Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Ceisteanna (218)

Pat Deering


218. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Finance if he will consider a review of the universal social charge in advance of budget 2015. [21500/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

The Universal Social Charge (USC) was introduced in Budget 2011 to replace the Income Levy and the Health Levy. It was a necessary measure to widen the tax base, remove poverty traps and raise revenue to reduce the budget deficit. It is a more sustainable charge than those it replaced.  It is applied at a low rate on a wide base.  I should point out that it was never intended that the USC would be a temporary measure, it was designed and incorporated in to the Irish taxation system as part of its permanent structure and the revenues collected play a vital part in meeting the many expenditure demands placed on the Exchequer. 

As the Deputy may be aware, delivering on a commitment in the Programme for Government, the USC was already reviewed by the Department of Finance in the lead up to Budget 2012. The relevant report is available on my Department's website. As a result of the review of the USC, the Government decided in Budget 2012 to increase the entry point to the Universal Social Charge from €4,004 to €10,036 per annum. It is estimated that this removed almost 330,000 individuals from the charge. As is normal practice, my officials will examine potential options for changes to the tax system for my consideration as part of the overall Budget package.