Tuesday, 10 February 2004

Ceisteanna (138, 139, 140, 141)

Billy Timmins

Ceist:

214 Mr. Timmins asked the Minister for Finance the position in relation to a person (details supplied) in County Wicklow who is waiting for payment of their RCT for October, November and December 2003; if this can be paid as a matter of urgency; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3771/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Finance)

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that a relevant contracts tax deduction certificate or RCTDC form in respect of the taxpayer, which covered RCT withheld during the period August to October 2003, was received by the Revenue Commissioners on 17 November 2003. A covering letter from the taxpayer's tax adviser requested Revenue not to repay the relevant credit but to retain it instead to offset against future taxes. This request was agreed to and the relevant credit was retained. A further RCTDC form covering RCT withheld during the period October to December 2003 was received by Revenue on 9 January 2004. Again, in the covering letter from the taxpayer's tax adviser accompanying this form, a request was made not to repay the relevant credit but to retain it to offset against future taxes.

I am further advised by the Revenue Commissioners that they have been in contact with the tax adviser who has informed them that the taxpayer now wishes to have the relevant credits repaid. I have been informed that both repayments were processed on Friday last, 6 February 2004, on the understanding that the taxpayer's adviser will submit his client's outstanding income tax return for 2002 and other information immediately.

Billy Timmins

Ceist:

215 Mr. Timmins asked the Minister for Finance the position in relation to payment of RCT which has a backlog of nearly three months; the reason this is the position; if extra staff are needed to deal with this backlog; and the plans he has to rectify this in view of the fact that the long delay with payment is putting livelihoods at risk; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3772/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that claims to repayment of RCT arise where a sub-contractor does not present a C2 certificate to a principal contractor when they are being paid for work which they have undertaken on a contract. In these circumstances, the principal contractor is obliged to withhold 35% RCT from such payments and to pay it over to Revenue. A C2 certificate can be applied for by a sub-contractor and will be issued by the Revenue Commissioners where Revenue satisfy themselves that the sub-contractor's business meets a number of criteria which includes ensuring that the sub-contractor is fully tax compliant. The Revenue Commissioners encourage sub-contractors to apply for C2 certificates as they not alone reduce the administrative burden on sub-contractors but also significantly assist the sub-contractor's cashflow.

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that due to the receipt in recent weeks of an unprecedented high volume of repayment claims and requests for offsets in respect of RCT credits for the counties of Kildare, Meath and Wicklow, there is a backlog of these claims for processing at present. An action plan is in place to deal with these arrears and it is understood that substantial inroads will be made into this backlog within the next two weeks.

The Revenue Commissioners regret the delays in dealing with these repayments and offsets and they have assured me that they are doing all they can to get up to date with these claims as quickly as possible.

Arthur Morgan

Ceist:

216 Mr. Morgan asked the Minister for Finance , further to Parliamentary Question no 256 of 3 February 2004, if he will confirm that grave professional misconduct includes breaches of employment laws in respect of supplies to Departments or State bodies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3902/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

What constitutes grave professional misconduct can only be assessed having regard to the circumstances of each particular case. Ultimately such matters may have to be determined by the courts.

Pat Carey

Ceist:

217 Mr. Carey asked the Minister for Finance the reason the higher rate of VAT is applied to telephone bills; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3935/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Telecommunications services were made liable for VAT for the first time at the rate of 10% on 1 January 1991. The rate was subsequently increased to 12.5% in March 1991 and to 16% in March 1992. Telecommunications services remained at this rate until 1 March 1993, when in the context of the general restructuring of the VAT rates to take account of the requirements of the EU Single Market and for budgetary reasons, they became subject to the standard rate of 21%. Goods and services at the standard rate make up to over 50% of the list of goods and services which are subject to VAT. The purpose of VAT, like all other taxes, is to raise revenue to fund State services.