Friday, 6 September 2019

Questions (113)

Maurice Quinlivan


113. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Finance the cost of the special assignee relief programme in 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35662/19]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

SARP was introduced in Budget 2012 as part of a strategy to promote Foreign Direct Investment into Ireland, and to allow Ireland to compete internationally to attract highly skilled and mobile executives who act as key decision makers within organisations.  

The measure provides income tax relief on a portion of income earned by employees, who are assigned by their employer to work in Ireland, and who previously worked abroad for that employer for a minimum of six months. There is no exemption or relief from USC and PRSI is payable where the individual is not liable to social insurance contributions in the home country.

I am advised by Revenue that 2016 is the latest year for which data are currently available on the Special Assignee Relief Programme (SARP). The cost of the scheme in that year was €18.1 million. 

The latest available costs can be found in Revenue’s Cost of Tax Expenditures publication which is available at the following link:

I am advised by Revenue that the 2017 SARP report is expected to be published in the coming weeks, at which point the cost for the relief in 2017 will become available at the above link.

Finally, as the Deputy may be aware, following on from concerns I had regarding the increasing cost of the incentive, I amended the SARP legislation in Finance Bill 2018 to reinstate an upper salary threshold at the level of €1 million. This change came into effect for new entrants to the programme from 1 January 2019 and for existing beneficiaries of the programme from 1 January 2020. 

In accordance with the Department of Finance Tax Expenditure Guidelines, SARP is currently the subject of an independent review, carried out by Indecon Economic Consultants, this year. The review exercise affords an opportunity to look at all elements of the relief and it also includes consultation with all relevant stakeholders.