In Finance Act 2002, I introduced a new scheme of relief which provides that qualifying sportspersons, whether in a professional or semi-professional capacity, are entitled, on retirement, to an annual deduction from earnings from direct participation in their particular sport of the order of 40% for up to ten years of assessment back to and including the tax year 1990-91 provided the sports person was resident in the State in these years. Eligible income under the scheme arises from direct participation in the sport and does not include income accruing from sponsorship, advertising or endorsements. The relief can be claimed in the year in which the sportsperson ceases to be permanently engaged in that sport, provided the individual is resident for tax in that year, and will be provided by way of repayment of tax.
The categories of sportspersons that can avail of this relief are listed in Schedule 23A of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 which provided higher contribution limits for retirement annuity purposes. These categories are an athlete, badminton player, boxer, cyclist, footballer, golfer, jockey, motor racing driver, rugby player, squash player, swimmer and tennis player. I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that statistics are not available which would enable the information requested by the Deputy to be provided since this scheme was introduced relatively recently.