Written Answers. - Stamp Duty.

Dan Boyle

Ceist:

108 Mr. Boyle asked the Minister for Finance the way in which the levy on credit cards is applied; the reason some finance institutions have asked for this levy more than once during the calendar year; and, if this constitutes sharp practice, the way in which his Department intends to deal with such abuses of consumers. [19292/03]

Section 140 of the Finance Act 2003 gave legislative effect to the stamp duty increase from €19 to €40 per annum on credit card accounts.

Under the previous legislation the stamp duty on credit cards was in respect of an account maintained by the bank on 1 April and people could cancel their cards in a particular manner so as to avoid the annual charge. An anti-avoidance provision for credit cards was included in the Finance Act 2003. It ensures that a stamp duty charge will arise where the account is maintained by the bank at any time during the 12 month period ending on 1 April rather than being maintained specifically on 1 April. This change is effective where the charge arises after 1 April.

If an individual, having used a card at any time, cancels the credit card after 1 April in a year, a further stamp duty charge of €40 is payable on closure of the account, as the account had been maintained by the financial institution during the year ending on 1 April of the following year. This is consistent with applying a stamp duty charge for a year or part of a year for which the credit card account is held.

There would be Revenue implications in any change to the current provisions. I intend to keep this matter under consideration in the context of the 2004 budget and Finance Bill, which is the normal context for any changes in taxation arrangements.