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Snippet Contents:

I will make some brief comments on the Finance Bill which is the legislation that underpins the first budget that takes Ireland firmly from crash back to recovery. This recovery is clear from figures indicating GDP growth of 4.7% in 2014 and 3.9% in 2015. There will be 1.92 million people at work at end of 2014, an increase of 80,000 since the low point in 2012. An additional 48,000 jobs are forecast by end of 2015.
There are a number of positive aspects of the budget that I want to emphasise. In budget 2015, all the levers of the tax system, including tax thresholds, bands and rates, have been utilised to target reliefs squarely at low- and middle-income workers and households. With regard to single PAYE workers, for example, a person earning €25,000 will see a 4.6% reduction in his or her total tax bill, including income tax, USC and PRSI. A single person earning €45,000 will see a 3.9% reduction in the bill and a person on €70,000 will see his or her total tax bill reduced by 2.9%. Similarly, a married couple on one income of €25,000 in the PAYE sector will see a reduction of 8.4% in the total tax paid. A similar couple on €45,000 will see a 5% reduction, with a couple on €70,000 receiving a 3.1% reduction in the total tax bill. This is clearly a progressive package of tax measures. More tax is being paid by the highest income earners than at the lower end, and the bottom line is that reliefs have been targeted at low- and middle-income workers. This highlights the Government's commitment to ensuring that low- and middle-income earners and families are prioritised when it comes to feeling the benefit of the emerging recovery in their pockets.
In budget 2015 a relief from deposit interest retention tax, better known as DIRT, for first-time house buyers was announced, which is welcome. This applies to savings used by first-time house buyers towards the deposit on a house. This is to apply to houses bought between October 2014 and 31 December 2017. The refund of DIRT will be for up to four years prior to the purchase date and will apply to the amount of DIRT charged on deposits, up to the value of 20% of the purchase price. For example, if a house costs €200,000, a first-time buyer will be able to claim a refund of DIRT paid on the first €40,000 that he or she had on deposit up to the date of purchase. The refund will be for a period up to four years.