Tuesday, 17 December 2019

Questions (124)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Question:

124. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Finance if consideration has been given to tax relief or other forms of incentives on teleconferencing equipment with the objective of reducing emissions by minimising unnecessary travel to meetings; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52965/19]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

It is established Government practice to use exemptions or incentives in the tax system in limited circumstances where there are demonstrable market failures and where a tax-based incentive is more efficient than a direct expenditure intervention. It is not clear that such is the situation in specific relation to teleconferencing equipment.

That said, I am advised by Revenue that an annual allowance (known as a wear and tear allowance) is available for capital expenditure incurred on the provision of machinery or plant for business purposes. The allowances are granted at a rate of 12.5% per annum over 8 years.  The item of plant or machinery must be in use at the end of the period for which the allowance is being claimed. Expenditure incurred on teleconferencing equipment would be eligible for the allowance provided such equipment is used for business purposes.

In relation to travel to meetings, it is a general rule in the public service that only essential travel is undertaken and that the number of officers on any official journey is kept to the absolute minimum and teleconferencing is one means used to reduce travel, both in Ireland and abroad.

For instance, my Department has in place video conferencing facilities which staff can avail of for meetings.  In addition, equipment such as web cameras and headsets, have been rolled out to a number of staff to facilitate video / web conferencing from pcs.