Excise Duties Yield

Questions (144)

Martin Heydon

Question:

144. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Finance the fiscal monitor for excise duty receipts for April 2019, by category in tabular form; the increase or decrease of each category from April 2018 to April 2019, inclusive, in respect of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23255/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

A breakdown by category of Excise Exchequer Receipts, as shown in the fiscal monitor, is not available. However, I am advised by Revenue that the following table sets out the net duty receipts in respect of commodities liable to Excise for the months of April 2018 and April 2019, together with the increase or decrease.

-

April

April

Change

-

2018

2019

-

€m

€m

€m

Beer

41.76

35.72

-6.04

Spirits

33.86

28.20

-5.66

Wine

30.51

25.20

-5.31

Cider

4.68

4.75

0.07

Tobacco

4.68

94.62

89.94

Light Oils

47.76

47.50

-0.26

Other Oils

127.37

133.71

6.34

Carbon

44.87

36.81

-8.06

VRT

74.83

80.90

6.07

Betting

11.73

20.52

8.79

Licences

1.07

0.42

-0.65

Sugar Tax

-

2.51

-

Total

423.12

510.86

87.74

Excise Duties Yield

Questions (145)

Kevin O'Keeffe

Question:

145. Deputy Kevin O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Finance the amount of excise duty received on alcohol in the first quarter of 2018 and 2019, respectively. [23306/19]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

I am advised by Revenue that the amounts of Excise Duty received on Beer, Spirits, Wine and Cider in the first quarters of 2019 and 2018 are published on the Revenue website at the following link:

https://www.revenue.ie/en/corporate/information-about-revenue/statistics/excise/receipts-volume-and-price/quarterly-update.aspx.

Mortgage Repayments

Questions (146)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

146. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance if payments made by direct debit to new owners require a written mandate from the borrower authorising such direct debits with regard to the transfer of mortgages; if this permission has been sought in all cases; his views on whether banks are correct to release payments from the account of a borrower without such permission; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23309/19]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

In relation to the first part of the Deputy's question, that whether, on the transfer of a mortgage, payments by direct debit to a new loan owner (payee) requires a written mandate from the borrower (payer) authorising the direct debits from its bank (payer’s bank), I am advised by the Central Bank of Ireland that Payment Service Providers (PSPs) are required to comply with the European Union (Payment Services) Regulations 2018 (PSR).

Chapter 2 of Part 4 of the PSR sets out the rights and obligations in relation to the provision and use of payment services, including with regard to the consent and withdrawal of consent to execute payment transactions.

Regulation 88(1) PSR states that:

“a payment transaction is authorised by a payer only where the payer has given consent to execute the payment transaction.”

 Regulation 88(7) PSR states:

"the procedure for giving consent shall be agreed between the payer and the payment service provider concerned.”

With regard to direct debit payments, the procedure for giving consent is by way of a mandate under the SEPA Regulation.*  Pursuant to the SEPA Regulation, a ‘mandate’ constitutes the expression of consent and authorisation given by the payer to the payee and (directly or indirectly via the payee) to the payer’s PSP to allow the payee to initiate a collection for debiting the payer’s specified payment account and to allow the payer’s PSP to comply with such instructions

Article 5 of the SEPA Regulation sets out the requirements for direct debit transactions.  It requires that the payee’s PSP must ensure that:

“the payer gives consent both to the payee and to the payer’s PSP (directly or indirectly via the payee), the mandates together with later modifications or cancellation, are stored by the payee or by a third party on behalf of the payee and the payee is informed of this obligation by the PSP…”

Therefore, if a new loan owner or credit servicing firm (as payee) intends to commence collecting direct debit payments directly from a borrower’s payment account, it will need a SEPA Direct Debit Mandate authorising it to send instructions to the borrower’s bank (PSP) to collect direct debit payments from the borrower’s bank.

If there is no change in the payee for the purposes of the Direct Debit Mandate (e.g. if the original lender or existing credit servicing firm continues to collect the direct debit payments when a loan is transferred), a new SEPA Direct Debit Mandate would not be required.

Whether banks are correct to release payment from the account of a borrower without such permission is irrelevant as a PSP cannot release direct debit payments from a payer’s payment account without a signed Direct Debit Mandate in favour of the relevant payee (whether that is the original lender, a new loan owner or a credit servicing firm).

*Regulation (EU) No 260/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 March 2012 establishing technical and business requirements for credit transfers and direct debits in euro and amending Regulation (EC) No 924/2009

Tracker Mortgages

Questions (147)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

147. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance if a bank (details supplied) will contact all customers with similar cases immediately and provide similar additional compensation or redress further to a media report; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23342/19]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

Permanent TSB has provided the following comments in response to the Deputy's question:

“This case was settled out of court by agreement between both parties and the specific terms of the settlement are covered by a confidentiality agreement agreed between the parties.

“Nevertheless PTSB has confirmed that its approach in this case did not involve a change to any of the underlying principles with which it has approached its Tracker Mortgage Redress Programmes – in particular, in respect of the appropriate rate issue, which remains as previously articulated.  The bank further confirms that where it is agreeing settlements of individual legal actions, such settlements are intended to be fair and equitable, and to reflect the particular circumstances of the individual case and, in particular, any new information which comes to the bank’s attention through the case. Each case is dealt with on an individual basis.

“An inherent part of the redress and compensation scheme implemented by banks is that impacted customers offered redress and compensation have a right to appeal.  Some customers chose to appeal through the dedicated appeals panels set up for the Tracker Mortgage Redress Programmes, while other chose to appeal through the FSPO or through a legal process.  This is the customer’s choice.

“Such appeals do not represent a new cohort of customers or new issues.”.

Tax Exemptions

Questions (148)

Paul Murphy

Question:

148. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Finance if he has considered introducing an exemption for import tax for tools brought into the country by workers returning here to work; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23447/19]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

I am advised by Revenue that Customs is an EU competence and that the legislation governing reliefs from customs duty is set out in Council Regulation (EC) No 1186/2009 (the Regulation) and Council Directive 2009/132/EC (the Directive).  The Regulation is binding in its entirety and directly applicable in all member States of the European Union including Ireland.  As a result, it is not possible for me to introduce an exemption from import duties as proposed by the Deputy.

Revenue advise me that there are reliefs in relation to import duty under the Regulation when transferring business activities or residence from a third country. Relief from import duties and VAT is available under the Regulation for the import of capital goods and other equipment on the transfer of business activities, subject to certain restrictions and conditions. These are set out in Articles 28 to 34 of the Regulation and Articles 25 to 29 of the Directive. To qualify for the relief, it is necessary to show that the business has transferred from the third country to the State. This could include providing

- Documents to demonstrate that the business has ceased activity in the third country e.g. documents regarding the sale of the business premises in the third country.

- Documents to demonstrate that a new business is being established in the State e.g. documents relating to the purchase, rental or construction of a business premises in the State.

- Relief is limited to capital goods and other equipment which:

- Have been used for a period of 12 months before their transfer

- Are intended to be used for the same purposes after the transfer

- Are appropriate to the nature and size of the new business.

Full details in relation to Transfer of Business reliefs are available on the Revenue website.

A person who supplies taxable services is obliged to register and charge Irish VAT if his turnover exceeds, or is likely to exceed, €37,500 in any continuous period of 12 months. Where the supply is of goods, the threshold is €75,000; where a person supplies both goods and services the registration threshold is the services threshold that is €37,500, unless 90 per cent or more of the turnover of the business is derived from the supply of goods.

Tax Code

Questions (149)

Michael McGrath

Question:

149. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the status of the implementation of the options set out in the report of the working group on the tax and fiscal treatment of rental accommodation providers dated September 2017; his views on the implementation of the remaining options; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23450/19]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

The Report of the Working Group on the Tax and Fiscal Treatment of Landlords was submitted to me for consideration in September 2017, in advance of its publication on Budget Day, 10 October 2017. The report put forward options for further consideration, rather than recommendations, and any further consideration would require the participation of several Departments and organisations, including my own Department. The ten options are split into short, medium and long-term options. Five potential short-term options were identified as measures which could potentially be implemented within 18 months, i.e. within Budgets 2018 and 2019.

One short-term option was to increase the mortgage interest deduction available to landlords.  In this context, it should be noted that in Budget 2017, a phased unwinding of the restriction on interest deductibility over five years for all residential landlords was initiated. The second step, an increase from 80% to 85% deductibility, took effect from 1 January 2018.  Budget 2019 accelerated progress in this area and, from 1 January 2019, the restoration of full mortgage interest deductibility for landlords of residential property has been in place. 

A further option was to consider introducing Local Property Tax (LPT) deductibility for landlords. Earlier this year, the report of the interdepartmental review of LPT noted that LPT is a relatively small expense and therefore is unlikely to make a significant difference to the position of any individual landlord in cash terms and so may not be regarded by landlords as a sufficient measure to encourage them to stay in or enter the rental market. The report also found that the measure would also have a deadweight cost in respect of landlords who do not intend to leave the rental market and would create a more favourable position for landlords of property compared to owner-occupiers, as owner-occupiers cannot claim a tax deduction for LPT.

In Budget 2018 I introduced another of the short-term options, deductibility for pre-letting expenditure for previously vacant properties. This measure applies to residential premises which have been vacant for at least 12 months and which are then let after the date of the passing of the Finance Act 2017, i.e. after 25 December 2017. The expenditure is allowed as a deduction against rental income from that premises. It applies to expenses that would be allowable if they had been incurred while the property was let, such as the cost of repairs, insurance, maintenance and management of the property.  Certain limitations are in place regarding this measure, for example the expenditure must have been incurred in the 12 months before the premises is let as a residential premises.  The total deduction allowed is capped at €5,000 per vacant premises and the deduction will be clawed-back if the property ceases to be let as a residential premises within four years of the first letting. I prioritised this option as it was specifically designed to encourage an overall increase in housing supply by bringing currently vacant property back into residential use.

The final short-term option was to improve the collection and sharing of data on the rental accommodation sector.  A significant issue that hampered the progress of the Working Group was a lack of robust data on various elements of the housing market, due to the differing metrics used by the various agencies. The Housing Analytics Group, chaired by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, is currently active and a number of Departments and agencies are involved in its work, including the Residential Tenancies Board, the Central Statistics Office (CSO), Revenue and the Department of Finance.

Five of the options put forward in the report were medium-term and long-term options. Medium-term options are measures which work with the current tax system but might take longer to develop and implement, and as such would require a longer lead-in period. The long-term options look at the potential for more fundamental changes to the tax system, and so would require significantly greater resource commitments to progress.  Consideration of these options will continue within the relevant time frames.

As the Deputy will be aware, taxation is only one of the policy levers available to the Government through which to boost rental and overall housing supply and that, in line with the Tax Expenditure Guidelines, consideration of whether a tax measure is the most appropriate policy tool for a given purpose would be required. Ireland’s past experience with tax incentives in the housing sector strongly suggests the need for a cautionary stance when considering intervention in the rental sector. There are many competing priorities which must be considered when deciding which policy measures to introduce and the rental sector is just one of many other sectors that may require assistance and intervention.

Tax Reliefs Availability

Questions (150)

Paul Murphy

Question:

150. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Finance if the motor tax relief and toll free relief available under the disabilities tax relief scheme continue to apply for vehicles being used as taxis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23452/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

Following contact between my officials and the Deputy's office I understand that the Deputy is referring to the motor tax and toll charges applicable to taxis which qualify under the Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle Grant Scheme. This scheme is operated by the National Transport Authority, under the aegis of the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport.

Accordingly, this is a matter for my colleague the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport.

For the avoidance of any doubt, the Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers (Tax Concessions) Scheme does not apply to vehicles being used as taxis.

Disabled Drivers and Passengers Scheme

Questions (151)

Willie Penrose

Question:

151. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Finance the concessions and-or incentives available to persons who wish to secure a motor vehicle which would accommodate their disabled partner who is invalided or suffering from dementia in order to accommodate that person's travel to various appointments and so on; and if such concessions are available for the purchase of second-hand vehicles. [23470/19]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

I assume the Deputy is referring to the Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers (Tax Concessions) Scheme which provides relief from VAT and VRT (up to a certain limit) on the purchase of an adapted car for transport of a person with specific severe and permanent physical disabilities, payment of a Fuel Grant, and an exemption from Motor Tax. 

To qualify for the Scheme an applicant must be in possession of a Primary Medical Certificate. To qualify for a Primary Medical Certificate, an applicant must satisfy one of the following conditions:

- be wholly or almost wholly without the use of both legs;

- be wholly without the use of one leg and almost wholly without the use of the other leg such that the applicant is severely restricted as to movement of the lower limbs;

- be without both hands or without both arms;

- be without one or both legs;

- be wholly or almost wholly without the use of both hands or arms and wholly or almost wholly without the use of one leg;

- have the medical condition of dwarfism and have serious difficulties of movement of the lower limbs.

The Scheme represents a significant tax expenditure. Between the Vehicle Registration Tax and VAT foregone, and the fuel grant, the scheme cost €65m in each of 2016 and 2017, rising to €70m in 2018. This figure does not include the revenue foregone in respect of the relief from Motor Tax provided to members of the Scheme.  

I understand and fully sympathise with any person who suffers from a serious physical disability and cannot access the scheme under the current criteria. However, given the scope and scale of the scheme, any possible changes to it can only be made after careful consideration, taking into account the existing and prospective cost of the scheme as well as the availability of other schemes which seek to help with the mobility of disabled persons, and the interaction between each of these schemes.  

Accordingly, I have no plans to amend the qualifying medical criteria for the Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers Scheme at this time. 

Money Laundering

Questions (152)

Michael McGrath

Question:

152. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the number and value of cases of completed investigations in the area of anti-money laundering in the past number of years; the current investigations under way; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23498/19]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

The principal piece of legislation in Ireland on anti-money laundering (AML) and the countering of the financing of terrorism (CFT) is the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Act 2010 (as amended) (the CJA 2010).

The Central Bank of Ireland (the Central Bank) is the competent authority in Ireland responsible for the monitoring and supervision of financial and credit institutions’ compliance with their obligations under the CJA 2010, which includes having effective systems, controls and preventative measures in place to prevent and detect money laundering.

The Central Bank is empowered to take measures that are reasonably necessary to ensure that such institutions comply with the provisions of the CJA 2010.  Details of all enforcement actions by the Central Bank, including actions related to breaches of the CJA2010 are published on its website (https://www.centralbank.ie/news-media/legal-notices/enforcement-actions) .

I have been advised by the Central Bank that it can only comment on concluded Enforcement Actions under the Central Bank’s Administrative Sanctions Procedure, following investigations into breaches by credit and financial institutions of their obligations under the CJA 2010. To date it has concluded 12 enforcement actions against credit and financial institutions in relation to breaches of the CJA 2010, imposing fines totaling €12,582,000.

It is important to note that the Central Bank does not investigate allegations of money laundering or terrorist financing within the State; this is the responsibility of An Garda Síochána.  

Lastly, the Department of Justice and Equality (DJE) is the competent authority for a number of the other designated entities under the CJA and is responsible for the monitoring and supervision of same for compliance with AML/CFT requirements. I understand that this question has also been received by DJE  for separate response.

Vehicle Registration

Questions (153)

Robert Troy

Question:

153. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Finance if his attention has been drawn to the fact that there is a hold up with the Revenue Commissioners assigning the VRT code to a car model (details supplied) and this delay has resulted in the delay of its launch here; the reason this has been allowed to happen; and his plans to ensure that any administrative hold up will be removed. [23499/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I am advised by Revenue that it has not yet received a declaration for the car model in question from the vehicle distributor and as such there is no delay in the process.

The Deputy may wish to note that when a new model of vehicle is being launched onto the Irish market, the distributor is required to make an ‘Open Market Selling Price’ (OMSP) declaration to Revenue. This declaration then becomes the basis of the charge to Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT) for that model.

Once the declaration is received and agreed by Revenue, the statistical code for the model is activated on Revenue’s Online Service (ROS), which allows the distributor to register vehicles without any further contact with Revenue.

Credit Union Regulation

Questions (154)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

154. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Finance if a matter relating to the rules governing credit unions will be examined (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23549/19]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

My role as Minister for Finance is to ensure that the legal framework for credit unions is appropriate for the effective operation and supervision of credit unions.

Credit unions are regulated and supervised by the Registrar of Credit Unions at the Central Bank who is the independent regulator for credit unions.  Within his independent regulatory discretion, the Registrar acts to support the prudential soundness of individual credit unions, to maintain sector stability and to protect the savings of credit union members.

I have been informed by the Central Bank that in the feedback statement to CP88 'Consultation on Regulations for Credit Unions on commencement of the remaining sections of the 2012 Act' it outlined that having considered the feedback received the Bank was of the view that an individual members savings limit of €100,000 is appropriate given the stage of development of the sector and the Central Bank’s mandate to ensure the protection of members’ funds by credit unions and safeguarding the stability of the sector.

The Credit Union Act 1997 (Regulatory Requirements) Regulations 2016 (the Regulations) came into effect on 1 January 2016.  These Regulations set out an individual member savings limit of €100,000. The Regulations introduced on 1 January 2016 also provided that credit unions could apply to the Central Bank to retain individual members’ savings in excess of €100,000, which were held at commencement of the Regulations and that credit unions with total assets in excess of €100 million can apply to the Central Bank for approval to increase individual member savings in excess of €100,000.

The Central Bank developed an application processes to facilitate credit unions in seeking the two types of approvals outlined above. As provided for in the Regulations, in order for approval to be granted an applicant credit union must have demonstrated that the granting of such approval is consistent with the adequate protection of the savings of members and effective and proportionate regulation having regard to the nature, scale and complexity of the credit union. The submission deadline for applications to retain savings in excess of €100,000 was 27 June 2016. The application form to increase savings in excess of €100,000 does not have a submission deadline and will be accepted from individual credit unions with assets over €100 million on an ongoing basis.

In the feedback statement to CP88 the Central Bank also committed to undertaking a review of the continued appropriateness of the savings limit within three years of the introduction of the 2016 Regulations. The Central Bank envisages that it will commence such a review by year end 2019.  

The Deputy might also wish to note that in line with Programme for a Partnership Government commitments, the Department of Finance requested the Central Bank to review the continued appropriateness of the savings limits on Credit Union members, and additionally following engagement the Central Bank accepted Department of Finance observations regarding simplification of the application process to retain Credit Union members’ savings in excess of €100,000.

Tracker Mortgage Examination

Questions (155)

Eugene Murphy

Question:

155. Deputy Eugene Murphy asked the Minister for Finance the reason he has not intervened to address an ongoing issue in a financial institution (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23572/19]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

As the Deputy will be aware, the industry wide Tracker Mortgage Examination review is the largest most complex and most significant supervisory review in the history of the Central Bank of Ireland in respect to its consumer protection mandate. It has revealed the unacceptable damage that misconduct can cause to consumers up to and including the loss of their homes and properties in some cases. To this end there has been €665 million of redress and compensation issued to customers at end February 2019.

In order to deter financial misconduct and promote compliance and high standards in financial services, the regulator’s overall strategy has been to take firm enforcement action. The record fine issued to PTSB recently illustrates this.

The Central Bank of Ireland has markedly changed its approach to banking supervision since the crisis. This new approach can be seen through, for example, the Central Bank Reform Act 2010, the Central Bank (Supervision and Enforcement) Act 2013 and the European Single Supervisory Mechanism. To further support the work and power of the regulator, I am bringing forward the Central Bank (amendment) Bill which will introduce an advanced Senior Executive Accountability Regime (SEAR) which will, in tandem with new enhancements to the fitness and probity regime, help prevent something like the mortgage tracker issue happening again. 

I would remind the Deputy that as Minister for Finance there are strict rules around how I can intervene even in banks in which the State has a shareholding. The day to day operations of the banks are the sole responsibility of the boards and management teams and each bank must be run on an independent and commercial basis. The banks’ independence is protected by Relationship Frameworks which are legally binding documents that cannot be changed unilaterally. These frameworks, which are publicly available, were insisted upon by the European Commission to protect competition in the Irish market. 

However as indicated this Government has firmly supported the work of the Central Bank of Ireland. This group of customers (often referred to as the ‘prevailing rate group’) has, directly as a result of the Central Bank’s intervention, been included in the Tracker Mortgage Examination and has the benefit of the option to appeal or utilise any other options available to them (such as an appeal to the FSPO or independent legal action). Speaking to the Joint Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform and the Taoiseach on 26 March, Director General, Financial Conduct of the Central Bank, Derville Rowland confirmed that the Central Bank took the 'strongest reasonable approach' to the issue. It did not just look at the contract it also looked at the transparency requirements, the factors which pertained at the time the customers entered into the contract but could not challenge the interpretation of AIB further.

Tracker Mortgages

Questions (156)

Eugene Murphy

Question:

156. Deputy Eugene Murphy asked the Minister for Finance if he will request the Central Bank to explore the option of using the revenue from the recent tracker mortgage fines to establish a fund to support customers affected by the tracker mortgage scandal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23573/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

Since 2013, the Central Bank’s practice is to remit the value of all monetary penalties in full to the Exchequer and, thereby, ultimately to the citizens of the Irish State. The treatment of fines related to the Tracker Mortgage Examination will be remitted to the Exchequer in full in the same way.

This practices arises from when, in 2012, the Central Bank consulted on the treatment of income resulting from monetary penalties, in its public consultation [CP61] "Consultation on Impact Based Levies and Other Levy Related Matters". The consultation paper, submissions and feedback statement are available at the following link: https://www.centralbank.ie/publication/consultation-papers/consultation-paper-detail/cp61-consultation-on-impact-based-levies-and-other-levy-related-matters

Customers impacted by tracker morgtgage related failings are being provided with redress and compensation by their lenders. The latest information [1] is that a total of €665 million has so far been provided to those impacted customers (including €47 million for redress and compensation to impacted costumers identified outside of the industry-wide examination).

97 per cent of identified and verified impacted customers (as at end December 2018) have now received offers of redress and compensation. Compensation levels are a matter in the first instance for the relevant mortgage lender and for the Central Bank (and if cases are taken to him the Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman (FSPO) or ultimately the Courts).  However, it should be noted that the offer and payment of a sum by a bank for redress and compensation can be accepted by the borrower without prejudicing his or her right of appeal (either to the internal appeals framework as provided for in the tracker examination framework or ultimately to the FSPO and the Courts), and that the level of payment made upfront by a bank cannot be subsequently reduced in the Examination appeals process.

[1] As noted by the Central Bank Governor in his opening statement when he appeared before the Joint Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach on 26 March 2019.

VAT Payments

Questions (157)

John Lahart

Question:

157. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Finance if his attention has been drawn to an anomaly by which self-employed persons and businesses can avoid paying VAT on goods unrelated to their businesses purchased online from other jurisdictions (details supplied); if his attention has been further drawn to the impact this is having on retailers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23597/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that under the VAT Consolidation Act, a person registered for Irish VAT who makes an intra-community acquisition of goods, such as bicycles, is required to self-account for Irish VAT on the reverse charge basis at the appropriate Irish VAT rate in their VAT returns. Where a person makes an intra-community acquisition of goods and does not use those goods for the purposes of their taxable business, they are not entitled to a deduction for the VAT that has been self-accounted for on the reverse charge basis.

Supplies made by a supplier in another EU Member State to an Irish VAT registered business must be reported through the VIES reporting system to Revenue, which provides them with information on goods sourced in this way by Irish VAT registered business and in respect of which they are obliged to self-account for Irish VAT.

Where a supplier in another EU Member State supplies goods to a person in Ireland who is not obliged to be registered for VAT, the goods are subject to Irish VAT where the value of sales to Irish customers by that trader exceeds the Irish distance-selling threshold of €35,000 in a calendar year; otherwise the goods are liable to VAT in the Member State from which they are supplied.

Revenue monitors and reviews the quality of controls and the adequacy of the resources deployed to implement them on an ongoing basis, and is also focused on identifying and addressing potential risks associated with eCommerce imports from non-EU sources. In 2018, Revenue also established a dedicated VAT Compliance Branch to further promote and enforce compliance with Irish distance-selling requirements. A core objective of this Branch is the identification and VAT registration of online traders within the EU who exceed the Irish distance-selling threshold.

I would encourage the Deputy to provide any further information he has on this matter to Revenue.

VAT Rebates

Questions (158)

Noel Grealish

Question:

158. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Finance the amounts refunded to travellers from countries outside of the EU under the retail export scheme in each of the years 2015 to 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23621/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

The Retail Export Scheme allows a tourist or traveller resident outside the European Union (EU) to claim a refund of the Value-Added Tax (VAT) charged on goods purchased in the EU. The goods must be exported from the EU by the tourist or traveller within three months of purchase.

It is the retailer or VAT refund agent who makes the VAT refund to the tourist or traveller rather than Revenue. For this reason, the information requested by the Deputy is not available as the traders involved do not separately distinguish amounts related to the Scheme in their VAT returns.

Disabled Drivers and Passengers Scheme

Questions (159)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

159. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Finance if a review will be arranged of the disabled drivers and passengers scheme criteria in view of the perceived rigidity of the scheme and the concerns that have been outlined by the Office of the Ombudsman; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23627/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

The Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers (Tax Concessions) Scheme provides relief from VAT and VRT (up to a certain limit) on the purchase of an adapted car for transport of a person with specific severe and permanent physical disabilities, payment of a Fuel Grant, and an exemption from Motor Tax. 

To qualify for the Scheme an applicant must be in possession of a Primary Medical Certificate. To qualify for a Primary Medical Certificate, an applicant must satisfy one of the following conditions:

- be wholly or almost wholly without the use of both legs;

- be wholly without the use of one leg and almost wholly without the use of the other leg such that the applicant is severely restricted as to movement of the lower limbs;

- be without both hands or without both arms;

- be without one or both legs;

- be wholly or almost wholly without the use of both hands or arms and wholly or almost wholly without the use of one leg;

- have the medical condition of dwarfism and have serious difficulties of movement of the lower limbs.

The Scheme represents a significant tax expenditure. Between the Vehicle Registration Tax and VAT foregone, and the fuel grant, the scheme cost €65m in each of 2016 and 2017, rising to €70m in 2018. This figure does not include the revenue foregone in respect of the relief from Motor Tax provided to members of the Scheme.  

I understand and fully sympathise with any person who suffers from a serious physical disability and can’t access the scheme under the current criteria. However, given the scope and scale of the scheme, any possible changes to it can only be made after careful consideration, taking into account the existing and prospective cost of the scheme as well as the availability of other schemes which seek to help with the mobility of disabled persons, and the interaction between each of these schemes.  

Accordingly, I have no plans to amend the qualifying medical criteria for the Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers Scheme at this time.