Departmental Expenditure

Ceisteanna (97)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

97. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Finance the amount expended on the renewal of licences (details supplied) by his Department since 2009 to date in 2019; the amount projected to be spent on the renewal of such licences by his Department over the next five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35341/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

My Department uses Lotus Notes for a small number of legacy systems for which perpetual licenses were purchased prior to 2009.  Accordingly, the Lotus Notes licenses held by my Department have not been renewed in the period 2009 to date.  Therefore no expenditure on licences has been incurred during this time, nor are there currently any plans to do so.

Departmental Surveys

Ceisteanna (98)

Noel Rock

Ceist:

98. Deputy Noel Rock asked the Minister for Finance if he will provide historic data held by his Department to provide comparative reference points (details supplied). [35360/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

Officials from the Department of Finance and the ESRI published a paper in 2016 titled “Scenarios and Distributional Implications of a Household Wealth Tax in Ireland”, within which the table referenced by the Deputy was presented. The data are drawn from the first wave of the Household Finance and Consumption Survey (HFCS), which the CSO carried out in 2013 and results of which were published in 2015. The second wave of the HFCS is due to be published later in 2019.

Historic data on aggregate household net wealth is available in the Central Bank of Ireland’s published Quarterly Financial Accounts. The latest data shows that the net worth of Irish households reached a new high of €772 billion in Q1 2019, equating to roughly €444,000 per household. This analysis shows that the rise in net financial assets held by household was driven primarily by increased value and volume of investment in financial assets. It also shows that household debt fell by €0.6 billion relative to Q4 2018. At €136.9 billion, household debt is now at the lowest level since 2005.

Debt Repayments

Ceisteanna (99, 100, 101)

Joan Burton

Ceist:

99. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the repayment schedule for bilateral loans to the UK; the capital amount repaid to date by transaction; the amount outstanding; if the repayments are made in sterling or euro; the cost to date in euro of each repayment in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35411/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Joan Burton

Ceist:

100. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the cost in euro of each sterling interest repayment to date on bilateral loans from the UK; the applicable interest rate in each case; the projected interest costs for the remainder of 2019 and in 2020, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35412/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Joan Burton

Ceist:

101. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the projected savings in 2019 and 2020 respectively to date on repayments on loans to the UK due to the fall in the value of sterling by interest and capital amounts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35413/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 99 to 101, inclusive, together.

The UK bilateral loan is a sterling loan which was drawn down in eight equal tranches of £0.4bn. The first tranche was drawn in October 2011 and the last in September 2013. At its peak, the loan totalled £3.2bn.

Each tranche is repayable seven and a half years after disbursement. Principal repayments are made in sterling. The first £0.4bn tranche of the loan was repaid in April of this year and the second in July. Therefore, a total of £0.8bn has so far been repaid, which leaves £2.4bn outstanding. The euro equivalent value of the principal repayments made to date is €1.1bn and that of the six future repayments is €2.8bn. These figures include the impact of currency hedging transactions.

The principal repayment schedule, including the two tranches already repaid, is set out in the following table.

Year

Month

Repayment £bn 

 2019

Apr

 0.4

 

July

 0.4

 

Sep

 0.4

2020

Feb

 0.4

 

Apr

 0.4

 

Sep

 0.4

 

Dec

 0.4

 2021

Mar

 0.4

Each of the eight individual tranches of the loan is at a fixed interest rate. Including a service fee of 0.18%, the weighted average sterling interest rate across the tranches was 2.6%, with the rates on the individual tranches ranging from 2.31% to 3.37%. Following the first two of the principal repayments, the weighted average sterling interest rate has fallen to just below 2.5%.

The National Treasury Management Agency, in its role in managing the National Debt, hedged the currency exposure on the UK bilateral loan. This means that any sterling appreciation or depreciation against the euro does not materially affect the aggregate euro equivalent value of the interest and principal repayments. The issue of interest savings from sterling depreciation therefore does not arise.

Interest is payable twice annually, in June and in December. Accrued interest is also paid at the point of maturity. Interest payments are in sterling. The euro equivalent values of each interest payment to date, including the 0.18% fee, are set out in the following table. The figures include the impact of hedging.

Year

Month

€m equivalent

2019

Jul

1

 

Jun

30

 

Apr

4

2018

Dec

36

 

Jun

36

2017

Dec

36

 

Jun

36

2016

Dec

37

 

Jun

37

2015

Dec

36

 

Jun

35

2014

Dec

36

 

Jun

34

2013

Dec

37

 

Jun

27

2012

Dec

11

 

Jun

22

2011

Dec

4

The estimated euro equivalent interest payments for the remainder of 2019 and the full year 2020 are approximately €25m and €30m respectively.

Tax Credits

Ceisteanna (102)

Anne Rabbitte

Ceist:

102. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Finance the estimated cost of increasing the home carer’s tax credit by increments (details supplied) in tabular form. [35435/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

The cost of an increase to the Home Carer Tax credit of €50 is shown in Revenue’s Ready Reckoner available at https://www.revenue.ie/en/corporate/information-about-revenue/statistics/ready-reckoner/index.aspx. The current maximum value of the HCC is €1,500. The costs of increasing the credit as requested by the Deputy can be calculated on a straight-line basis and are set out in the following table:

Home Carer Credit – Maximum Value

First Year Cost of Increase €m

Full Year Cost of Increase €m

€1,600

6.6

7.6

€1,700

13.2

15.2

€1,800

19.8

22.8

€1,900

26.4

30.4

€2,000

33

38

€2,100

39.6

45.6

€2,200

46.2

53.2

€2,300

52.8

60.8

€2,400

59.4

68.4

€2,500

66

76

The above estimates have been generated by reference to 2020 incomes as calculated on the basis of actual data for the year 2017, the latest year for which returns are available, adjusted as necessary for income, self-employment and employment trends in the interim. The estimates are provisional and may be revised. They assume no behavioural change by taxpayers.

Brexit Preparations

Ceisteanna (103, 104, 154)

Lisa Chambers

Ceist:

103. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Finance the number of firms that have still not obtained an EORI number; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35458/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Lisa Chambers

Ceist:

104. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Finance the number of firms without an EORI number that have been telephoned by the Revenue Commissioners to inform them of the need to obtain an EORI number; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35459/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

154. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the number of companies and economic operators that have applied and received an economic operators' registration and identification number by month and operator headquarters location by country from July 2016 to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36621/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 103, 104 and 154 together.

I am advised by Revenue that it is actively engaging with businesses regarding Brexit through a multi-layered comprehensive trader engagement programme. The programme is designed to maximise trader understanding of the potential impact of Brexit and to support and encourage businesses to take the practical steps necessary to be prepared and ready for the implications of Brexit.

The current phase of Revenue’s Trader Engagement Programme started on 15 July 2019. The engagement programme encompasses all businesses (approximately 92,000) that traded with the UK in 2018. These businesses were identified by Revenue through analysis of VAT Information Exchanges system (VIES) returns. Each business that traded with the UK in 2018 has been written to and is being provided with suggestions regarding practical preparatory steps to take based on their trade pattern in 2018.

Additional follow up telephone contact is being made with businesses that have the largest volumes of trade with the UK (greater than €5,000) and those that trade most frequently with the UK (at least quarterly). This is a total of approx.  42,000 such businesses. At the end of August 2019, Revenue had contacted over 19,000 of these businesses to offer further advice and support.  Revenue expects to complete the  telephone contact to the remainder of the approx. 42,000 businesses by 20 Sept 2019.

Acquiring an Economic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI) number is the minimum requirement for businesses that wish to trade with, or through, the UK post-Brexit. There has been a significant increase in registrations for EORI numbers with almost 5,000 businesses registering in August 2019 alone. This represents a 600% increase when compared with July 2019 and brings the total number of registrations to date in 2019 to just over 13,200. Full details of EORI registrations, since 2016, broken down by year and month are provided in Table 1. The EORI registration data maintained by Revenue does not allow for the compilation of data relating to headquarter location.

88% of the import trade with the UK in 2018 was carried out by businesses who now have an EORI number. This indicates that businesses that are going to be significantly impacted by Brexit are responding to the call to be prepared. Details of 2018 imports from the UK are provided in Table 2.

It is a similar picture for exports, with 95% of the export trade being carried out by businesses who now have an EORI number. Details of 2018 exports to the UK are provided in Table 3.

 The data does indicate that there are still over 2,000 businesses who have trade with the UK in excess of €100,000, and in some cases more than €1 million, who do not have an EORI number. Such businesses, if they intend to continue to trade with the UK post Brexit, are putting their businesses at significant risk if they do not prepare now for Brexit. It is critically important that these businesses take the necessary preparatory action now.

 A significant proportion of smaller businesses, with trade value of less than €5,000 at both import (82%) and export (62%), do not have an EORI number. Getting an EORI number is an important first step if they intend to trade with the UK post-Brexit. They should also undertake the other preparatory steps advised by Revenue to mitigate the risks presented by Brexit.

I very much welcome Revenue’s intensified Brexit engagement with businesses and I strongly urge all businesses who receive a Brexit preparedness letter from Revenue to take note of its advice, thereby ensuring they are Brexit ready by 31 October.

TABLE 1 - EORI REGISTRATIONS BY YEAR & MONTH

YEAR

 YEAR TOTAL

JAN

FEB

MAR

APR

MAY

JUN

JULY

AUG

SEP

OCT

NOV

DEC

2016

2,902

260

213

260

271

312

234

182

204

274

250

332

110

2017

2,594

244

158

221

188

271

259

190

268

198

248

138

211

2018

2,976

243

183

187

215

268

201

210

211

219

301

436

302

2019*

13,207

384

2233

2077

1386

489

462

805

4960

411

 

 

 

TOTAL

53,252*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NOTES

*THE NUMBER OF EORI REGISTRATIONS FOR SEPTEMBER RUNS TO 02/09/2019

*53,252 is the total registrations including the years before 2016

TABLE 2 - Statistics related to VIES Imports from the UK in 2018

Threshold value

Number of cases

Overall value of imports

% value of imports where   cases have an EORI registration

% value of imports where   cases do not have an EORI registration

% with an EORI

% not registered for EORI

Overall

91,769

€20.5 bn

88%

12%

33.2%

66.8%

< €5,000

50,425

€52.3 m

22.1%

77.9%

17.4%

82.6%

€5 - €50k

25,248

€475 m

42.4%

57.6%

41%

59%

€50 -€100k

5,302

€375.3 m

54.7%

45.3%

54.1%

45.9%

€100k - €1m

8,467

€2.59 bn

79.4%

20.6%

75 %

25%

Cases above €1m

2,327

€17.01 bn

91.6%

8.4%

90.3%

9.7%

TABLE 3 - Statistics related to VIES Exports to the UK in 2018

Threshold value

Number of cases

Overall value of exports

% value of exports where   cases have an EORI registration

% value of exports where   cases do not have an EORI registration

% with an EORI

% not registered for EORI

Overall

11,787

€15.36 bn

95.4%

4.6%

61%

39%

< €5,000

6,084

€1.46 m

76.6%

23.4%

37.8%

62.2%

€5 - €50k

1,698

€36.88 m

79.3%

20.7%

78.9%

21.1%

€50 -€100k

689

€50 m

83.2%

16.8%

83%

17%

€100k - €1m

2,106

€760 m

89.6%

10.4%

87.8%

12.1%

Cases above €1m

1,210

€14.5 bn

95.7%

4.3%

94.2%

5.8%

Stamp Duty

Ceisteanna (105)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

105. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance if persons who develop schemes under a planning permission and commencement notice a number of years old can benefit from the stamp duty refund under section 61 of the Finance Act 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35465/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

I am advised by Revenue that the Stamp Duty Refund scheme was introduced in respect of non-residential land that was purchased on or after 11 October 2017 at the increased Stamp Duty rate of 6% and subsequently developed for residential purposes. The scheme was intended to incentivise the building of houses and apartments following the increase in the rate of Stamp Duty on the purchase of land from 2% to 6% (Budget Day 10 October 2017).

A refund of the difference (some or all, depending on the particular circumstances) between the previous rate of 2% and the increased rate of 6% may be claimed where certain conditions are satisfied. The main conditions are that the purchaser must have paid Stamp Duty at the rate of 6% when acquiring the land, construction work must have started within 30 months of the land being purchased and the residential development must be completed within two years of the start of construction.

As the scheme is contingent on Stamp Duty being paid at the rate of 6%, any residential development started on foot of planning permission and commencement notice relating to land purchased before 11 October 2017 would not come within the scope of the scheme. Such land would have been subject to the previous 2% rate of Stamp Duty.

Tax Incentives

Ceisteanna (106)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

106. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Finance if tax incentives to support farmers will be introduced (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35548/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

With less than five weeks to go, I do not propose to discuss the details of measures which may or may not be under consideration as part of the Budget. However, the Deputy will be aware that there is already in place a wide range of tax supports to assist farmers, including capital allowance regimes.

General Data Protection Regulation

Ceisteanna (107)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

107. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Finance the names of external consultancies that delivered and continue to deliver advice and training on all aspects of GDPR in the context of preparedness and ongoing upskilling of staff regarding the regulation; the cost expended on the external advice and training of same to date in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35576/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

The Department of Finance is aware of its additional responsibilities as a controller and processor of personal data under GDPR. The Department pre-empted the changes in legislation and held GDPR training for staff.

I wish to inform the Deputy of the names of external consultancies that delivered and continue to deliver advice and training - this has been presented in the following table.

This training was completed in preparation of the implementation of GDPR in May 2018 and ongoing CPD for staff.

180.Year:

2017

2018

2019

Total Spend: (€19,349.90)

€5828.60

€10,730.50

€2790.80

GDPR training or preparation training relating to GDPR or Data Protection with the names of the providers of this service.

Course:

GDPR Essentials Level 1

Provider:

Public Affairs Ireland.

Cost:

€2060

Course:

GDPR Advanced Training.

Provider:

Public Affairs Ireland

Cost:

€1100

Course:

Certificate in GDPR and Data Protection

Provider:

Institute of Public Administration

Cost:

€2700

Course:

Certificate in Data Protection

Provider:

Public Affairs Ireland

Cost:

€980

Course:

GDPR Training for Senior Managers.

Provider:

Public Affairs Ireland.

Cost:

€850

Course:

Government Membership for IAPP

Provider:

International Association of Privacy Professionals

Cost:

€90.80

Course:

Data Protection Summit

Provider:

Happening Conferences and Events Ltd.

Cost:

€750

Course:

GDPR Training for staff of the Department.

Provider:

Public Affairs Ireland.

Cost:

€8600

Course:

Certificate in Data Protection course.

Provider:

Institute of Bankers in Ireland

Cost:

€1450

Data Protection Materials:

Data Protection Book.

Provider:

Gill and Macmillan.

Cost:

€180.50

Course:

EU Data Protection Seminar.

Provider:

Academy of European Law (ERA)

Cost:

€588.60

Tax Code

Ceisteanna (108)

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

108. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Finance his plans to change the threshold for siblings in relation to capital acquisitions tax; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35613/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

I would say that consideration of possible changes to CAT rates and thresholds, including in respect of inheritances or gifts to siblings generally takes place as part of the consideration of any changes to the tax system which is undertaken as part of the annual Budget and Finance Bill process.  As is normal, the Deputy will appreciate that I cannot comment on any possible changes in advance of the 2020 Budget. 

Departmental Customer Charters

Ceisteanna (109)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

109. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Finance the number of complaints his Department received under the customer service charter in 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019; if his attention has been drawn to issues and or problems in having complaints registered; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35644/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

In line with the Department's Customer Service Charter 2018-2020, complaints regarding customer service received can be made to the relevant Unit/Division in the first instance, or to the Customer Service Officer in Corporate Affairs.  If the complaint is not resolved the Department's Customer Service Charter highlights the role of the Department’s Appeal's Officer and further recourse to the Office of the Ombudsman to investigate a complaint.

The number of complaints received in the years 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019 are as follows:

Year

Number of Complaints

2017

0

2018

1

2019 (to date)

0

Tax Reliefs Data

Ceisteanna (110, 111)

Maurice Quinlivan

Ceist:

110. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Finance the amount of tax relief claimed on subscriptions to professional organisations by workers and self-employed persons in 2018 by each professional organisation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35654/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Maurice Quinlivan

Ceist:

111. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Finance the amount of tax relief claimed by businesses on subscriptions to business representative bodies in 2018 by each business representative body; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35655/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 110 and 111 together.

I am advised by Revenue that there is no requirement for workers or self-employed persons to separately declare professional subscriptions in their tax returns (allowable subscriptions are included in their allowable expenses). There is also no requirement for businesses to declare subscriptions to business representative bodies in their tax returns. It is therefore not possible to provide the data requested by the Deputy.

Tax Reliefs Costs

Ceisteanna (112)

Maurice Quinlivan

Ceist:

112. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Finance the estimated full year cost of restoring trade union subscription tax relief at the level it was at before its abolition; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35656/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

A review of the appropriate treatment for tax purposes of trade union subscriptions and professional body fees was carried out by my Department in 2016 and included in the 2016 report on tax expenditures published on Budget day 2016. The review may be found at the following link:

(http://www.budget.gov.ie/Budgets/2017/Documents/Tax_Expenditures_Report%202016_final.pdf)

The review concluded that:

"...analysis of the scheme using the principles laid down by the Department’s Tax Expenditure Guidelines shows that it fails to reach the evaluation threshold to warrant introduction in this manner.

The reinstatement of this tax relief would have no justifiable policy rationale and does not express a defined policy objective. Given that individuals join trade unions largely for the well-known benefits of membership, and the potential value of the relief to an individual would equate to just over €1 per week, this scheme would have little to no incentive effect on the numbers choosing to join. There is no specific market failure that needs to be addressed by such a scheme, and it would consist largely of deadweight."

Given the conclusions of the review, I have no plans to reintroduce such a relief.

I am advised by Revenue that the cost and the numbers availing of the relief prior to its abolition are available at the following link:

https://www.revenue.ie/en/corporate/information-about-revenue/statistics/tax-expenditures/costs-expenditures.aspx.

The following table sets out details of the cost of the relief in the seven years immediately prior to its end.

 

Year

 

Cost (€ million)

 

No. of Claims

 

2004

 

10.7

 

248,300

 

2005

 

11.8

 

272,100

 

2006

 

19.2

 

294,300

 

2007

 

20.7

 

316,300

 

2008

 

26.4

 

341,900

 

2009

 

26.7

 

345,800

 

2010

 

26

 

337,500

I am further advised by Revenue that these figures may not provide an accurate indicator of future costs of a new scheme and there is no other basis available to Revenue on which to estimate such costs.

Tax Reliefs Data

Ceisteanna (113)

Maurice Quinlivan

Ceist:

113. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Finance the cost of the special assignee relief programme in 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35662/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

SARP was introduced in Budget 2012 as part of a strategy to promote Foreign Direct Investment into Ireland, and to allow Ireland to compete internationally to attract highly skilled and mobile executives who act as key decision makers within organisations.  

The measure provides income tax relief on a portion of income earned by employees, who are assigned by their employer to work in Ireland, and who previously worked abroad for that employer for a minimum of six months. There is no exemption or relief from USC and PRSI is payable where the individual is not liable to social insurance contributions in the home country.

I am advised by Revenue that 2016 is the latest year for which data are currently available on the Special Assignee Relief Programme (SARP). The cost of the scheme in that year was €18.1 million. 

The latest available costs can be found in Revenue’s Cost of Tax Expenditures publication which is available at the following link: https://www.revenue.ie/en/corporate/documents/statistics/tax-expenditures/costs-tax-expenditures.pdf

I am advised by Revenue that the 2017 SARP report is expected to be published in the coming weeks, at which point the cost for the relief in 2017 will become available at the above link.

Finally, as the Deputy may be aware, following on from concerns I had regarding the increasing cost of the incentive, I amended the SARP legislation in Finance Bill 2018 to reinstate an upper salary threshold at the level of €1 million. This change came into effect for new entrants to the programme from 1 January 2019 and for existing beneficiaries of the programme from 1 January 2020. 

In accordance with the Department of Finance Tax Expenditure Guidelines, SARP is currently the subject of an independent review, carried out by Indecon Economic Consultants, this year. The review exercise affords an opportunity to look at all elements of the relief and it also includes consultation with all relevant stakeholders.

Tax Data

Ceisteanna (114)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

114. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Finance the number of successful applications under the residential development stamp duty refund scheme since its introduction to date in 2019, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35714/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

I am advised by Revenue that the number of successful applications under the Residential Development Stamp Duty Refund Scheme (Section 83D Stamp Duties Consolidation Act 1999) since its introduction to date (23 August 2019) is 661. A tabular breakdown is set out below for the Deputy’s information.

Type of Application

Breakdown

Percentage of Total Successful   Applications

Refund Value

Percentage of Total Refunded

Single Dwelling Unit

610

92%

€1,447,754

23%

Multiple Dwelling Unit

51

8%

€4,798,711

77%

Total

661

 100%

€6,246,465

 100% 

VAT Rate Application

Ceisteanna (115, 148, 162)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

115. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Finance if his attention has been drawn to guidance in relation to food supplements issued by the Revenue Commissioners from May 2007 (details supplied); if his attention has been further drawn to the fact that food supplements were zero rated on 1 January 1991; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35731/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Eamon Scanlon

Ceist:

148. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Finance the reason for the 23% VAT rate for health supplements; if his attention has been drawn to the guidance published by the Revenue Commissioners in May 2007 (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36296/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Kevin O'Keeffe

Ceist:

162. Deputy Kevin O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Finance his plans to ensure that food supplements remain at the zero VAT rate. [36766/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 115, 148 and 162 together.

I am advised by Revenue that the document referred to by the Deputies was an internal document prepared in 2007 and that it was never published on the Revenue website. The document has no legal value or authority over VAT legislation in place on 1 January 1991 or subsequently and has no legal effect. It does not mean that food supplement products were legally zero rated on 1 January 1991 or subsequently. 

Irish VAT legislation does not provide a zero rate for food supplement products; instead there is a legislative provision for zero rating food and drink. The zero rate for food and drink is provided for under a derogation from EU VAT law which allows Member States to retain certain zero rates for goods and services which were expressly covered in their national VAT legislation on 1 January 1991. The legislative provision for food and drink was in place on 1 January 1991, however there was no legislative provision for food supplement products and therefore they cannot be legally zero rated.

Shortly after the introduction of VAT Revenue allowed the zero rate to be applied to certain food supplement products (vitamins, minerals and fish oils). This concessionary approach expanded as the market developed over the years and resulted in the zero rating by Revenue of further similar products, including products other than vitamins, minerals and fish oils.

The evolution of the scope of the concessionary treatment of certain types of food supplement products was well understood by the industry and by agents representing clients in the food supplements sector. Revenue has already acknowledged that the scope of its zero rating concession had broadened progressively over time to the point that it had become increasingly difficult to maintain an effective distinction between food supplement products that could benefit from the zero rate and those that were standard rated. Revenue acknowledges that this concessionary approach was unsatisfactory and led to diverging and inconsistent practices. There were continuous efforts by elements in the industry to expand the zero rate to products that should be standard rated, including products claiming to enhance male fertility, promote hair growth, help to boost tanning, avoid a hangover and reduce stress.

Revenue conducted a comprehensive review of the VAT treatment of food supplement products, including getting an expert report on the definition of food for the purposes of the VAT Consolidation Act. The expert prepared a detailed, scientific report that concluded that food supplement products are not conventional food. Based on the expert report and its own legal analysis, Revenue concluded that the status quo was no longer sustainable.

Following this review, Revenue engaged with my Department concerning policy options that might be considered in the context of Finance Bill 2018. The relevant legislation was not changed in Finance Act 2018 and therefore Revenue issued new guidance in December 2018 which removed the concessionary zero rating of various food supplement products with effect from 1 March 2019. Following representation from Deputies and from the industry, I wrote to Revenue outlining my plans to examine the policy and legislative options for the taxation of food supplement products in the context of Finance Bill 2019. Revenue responded by delaying the withdrawal of its concessionary zero rating of the food supplement products concerned until 1 November 2019. This will allow time for the consideration of any legislative changes in the context of Budget 2020.

My Department carried out a public consultation on the taxation of food supplement products. The consultation sought input from a wide range of interested parties, including from health and nutrition experts and the Minister for Health. The results of the consultation were included in the recently published 2019 VAT Tax Strategy Group (‘TSG’) paper as part of the Budget 2020 process. Several options have been set out on the VAT treatment of food supplement products in the TSG paper, available here:

https://assets.gov.ie/19123/083625ae43d948c88917c749a2ff6b57.pdf

Tax Reliefs Data

Ceisteanna (116, 117, 118, 119)

Marc MacSharry

Ceist:

116. Deputy Marc MacSharry asked the Minister for Finance the number of persons who availed of the sportspersons relief tax scheme in each of the past ten years in tabular form. [35734/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Marc MacSharry

Ceist:

117. Deputy Marc MacSharry asked the Minister for Finance the amount of revenue forgone or refunded on the sportspersons relief tax scheme in each of the past ten years in tabular form. [35735/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Marc MacSharry

Ceist:

118. Deputy Marc MacSharry asked the Minister for Finance if he has considered extending the sportsperson relief tax scheme to players of Gaelic football or hurling. [35736/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Marc MacSharry

Ceist:

119. Deputy Marc MacSharry asked the Minister for Finance if he has met with the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport to discuss the extension of the sportsperson relief tax scheme to players of Gaelic football or hurling. [35737/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 116 to 119, inclusive, together.

Section 480A Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 (TCA) provides tax relief for certain sportspersons on earnings which derive directly from participation in the sport concerned, such as prize money and performance fees, but not other earnings such as sponsorship fees and income from advertisements or endorsements.

Where the eligibility criteria for the relief are met, the individual is entitled to a deduction of 40% of certain income arising in any ten years (as chosen by the individual) within the period spanning the year of retirement and the fourteen years preceding that year.

For the purposes of the legislation, the qualifying individual must have engaged in a 'specified occupation' or 'specified profession' as outlined in Schedule 23A of the legislation, to include the following:

- Athlete

- Badminton Player

- Boxer

- Cricketer

- Cyclist

- Footballer

- Golfer

- Jockey

- Motor Racing Driver

- Rugby Player

- Squash Player

- Swimmer

- Tennis Player

With regard to the Deputy's question on the cost and the number availing of the relief, the following table outlines this information for the ten years between 2008 and 2017 (the latest year for which data are available):

Year

Exchequer Cost

€M

Number availing of the relief

2017

0.4

31

2016

0.6

45

2015

0.5

38

2014

0.3

38

2013

0.3

46

2012

0.3

25

2011

0.3

23

2010

0.3

45

2009

0.2

15

2008

0.2

17

Extension of the tax relief to gaelic games players as mentioned by the Deputy would raise a number of issues and challenges. From the Deputy's question, it is not clear as to what level of playing activity such relief might apply. Given the amateur status of the players, income from sources not related to the playing of gaelic games might need to be taken into account. This would have implications for the tax system that would need to be carefully examined.  In addition, equity issues might arise as regards the equal treatment of players from both within and outside the jurisdiction.

As regards discussions between the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport and me on an extension of the scheme as described by the Deputy, I anticipate that the subject may well be raised in pre-budget meetings.

Tax Reliefs Application

Ceisteanna (120)

Ruth Coppinger

Ceist:

120. Deputy Ruth Coppinger asked the Minister for Finance if the disregard of the first €3,000 when calculating tax relief for third level fees will be revised; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35739/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

Section 473A of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 provides for tax relief at the standard rate of income tax (20%) in respect of qualifying fees paid by an individual for a third level education course, subject to the terms and conditions set out in that section.  Qualifying fees mean tuition fees in respect of an approved course at an approved college, reduced by the amount of the student contribution which, in the case of a full-time course, is currently €3,000.

In 2017, the most recent year for which data are available, the Exchequer cost of the measure was some €15.2m.  Full details of the relief, including the terms and conditions that apply, are set out on the Revenue website at https://www.revenue.ie/en/personal-tax-credits-reliefs-and-exemptions/education/tuition-fees-paid-for-third-level-education/index.aspx

The maximum level of the student contribution of €3,000 has remained unchanged since 2015. However, at this relatively short remove, it is well established practice, for me as Minister for Finance, not to comment on changes to tax policy that may or may not be included in the annual Budget.

Insurance Industry

Ceisteanna (121)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

121. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance when the key information report on employer and public liability insurance claims will be published; if an organisation (details supplied) has submitted the required data in relation to same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35808/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

As the Deputy is aware, Recommendation 4 of the Cost of Insurance Working Group’s (CIWG) Report on the Cost of Employer and Public Liability Insurance required the Department of Finance to publish a key information report on employer liability (EL) and public liability (PL) insurance claims by Q4 2018. In order to do this, the CIWG’s data sub-group developed a template with specified key metrics which was sent to Insurance Ireland by Minister of State for Financial Services and Insurance, Michael D’Arcy TD, in May 2018.  In it, he requested that the completed data submission be returned by the end of Q3 2018 to allow sufficient time for the production and publication of the report by the end of Q4 2018.

Insurance Ireland was unable to meet this deadline. However in their most recent update to my Department in late July, they indicated that they have circulated a data request to their members to complete and return, and that it is expected this work will take six weeks to complete.  Following the return of the data they will require outside expertise to aggregate and anonymise the data.  They stated that it was their goal to have the output of this data to the Department for review six weeks after the receipt of final data from members.  I would add that following receipt of the data return, my Department, with technical assistance from the Central Bank of Ireland, will need a certain amount of time to review it and produce a report on the basis of it, therefore it is possible that such a report will not be published until at least Q1 2020.