Tuesday, 3 February 2004

Ceisteanna (405)

Willie Penrose

Ceist:

535 Mr. Penrose asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the necessary steps she will take to refund PRSI and health levies to PRSA contributors who pay direct to PRSA providers as distinct from contributors through payroll deduction, as provided in the Pension (Amendment) Act 2002, as such direct contributions are losing out financially due to the Department's failure to put in place the mechanism to effect such refunds, resulting in the Exchequer being unjustly enriched; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [3004/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Family)

Provision has been made to exempt from PRSI contributions payments made to personal retirement savings accounts, PRSAs, introduced under the Pensions (Amendment) Act 2002 and payments to other personal pensions in the form of ordinary retirement annuity contracts, which are paid through the payroll system. These arrangements were provided for in the regulations that govern the PAYE system.

Contributions to PRSAs and other personal pensions may also be made in a personal capacity outside the payroll system. Social welfare legislation provides for the return, subject to certain conditions, of PRSI contributions paid in respect of payments made to such pensions by employees or proprietary directors outside the payroll system. The calculation of a refund requires input from both the Revenue and social welfare systems and, in addition, a PRSI refund may also be linked with an application for income tax relief.

My Department and the Revenue Commissions are in consultation to agree mechanisms to refund these contributions. As soon as the mechanisms are in place information as to how to claim a refund will be publicised and all refunds due will be paid in full.