercised”.

The above means that, separately from the DTC provisions governing the taxation of income from employment, public entertainers and athletes that are tax-resident in one DTC State may be taxed in the other DTC State if they perform there.

Paragraph 2 deals with situations where income from the public entertainers’ or athletes’ activities accrues to other persons, and again provides that such income can be taxed in the DTC State where the activities take place. It reads: “Where income in respect of personal activities as such of an entertainer or athlete accrues not to that entertainer or athlete himself but to another person that income may, notwithstanding the provisions of Articles 8 and 15, be taxed in the Contracting State in which the activities of the entertainer or athlete are exercised”.

If the application of the Artistes and athletes Article resulted in double taxation of the income concerned, the rules in the Elimination of double taxation Article – which is Article 21 of the Ireland-UK DTC – would then be applied to relieve that double taxation.

I am further advised by Revenue that the above-mentioned Artistes and athletes income is returned, under normal self-assessment rules, in the standard tax return forms. The income concerned is not separately identified and, accordingly, it is not possible to provide the detail requested by the Deputy in relation to the resulting tax collected.

Revenue Commissioners Data

Questions (216)

Michael McGrath

Question:

216. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the net cost to the Revenue Commissioners of maintenance, security and related expenditure on homes, vehicles, ships or other items seized by the Revenue Commissioners minus their subsequent sale proceeds, if applicable, in each of the years 2011 to 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13463/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I am advised by Revenue that the net costs of storing, maintaining and disposing of seized goods for the years 2011 to 2018 are set out in the following table.

The figures include employee salaries, transport, security and other day to day expenditure, but exclude rental costs for the State Warehouse and any other related expenses incurred by the Office of Public Works.

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

€1,204,872

€990,660

€1,004,173

€1,000,255

€900,024

€1,051,591

€1,061,248

€991,020

Also during this period, a total of 68 seized vehicles were appropriated for State use; 46 to Revenue, 18 to An Garda Síochána and 4 to the Defence Forces. This represents notional saving to the State of €1.3 million approximately.

Departmental Consultations

Questions (217)

Mattie McGrath

Question:

217. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Finance further to Parliamentary Question No. 4 of 14 February 2019, the amount of the gross cost of €73,031.25 related to VAT and to expenses incurred; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13481/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

Further to my answer to PQ No. 4 February 2019, my Department engaged Price Waterhouse Cooper (PWC) to carry out a money laundering and terrorist financing (ML/TF) National Risk Assessment (NRA).

The aim of this Assessment was to identify, understand and assess the money laundering and terrorist financing risks faced by Ireland. The findings of the National Risk Assessment have been used to inform the development and enhancement of Ireland’s Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorist Financing framework.

The gross cost of this engagement was €73,031.25, of which €59,375 was the net cost and VAT accounted for €13,656.25.

Please note that my Department publishes details of consultancy expenditure on its website on a quarterly basis.

Tax Code

Questions (218, 219, 220, 221, 222, 223)

Joan Burton

Question:

218. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the rate of interest the Revenue Commissioners use in calculating liability to capital acquisitions tax in respect of loans from parents to their children; if his Department was consulted on the annual rate used; and if he will publish the results of those deliberations. [13546/19]

View answer

Joan Burton

Question:

219. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance his views on setting a statutory rate of interest to be used in calculating liability to capital acquisitions tax in respect of loans; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13547/19]

View answer

Joan Burton

Question:

220. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance his views on whether the rate of interest used in calculating benefit-in-kind as set out in section 122 of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 is the appropriate rate for the calculation of liabilities to capital acquisitions tax; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13548/19]

View answer

Joan Burton

Question:

221. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the Revenue Commissioners policy towards loans from the parent to the child in respect of a child that is also an employee of the parent; and if the interest on such loans is liable under section 122 of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 or to capital acquisitions tax. [13549/19]

View answer

Joan Burton

Question:

222. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance his views on the use of loan structures between parents and children to evade capital acquisitions tax; the action he plans to take to stop such abuse; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13550/19]

View answer

Joan Burton

Question:

223. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the value of assets transferred under gifts and inheritances declared for capital acquisitions tax purposes in each of the years 2013 to 2017; the estimated net value of assets owned by persons here in each of the same years by the Central Bank and Central Statistics Office; the proportion of net assets owned by persons here estimated to be transferred annually by way of gift or inheritance; and the way in which the figure compares with the amounts returned to the Revenue Commissioners. [13551/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 218 to 223, inclusive, together.

I am informed by Revenue that there may be gift tax implications depending on the circumstances in which a parent gives a loan to a child. Where no consideration is given by the child for the loan (i.e. interest-free loan), or where any consideration given is less than an amount related to the open market interest rate, the annual value of the loan to the child may be treated as a taxable gift. The value of the loan is determined under section 40 Capital Acquisitions Tax Act 2003 as “the best price obtainable in the open market” for the use of the loaned money. The current best financial institution interest rate at the end of each year for which the loan is outstanding is used to determine the best price obtainable in the open market.

However, if the annual value of the free use of a loan is less than €3,000 (known as the ‘small gift’ exemption), the gift each year is exempt from gift tax provided the child has received no other gifts in the same year from the same parent. If this annual value exceeds €3,000 then only the excess amount each year is treated as a taxable gift. However, gift tax only becomes payable when the total value of all taxable gifts and inheritances taken by the child from his or her parents exceeds the Group A tax-free threshold which is currently €320,000. A tax rate of 33% applies above this threshold.

As there is no fixed statutory rate of interest for gift tax purposes, but a rate that varies automatically with current market rates, the matter of consultation with the Department of Finance about the annual rate used does not arise. There is no basis, therefore for proposing the application of a statutory rate of interest.

I am also informed by Revenue that the amount of benefit-in-kind to be charged to income tax (under section 122 of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997) where loans at preferential rates of interest are made by employers to their employees is determined by a fixed statutory rate of interest that is adjusted from time to time by way of the Finance Act. While, the standard such rate is currently 13½%, a lower rate of 4% applies in the case of home mortgage loans. An employee in receipt of a preferential loan is charged to income tax on the difference between the amount of interest that would have been payable on the preferential loan if interest had been paid at the fixed statutory rate and the amount of interest, if any, actually paid on the loan.

Where the employer and employee are related and the preferential loan is made in a personal capacity from personal resources, the benefit-in-kind provisions are not applied. However, depending on the value of the loan made, the prevailing market interest rate and the applicable tax-free group threshold, gift tax may be payable.

The tax code currently allows for the making of interest-free loans between parents and their children subject to a potential liability to gift tax. As with most taxes, gift tax operates on a self-assessment basis subject to Revenue compliance checks and audit. Where Revenue identifies arrangements that are not in accordance with the relevant legislation it takes appropriate corrective action.

In relation to Question 13551/19, I am informed by Revenue that an estimate of the value of assets transferred as inheritances from Capital Acquisitions Tax (CAT) returns is shown in table 2 in the following at link https://www.revenue.ie/en/corporate/documents/research/capital-taxes-profile.pdf. Revenue has also advised me that the published figure for 2017 is now updated to €3.6 billion and a tentative estimate for 2018 is €4.4 billion.

The Central Bank publishes data on household wealth at an aggregate rather than an individual level in the Quarterly Financial Accounts the most recent being for Q3 2018 https://www.centralbank.ie/docs/default-source/statistics/data-and-analysis/financial-accounts/quarterly-financial-accounts-for-ireland-q3-2018.pdf?sfvrsn=4

No comparison between the Central Bank data and CAT returns is available.

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) conducted the first Household Finance & Consumption Survey (HFCS) in 2013. While a comparison of the value of assets as indicated in the survey against CAT returns is not available, the Revenue report at the above link (page 8) includes a comparison of the number of CAT returns to the number of (indicated) inheritances and gifts.

Overall, the analysis of the HFCS suggests that there are more gift or inheritance transactions occurring than reported in returns filed with Revenue. However, the difference is likely to be explained by the majority of these transactions not being liable to CAT due to the various reliefs and exemptions that are available in respect of the tax.

Interdepartmental Working Groups

Questions (224)

Mattie McGrath

Question:

224. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the working groups currently established in his Department; the focus of their work; the membership composition of each; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13566/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

Within my Department there are a number of Departmental and inter-Departmental Working Groups, working on a range of issues. Details of the membership of each group and the focus of their work are set out in the attached table.

Working Group (including focus)

Membership

Brexit Group

Preparedness for no-deal Brexit scenario and co-ordinate Departmental response to Brexit risks

Principal Officers from all units in the Department of Finance

Brexit Contact Group

A subgroup of the Financial Stability Group (FSG), this group was established for information sharing around financial stability Brexit issues

Department of Finance

Central Bank

National Treasury Management Agency

Irish Sovereign Green Bond Working Group

Identify Eligible Green Bond Projects

Department of Finance

Department of Public Expenditure and Reform

Department of Communications, Climate Action and Energy

NewERA

National Treasury Management Agency

Interdepartmental Review Group on the Local Property Tax

Review in particular the impact on LPT liabilities of property price developments

Department of Finance

Department of Public Expenditure and Reform

Department of An Taoiseach

Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government

Office of the Revenue Commissioners

Cost of Insurance Working Group

To examine factors contributing to the cost of insurance and to identify measures to reduce that cost

Department of Finance

Department of Justice and Equality

Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation

Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport

Personal Injuries Assessment Board

Central Bank of Ireland

State Claims Agency

Interdepartmental Pensions Reform and Taxation Group

The Roadmap for Pensions Reform 2018 – 2023, agreed by Government, sets out a comprehensive plan with specific actions to overhaul our pension system. This Group is responsible for implementing a number of those actions

Department of Finance

Department of Public Expenditure and Reform

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

Office of the Revenue Commissioners

The Pensions Authority

Anti-Money Laundering Steering Committee

Assist government departments, agencies and competent authorities to fulfil their mandates with respect to combatting money laundering and terrorist financing as provided for in the relevant domestic and European legislation and the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force

Department of Finance

Department of Justice and Equality

Department of Defence

Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation

An Garda Síochána

Office of the Revenue Commissioners

Criminal Assets Bureau

Central Bank of Ireland

Companies Registration Office

Charities Regulatory Authority

Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions

Intra-Departmental Virtual Currencies and Blockchain Working Group

To monitor developments at a global and European level in relation to virtual currencies and blockchain and to build knowledge of developments in the technology with an aim to identify risks and assess potential economic opportunities for Ireland

Membership is drawn from relevant Divisions across the Department of Finance

Credit Union Policy Roundtable

Credit Union stakeholders to share information and views on developments and key issues in the Credit Union sector

Department of Finance

5 Credit Union stakeholders

Financial Stability Group (FSG)

A forum for senior officials from the Department of Finance, the Central Bank and the National Treasury Management Agency to discuss financial stability issues

Department of Finance

Central Bank of Ireland

National Treasury Management Agency

FSG Crisis Preparedness Group

A standing working group tasked by the FSG to develop, operationalise and maintain the FSG Crisis Co-ordination Framework

Department of Finance

Central Bank of Ireland

National Treasury Management Agency

FSG Communications Working Group

Develop the communications element of the FSG Crisis Co-ordination Framework

Department of Finance

Central Bank of Ireland

National Treasury Management Agency

IFS2020 Public Sector Co-ordination Group

Implementation of the IFS2020 Strategy

Department of Finance

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Department of An Taoiseach

Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation

Department of Education and Skills

Enterprise Ireland

IDA Ireland

IFS2020 High Level Implementation Committee

Implementation of the IFS2020 Strategy

Department of Finance

Department of An Taoiseach

Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Department of Education and Skills

IDA Ireland

Enterprise Ireland

Central Bank of Ireland (attend as an observer)

IFS2020 Joint Committee

Implementation of the IFS2020 Strategy

The members of the High-level Implementation Committee and Industry Advisory Committee meet quarterly as the Joint Committee

IFS2020 Industry Advisory Committee

Implementation of the IFS2020 Strategy

Representatives from:

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)

Aberdeen Standard Investments

Rockall Technology

TransferMate

The Bank of New York (BNY) Mellon

Monument Group – Laguna Life

BNP Paribas

Elavon

Fexco Corporate Payments

KPMG

Blackrock

McCann Fitzgerald

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) Aviation Capital

Facebook

Citigroup

State Street

International Member

(IAC Secretariat) - Insurance Ireland

Tax Appeals Commission Liaison Group

This group forms part of the oversight arrangement between the Department of Finance and the Tax Appeals Commission, a body under the aegis of the Department. Members discuss administrative, management, resourcing, reporting and governance issues, as well as any other issues of mutual concern which may arise

Department of Finance

Tax Appeals Commission

Tax Appeals Commission Administration Working Group

Provides a formal liaison arrangement between the Tax Appeals Commission, the Office of the Revenue Commissioners and the Department of Finance

Department of Finance

Tax Appeals Commission

Office of the Revenue Commissioners

Working Group on InvestEU

To discuss the InvestEU proposal which was released by the European Commission in June 2018

Department of Finance

Department of Public Expenditure and Reform

Department of An Taoiseach

Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation

Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment

Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport

Intra-Departmental Children First

Co-ordination Group

To consider implementation of the Children First Act in the Department of Finance and communication of requirements to bodies under its aegis

Membership is drawn from officials of the relevant Divisions of the Department of Finance, including the Department’s representative on the Children First Interdepartmental Implementation Group

Working Group to examine the tax treatment of payments made by Government departments/agencies having regard to PAYE modernisation

To provide clarity on the tax treatment of all payments made by Government departments/agencies in the context of the PAYE modernisation project

Department of Finance

Office of the Revenue Commissioners

Other Government Departments as appropriate

Intra-Departmental Incident Response Protocol Working Group

Departmental Group established for the purpose of developing an Incident Response Protocol

Membership is drawn from officials across all Divisions of the Department of Finance

Interdepartmental Anti-Fraud Coordination Service (AFCOS) Group

Promote and encourage engagement between Government Departments and bodies on anti-fraud matters relating to the protection of the financial interests of the EU

Department of Finance

Department of Public Expenditure and Reform

Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation

Department of Education and Skills

Department of Rural and Community Development

Department of Justice and Equality

Office of the Revenue Commissioners

An Garda Síochána

Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions

Interdepartmental Committee on the EU post-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework

Further Ireland’s positions in the ongoing and future negotiations on the Post-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework and to ensure the dissemination of information from EU working groups

Department of Finance

Department of Public Expenditure and Reform

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Department of the Taoiseach

Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

Department of Defence

Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation

Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport

Department of Education and Skills

Department of Rural and Community Development

Department of Children and Youth Affairs Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment

Department of Justice and Equality

Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government

Department of Culture, Heritage and Gaeltacht

Office of the Revenue Commissioners

Central Statistics Office

Insurance Costs

Questions (225)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

225. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Finance the timeframe for his proposed and much needed four major measures to address the rising costs of insurance for householders, drivers, small businesses and community development bodies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13702/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

In his contribution to the Dáil debate on a Fianna Fáil insurance motion of 13 March last the Deputy raised 4 issues, – namely, matters regarding the National Claims Information Database (NCID), notifying policyholders of claims made against them, updating the Book of Quantum, and setting up a dedicated Garda insurance fraud unit. In responding to the Deputy's question I propose to take each of these four issues in turn.

National Claims Information Database (NCID): I can confirm that the NCID will be fully operational soon and later this year it is expected that the first report will be made. While it is important that the database initially focuses on private motor insurance, the relevant underpinning legislation – the Central Bank (National Claims Information Database) Act 2018 – allows for the scope of the database to be expanded to other types of insurance. In this regard, a recommendation was made in the Cost of Insurance Working Group (CIWG) Report on the Cost of Employer and Public Liability Insurance for the Central Bank to conduct an analysis on the feasibility and merit of extending the NCID to employer and public liability insurance. It is considered that the second half of 2019 is the most appropriate time to expect the Central Bank to have completed this task.

Notification of policyholders of claims made against them: the CIWG agrees that insurance companies ought to notify policyholders of claims made before settlement, the amount a claim was settled for, and the reasons why the claim was settled. Accordingly, this exact issue forms the basis of Recommendation 10 in the Report on the Cost of Employer and Public Liability Insurance. In addition, a similar recommendation in respect of motor insurance policyholders has been included in the Report on the Cost of Motor Insurance. Having been unable to reach agreement with Insurance Ireland on a new set of guidelines based on those drawn up by IBEC and the Irish Insurance Federation in 2004, my Department is currently considering the merits of addressing this issue through primary legislation, specifically by an amendment to a Private Members’ Bill on Consumer Insurance Contracts.

Regarding the Book of Quantum, the Fianna Fáil motion of 13 March called for the immediate commencement of the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (Amendment) Act 2019 in order to require PIAB to update the Book of Quantum at least every three years. I understand from the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation that it is intended the Act will take effect from 3 April 2019. However, it should be borne in mind that the Book merely reflects the prevailing levels of compensation for various types of injury based upon what has actually been paid out in the Courts, by the State Claims Agency, or awarded by PIAB. Currently, therefore, the only way that the award levels in the Book can be lowered is if there is first a decrease in the actual level of awards paid out. In this regard, the Personal Injuries Commission (PIC) has proposed that this reduction be achieved by the Judicial Council compiling a recalibrated set of guidelines for various types of personal injury, which would in effect replace the Book of Quantum. Minister of State Michael D’Arcy has made it clear that bringing the levels of damages awarded in this country more in line with those awarded in other jurisdictions is his primary objective, and has been exploring a number of options in attempting to reach this target. In this regard, Minister of State D’Arcy has engaged with his colleague, the Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan, and he has been informed that the Judicial Council Bill is to be prioritised with a view to having this legislation in place as soon as possible to allow for the establishment of the Judicial Council.

Garda Insurance Fraud Unit: the CIWG’s latest Progress Update confirms that the Garda Commissioner has undertaken to further consider the establishment of an insurance fraud investigation unit within the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB). In response to the original proposal to explore the possibility that a specific unit be set up within An Garda Síochána using funding from the insurance industry, the Commissioner indicated his preference that, in principle, An Garda Síochána should not be funded by any source other than the Exchequer for the purposes of tackling insurance fraud. The Deputy will, of course, appreciate that it is the Garda Commissioner who is responsible for the allocation of resources within An Garda Síochána and neither I, nor Minister of State D’Arcy, nor the Minister for Justice and Equality has a role in such operational matters. Nevertheless, Minister D’Arcy remains committed to pursuing this matter, and is hopeful that there will be improved investigative capacity in place in this area shortly.

Brexit Preparations

Questions (226)

Michael McGrath

Question:

226. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance if the up-to-date statistics for the number of businesses that have applied for the key customs registration, the economic operators registration and identification number will be provided; the number of Irish businesses with such a registration now; the turnaround time for the Revenue Commissioners to process a registration application; the number of Irish businesses the Revenue Commissioners estimate will require such a registration in the course of their normal business after 29 March 2019 in the event of a disorderly Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13709/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I am advised by Revenue that there has been a significant increase in registrations for Economic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI) numbers year on year. Revenue have advised that acquiring an EORI number is the minimum requirement for businesses that wish to trade with, or through, the UK when they leave the EU on 29 March 2019.

The number of EORI registrations issued to businesses since 2017 is as follows:

Year

Number of EORI Registrations

2017

2,594

2018

2,976

2019 to date

4,300

The number of businesses that currently hold an EORI since the introduction of the requirement for EORI registration in 2009 is 43,875.

Once a business is registered with the Revenue Online Service (ROS) the turnaround registration for an EORI number is approximately 3 minutes.

In November 2018, Revenue identified approximately 84,000 businesses who according to Revenue records, traded with the UK in 2017. Within this group approximately 62,000 were not registered for an EORI number at that time. Revenue wrote to those businesses and advised them to register for an EORI number as soon as possible if they intended to trade with or through the UK post-Brexit.

Revenue continue to encourage businesses that have not yet applied for an EORI to do so as a matter of urgency.

Revenue Commissioners Data

Questions (227)

Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

227. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Finance the volume and value of seizures of smuggled solid fuel to date in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13752/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I am advised by Revenue that there have been no seizures of smuggled solid fuel to date in 2019. I am assuming that the Deputy, when referring to solid fuel smuggling, is enquiring about the movement of solid fuel into the State from Northern Ireland in the context of Solid Fuel Carbon Tax (SFCT). SFCT is an excise duty that applies to coal and peat when first supplied in the State for use as a fuel. Neither the movement of solid fuel into the State nor the physical presence of solid fuel in the State generate a liability to SFCT. Therefore, there is no smuggling offence, in terms of evasion of SFCT, attaching to solid fuel movements into the State from Northern Ireland.

Where a supplier makes a supply in the State of a quantity of solid fuel, the supply is subject to SFCT and the supplier is accountable for and must pay the tax to Revenue. Where an individual purchases solid fuel from a supplier in another Member State and brings it into the State a SFCT liability does not arise, provided the fuel is for their own private use and they accompany it into the State. If, however, such an individual supplies another person in the State with the fuel, they will have made a first supply and will be liable to account for and pay SFCT.

It is important to point out that European Union Single Market constraints preclude the use of any cross-border controls in relation to the movement of solid fuel into the State from other Member States. Therefore, Revenue has no authority to stop vehicles and physically inspect loads of solid fuel entering the State from Northern Ireland. Similarly, the transportation or possession of solid fuel that originated in Northern Ireland are not, in themselves, Revenue offences and Revenue's officers have no authority to challenge such transportation or possession.

SFCT is collected by Revenue on a self-assessment basis. Fuel suppliers must, on a bi-monthly basis, file a return for all first supplies of coal and peat made in the State during the period. They have one month following the end of each SFCT accounting period to file their return and pay the tax due. SFCT law is enforced by Revenue using the full range of compliance interventions and enforcement provisions for self-assessed taxes. This can include sheriff enforcement, civil proceedings through the courts or attachment of third parties. I am advised that to date, Revenue has undertaken actions to enforce approximately €640,000 of solid fuel carbon tax.

As I, and my predecessor, have pointed out before, because of the price differential with Northern Ireland, the collection by Revenue of SFCT is heavily reliant on the regulatory regime covering the marketing, sale, distribution and burning of solid fuels in the State. This regulatory regime is operated by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment and is enforced by local authorities. This regime, which imposes higher environmental standards on coal in the State than applies in Northern Ireland, enables local authorities to undertake enforcement action to prevent the sale or distribution of coal that does not meet our standards.

I am advised that Revenue and the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment are engaged in ongoing discussions on the scope for joint operations to support each organisation’s respective roles in ensuring compliance with SFCT law and environmental regulations relating to the marketing, sale, distribution and burning of solid fuels in the State.

Departmental Data

Questions (228)

Mattie McGrath

Question:

228. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the number of complaints submitted to his Department in 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019; the number of appeals made with respect to the outcome of such complaints; the number referred to the Office of the Ombudsman; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13781/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

In line with the Department's Customer Charter, available on the Department's website, a complaint is defined as "an expression of dissatisfaction concerning the provision of a service or services by the Department”.

The Department received two complaints for the period 2016 - 2019 outlined in the following table:

Division

Year of Complaint (2016/2017/2018)

Nature of Complaint (e.g. timelines for response, manner by which customer was dealt with etc)

Resolution

Was Complaint referred to Ombudsman

Corporate – Customer Service Manager

2016

Timeline of response

Written responses to requestor; engagement by Customer Service Manager and other relevant officials

No

Corporate – Customer Service Manager

2018

Timeline for response to Written Representation

Written responses to requestor; engagement by Customer Service Manager and other relevant officials

No

Mortgage Resolution Processes

Questions (229)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

229. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance his views on the policy of State-backed and other lenders adding the legal fees to the mortgage in arrears in legal cases; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13814/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I am aware from recent reports in the media of the alleged practice that the Deputy is referring to and have been in contact with the Central Bank of Ireland in relation to it. I have been advised by the Central Bank that they are aware of the reported practice that some lenders apply legal costs to the mortgage accounts of borrowers in arrears before the conclusion of legal proceedings. The Central Bank is examining this practice to determine if it is permissible under the Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears (CCMA), the Consumer Protection Code 2012, and other regulations.

In terms of existing provisions that are in place in the area of the imposition of charges or interest; provision 11 of the CCMA states that lenders are restricted from imposing charges and/or surcharge interest on arrears arising on a mortgage account in arrears, unless the borrower is not co-operating.

Separately, under Provision 29(2) of the European Union (Consumer Mortgage Credit Agreements) Regulations 2016, any charge that a creditor may impose on a consumer arising from the consumer’s default “shall be no greater than is necessary to compensate the creditor for the costs it has incurred as a result of the default.”

There are also requirements in the CCMA relating to the information which must be provided to borrowers about legal costs. These are as follows:

- Under Provision 14 of the CCMA, a lender must prepare and make available to borrowers an information booklet with details of its Mortgage Arrears Resolution Process (MARP), which must include with regard to legal proceedings, a statement that, irrespective of how the property is repossessed or disposed of, the borrower will remain liable for the outstanding debt, including any accrued interest, charges, legal, selling and other related costs, if this is the case.

- The borrower must also be reminded of the above information when three repayments have been missed (Provision 27), prior to being classified as not co-operating (Provision 28), where a lender is not willing to offer an alternative repayment arrangement due to concluding that the mortgage is unsustainable (Provision 45), and/or where the borrower is not willing to enter into an alternative repayment arrangement (Provision 47).

- Provision 27 of the CCMA also requires that where three mortgage repayments have been missed and remain outstanding, and an alternative repayment arrangement has not been put in place, the lender must notify the borrower of the potential for legal proceedings for repossession of the property where a borrower is not co-operating, together with an estimate of the costs to the borrower of such proceedings.

Also of relevance is that under Provision 14(1)(h) of the European Union (Consumer Mortgage Credit Agreements) Regulations 2016, the lender must make available to the borrower, on paper or another durable medium, “an indication of possible further costs, not included in the total cost of the credit to the consumer, to be paid in connection with a credit agreement.”

Revenue Commissioners

Questions (230)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

230. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the plans of the Revenue Commissioners to tackle the issue of lost revenue due to the operation of illegal gambling machines; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13821/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I am advised by Revenue that their current compliance campaign in this sector, which commenced in 2017, had at end February 2019 yielded €2.3 million in additional tax and penalties. I am also advised that a total of 293 gaming machines have been seized by Revenue for licensing non-compliance.

The Deputy may also wish to note that the Government has recently approved the proposals contained in the report of the Inter – Departmental Working Group on Future Licensing and Regulation of Gambling. The recommendations of the report include the establishment of a new Gambling Regulatory Authority and assigning responsibility to the authority for developing appropriate permit and licence fees and duties to be payable by licensed gambling operators. The report also notes that the permit and licence fees to be charged should ultimately have regard to the intention for future self – financing of the authority.

Revenue Commissioners Data

Questions (231)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

231. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the number of illegal gambling machines seized or otherwise put out of service in each of the past five years by county; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13822/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

Section 43 of the Finance Act 1975 provides that any gaming machine which is made available for play in a public place without a Gaming Machine Licence is liable to forfeiture and may be seized.

I am advised by Revenue that it started a compliance project in 2017 on the gaming and amusement sector, including compliance with licensing laws. The following table sets out the number of seizures of gaming machines under the provisions of Section 43, by county, in the years requested by the Deputy.

Gaming Machines Seized by County

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

(to date)

Totals

Donegal

0

82

0

82

Dublin

0

58

110

168

Kildare/Louth /Wexford*

0

18

25

43

Totals

0

158

135

293

*Due to the smaller number of cases in some counties, data has been aggregated to ensure taxpayer confidentiality.