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Finance Bill 2014

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Finance Bill 2014

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Deputy Regina Doherty

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Snippet Contents:

I thank the Minister for Finance for framing this Bill in a way that will have a positive impact on Irish households. The primary changes it introduces to income tax and universal social charge rates, which I am sure will be welcomed by all income tax payers, provide a clear indication of our progress and recovery. In a move carefully designed to assist families who are struggling to make ends meet, the Bill raises the threshold at which USC can be imposed on gross income from its current level of €10,036 to €12,012. This will alleviate the fiscal burden on hundreds of families and put an extra few bob in their disposable income.
The Bill, which is based on our budgetary policies and strategies, demonstrates to families and young people who pay income tax that we are supporting them. For families and individuals who are not currently paying income tax, it encourages new employment opportunities through the extension until the end of 2015 of relief from corporation tax on trading income and certain capital gains for new start-up companies for their first three years. Earlier this year we saw an increase of 47% in the number of Irish technology start-ups. These figures, in tandem with the Finance Bill, will encourage more qualified and experienced people to enter business in the coming year, thereby giving rise to more employment. The Dublin Web Summit taking place in the RDS this week is a clear indication of the appetite for start-ups among Irish people. It is in our psyche. We have a responsibility to nurture and facilitate this thirst and enthusiasm, and I am delighted to see it reflected in the Bill in the form of extended relief for corporation tax on trading income.
Yesterday I outlined the solution proposed by New Beginning to the mortgage crisis of non-performing loans. Despite the progress that has been made to date, families continue to face repossession and the grim prospect of losing their homes. We have an obligation to prevent this crisis from recurring. A strong deterrent to its recurrence can be seen in the relief from DIRT on savings for first-time buyers, who will be able to apply for a refund of DIRT paid on interest, earnings and savings used for deposits. The problem of increasing rents and the scarcity of rentals in Dublin and elsewhere will be also alleviated through this provision because it will be easier for first-time buyers to enter the property market. It is no secret that the availability of rental properties has plummeted across the country, particularly in Dublin. In addressing this issue, the Finance Bill makes a welcome modification to the exemption from income tax, PRSI and USC on income received in respect of rooms rented by homeowners in their principal residences. Home owners will now be exempt from the aforementioned taxes where the rent received does not exceed €12,000 per year. That is an increase of €2,000 from the current exemptions.
The Bill will repeal provisions contained in the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 on the notorious "double-Irish" loophole. This is a positive step in the Government's radical reform of Ireland's fiscal policy.
This Bill seeks to address the difficulties that Irish people have bravely endured over the last number of years. It is a welcome move in the right direction and I urge my colleagues on both sides of the House to support it.