Foreign Conflicts

Questions (99)

Seán Crowe

Question:

99. Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if his attention has been drawn to the attempts of the President of the National Assembly of Venezuela, Mr. Juan Guaidó, to carry out an alleged military coup in Venezuela (details supplied); if he will condemn this alleged coup attempt; and if he will revise his decision to declare Mr. Juan Guaidó as the interim President of Venezuela. [20123/19]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

Reports of violence in Caracas in recent days are deeply concerning and serve to highlight the urgency of finding a negotiated solution to the already grave humanitarian, social and political crisis in the country. Officials in my Department have been monitoring the situation closely and I would like to take this opportunity to strongly appeal to all sides to show restraint and avoid the use of force.

Ireland is engaging on this issue with our EU partners at the highest levels. I fully support the statement issued by EU High Representative Federica Mogherini on 30 April in which the European Union rejects any form of violence and calls for the utmost restraint to avoid the loss of lives and an escalation of tensions.

Ireland, together with our EU partners, stands firmly with the Venezuelan people and their legitimate democratic aspirations. I continue to strongly believe that there can only be a political and democratic solution to the multiple crises facing the country.

We will continue to support the reinstatement of democracy and rule of law, through free and fair elections, in accordance with the Venezuelan Constitution. I fully endorse the efforts of the EU's International Contact Group to bring both sides together to reach a peaceful and democratic solution. The ICG will next meet at Ministerial level on 6 and 7 May in Costa Rica and I look forward to receiving a report of this meeting.

I also fully support the ICG's efforts to enable the urgent delivery of humanitarian aid to Venezuela in line with humanitarian principles. I am deeply concerned by the humanitarian situation in the country, where needs are acute. The EU has provided €117 million in assistance to Venezuela since 2018, of which Ireland is fully supportive.

It is important to recall that the Presidential elections which saw Nicolás Maduro re-elected in May last year lacked legitimacy. On 6 February, Ireland joined the majority of other EU MS in acknowledging and supporting Mr. Guaidó, President of the democratically elected National Assembly, as President ad interim of Venezuela, in order for him to call for free, fair and democratic presidential elections. This remains the position of 24 EU Member States, including Ireland.

Ireland is committed to bringing about a peaceful solution that gives the Venezuelan people the opportunity to decide their own future through democratic elections, in line with international standards. I will continue to engage closely with my EU colleagues on this important issue, which is due to be discussed at the forthcoming Foreign Affairs Council meeting in Brussels on 13 May.

Economic Sanctions

Questions (100)

Seán Crowe

Question:

100. Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the Government of the United States of America is intensifying its alleged illegal blockade of Cuba and that a person (details supplied) confirmed that the American Government would fully implement Title III of the Helms-Burton Act allowing Cuban Americans to sue foreign companies; and if he will condemn the continued alleged illegal blockade of Cuba and intensification of the blockade. [20125/19]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

The 1996 Helms Burton Act is a US federal law which reinforces the US's long standing economic embargo against Cuba.

Since 1996, European persons or entities have remained potentially affected by the extraterritorial elements in Titles III and IV of the Act, but a 1998 Memorandum of Understanding between the EU and US has waived Title III every six months and, as a result, European persons and entities have been protected from the relevant provisions of the Act.

On 16 January 2019, the US State Department announced that the next waiver, effective from 1 February 2019, would have a duration of 45 days only, the first time since the Act’s promulgation that the US has not waived Title III for six months. In late April, the US Administration announced that it would suspend these waivers, potentially exposing EU persons and entities to extraterritorial elements of the Act.

Developments over January to April were noted and followed closely by Ireland and our EU partners. Ireland’s reaction to the suspension of waivers, announced in late April, remains in lock-step with that of our EU partners. We also echo the statement made on 2 May by the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, which stated that "The EU considers the extra-territorial application of unilateral restrictive measures to be contrary to international law and will draw on all appropriate measures to address the effects of the Helms-Burton Act, including in relation to its WTO rights and through the use of the EU Blocking Statute."

This issue has also been raised in contacts between officials from my Department and the Ambassador of Cuba to Ireland. Officials have reiterated Ireland’s longstanding position on the US embargo against Cuba, a position I have also expressed publicly on a number of occasions. Ireland believes that the embargo serves no constructive purpose and that its lifting would facilitate an opening of the island’s economy to the benefit of its people. In addition, we and our EU partners are not persuaded that the continued embargo is contributing in a positive way to the democratic transition in Cuba.

Together with our EU partners, Ireland has firmly and continuously opposed extraterritorial measures that seek to extend the US embargo against Cuba to third countries as contrary to commonly accepted rules of international trade. Our position in this regard was set out most recently at the UN General Assembly on 1 November last year in the context of the resolution on the necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the US against Cuba.

We will continue to liaise closely with our EU partners on this issue and my officials will continue to monitor the issue closely, particularly for any implications for Irish citizens or entities.

Tax Exemptions

Questions (101)

Tom Neville

Question:

101. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Finance if he will address a matter (details supplied) regarding the artist tax exemption; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18390/19]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

S. 195 of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 (TCA 1997) empowers the Revenue Commissioners to make a determination that certain artistic works are original and creative works generally recognised as having cultural or artistic merit.

The scheme provides that the Revenue Commissioners can make determinations in respect of artistic works in the following categories only:

1. a book or other writing;

2. a play;

3. a musical composition;

4. a painting or other like picture;

5. a sculpture.

The Arts Council and the then Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht drew up guidelines, as provided for in the section, for determining whether a work, within the specified categories, is an original and creative work and whether it has, or is generally recognised as having, cultural or artistic merit.

Where a determination is made by the Revenue Commissioners in respect of a work, profits or gains arising from that work, up to a maximum of €50,000 per annum, are exempt from income tax.

While the scheme is directed at the artistic community only certain categories of income can qualify for relief. Where income is derived from an artistic performance e.g. acting, singing or dancing that income does not qualify for relief.

Any income derived from the publication, production or sale of the artistic work is eligible for the relief. In calculating the profits or gains from a work, costs or expenses, including for example the cost of materials, which were incurred by the artist, wholly and exclusively in the creation of the work, are deductible from the gross income received by the artist for the work.

VAT Exemptions

Questions (102)

Catherine Martin

Question:

102. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Finance if there are plans to remove VAT from automated external defibrillator devices; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18436/19]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

The Programme for Partnership Government recognises the difficulties faced by community groups in relation to VAT rates on certain products such as defibrillators. This is an EU competency and the Government has committed to work with our EU counterparts in seeking to reform this area.

Defibrillators, other than implantable defibrillators, are liable to VAT at the standard rate, which in Ireland is 23%. Parts or accessories are also liable to VAT at the standard rate. There is no provision under existing VAT law that would make it possible to apply a reduced rate or zero rate to the supply of such products. Under the EU VAT Directive, Member States may retain the zero rate on goods and services which were in place on 1 January 1991, but cannot extend the zero rate to new goods and services. As such a zero rate cannot be applied to defibrillators. Any changes to VAT rates outside of what is currently permitted by the EU VAT Directive must be negotiated at EU technical working groups and ultimately agreed by the EU Council of Finance Ministers.

The EU Commission published a proposal on the reform of VAT rates in January 2018 which would allow Member States more flexibility in how they apply VAT rates. In negotiations leading up to this proposal Ireland specifically recommended to the Commission to include defibrillators and other emergency-medical and rescue equipment. However, detailed discussions have yet to take place on the proposal.

In advance of any change that might be made at EU level to the VAT rating of defibrillators and other products that pose difficulty for community groups, I am happy to draw your attention to the Budget 2018 announcement of a VAT compensation refund scheme, which compensates charities for the VAT they occur on their inputs, in recognition of the work undertaken by the charities sector. The scheme takes effect from 1 January 2018 but is paid one year in arrears and it is now open for charities to make a claim in 2019 for VAT costs arising in 2018. Charities will be entitled to a proportion of VAT based on the level of non-public funding they receive. A capped fund of €5 million will be available to the scheme in 2019.

The Government is very committed to supporting community groups and we will continue to press for a reduction in the VAT rate on defibrillators at EU level. In the meantime, Irish VAT law must comply with the current VAT Directive and therefore defibrillators remain liable to VAT at the standard rate, currently 23%.

Brexit Preparations

Questions (103)

Anne Rabbitte

Question:

103. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Finance the measures undertaken to counteract the potential impact of reduced economic activity as projected by the ESRI publication, Ireland and Brexit: modelling the impact of deal and no-deal scenarios; the level of engagement he has had with officials in agencies under his remit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18787/19]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

In March, my Department and the ESRI published a comprehensive assessment of the potential macroeconomic impact of Brexit on the Irish economy.

This report shows that compared to a no Brexit baseline, the level of GDP in Ireland, ten years after Brexit, would be around 2.6 per cent lower in a Deal scenario and 5.0 per cent lower in a Disorderly No-Deal scenario. This assessment shows that all Brexit scenarios will imply a slower pace of growth with negative consequences throughout the economy and that the harder the Brexit the more negative the outcome.

The lower growth outlook would have implications for the labour market and government finances. The negative impacts will be most keenly felt in those sectors with strong export ties to the UK market with their suppliers. The impact will be particularly noticeable in the regions.

The Government has already taken significant action to get Ireland Brexit ready. Since the UK referendum, all of our national Budgets have been framed to prepare for the challenge of Brexit with dedicated measures announced in Budgets 2017, 2018 and 2019.

My focus, as Minister for Finance, is to protect our economic and financial interests, and to minimise the disruption to the Irish economy to the greatest extent possible. We have worked hard to rebalance our economy from where it was twelve years ago, before the global financial crisis. Growth and resilience in our economy today is evenly spread across a range of sectors, equipping us to better withstand a sudden external shock.

At the same time, we have prioritised building up the resilience of the economy and the public finances, so that we have the capacity to deal with an adverse economic shock. We have set aside €1.5 billion in a Rainy Day Fund. We are supporting our companies to prepare for Brexit, to diversify their markets and supply chains, to develop new skills and to explore new opportunities.

The Government will continue to work to strengthen the resilience of the economy, to maximise opportunities and to prepare our economy for the challenges of Brexit, including through the Ireland Connected Trade and Investment Strategy, the 10-year National Development Plan and Future Jobs Ireland 2019.

The Government welcomed the decision of the recent European Council to extend the Article 50 process until 31 October 2019. The extension includes giving the UK flexibility to leave before that date should the Withdrawal Agreement be ratified.

The Government remains focused on the ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement as the best way to ensure an orderly withdrawal of the UK from the EU and to fully protect the Good Friday Agreement. The decision of the European Council provides the UK with more time to ensure an orderly withdrawal. However, while it means that the immediate risk of a no deal Brexit has receded, it has not been fully averted. The preparations that have been taking place since before the Brexit referendum are therefore continuing and my Department continues to work within the whole-of-Government approach and to coordinate closely with its agencies in developing and implementing plans and measures to protect our economy.

In particular, my Department is working closely with the Central Bank of Ireland, the National Treasury Management Agency and the Office of the Revenue Commissioners.

The Central Bank has statutory responsibility for financial stability and has been focused on Brexit since before the UK referendum. It is working closely with financial services firms to ensure appropriate contingency planning arrangements, and that they are adequately prepared to cope with the possible effects of Brexit, with as little disruption for consumers as possible. In relation to the funding of the State, the NTMA’s strategy continues to take account of the market dislocation risks posed by Brexit and the Exchequer’s funding position is strong. Within the Revenue Commissioners, there is a very significant programme of work that has been ongoing in terms of ICT, staffing and engagement across the country with the business community with the objective of minimising disruption to trade and supporting business to be as prepared as possible.

I am satisfied that the Department and its relevant agencies are continuing to work to ensure that they are as prepared as possible to limit the inevitable disruption to the economy and to citizens post Brexit.

Pension Levy

Questions (104)

Robert Troy

Question:

104. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Finance if he will consider increasing the rate at which pension recipients must pay tax on a pension; and his views on the fact that this rate has not been increased in line with inflation. [18916/19]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

Following clarification received from the Deputy’s office, I understand that the question relates to the issue of increasing the age exemption limits.

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. Where an individual exceeds the exemption limit, he or she is liable to tax based on the normal system of rate bands and tax credits, subject to marginal relief where relevant.

These other supports for the over 65s may apply depending on the personal circumstances of the individual. They include the Age Tax Credit which is available to all individuals aged 65 or over who do not qualify for an exemption from income tax. This credit is currently set at €245 for single individuals or €490 for a married couple or civil partners.

Reduced rates of Universal Social Charge apply for those aged over 70 with total annual income of less than €60,000. Furthermore, there is no charge to PRSI (Pay Related Social Insurance) for those aged over 66.

The State Contributory Pension and the State Non-Contributory Pension are not chargeable to Universal Social Charge (USC) or Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI).

The purpose behind the age exemption limits is to strike the appropriate balance between ensuring that those who are in receipt of income pay some tax and contribute to the Exchequer, against the need to safeguard against poverty in retirement.

I am satisfied that the current limits are appropriate and represent the appropriate use of limited resources, taking account of the various other State supports for the over 65s. In 2016, this measure benefitted 74,400 taxpayer units and I understand that there is no evidence to indicate that the current exemption limits are causing any undue financial hardships for those over 65.

However, I am conscious of the significant contribution made by individuals generally to the rebalancing of the public finances, and of the challenges that individuals continue to face notwithstanding the improving economic conditions.

It is expected that continued progress in this area will also be made in the context of limited resources available in Budget 2020 balanced against all of the competing demands.

Help-To-Buy Scheme Data

Questions (105)

Maurice Quinlivan

Question:

105. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Finance the number of applications received to date for the first-time buyers help-to-buy scheme in Limerick city; the number accepted and refused, respectively; the amount provided under the scheme in Limerick city; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18939/19]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

I am advised by Revenue that the addresses of purchased properties are only recorded at the claim (i.e. final) stage of the Help to Buy (HTB) process, rather than the initial application stage. This is because not every property purchase where a HTB application is received is subsequently completed, for example where applicants decide not to proceed with the acquisition. Therefore, it is not possible to provide the total number of applications relating to properties in Limerick.

The total number reaching claim stage in Limerick (county and city) to April 2019 is 370, of which 365 have been approved. The cost to the Exchequer to date in respect of these claims is approximately €4.7m. It is not possible to isolate a figure for Limerick City only.

A monthly report on the HTB scheme, which may be of interest to the Deputy, can be found on Revenue’s website at www.revenue.ie/en/corporate/information-about-revenue/statistics/tax-expenditures/htb/htb-monthly.aspx.

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

Questions (106)

Mattie McGrath

Question:

106. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the contributions Ireland has made to projects supported by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in each of the years 2011 to 2018 and to date in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19090/19]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

Ireland is a shareholder at the Bank and currently has a Director who attends the Bank’s Board meetings. Ireland’s paid-in shareholding at the Bank is €18.78 million with €71.26 million callable capital for a total subscribed capital of €90.04 million which approximates 0.3% of total EBRD shares.

However, the Irish Government does not directly co-finance or contribute directly to the individual projects supported by the EBRD.

Please find a link to the EBRD website outlining Ireland’s cooperation with the EBRD - www.ebrd.com/who-we-are/structure-and-management/shareholders/ireland.html.

Customs and Excise Controls

Questions (107)

Stephen Donnelly

Question:

107. Deputy Stephen Donnelly asked the Minister for Finance if CBD with THC levels lower than 0.2%, the European legal limit, is being stopped at the customs border from Europe. [19634/19]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

I am advised by Revenue that Tetrahydrocannabinol (which is commonly referred to as THC) is a derivative of Cannabinol, which is a controlled drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1977 and the regulations and orders made thereunder.

Cannabidiol (which is commonly referred to as CBD) is not a controlled drug unless it contains trace elements of THC. The legislation does not provide for any allowable trace element of THC and therefore any trace of THC in a CBD product makes it a controlled drug under the legislation.

Accordingly, it is Revenue policy to treat CBD products that contain any trace elements of THC as controlled drugs under the Misuse of Drugs Acts 1977 and thus liable to detention upon their importation, and ultimately seizure, pursuant to sections 33 and 34 respectively of the Customs Act 2015.

Tax Code

Questions (108)

Shane Cassells

Question:

108. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Finance if flat rate expenses will be maintained for workers in the mining industry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18405/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I am advised by Revenue that they operate the Flat Rate Expenses (FRE) regime on a concessionary basis, where both a specific commonality of expenditure exists across an employment category and the statutory requirement for tax deduction set out in section 114 Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 (TCA) is satisfied. To qualify for a deduction under that section, an expense must be wholly, exclusively and necessarily incurred in the performance of the duties of the office or employment. FRE can only be allowed where it meets the criteria for deduction.

Following discussions with the representative body for the employees in question, Revenue agreed an FRE deduction for miners of €120 per annum. Revenue’s ongoing general review of the FRE regime involves a review of all FRE categories currently in place. In the interest of fairness to all sectors and employees currently benefitting from the regime, Revenue decided that the effective date for implementation of any changes to FRE deductions would be deferred until 1 January 2020. Revenue intends to have its review fully completed by that date. This approach will ensure that any changes to the FRE regime do not impact on any specific group earlier than the rest.

Outside of the FRE regime, employees retain their statutory right to claim a deduction under section 114 TCA for any expenses incurred wholly, exclusively and necessarily in the performance of the duties of their employment, to the extent which the expenses are not reimbursed from any source.

VAT Rate Increases

Questions (109)

Peter Burke

Question:

109. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Finance if clarification will be provided regarding his comments made in Dáil Éireann on 4 November 2018 (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18410/19]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

The background to the issue is that VAT legislation does not apply the zero rate of VAT to food supplements but shortly after the introduction of VAT the Revenue Commissioners applied a concessionary zero rating to certain vitamin, mineral and fish oil food supplement products. As the market developed this treatment resulted in the zero rating by the Revenue Commissioners of further similar products. However, it had become increasingly difficult to maintain an effective distinction between food supplements that could benefit from the zero rate and those that were standard rated.

After undertaking a comprehensive review of the VAT treatment of food supplements, including commissioning an expert report on the definition of food for the purposes of the VAT Consolidation Act, the Revenue Commissioners concluded that the status quo was no longer sustainable and issued new guidance in December 2018 which removed the concessionary zero rating of various food supplement products with effect from 1 March 2019.

Following representation from Deputies and from the industry I wrote to the Revenue Commissioners outlining my plans to examine the policy and legislative options for the taxation of food supplement products in the context of Finance Bill 2019. The Revenue Commissioners responded by delaying the withdrawal of its concessionary zero rating of the food supplement products concerned until 1 November 2019. This will allow time for the enactment of any legislative changes in the context of Budget 2020.

I committed to putting in place a consultation process to help me identify the policy options in relation to VAT on food supplements and will publish the conclusions in the Tax Strategy Group papers later this year. Input is being sought from a wide range of interested parties, including from health and nutrition experts, to ensure that any legislative changes I bring forward are evidence based, and I will consult with my colleague the Minister for Health in this regard.

The public consultation began on 18 April 2019 and will end 24 May 2019, and can be found here:

www.gov.ie/en/consultation/019b82-consultation-on-the-vat-treatment-of-food-supplement-products/

Property Tax Collection

Questions (110)

Seán Fleming

Question:

110. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Finance the estimated amount payable by a person who has never paid the local property tax since its introduction on the basis that the property is at the lowest point in terms of property valuation and the local authority in which the person resides has not made adjustments to the rate; the estimated amount of local property tax payable together with interest or surcharges; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18455/19]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

I am advised by Revenue that the amount of Local Property Tax (LPT) due on a property valued between €1 and €100,000 (lowest Band), situated in a Local Authority that has not made any Local Adjustment Factor rate changes, would be €495 for the cumulative period 2013 to 2018 (€45 for 2013 and €90 per annum for 2014 through 2018). The amount of interest due would be €140 for all years up to 31 December 2018.

Persons liable for LPT who are also liable for Income Tax (IT), Corporation Tax (CT) or Capital Gains Tax (CGT) may incur an LPT generated surcharge. The LPT surcharge is 10% of the IT, CT, or CGT liability. Revenue applies the LPT surcharge if there are outstanding LPT returns and/or payment arrangements at the date of filing the IT, CT or CGT return. Once outstanding LPT returns are filed and payment arrangements are in place, the amount of the surcharge is compared to the LPT liabilities. Where this exceeds the LPT charge, it is reduced to the amount of the LPT liabilities outstanding. The surcharge is payable in addition to the actual LPT liability and interest that may arise for late payment.

Property Tax Rate

Questions (111)

Robert Troy

Question:

111. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Finance the expected increase in local property tax for each of the rate bands following reviews; and when the changes will take effect. [18456/19]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

The review I initiated of the Local property Tax (LPT) has been completed by the Department of Finance in conjunction with the Departments of the Taoiseach, Public Expenditure & Reform and Housing, Planning & Local Government and the Revenue Commissioners. In accordance with its terms of reference, the review focused on the impact of house price movements on LPT liabilities under a series of scenarios involving different rate and tax band structures, with each having different possible increases.

However, against a background of significant but geographically uneven increases in residential property price levels I believe it is necessary to engage in further consultation to identify a scenario that would deliver on the condition I set that there should be relative stability for all taxpayers in their LPT liabilities and that any increases should be modest, affordable and fair.

Having considered the findings of the review report, I decided to defer the valuation date from 1st November 2019 to 1st November 2020. This will give sufficient time for the Budgetary Oversight Committee to consider the review report in the context of the Committee’s recommendations in its report on LPT of 21 March 2018. Importantly, as a result of my decision, the LPT bills of those liable for the tax will not be increasing in 2020.

I look forward to engaging constructively with the Committee.

Stamp Duty

Questions (112)

Noel Grealish

Question:

112. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Finance if a farmer who qualifies for consanguinity relief has to pay 6% stamp duty and claim the relief back; if he or she can pay 1% when the farm transfer is taking place; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18521/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I am advised by Revenue that consanguinity relief applies to transfers of farmland between certain blood relatives subject to certain conditions. If the relief is claimed when filing the stamp duty return 1% of the value of the land transferred is payable with the return instead of the standard 6% rate.

Where the relief is not claimed at the time of filing the return and 6% stamp duty is paid, the farmer may apply for a refund of the difference provided the claim is made within four years of the date the transfer is stamped by Revenue. Details of how to file a stamp duty return, pay stamp duty and claim a refund are available at www.revenue.ie in the ‘Property’ section of the website.

VAT Rate Application

Questions (113)

John Brassil

Question:

113. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Finance if provisions will be considered to help maintain the viability of small rural businesses, in particular rural pubs, in the form of an increase of the VAT threshold from €75,000 to €150,000; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18575/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

VAT is governed by the EU VAT Directive, with which Irish VAT law must comply. The thresholds for Ireland date from accession into the EU and the Directive only provides for the raising of those thresholds by Member States to maintain their value in real terms. That is, they may only be increased in line with inflation. The Irish VAT thresholds were increased to their current values on 1 May 2008.

While the registration thresholds are designed to reduce the administrative burden on businesses and Revenue, registration thresholds are not intended as a means of keeping small businesses permanently outside the VAT system. Therefore, in setting registration threshold levels, the objective is to strike an appropriate balance between the desirability of reducing the administrative burden on small businesses and the need to avoid undermining tax compliance or causing competitive distortions relative to registered firms.

Corporation Tax

Questions (114)

Michael McGrath

Question:

114. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the amount of corporation tax receipts forecast at the beginning of each of the years 2010 to 2018 to be collected during each year; the amount actually collected for each year; the difference between the figures in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18642/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

The information the Deputy requests is set out in the table below. I would like to reiterate the inherent volatility and unpredictability of Irish corporation tax revenues which is partly due to the concentration of receipts among a small number of firms. This feature of our corporation tax base is widely recognised as creating a large exposure of revenue to firm- and sector-specific developments. This represents a vulnerability that we must be conscious of and, accordingly, increases the premium attached to policy caution.

Year

Forecast (€ millions)

Outturn (€ millions)

Difference (€ millions)

2010

3,160

3,924

764

2011

4,020

3,520

-500

2012

3,770

4,216

446

2013

4,135

4,270

135

2014

4,380

4,614

234

2015

4,575

6,872

2,297

2016

6,615

7,351

736

2017

7,715

8,201

486

2018

8,504

10,385

1,881

Finally, a Tax Forecasting Methodology Review Group has been established to assess my Department’s current tax forecasting processes, including Corporation Tax. The group includes representation from my Department, the Revenue Commissioners and the Central Bank. The group’s report will be published by end-year.

Tax Data

Questions (115, 116, 147, 154, 155)

David Cullinane

Question:

115. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Finance the number of registered companies; the number that were liable for corporation tax; the number that paid; the amount each paid, respectively; and the number that did not pay in each of the years 2000 to 2015, by payment bands (details supplied) in tabular form. [18653/19]

View answer

David Cullinane

Question:

116. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Finance the income, gains and taxable income of companies that filed a return on corporation tax in each of the years 2000 to 2018, by range of tax liability band (details supplied) in tabular form. [18654/19]

View answer

Pearse Doherty

Question:

147. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the effective corporate tax and capital gains tax rates for private limited and public limited companies in each of the years 2016 to 2018. [19320/19]

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Maurice Quinlivan

Question:

154. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Finance the percentage of corporation tax receipts that was paid by foreign multinationals in 2016, 2017 and 2018, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19343/19]

View answer

Maurice Quinlivan

Question:

155. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Finance the share of net corporation tax receipts provided by the top ten tax paying companies in 2017 and 2018, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19344/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 115, 116, 147, 154 and 155 together.

I am advised by Revenue that the available information in respect of tax liability, net trading income, net chargeable gains and taxable income of companies (all by range of net trading income) is available at link: www.revenue.ie/en/corporate/information-about-revenue/statistics/income-distributions/it-ct-distributions.aspx.

I am further advised that each year Revenue publishes detailed research papers on Corporation Tax payments and returns, which include the receipts paid by foreign owned multinationals, the share of receipts from the top ten tax paying companies and the effective rate of tax of companies. Reports for the years 2016 and 2017 are available at link: www.revenue.ie/en/corporate/information-about-revenue/research/research-reports/corporation-tax-and-international.aspx.

In particular, Section 2.4 of the most recent report (at link: www.revenue.ie/en/corporate/documents/research/ct-analysis-2018.pdf) provides information on the amounts of Corporation Tax paid by companies broken down into liability ranges.

Revenue has advised me that analysis of payments in 2018 is being finalised and will be published shortly and Revenue will provide a link to that report directly to the Deputies.

Revenue has also confirmed that the effective rate of Corporation Tax is not separately available for private limited and public limited companies. As such companies are taxable in the same manner, Revenue statistical records to do not distinguish between them.

Capital Gains Tax is charged at the standard rate on relevant chargeable gains and an effective rate is not calculated. For corporation tax purposes, chargeable gains are computed in accordance with capital gains tax principles. However, for the purpose of including chargeable gains in a company’s corporation tax computation, the chargeable gains are first reduced by any allowable losses, and the net gains are then recalculated to give an amount which is charged at the standard corporation tax rate of 12.5%. This charge produces the same tax result as if the net gains were charged at the appropriate capital gains tax rate of 33%.

VAT Rebates

Questions (117, 141, 182)

Darragh O'Brien

Question:

117. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Finance the number of applications that have been received to date in 2019 in respect of the VAT compensation scheme for charities, which he announced in budget 2018; the steps he is taking to promote the scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18679/19]

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Seán Fleming

Question:

141. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Finance the number of applications received to date under the VAT compensation scheme for charities; the expected amount to be refunded in 2019 in respect of qualifying charities; the procedures and the form required to make a claim under this scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19229/19]

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Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

182. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Finance the status of the implementation of the VAT compensation refund scheme; the number of recipients; the amount of VAT refunded to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19733/19]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 117, 141 and 182 together.

The VAT Compensation Scheme for Charities was introduced in Budget 2018 to reduce the tax burden on Charities and partially compensate them for the VAT incurred in delivering on their charitable purpose. Under the Scheme, Charities are entitled to claim a refund of a proportion of their VAT costs based on their level of non-public funding. The Scheme applies to VAT incurred on or after 1 January 2018 and will be paid one year in arrears. For example, in 2019, Charities can reclaim some element of the VAT paid in 2018, but VAT paid in prior years cannot be claimed.

A total annual capped fund of €5m is available for payment under the Scheme, which will be subject to review after three years. Where the total amount of eligible claims from all Charities in a year exceeds the capped amount, claims will be paid on a pro-rata basis. Detailed information regarding the VAT Compensation Scheme for Charities is available on the Revenue Commissioners website at the following link:

www.revenue.ie/en/tax-professionals/tdm/value-added-tax/part12-refunds-and-repayments-of-tax/vat-compensation-scheme/vat-compensation-scheme-guidelines.pdf

Since 1 January 2019, 101 claims have been received by Revenue from Charities amounting to €1.5m. The closing date for submissions in respect of 2018 is 30 June 2019. Once the closing date has passed, Revenue will review the claims received and issue refunds later in the year in accordance with the rules of the Scheme. Charities wishing to submit a claim in respect of 2018 can do so through the Revenue Online Service (ROS) at any stage between 1 January 2019 and 30 June 2019. The minimum claim amount that can be submitted is €500. A ‘linked’ agent may also make the claim on ROS on behalf of the Charity.

Regarding the overall communications strategy for the Scheme, I am aware that Revenue has, in addition to publishing the detailed information on its website, engaged directly with Charities to explain the operational administration and issued reminder notifications in January 2019 advising of its commencement. Revenue also issued an e-Brief to tax practitioners in December 2018 setting out the details of the Scheme and how it will operate and has worked with the Charities representative bodies to prepare a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). Furthermore, Revenue plans to publish a further notification in early May reminding Charities of the 30 June 2019 closing date.

Teachers' Remuneration

Questions (118)

Thomas Pringle

Question:

118. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Finance when the Revenue Commissioners will amend and deliver the payslip of a person (details supplied); if his attention has been drawn to delays in the processing of payslips for substitute teachers; the reason for the delay; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18685/19]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

I am advised by Revenue that it has no role to play in providing or amending payslips and that responsibility in this regard rests with employers.

Revenue has also confirmed that it has already been in direct contact with the person in question and provided them with the information that they require.

While there were some delays in processing substitute teachers' pay earlier this year, I am not aware of any current difficulties and it is my understanding that payslips are being provided on a timely basis.

Bank Debt Restructuring

Questions (119)

Noel Rock

Question:

119. Deputy Noel Rock asked the Minister for Finance further to Parliamentary Question No. 109 of 2 April 2019, the number of persons a bank (details supplied) has petitioned personal bankruptcy proceedings in the High Court since 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18827/19]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

I wish to advise the Deputy that my department does not hold the information that is being sought. Officials from my department contacted AIB and it provided the following response:

"AIB does not specifically record the information as sought however can advise that the Bank has rarely commenced Bankruptcy summonses in the past six years."

Consultancy Contracts Data

Questions (120)

Jonathan O'Brien

Question:

120. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Finance the amount of money spent in fees across all Departments to a company (details supplied) in each of the years 2011 to 2018. [18836/19]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

My Department engaged the company on one occasion between 2011 and 2018.

The gross cost of this engagement was €73,031.25.

The purpose of the engagement was 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.

Consultancy Contracts Data

Questions (121)

Jonathan O'Brien

Question:

121. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Finance the amount of money spent in fees by across all Departments to a firm (details supplied) in each of the years 2011 to 2018. [18837/19]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

My Department engaged the company on two occasions in between 2011 and 2018. The total cost of these engagements was €119,137.80. A breakdown is provided in the table below:

2018

Advice on establishment of Home Building Finance Ireland (HBFI)

49,200.00

2018

Advice on accounting, strategic and restructuring matters arising from the wind down of the Credit Union Restructuring Board (ReBo)

69,937.80

The Deputy might note that details of my Department's spending on legal and consultancy fees are regularly published on my Department's website.

Consultancy Contracts Data

Questions (122)

Jonathan O'Brien

Question:

122. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Finance the amount of money spent in fees across all Departments to a company (details supplied) in each of the years 2011 to 2018. [18838/19]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

My Department engaged the company on one occasion between 2011 and 2018.

The gross cost of this engagement was €6,150.

The purpose of the engagement was to prepare a research paper entitled ‘The historical development and international context of the Irish corporate tax system’.

The Deputy might note that details of my Department's spending on legal and consultancy fees are regularly published on my Department's website.

Consultancy Contracts Data

Questions (123)

Jonathan O'Brien

Question:

123. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Finance the amount of money spent in fees across all Departments to a company (details supplied) in each of the years 2011 to 2018. [18839/19]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

My Department engaged the company on three occasions between 2011 and 2018. Details of the fees paid are in the table below:

2012

External Review of the Compilation of General Government Statistics

61,552.77

2013

Professional Services for the development of the Deloitte Ireland EU Presidency App

30,750.00

2013

Professional Services in relation to a forensic acquisition and high level review of computer activity

4,305.00

In addition, a total of €247,838.66 was paid to the company between 2011 and 2016 for Oracle JDEdwards maintenance and technical support.

The Deputy might note that details of my Department's spending on legal and consultancy fees are regularly published on my Department's website.