Revenue Commissioners Audits

Ceisteanna (68, 69, 70, 71)

Joan Burton

Ceist:

68. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the estimated increase in the number of high net worth individuals dealt with by the Revenue Commissioners' large cases division if the threshold for inclusion was reduced to €20 million; the additional resources that would be required to provide for such a reduction; if such resources will be made available to the Revenue Commissioners; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39073/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Joan Burton

Ceist:

69. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the estimated increase in the number of high net worth individuals dealt with by the Revenue Commissioners' large cases division if the threshold for inclusion was reduced to €10 million; the additional resources that would be required to provide for such a reduction; if such resources will be made available to the Revenue Commissioners; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39074/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Joan Burton

Ceist:

70. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the number of new cases added to the high net worth individuals’ unit in the Revenue Commissioners' large cases division in each year since the unit's formation in 2003; the number of cases dropped and moved to other units of the Revenue Commissioners; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39075/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Joan Burton

Ceist:

71. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the estimated additional audit yield if a properly resourced high net worth individuals unit took responsibility for those with net assets greater than €10 million, €20 million and €30 million, respectively; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39076/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 68 to 71, inclusive, together.

Tax administrations generally use assets and/or wealth as their main criteria for defining a High Wealth Individual (HWI), while some also include income criteria. I am advised by Revenue that its criterion to be considered a HWI and to therefore come within the remit of the HWI branches of its Large Cases – High Wealth Individuals Division (LC-HWID) is individuals with net assets of €20 million and over.

I am advised by Revenue that as there is no statutory obligation on individuals to return details of their net worth on returns of income it is not possible to estimate the number of individuals with a net worth within the thresholds requested by the Deputy.

Revenue has had a focus on HWIs over a long period. HWIs have been managed by dedicated units within its Large Cases Division since it was established in 2003. Revenue split its Large Cases Division into two divisions in 2018, one of which, LC-HWID, has a focus on HWIs, avoidance and pensions. As reflected in one of the recommendations in the Annual Report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG), the new Division reviewed the case base with a view to increasing the number of HWIs it manages. This review has been published on the Revenue website, www.revenue.ie, and provides more detail on the criteria used by Revenue to identify taxpayers with net assets falling within the revised threshold.

The allocation of resources is a matter for Revenue but I understand that Revenue’s structural realignment, of which the setting up of the LC-HWID was a part, was supported by an expansion in the number of specialist and experienced staff assigned to the oversight of the new Division’s case base. The number of staff currently assigned to the HWI branches is c.60. I also understand that Revenue established a new Division, the Medium Enterprises Division, to manage the affairs of the tier of cases, both corporate and individuals below that of the Large Cases Divisions.

I am advised by Revenue that the HWI case base is adjusted periodically but not necessarily on an annual basis. The following Table provides the number of cases in the HWI case base for the years indicated:

Year

Number of HWIs

2004

250

2006

300

2017

571

2018

480

2019

955

I am satisfied that the structural realignment by Revenue combined with the risk focused approach to compliance management, will continue to deliver an outcome where HWIs pay the appropriate tax in accordance with the legislation. I am advised by Revenue that it is not possible to estimate additional audit yield related to cases recently coming within the responsibility of LC-HWID. There is a presumption of honesty by taxpayers who pay on a self-assessment basis and no category of taxpayer would be regarded, in advance of a case appraisal, as likely to give rise to audit yield. All taxpayers are subject to risk evaluation and intervention as appropriate so bringing a particular category of taxpayers within the remit of the LC-HWID would not, of itself, be a determinant of an increased audit yield. Revenue’s overall approach to managing compliance is to make the appropriate intervention following appraisal of the risk factors in each case.

Finally, I would like to say to the Deputy that over the last number of Budgets I supported the business case put forward by Revenue in relation to additional resources, both personnel and ICT, and I will continue to examine any proposal put forward by Revenue in the future.

Departmental Reports

Ceisteanna (72)

Willie Penrose

Ceist:

72. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Finance when a report by an organisation (details supplied) into public banking will be available in view of the fact a commitment was given that it would be ready for distribution by early summer 2019; if steps can be taken to expedite same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39080/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

As the Deputy is aware, my Department in conjunction with the Department of Rural and Community Development, issued a report on Local Public Banking in Ireland last year. The report concluded that there is not a compelling case for the State to establish a new local public banking system based on the German Sparkassen model in Ireland.

A commitment was given in the report that my Department would arrange for an independent evaluation to consider how the objectives of community banking and how the local provision of banking and financial services could be furthered through other delivery mechanisms.

Following a procurement process, the contract was awarded to Indecon earlier this year. Work on the independent evaluation is currently well underway and I understand that the report will be completed in the near future.

Urban Regeneration and Development Fund

Ceisteanna (73)

John Deasy

Ceist:

73. Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if the overall allocation of €550 million to the urban regeneration and development fund up to the end of 2022 is ring-fenced regardless of potential economic circumstances; and if the €2 billion allocated to the fund up to 2027 under the National Planning Framework is guaranteed. [38945/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

As part of Project Ireland 2040, Government allocated €2 billion to the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund (URDF), to support the compact growth and sustainable development of Ireland’s five cities, regional drivers and other large urban centres. Management of these resources falls to my colleague, the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, in the first instance. That said, I have already signalled in the Summer Economic Statement that Government will prioritise spending that mitigates risk, enhances the resilience of the economy and raises our growth capacity, including spending in support of Project Ireland 2040.

State Properties

Ceisteanna (74, 75, 76)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

74. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform further to Parliamentary Question No. 204 of 6 September 2019, if there are currently negotiations under way between the OPW and Cork County Council regarding a revised purchase plan; the two of the nine properties it has been decided to retain in State ownership; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39006/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

75. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform further to Parliamentary Question No. 204 of 6 September 2019, the plans there are for the boathouse adjacent to No. 12 and for the improvement and maintenance of the drive adjacent to the boathouse; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39007/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

76. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform further to Parliamentary Question No. 204 of 6 September 2019, if he will facilitate a meeting between the residents that live in houses formerly sold and the OPW to discuss issues of concern; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39008/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 74 to 76, inclusive, together.

There are twelve former coastguard cottages in a terrace at Crosshaven, Co. Cork, nine of which remain in the ownership of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. Two of the cottages are currently in use as a Garda station and residence while the remaining seven cottages have been identified as surplus to requirements and suitable for disposal.

In addition to the cottages, there is a one-acre site to the rear of the cottages. This site was the subject of a Licence Agreement, which expired in October 2017 but remains occupied by the Licensee and is subject to legal proceedings. This site is also surplus to State requirements and suitable for disposal.

The former Rocket House at the rear of the cottages is currently in use by the Irish Coast Guard.

The cottages and site were considered by Cork County Council but the Council, following due consideration, informed the Office of Public Works (OPW) in January 2019 that they were not proceeding with acquiring the properties and site.

As no alternative State use for the cottages and site was identified, the OPW along with the Chief State Solicitor's Office prepared contracts for sale to dispose of the cottages and site by public auction.

Regrettably, the aforementioned legal issues have delayed the disposal of the properties. The Commissioners plan to sell the cottages and site by public auction, when all legal matters have been resolved and the site is returned to the Commissioners with vacant possession.

The OPW and Cork County Council have recently been in contact to discuss the properties and site further and a meeting is scheduled for early October between officials of the OPW and Cork County Council.

The OPW Regional Office has recently carried out repairs to the roof of number 11 and there are no plans to carry out any further maintenance works at the property including the driveway to the rear of the cottages.

The residents can contact my office to arrange a meeting with my officials from the Property Management Division in the OPW to discuss any concerns that they might have.

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

Ceisteanna (77)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

77. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Education and Skills if the case of a child (details supplied) will be examined; and if the child will be awarded the support of a special needs assistant. [38931/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is responsible for allocating a quantum of Special Needs Assistant (SNA) support for each school annually taking into account the assessed care needs of children qualifying for SNA support enrolled in the school.

The NCSE allocates SNA support to schools in accordance with the criteria set out in Department Circular 0030/2014, which is available on my Department's website at www.education.ie, in order that students who have care needs can access SNA support as and when it is needed.

In considering applications for SNA support for individual pupils, the NCSE take account of the pupils' needs and consider the resources available to the school to identify whether additionality is needed or whether the school might reasonably be expected to meet the needs of the pupils from its current level of resources.

SNAs are not allocated to individual children but to schools as a school based resource.

SNA allocations to all schools can change from year to year as children with care needs leave the school, as new children with care needs enrol in a school and as children develop more independent living skills and their care needs diminish over time.

The NCSE Appeals Process may be invoked by a parent or a school where it is considered that a child was not granted access to SNA support because the requirements outlined in Circular 0030/2014 were not complied with. Schools may also appeal a decision, where the school considers that the NCSE, in applying Department policy, has not allocated the appropriate level of SNA support to the school to meet the special educational and/or care needs of the children concerned.

Where a school has received its allocation of SNA support for 2019/20, but wishes new enrolments or assessments to be considered, which were not taken into account when the initial allocation was made, they may continue to make applications to the NCSE.

The closing date for receipt of appeals in regard to SNA allocations is Friday 27th September 2019.

As this question relates to a particular child, I have referred the question to the NCSE for their direct reply. I do not have a role in making determinations in individual cases.

SOLAS Training and Education Programmes Certification

Ceisteanna (78)

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

78. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Education and Skills if queries from a person (details supplied) regarding a SOLAS training certificate will receive a response; if assistance can be provided to them; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38947/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

Officials in my department have been in contact with SOLAS, which manages the National Apprenticeship System in Ireland, in connection with this issue. The electrical apprenticeship involves 7 training phases and according to SOLAS records, the person in question has completed requirements for his apprenticeship for Phases 1 through to 6. To complete his apprenticeship he is required to successfully complete Phase 7 with an employer, involving work based training and assessments. To complete this phase he needs to be registered with a SOLAS approved employer as an apprentice. SOLAS have received communication from the person in question in relation to issues he has identified and my understanding is that SOLAS are endeavouring to assist in relation to the completion of his apprenticeship.

Schools Building Projects Status

Ceisteanna (79)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

79. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 443 of 6 September 2019, the nature of the tender process he plans to take; the number of steps in the process; the estimated length of time it will take; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38961/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The tender documentation for the Building Project referred to by the Deputy is currently being prepared. It is anticipated that the Project will proceed to tender in Quarter 1 of 2020 with a view to being on site in Quarter 2 of 2020.

School Accommodation

Ceisteanna (80)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

80. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Skills the amount spent to date on the provision of temporary accommodation, including site rental costs, for a school (details supplied) in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38962/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The school referred to by the Deputy opened in temporary accommodation in September 2013. The amount spent to date on the provision of temporary accommodation, including site rental costs for the school is €3,160,330 inclusive of VAT.

Of this amount, €1,199,291 has been spent on the rental of the site and rental of prefabs. The remainder is associated costs for the installation of the prefabs.