Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Ceisteanna (198)

Sean Fleming

Ceist:

202 Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the full list of allowances that are not subject to income tax and the rates applicable that are available to him and Ministers of State in his Department in respect of their official duties including allowances relating to periods when they are away from their offices, either within the State or abroad; and the actual amounts claimed and paid since 9 March 2011 to him and Ministers of State; if these are currently under review; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35068/12]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Expenditure)

Ministers and Ministers of State are entitled to the same allowances as Members of the Oireachtas with some exceptions.

As the Deputy will be aware, the legislation providing for Oireachtas expense allowances is exempt from taxation under section 836 of the Taxes Consolidation Act which was inserted into the Act by section 3(7) of the Oireachtas (Allowances to Members) and Ministerial and Parliamentary Offices Act 2009.

Ministers do not receive the Travel and Accommodation Allowance provided to Members of the Oireachtas.

However, Ministers outside the Dublin area who maintain second homes because of their official duties can claim an income tax deduction of €6,500 in maintaining that second home as well as the annual mortgage repayment. The availability of this allowance is determined by the Revenue Commissioners.

Since 1 May 2011 Cabinet Ministers with the exception of Taoiseach, Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Law Reform now use their own cars on official business. All Ministers are now paid for official mileage up to 96,540 kilometres or 60,000 miles per annum. Ministers of State have used their own cars on official business since 1984.

Ministers including Ministers of State may appoint two civilian drivers the salaries for whom are paid by the Minister's respective Department.

Ministers do not receive overnight payments while in Dublin. Ministers on official overnight business away from their home or headquarters may claim the vouched cost of a hotel room including tax and up to 15% in respect of any service charge. They may also claim an overnight subsistence allowance of €72.66.

Taxation is a matter for the Revenue Commissioners in the first instance however, I understand that where office holders and employees necessarily incur expenses of travel and subsistence relating to that travel in the performance of the duties of their office or employment, the reimbursement of such expenses may, in certain circumstances be made tax-free.

Where a Minister participates in a visit abroad an allowance of up to a maximum limit of €190.46 may be claimed to cover additional costs that may arise such as, for example, the purchase of a gift for the Minister's counterpart.

There are limits on what may be spent on official entertainment by Ministers and other civil servants. For Ministers the limit per person is €64 for dinner, €51 for lunch and €13 for a reception. These figures have not been amended since 2000.

I can confirm to the Deputy that apart from Oireachtas expenses which are provided to all Members the only expenses I have claimed for the period specified is mileage of €13,964.02.