Thursday, 19 September 2019

Ceisteanna (62, 63)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

62. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the number of persons who have availed of the special assignee relief programme in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019, by salaries in ranges (details supplied). [38121/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

63. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the number of persons who have availed of the special assignee relief Programme in each of the years 2013 to 2018 and to date in 2019; the cost of tax foregone from the programme in each year; the number of persons availing of the programme; the tax foregone from the programme disaggregated by year; the estimated savings that would be made by abolishing the programme in each of the years 2020 to 2024; and the estimated cost of the programme in each of the years 2020 to 2024. [38122/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 62 and 63 together.

I am informed by Revenue that the cost of the Special Assignee Relief Programme (SARP) for years 2012-2016 (the latest year for which data are available), along with the number of claimants per year, broken down by income range, is available on the Revenue website at

https://www.revenue.ie/en/corporate/information-about-revenue/research/statistical-reports/special-asignee-relief-programme.aspx.

The following table sets out the information the Deputy asked for in bands approximating those set out in his question:

 

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

€75,000 to €150,000

-

35

88

224

359

€150,001 to €225,000

-

36

79

155

160

€225,001 to €300,000

-

28

63

81

79

€300,001 to €375,000

-

12

29

34

56

€375,001 to €675,000

-

10

33

62

95

€675,001 to €1,000,000

-

-

8

22

26

€1,000,001 to €3,000,000

-

-

2

8

14

€3,000,001 to €10,000,000

-

-

-

-

4

The Exchequer cost of the programme has been as follows:

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

€0.1 million

€1.9 million

€5.9 million

€9.5 million

€18.1 million

I understand that figures for 2017 will be made available within the coming weeks.

As I indicated in my reply to an earlier question from the Deputy, it is not possible to estimate with any degree of reliability the likely savings that would accrue to the Exchequer in 2020 or in the years beyond that if the SARP were abolished.  Similarly, it is not possible to estimate accurately the cost of extending the programme out to 2024. The reason is that there are currently no data available that would enable such calculations to be made. The Deputy will be aware that in Finance Bill 2018 I re-imposed an upper salary ceiling of €1 million on the relief with effect of 1 January 2019 for new entrants and for existing beneficiaries of the programme from 1 January 2020. Such data as are available within the system relate to years before 2019 (no cap existed between 2015 and 2019). It would therefore be necessary to assess the cost-saving impact of the cap as well as taking account of evolution in the take up of the relief during the current year in order to begin to estimate the savings or costs that might arise in 2020 or subsequent years.  Also, the further ahead we seek to look, the more speculative such estimates are likely to be as assumptions for one year are placed on top of those for the preceding year.

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. The review exercise affords an opportunity to look at all elements of the relief and it also includes consultation with stakeholders.  I understand that the report is currently being finalised and I expect that it will be submitted to me shortly. I hope to publish the report in the context of the forthcoming Budget and Finance Bill.