Banking Sector Regulation

Questions (160)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

160. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance whether the restrictions on the activities of loan originating qualifying investor alternative investment funds, L-QIAIFs, have been lifted in recent years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31527/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

Loan Originating Qualifying Investor Alternative Investment Funds (L-QIAIFs) refers to a category of investment fund authorised by the Central Bank of Ireland (CBI). L-QIAIFs are permitted to originate loans. Investment in such funds is restricted to qualified investors and the manager is authorised by the CBI in accordance with the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD). To invest in a Qualifying Investor Alternative Investment Fund (QIAIF), the investor must be a professional investor and subscribe no less than €100,000, as such these are seen as products for the non-Retail sector.

Prior to 2014, all Irish authorised Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs) were prohibited from originating loans. Following a consultation process in 2013, the CBI revised the rules that apply to AIFs, which is the rulebook containing domestic requirements in relation to AIFs, to permit certain AIFs originate loans.

The revisions to the AIF Rulebook introduced a framework for L-QIAIFs. These regulatory requirements sought to strike an appropriate balance between allowing alternative financing options for companies to complement bank-funding, while at the same time addressing potential risks which may arise with respect to non-bank finance.

The specific obligations relating to L-QIAIFs include:

- credit granting by the fund;

- monitoring of the loans and management requirements;

- diversification requirements of the investments;

- the eligible investments by such a fund;

- stress testing of the fund;

- leverage limits;

- liquidity requirements; and

- distributions by the fund to investors.

Initially a L-QIAIF was required to have a sole purpose so as to focus exclusively on lending and related operations “to the exclusion of all other commercial business”.

Following a low take-up of L-QIAIFs, the CBI decided to amend the sole purpose provision. To that end, the AIF Rulebook was amended on two occasions, in January 2017 and in March 2018, to allow for more flexibility.

Following these changes, L-QIAIFs can now invest in equity or high yield instruments issued by a company the fund had originated a loan to. This policy is in line with other European Regulations notably the European Long-Term Investment Funds Regulation (EU) 2015/760 (the ELTIF Regulation).

In addition the Central Bank decided it was appropriate to allow L-QIAIFs to have broader credit focused strategies and this has also allowed L-QIAIFs to invest in debt/credit instruments without being required to also lend to these issuers.

Real Estate Investment Trusts

Questions (161)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

161. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance his views on the recent Central Bank analysis, which estimates that approximately 50% of total equity in real estate investment trusts, REITs, domiciled here is held by international investors. [31528/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

The rules on REITs in Ireland are set out in Part 25A of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 and were introduced by Finance Act 2013. Irish REITs are collective investment vehicles which invest in Irish property. The income and gains from Irish property are not taxed within the REIT but are instead taxed in the hands of the investor when distributed. REITs must distribute at least 85% of their property profits and gains to shareholders each year. A REIT is subject to corporation tax on any income or gains arising from any other business (i.e. non-property business) that it carries on.

Dividend Withholding Tax at the standard rate of 20% is deducted by the REIT from dividends paid to both Irish and non-resident shareholders. Foreign investors resident in treaty countries may be able to reclaim some of this DWT under the relevant tax treaty. Tax treaty rates on dividends vary from treaty to treaty, but the most common rate applicable to small shareholdings is 15%. This means that Ireland retains taxing rights of 15% on dividends paid from Ireland.

Institutional investors have an important role to play in increasing property supply and I am satisfied that tax regimes which apply taxation at the level of the investor are appropriate to collective investment vehicles of this nature. It is evident that the role of institutional investors, such as REITs, is growing, particularly in the urban apartment market segment. In this context, it is worth noting that institutional investors are engaged in partnerships and forward purchase contracts with developers and building contractors, i.e. they are funding or part-funding the property development. In the absence of such funding from institutional investors it is likely that such projects would be delayed or potentially may not take place.

However I would also note that the role of institutional investors, including REITs, is still minor in proportion to the total rental sector. Data provided to my Department by the Residential Tenancies Board for May 2019 shows that the rented residential accommodation market is still dominated by small landlords. The majority (over 70%) of landlords registered a single rental tenancy, with over 96% of landlords registering 5 tenancies or less. Landlords with 5 tenancies or less account for almost 72% of all registered tenancies. The top 21 landlords account for 3.11% of all registered tenancies. The percentage of landlords with 20 or more tenancies has decreased from 0.52% in 2017 to 0.43% in 2019. Given the important implications which developments in the property market can have for the economy, officials in my Department will continue to monitor developments in this sector.

Fiscal Policy

Questions (162)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

162. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance his primary influences when forming policy on tax incentives for investment funds in property, in particular in the finance Bill and budget; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31529/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I would like to advise the Deputy that there are many factors which influence and inform the formation of tax policy in all areas, including policy decisions in relation to the taxation of investment funds in the property sector.

These include:

- Statistical data from various sources including Revenue and the Central Bank of Ireland.

- Research and analysis conducted by officials in my Department.

- Inputs from public policy fora, such as the annual National Economic Dialogue.

- Inputs from other Government Departments and cabinet colleagues.

- Pre-Budget submissions and other engagements with a wide range of stakeholders.

All decisions relating to the annual Budget are also influenced by overall performance and outlook in the domestic economy and by Ireland’s obligations to comply with the EU fiscal rules, as set out under the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP). As such, issues relating to the formulation of budgetary policy must be considered within this wider context of ensuring Ireland’s continued compliance with the EU fiscal rules, as well as the sustainability of public finances.

Tax Code

Questions (163)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

163. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance if he has considered the introduction of a plastic packaging tax; if so, whether a summary of the key findings will be provided; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31594/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

In January 2018 the EU Commission published the European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy. The strategy focuses on plastics production and use, and sets a goal of ensuring all plastic packaging is recyclable by 2030. The first action as part of this strategy is a proposal for dealing with the ten single-use plastic products and fishing gear that together account for 70% of the marine litter in Europe. The proposal includes:

- A ban on certain plastic products

- Obligation on Member States to reduce the use of certain plastics (which may include financial measures) and

- Obligations for producers to cover costs of waste management and clean up.

The Strategy also recommends introducing fiscal measures to encourage environmentally friendly behaviour and the Commission considers that this specific proposal within the EU budget would contribute to meeting the objectives of the Plastics Strategy. Discussions for a plastic based tax post the 2020 Multi Financial Framework have been ongoing within the Own Resources working group since the EU Commission proposal was launched.

It may be prudent to await these EU developments before embarking on an examination of a national tax measure. Any proposal to introduce new national tax measures on plastics would also have to consider the impact on existing supply chains, legislation required in relation to the scope of the tax, Revenue powers, offences, reliefs, etc., IT costs, tax efficiency and state aid implications. In this regard, it should be noted that the development and introduction of the sugar tax gave rise to considerable staff resources over a period of two years. To undertake such measures, consideration would also have to be given to the opportunity cost of staff resources/time involved.

My Department will continue to assess the evolving EU and international debate in this area and consider, as appropriate, the merits of the introduction of a tax on plastic from an environmental, revenue and administration perspective.

Tax Yield

Questions (164)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

164. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the estimated revenue that would be raised if a flat tax of €10, €100 and €1,000, respectively, was placed on each metric tonne of non-recycled plastic packaging, charged to businesses using plastic packaging with less than 30% recycled material, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31595/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

It is not currently possible to estimate the revenues that could be raised from a flat tax of €10, €100 and €1,000 per metric tonne of non-recycled plastic packaging where the business was using plastic packaging with less than 30% recycled material as the information required to estimate this is not available to Revenue.

Tax Yield

Questions (165)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

165. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the estimated revenue raised if a levy on single use coffee cups was introduced at a rate of five cent, ten cent and 20 cent per cup, respectively, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31598/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

With the information currently available, it is not possible to estimate the effect of a levy on single use coffee cups as no relevant data is included in the tax return data available to Revenue.

Government Expenditure

Questions (166)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

166. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the impact of changes on the gross general government balance, in view of the revision of annual spending plans of an annual increase of 2.5% to 3.25% on the gross general government balance; the projected general government expenditure; and the impact on the general government balance as a percentage of GNI* and GDP from 2020 to 2024, in tabular form. [31600/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I can advise the Deputy that Table 4 in the Summer Economic Statement 2019 sets out the revised anticipated annual spending plans. This table illustrates the general government impact of the National Broadband Plan and the 3.25 per cent year-on-year current spending growth from 2021 to 2024, in the event of an “orderly” Brexit.

In addition, the table sets out the Stability Programme Update 2019 baseline general government expenditure and balance and compares these components with the revised general government expenditure and balance (i.e. incorporating the 3.25 per cent year-on-year current spending growth from 2021 onwards), as expressed as a percentage of GNI* and GDP.

2020

2021

2022

2023

2024

Baseline consistent (with the SPU 2019)

General Government Expenditure (€ millions)

87,600

89,700

92,280

95,015

97,710

General Government Expenditure as % of GDP

24.8%

24.4%

24.1%

23.8%

23.5%

General Government Expenditure as % of GNI*

41.4%

40.8%

40.4%

40.0%

39.5%

General Government Balance as % of GDP

0.4%

0.7%

1.0%

1.3%

1.6%

General Government Balance as % of GNI*

0.6%

1.2%

1.7%

2.2%

2.7%

Revised

General Government Expenditure (€ millions)

87,800

90,400

93,480

96,815

100,110

General Government Expenditure as % of GDP

24.9%

24.6%

24.4%

24.3%

24.1%

General Government Expenditure as % of GNI*

41.5%

41.2%

40.9%

40.7%

40.4%

General Government Balance as % of GDP

0.4%

0.6%

0.8%

1.0%

1.2%

General Government Balance as % of GNI*

0.6%

0.9%

1.3%

1.7%

1.9%

Sovereign Debt

Questions (167)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

167. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance if €1 billion of the €3 billion raised in green bonds sales has not yet been allocated to green expenditure, if all of the €3 billion is included in general government debt; and if the uncommitted €1 billion is, effectively, unallocated expenditure. [31604/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

The NTMA raised €3 billion through the inaugural issue of Irish Sovereign Green Bonds (ISGB) last October. This debt is part of the Gross General Government debt outstanding. The full proceeds of this issuance were paid into the Central Fund. An amount equivalent to the proceeds raised will be applied towards eligible green categories of expenditure as set out in the ISGB Framework. Of that amount, €1.95 billion has been allocated to eligible green projects across 2017 and 2018 (as set out in the recently published Irish Sovereign Green Bond Allocation Report), leaving €1 billion which had yet to be allocated at end-2018. It is expected that this will be allocated to eligible green categories of expenditure this year.

Tax Credits

Questions (168, 169)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

168. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the estimated cost of introducing tax credits for those paying for childcare provision based on a model in which credits would cover 50%, 70% and 100%, respectively, of the cost per child, in tabular form. [31609/19]

View answer

Pearse Doherty

Question:

169. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the estimated cost of introducing tax credits for those paying for childcare provision based on a model in which credits would cover 50%, 70% and 100%, respectively, of the cost per child but capped at a maximum of €300 per week per family, in tabular form. [31610/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 168 and 169 together.

I am advised by Revenue that it is not possible for them to estimate the cost of the Deputy’s proposals with any degree of reliability as the information that would be necessary to do so is not collected in tax returns.

Legislative Reviews

Questions (170)

Catherine Connolly

Question:

170. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Finance the number of reviews carried out by his Department pursuant to Standing Order No. 164A of Dáil Éireann; the pieces of legislation to which each review refers; the number and title of each piece of legislation in respect of which a review pursuant to Standing Order 164A has not been undertaken; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31630/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

The Deputy will be aware that Dáil Éireann Standing Order 164A provides that, in summary, 12 months after legislation is enacted, a post enactment scrutiny report reviewing the functioning of the Act should be laid in the Oireachtas library.

I can advise the Deputy that to date, sixteen Acts for which the Department of Finance is responsible for, fall under this Standing Order. Post enactment scrutiny reports for all sixteen Acts have been laid in the Oireachtas library.

The legislation and the date the report was laid in the Oireachtas library are set out in the following table.

Legislation

Date laid in Oireachtas Library

1

Credit Reporting Act 2013

02.10.18

2

Central Bank Act 2014

01.10.18

3

Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland Act 2014

01.10.18

4

Central Bank Amendment Act 2015

01.10.18

5

Consumer Protection (Regulation of Credit Servicing Firms) Act 2015

01.10.18

6

Finance (Certain European Union and Intergovernmental Obligations) Act 2016

01.10.18

7

National Treasury Management Agency (Amendment) Act 2014

01.10.18

8

Irish Collective Asset-management Vehicles Act 2015

14.11.18

9

Customs Act 2015

18.09.18

10

Finance (Tax Appeals) Act 2015

20.11.18

11

Finance (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2015

01.10.18

12

Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman Act 2017

01.10.18

13

Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank Act 2017

14.08.18

14

Betting (Amendment) Act 2015

12.12.18

15

European Stability Mechanism (Amendment) Act 2014

13.02.19

16

Finance (Local Property Tax) (Amendment) Act 2015

25.02.19

Film Industry

Questions (171)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

171. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Finance the number of persons employed in live action film making as PAYE workers and self-employed in each of the years from 2012 to 2018, in tabular form; the income earned for both categories in these years; the net income tax paid for each of these categories for each of these years; and the tax foregone in deductions, allowances and reliefs for each of the categories in each of these years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31943/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I am advised by Revenue that tax records are categorised by activity using an EU standard known as the NACE (economic activity classification) codes. This classification system does not separately distinguish live action film making but NACE code 5911 relates to the sector ‘Motion picture, video and television programme production activities’. The number of taxpayer units, the incomes, the tax and USC, the total of allowances, deductions, reliefs and reductions and the total of tax credits for taxpayers in NACE sector 5911, broken down by employees and self-employed cases, are set out in the following tables. These tables provide data from 2012 to 2016, the latest year for which data are currently available.

PAYE Employees:

Number of Taxpayer Units

Income

€m

Tax

€m

USC

€m

Total of allowances, deductions, reliefs, reductions €m

Tax foregone relating to allowances, deductions, reliefs and reductions

€m*

Total of Credits

€m

2016

5,589

199

35

8

3

0.9

16

2015

5,201

179

31

9

3

0.9

15

2014

5,106

162

28

9

3

0.9

14

2013

5,100

160

28

9

3

0.9

14

2012

4,572

158

28

9

2

0.6

13

* The tax foregone is calculated using an average marginal rate (AMR) of 30%.

Self-Employed Individuals:

Number of Taxpayer Units

Income

€m

Tax

€m

USC

€m

Total of allowances, deductions, reliefs, reductions

€m

Tax foregone relating to allowances, deductions, reliefs and reductions

€m*

Total of Credits

€m

2016

548

21

3

1

2

0.6

2

2015

496

18

3

1

2

0.6

1

2014

477

16

2

1

1

0.3

1

2013

446

14

2

1

1

0.3

1

2012

417

13

2

1

1

0.3

1

* The tax foregone is calculated using an average marginal rate (AMR) of 30%.

Brexit Preparations

Questions (172)

James Browne

Question:

172. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Finance the steps he has taken to date and that he plans to take in preparation for post-Brexit customs checks at ports here, specifically Rosslare Europort; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32180/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I am advised by Revenue that significant work has been undertaken in preparation for post Brexit customs formalities at Rosslare Europort. The Office of Public Works (OPW) is responsible for the delivery of the infrastructure necessary. As part of the contingency plan for a no-deal scenario, temporary facilities are in place in Rosslare Harbour including public office facilities, basic driver comfort facilities and exam areas for SPS and customs controls. OPW are currently working on the provision of permanent facilities to replace the temporary facilities for a no deal scenario.

I am advised by Revenue that the necessary additional staff and resources are in place to facilitate trade at the Port, post Brexit. Revenue have confirmed that they will operate extended opening hours 7 days per week to accommodate trade flows through Rosslare Europort.

As part of preparations for Brexit Revenue has engaged directly with trade and business to provide advice and support in relation to the changes that will occur as a result of UK exit. An extensive trader engagement program was undertaken by Revenue and specifically a number of events were held in Wexford in 2019. The outreach included a seminar in Wexford town and a presentation to the haulage sector at Rosslare Europort.

In April 2019 Revenue undertook direct engagement with truck drivers at Rosslare Europort. Customs Officers provided advice to drivers waiting to embark ferries and also provided advice on-board a number of sailings to and from Rosslare. Information leaflets, providing key customs advice for truck drivers were distributed to ensure that drivers are aware and understand the impact Brexit will have on their journeys.

Criminal Assets Bureau

Questions (173)

Dessie Ellis

Question:

173. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Finance the amount or percentage of the moneys seized or raised through the confiscation of assets, and which is returned to the Revenue Commissioners as stated by the CAB, that is ring-fenced or returned to the local communities most affected by criminal activity; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32230/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I am advised by Revenue that the amount of monies returned to them by the Criminal Assets Bureau over the 10-year period 2009 to 2018 was €31,804,675. I am further advised that Revenue’s role is confined to accounting for and lodging these funds to the Exchequer. The other aspects of the Deputy’s question are a matter for the CAB and/or the Minister for Justice and Equality.

Consultancy Contracts Data

Questions (174)

Shane Cassells

Question:

174. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Finance the number of external consultant reports commissioned by his Department in each of the years from March 2011 to 2018 and to date in 2019; the cost of same; the company involved; and the title and publication date, by report, in tabular form. [32248/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

In response to the Deputy’s question, I have included the information requested in relation to external consultant reports commissioned by my Department since 2011 in the table at the following link.

External Consultant Reports

Departmental Expenditure

Questions (175)

Shane Cassells

Question:

175. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Finance the photography costs for his Department in each year since March 2011, including costs incurred from use of the ministerial allowance; the occasions for which photographers were booked; the photographers used; the costs associated with each occasion that a photographer was used, in tabular form; if there is a policy within his Department regarding the booking of photographers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32265/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

The amount my Department incurred in respect of photography costs in each year since March 2011 including costs incurred from use of the Ministerial allowance; the occasions for which photographers were booked; the photographers used; the costs associated with each occasion that a photographer was used are in tabular form.

Year

Supplier

Details

Amount

2019

No photography costs in 2019 to date.

2018

Maxwell Photography Ltd

Ireland EIB Financing Group (PO 117476)

264.45

2018

Robbie Reynolds Ltd

CSO Figures Announcement (PO 122768)

492.00

Year

Supplier

Details

Amount

2017

Event Portraits Ltd

Irish Institute of Training and Development (IITD) Award Photos and Licences following Department's receipt of Best Learning and Development Organisation (medium category) 2017

701.39

2016

Brendan Lyon Photography

Irish Institute of Training and Development (IITD) Award photo following Department's shortlisting as part of the IITD Awards 2016

105.00

2015

Events Portraits Ltd

Irish Institute of Training and Development (IITD) Award photo following Department's shortlisting as part of the IITD Awards 2015

95.75

2015

Maxwell Photography Ltd

Department of Finance Learning and Development as part of the Department's Recognition of Awards Ceremony

462.53

2014

Maxwell Photography Ltd

Department of Finance graduation ceremony for the Diploma in Taxation Policy and Practice, the Diploma in Project Management and the Refund of Fees Scheme - Recognition of Awards Ceremony

510.75

2012

Maxwell Photography Ltd

Signing ceremony for Double Taxation Agreement with Uzbekistan

147.60

2012

Maxwell Photography Ltd

Signing ceremony for Double Taxation Agreement with Switzerland

285.05

2011

Maxwell Photography Ltd

Signing of Taxation agreement with Germany

400.21

2011

Maxwell Photography Ltd

Archive photo of Brian Lenihan

397.79

2011

Maxwell Photography Ltd

Archive photo of Brian Lenihan

26.62

2011

Damien Eagers Photography

Archive photo of Brian Lenihan

200.00

Departmental Legal Costs

Questions (176)

Shane Cassells

Question:

176. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Finance the expenditure incurred in respect of external legal fees in each year since March 2011, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32282/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

The amount my Department incurred in respect of external legal fees in each year since March 2011 are in tabular form.

Year

External Legal Fees Amount

2019

€240,452.52

2018

€948,806.92

2017

€2,463,556.26

2016

€734,859.80

2015

€2,107,875.92

2014

€1,246,311.20

2013

€2,549,203.80

2012

€3,171,899.32

2011 (March to Dec)

€1,280,231.99

Between 2011 and 2019 over €6m has been recouped from financial institutions in relation to the above expenditure.

Departmental Expenditure

Questions (177)

Shane Cassells

Question:

177. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Finance the expenditure incurred in external information technology costs in each year since March 2011, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32299/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

The amount my Department incurred in respect of external information technology costs in each year since March 2011 are in tabular form.

Year

External Information Technology Amount

2019

€78,544.22

2018

€365,821.88

2017

€379,139.66

2016

€483,170.75

2015

€390,505.98

2014

€300,740.19

2013

€337,376.81

2012

€92,934.53

2011

€256,690.86

Protected Disclosures Data

Questions (178)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

178. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Finance the number of protected disclosures for which he has engaged an external consultancy and-or legal firm, since 2014; the names of the firms engaged; the year and the costs associated with engaging the consultancy and-or legal firms in respect of protected disclosures; the way in which persons are protected in cases in which an external consultancy firm is engaged in respect of protected disclosures; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32399/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I can advise the Deputy that since the introduction of the Protected Disclosures Act 2014, my Department has not engaged any external consultancy and or legal firms in respect of protected disclosures.

The Deputy may wish to note that as required under Section 22 of the Act, the number of protected disclosures received in the Department in the previous year is published on the Department's website at the following link - https://www.gov.ie/en/organisation-information/32ddef-protected-disclosures.

Tax Yield

Questions (179)

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

179. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Finance the amount of tax received from betting companies (details supplied) in each of the years from 2011 to 2018, in tabular form. [32671/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I am advised by Revenue that the amounts of tax paid by individual betting companies cannot be provided as this is confidential taxpayer information.

Pension Provisions

Questions (180)

Paul Kehoe

Question:

180. Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Finance the possible repercussions for farmers applying for the old age pension due to issues arising in cases in which their lease income is less than the income threshold where the gross income is exempt from tax but subject to USC and PRSI and the Revenue Commissioners do not pick up the PRSI on the amount they received; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32683/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

As part of the various State supports for the farming sector, there is an income tax and PRSI exemption for certain income arising from the leasing of farm land. Subject to an upper limit, individuals who qualify for the relief are entitled to take a deduction in determining their “total income” for income tax purposes and “reckonable income” for the purposes of PRSI. There is no such deduction for USC.

It may be the case that if this relief is availed of for the purposes of PRSI and an individual has no other income, they may not be required to make any PRSI contributions in a given year. Self-employed people pay PRSI at the Class S rate of 4%, subject to a minimum annual charge of €500, provided their income exceeds €5,000 in that year. Once their income exceeds this threshold and PRSI is paid, Class S contributions are awarded for the full 52 weeks of that year. These contributions are reckonable towards establishing entitlement to Class S social insurance benefits, including the State Pension (Contributory). Individuals with reckonable income of less than €5,000 are not required to pay Class S PRSI.

If the Deputy wishes to provide details regarding a specific case, Revenue may be in a position to give a view on whether income tax and PRSI would arise.

The question of a person’s entitlement to the old age pension is a matter for the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection. Upon reaching pension age, an application may be made for the State Pension (Contributory) where they satisfy the qualifying conditions, including the qualifying PRSI conditions, or for the State Pension (Non-Contributory), where they have insufficient means and do not satisfy the qualifying conditions for the State Pension (Contributory).

Tracker Mortgage Examination

Questions (181)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

181. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the steps in place to protect the confidentiality of appellants with regard to the independent appeals process at a bank (details supplied) and other banks, for example, in a circumstance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32726/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

The Central Bank advises that under the Tracker Mortgage Examination Framework all lenders have been required to establish independent Appeals Panels, specifically to deal with customers who are not satisfied with any aspect of the redress and compensation offers that they receive from lenders. Details and information on how to make an appeal is included by lenders as part of the customer’s redress and compensation offer.

The Central Bank engaged with and challenged lenders on the terms of reference and procedural rules of their Appeals Panels when they were being drafted. However, the Appeals Panels are independent of both the lender and the Central Bank, as this was deemed critical for their credibility.

While the Central Bank expects lenders to follow its own procedural rules and ensure all its regulatory and data protection obligations are adhered to, the Data Protection Commission is the competent authority for dealing with data protection matters. Where customers are not satisfied with how their personal data has been handled, they have the right to make a complaint to the Data Protection Commission. Information on this can be found at https://www.dataprotection.ie/en/individuals/complaints-handling-investigations-and-enforcement-individuals.