Friday, 6 September 2019

Questions (112)

Maurice Quinlivan

Question:

112. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Finance the estimated full year cost of restoring trade union subscription tax relief at the level it was at before its abolition; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35656/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

A review of the appropriate treatment for tax purposes of trade union subscriptions and professional body fees was carried out by my Department in 2016 and included in the 2016 report on tax expenditures published on Budget day 2016. The review may be found at the following link:

(http://www.budget.gov.ie/Budgets/2017/Documents/Tax_Expenditures_Report%202016_final.pdf)

The review concluded that:

"...analysis of the scheme using the principles laid down by the Department’s Tax Expenditure Guidelines shows that it fails to reach the evaluation threshold to warrant introduction in this manner.

The reinstatement of this tax relief would have no justifiable policy rationale and does not express a defined policy objective. Given that individuals join trade unions largely for the well-known benefits of membership, and the potential value of the relief to an individual would equate to just over €1 per week, this scheme would have little to no incentive effect on the numbers choosing to join. There is no specific market failure that needs to be addressed by such a scheme, and it would consist largely of deadweight."

Given the conclusions of the review, I have no plans to reintroduce such a relief.

I am advised by Revenue that the cost and the numbers availing of the relief prior to its abolition are available at the following link:

https://www.revenue.ie/en/corporate/information-about-revenue/statistics/tax-expenditures/costs-expenditures.aspx.

The following table sets out details of the cost of the relief in the seven years immediately prior to its end.

 

Year

 

Cost (€ million)

 

No. of Claims

 

2004

 

10.7

 

248,300

 

2005

 

11.8

 

272,100

 

2006

 

19.2

 

294,300

 

2007

 

20.7

 

316,300

 

2008

 

26.4

 

341,900

 

2009

 

26.7

 

345,800

 

2010

 

26

 

337,500

I am further advised by Revenue that these figures may not provide an accurate indicator of future costs of a new scheme and there is no other basis available to Revenue on which to estimate such costs.