Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Ceisteanna (181, 182, 183, 184)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

181. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the estimated revenue that would raised by introducing a wealth tax at a rate of 1% set at a personal threshold of €1 million of net wealth with no asset exemptions. [21932/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

182. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the estimated revenue the would be raised by introducing a wealth tax at a rate of 1% set at a personal threshold of €1 million of net wealth with no asset exemptions with a rising rate of 1% at each additional €500,000 wealth threshold (details supplied). [21933/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

183. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the estimated revenue that would be raised by introducing a wealth tax at a rate of 1% set a personal threshold of €1 million of net wealth with asset exemptions for voluntary pensions and farms. [21934/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

184. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the estimated revenue that would be raised by introducing a wealth tax at a rate of 1% set at a personal threshold of €1 million of net wealth with asset exemptions for voluntary pensions and farms with a rising rate of 1% at each additional €500,000 wealth threshold (details supplied). [21935/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 181 to 184, inclusive, together.

As there have been no subsequent developments in this area, the position remains the same as in my response to the Deputy's PQs regarding the same scenarios on 19 June 2018 which is as follows:

In order to estimate the potential revenue from a wealth tax, it is necessary to identify the wealth held by individuals. As there is currently no such wealth tax in operation in Ireland, the Department understands that the Revenue Commissioners have no basis or requirement to compile the data needed to produce estimates in relation to a potential wealth tax. Although an individual's assets and liabilities are declared to the Revenue in a number of specific circumstances (for example, after a death), this information is not a complete measure of assets and liabilities in the State, nor is it recorded in a manner that would allow analysis of the implications of an overarching wealth based tax.

However, in 2013 the Central Statistics Office conducted the first comprehensive survey of household wealth in Ireland (the Household Finance and Consumption Survey (HFCS)). The survey provides information on the ownership and values of different types of assets and liabilities along with more general information on income, employment and household composition.

During 2016, my Department, jointly with the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), conducted a research project into the distribution of wealth in Ireland and the potential implications of a wealth tax using the HFCS. The research formed part of an on-going joint-research programme with the ESRI on the Macro-Economy and Taxation. The research paper, available on the ESRI website, presented results on the composition of wealth across both the wealth and income distributions in Ireland. A number of wealth tax scenarios were then applied to the Irish data (wealth tax regimes from other jurisdictions and hypothetical scenarios). In each case, the associated tax bases and revenue yields, the number of liable households across the income distribution, and the characteristics of the households affected are outlined.

The wealth tax scenarios in the research paper that are closest to the wealth taxes outlined by the Deputy in his questions are the high threshold-large exemptions scenario (which best matches the scenario set out in PQ 21934/19), and the high threshold-no exemptions scenarios (which best matches the scenario outlined in PQ 21932/19) in Table 5 of the Department of Finance/ESRI study.

The first of these scenarios (high threshold-large exemption) has a personal threshold of €1.0 million (doubled if married and a €500,000 increase per child), applies a 1% tax rate and excludes farms, the household main residence, business and pension assets. This scenario, given the distribution of household wealth in Ireland in 2013, is estimated to raise €53 million as outlined in Table 8 of the Department of Finance/ESRI study. The research notes that its tax revenue estimates are static; in other words, no behavioral response to the tax is modeled. The estimate of €53 million, therefore, is likely to be an upper estimate of the revenue that could be raised.

The second scenario (high threshold-no exemption), applies a 1% tax rate but allows for no exclusions. This scenario, given the distribution of household wealth in Ireland in 2013, is estimated to raise €248 million as outlined in Table 8 of the Department of Finance/ESRI study. Again, the research notes that its tax revenue estimates are static; in other words, no behavioral response to the tax is modeled. The estimate of €248 million, therefore, is also likely to be an upper estimate of the revenue that could be raised.

Given that the above scenarios are not identical to those outlined in the Deputy's questions, care should be taken in interpreting the revenue estimates.

In order to estimate the yield from a tax with the precise parameters as outlined in the Deputy's questions, it would be necessary to seek the agreement of the CSO to revisit its original survey data for this specified purpose. This would be a significant undertaking that would take considerable time and resources to complete. It is also noted that the HFCS does not include specific data on the global assets for those domiciled or ordinarily resident and the domestic assets for those resident for tax purposes. As such, any estimate on the yield obtained from HFCS data would not fully capture the parameters outlined in the Deputy's question.

However, there are a number of additional scenarios set out in the paper which the Deputy may find informative.