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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 131-151
 Header Item Property Taxation Exemptions
 Header Item Property Taxation Exemptions
 Header Item Tax Reliefs Application
 Header Item Property Taxation Exemptions
 Header Item Property Taxation Exemptions
 Header Item Tax Code
 Header Item Tax Code
 Header Item Tax and Social Welfare Codes
 Header Item Tax and Social Welfare Codes
 Header Item Banking Sector Regulation
 Header Item Banking Sector Remuneration
 Header Item Banking Sector Remuneration
 Header Item Banking Sector Remuneration
 Header Item Budget 2013
 Header Item Property Taxation Exemptions
 Header Item Tax Rebates
 Header Item Tax Reliefs Application
 Header Item Tax Yield

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 787 No. 3

First Page Previous Page Page of 96 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 131-151

Property Taxation Exemptions

 131. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan if homeowners who currently pay management fees will be levied with the property tax. [56460/12]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan Revenue from the local property tax will accrue to local authorities and will support the provision of local services. Local authorities provide a broad range of services in the public realm which benefit the wider community, the proper functioning of which are important for the wellbeing of every community and household. These include - fire and emergency services; road maintenance and cleaning; street lighting; spatial and development planning and other similar services; regulatory and inspection functions and business support services, as well as libraries, parks, and other recreation and cultural public amenities. The benefits of these services accrue to all members of society, including those who pay management fees. Exemptions from or deferral of the Local Property Tax are only applicable in the circumstances provided for in the legislation. A requirement to pay management fees would not be relevant in determining liability.

Property Taxation Exemptions

 132. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan if any exemption will be given from the property tax to homeowners who have paid stamp duty in the previous nine years. [56461/12]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan There is no such exemption provided for in the Local Property Tax Bill. The Inter-Departmental Expert Group on the Design of a Property Tax (the ‘Thornhill Group’) recommended against allowances for Stamp Duty because such allowances would not be targeted at need.

Tax Reliefs Application

 133. Deputy Micheál Martin Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan the progress that has been made in relation to the implementation of recommendations arising from the Moriarty Tribunal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56535/12]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan In response to the Deputy’s question I have considered the provision of tax relief for donations to political parties and have decided against introducing such relief. The Electoral ( Amendment ) ( Political Funding ) Act 2012 provided for changes to the Electoral Act, 1997 and imposed new limits for donations. Donations to individual s exceeding €600 must be declared and donations exceeding €1,000 in any one year may not be accepted. Political party donations greater than €1,500 must be declared and donations greater than €2,500 in any one year may not be accepted. These limits, in themselves, should act to deter any attempts by wealthy individuals to influence political activity.

  The Office of the Revenue Commissioners have provide me with the following information in relation to Revenue issues raised in the recommendations of the Moriarty Tribunal.

Recommendation: Independence of the Revenue Commissioners

  Section 101 of the Minister and Secretaries (Amendment) Act 2011 has placed on a statutory basis the independence of the Revenue Commissioners in the exercise by the Commissioners of their statutory functions under the various taxation and customs enactments. This has given effect to the recommendation of the Report of the Tribunal into Payments to Politicians and Related Matters (that is, the report of Mr. Justice Moriarty), that the principle or convention of the independence of the Revenue Commissioners be placed on the more robust status of a legislative provision.

Recommendation: Representations to Revenue by Office holders

  In relation to this proposal I as Minister for Finance remain of the view that this recommendation could best be considered in the context of the Government’s overall approach to political and parliamentary reform. Representations are a valid part of the political process. The Government may wish to consider whether this recommendation should be confined to Revenue, or to Office holders, or whether the Commissioners decision to publish data on the volume of representations made by each Deputy is an adequate response.

Recommendation: Transmission to other agencies of information obtained by Revenue under bilateral agreements.

  This recommendation has been considered. These agreements are international treaties which are very precisely drawn as to the purpose for which information may be used and would not permit such transmission. However if opportunities arise in the future, the Commissioners will consider the matter further. The Deputy will appreciate that Revenue is not in a position to comment on matters relating to individuals for reasons of taxpayer confidentiality.

Property Taxation Exemptions

 134. Deputy Mattie McGrath Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan if the unfinished housing estates that were exempt from the household charge will be exempt from the new local property tax; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56726/12]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan It is envisaged that the list of unfinished estates to be prescribed by the Minister to the Environment, Community and Local Government for the purposes of the Local Property Tax will be in line with those used for the purposes of the Household Charge. Any such list may require amendment from time to time where the criteria specified in the Local Government (Household Charge) Act 2011 no longer apply to an estate previously included on the list.

Property Taxation Exemptions

 135. Deputy James Bannon Information on James Bannon Zoom on James Bannon asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan if he will provide an update on the property charges pertaining to an unfinished housing estate (details supplied) in County Longford which has been exempted from the household charge and a refund made to the residents, but in view of the fact that the estate remains unfinished, the residents are concerned that what they regard as the entire fiasco be investigated; if the residents of the estate will be exempted from a property charge until it is completed and handed over to the town council and that legally they will be able to sell their houses without a bond being in place; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56809/12]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan Having clarified the name of the housing estate with the Deputy I can confirm that the housing estate in question is listed in S.I. 1 of 2012 which lists those estates entitled to a waiver from payment of the Household Charge for 2012. A similar exemption from the local property tax will apply for unfinished housing estates as applied for the Household Charge in 2012. The Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government shall prescribe a list of developments in the State being developments each of which that Minister is satisfied is incomplete to a substantial extent. Such properties will not be regarded as relevant residential properties for the purposes of the local property tax and will not be subject to the local property tax so long as they remain on the list of unfinished housing estates. In prescribing this list the Minister shall have regard to those same circumstances as were considered when compiling the list for the household charge waiver, which were as follows:

-the state of completion of roads, footpaths and public lighting facilities in the development,

-the state of completion of piped water and sewerage facilities within the development,

-the state of completion of open spaces or similar amenities within the development,

-the extent to which the development complies with the terms of any planning permission applicable to it,

-the extent to which the development complies with the provisions of the Building Control Acts 1990 and 2007,

-the provisions of the Local Government (Sanitary Services) Act 1964 as they pertain to dangerous places and dangerous structures within the meaning of that Act,

-the extent to which roads, open spaces, car parks, sewers, watermains, drains or other public facilities in the development have been taken in charge by the local authority concerned, and

-where there is an agreement with the local authority concerned relating to the maintenance of roads, open spaces, car parks, sewers, watermains, drains or other public facilities in the development, the extent to which there has been compliance with the conditions for maintenance under the agreement.

Tax Code

 136. Deputy Ciara Conway Information on Ciara Conway Zoom on Ciara Conway asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan further to recent budgetary announcements if a person (details supplied) may qualify for Capital Gains Tax for agricultural land rollover relief; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56824/12]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan Relief from capital gains tax was available where a farmer sold land and used the proceeds to purchase other land for use in farming. This relief (commonly referred to as roll-over relief) was a deferral of the capital gains tax until the replacement land was sold or ceased to be used for the purposes of farming. However this relief ceased with effect form 4 December 2002. You will be aware that I announced in Budget 2013 that I am introducing relief from capital gains tax, to enable farm restructuring, where the proceeds of a sale of farm land are reinvested for the same purpose. This relief will apply to the sale and purchase of farm land and to farm land swaps within 24 months of each other, during the period commencing 1 January 2013 and ending on 31 December 2015, subject to certification by Teagasc for all transactions seeking relief.

I understand that the person whose details you supplied bought farm land earlier this year. The purchaser would not have a Capital Gains Tax liability on this transaction. The relief announced in Budget 2013 will not apply in relation to transactions that take place before 1 January 2013.

Tax Code

 137. Deputy Kevin Humphreys Information on Kevin Humphreys Zoom on Kevin Humphreys asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan the rate of taxation to which credit union dividends are subject; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56214/12]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that dividends arising on credit union share accounts are subject to tax as follows:

-Regular Share Accounts: The credit union member is required to declare the amount of dividends received on his/her annual tax return form and to pay tax on this amount at his or her marginal rate of income tax. In addition, the dividend income will be subject to the Universal Social Charge at the appropriate rate.

-Special Share Accounts: Dividends arising on special share accounts are subject to Deposit Interest Retention Tax (DIRT) at the rate of 30 per cent (33 per cent from 1 January 2013) and the account holder has no further liability to tax. The Universal Social Charge does not apply to interest income subject to DIRT.

-Special Term Share Accounts: These accounts are subject to a tax regime whereby the first €480 (in the case of medium-term accounts where the money is held for at least 3 years) or €635 (in the case of long-term accounts where the money is held for a minimum of 5 years) of dividends is exempt from tax. Dividend payments in excess of these limits are subject to DIRT at the rate of 30 per cent (33 per cent from 1 January 2013) and the account holder has no further liability to tax including the Universal Social Charge.

In addition the Deputy should note that dividends arising on special share accounts or special term share accounts that are held by persons: aged over 65 whose total income is less than the age exemption limits, or who are permanently incapacitated and who would be entitled to a refund of DIRT if the tax were deducted from their dividend income, qualify for exemption from DIRT on credit union accounts in the same way as for deposit interest earned on bank account.

Tax and Social Welfare Codes

 138. Deputy Kevin Humphreys Information on Kevin Humphreys Zoom on Kevin Humphreys asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan if credit union dividends will be subject to PRSI in 2014; if they are classified as unearned income; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56215/12]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan I am advised by the Department of Social Protection that, in general, credit union dividends come within the definition of ‘reckonable income’ and accordingly are subject to PRSI at 4%. In the case of employees who do not have any self-employed earned income but who do have unearned income, including credit union dividends, that unearned income may, currently, not be subject to PRSI. With effect from 2014, this exemption from PRSI applying to employees with only unearned income (other than wages/salary) is being abolished. This will mean that credit union dividends which had previously not been subject to PRSI, will become subject to the charge of PRSI.

Tax and Social Welfare Codes

 139. Deputy Kevin Humphreys Information on Kevin Humphreys Zoom on Kevin Humphreys asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan the reason the announcement in his 2012 Budget statement that the base for PRSI would be broadened to cover rental, investment and other forms of income in 2013, has been pushed back until 2014; if it is possible to bring it forward to the coming year; if it is further possible to collect it from September 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56273/12]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan I announced in Budget 2013 that the PRSI base will be broadened to cover rental, investment and other forms of income from January 2014. The Deputy will be aware that the Revenue Commissioners collect PRSI and this is then transferred into the Social Insurance Fund. In the case of self-employed people, the PRSI is collected through Revenue’s self-assessment system and is already charged on all income, including unearned income.

  Employees PRSI are collected through the PAYE system. Employers deduct the relevant contributions from earnings and remit them to Revenue.

  The Deputy will note that the PRSI base has been broadened and that where a PAYE taxpayer (including a modified rate PRSI contributor from 1 January 2013) is also carrying on a trade or profession, that taxpayer will pay PRSI on all his or her income, regardless of whether it is earned or unearned.

  After 1 January 2013 the only persons who will not be paying PRSI on unearned income are PAYE taxpayers who are not carrying on a trade or profession. At present, the PRSI liability for such individuals is dealt with wholly within the PAYE system. Collection of PRSI on unearned income through the PAYE system, particularly in relation to interest which has attracted Deposit Interest Retention Tax, would not be feasible without knowing the amount of the income involved in the case of each individual taxpayer. Since most PAYE taxpayers do not file a return at present, there is no way of knowing or estimating their interest income for 2013. Therefore, it is not possible to effectively implement a PRSI charge on unearned income for these taxpayers from 1 January 2013. However, I have confirmed in the Budget statement that PRSI will apply to those taxpayers from 1 January 2014. This will allow time for the Revenue Commissioners, in consultation with the Department of Social Protection, to consider how best to implement this change and the operational aspects of collecting the charge. Since the income involved is likely to be annual in nature, it would not be feasible to introduce a change part way through the tax year.

Banking Sector Regulation

 140. Deputy Michael McGrath Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan if he will provide details of the Central Bank of Ireland powers to suspend a person from acting as director of an insurance company; the possible duration of such a suspension; the circumstances under which the Central Bank may lift the suspension before its stated expiration date. [56278/12]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan The Deputy should note that the Central Bank cannot comment on individual cases as they are precluded under section 33AK of the Central Bank Act 1942, from disclosing information on individual financial service providers. The Central Bank has informed me however that there is a Fitness and Probity Regime which applies to regulated financial service providers and this would include insurance companies. The regime prescribes a continuing obligation on financial service providers in relation to fitness and probity due diligence.

  In this regard, Section 21 (1) of the Central Bank Act 2010 provides that a regulated financial service provider shall not permit a person to perform a controlled function unless:

a) The regulated financial service provider is satisfied on reasonable grounds that the person complies with the Fitness and Probity Standards 2011 (“Standards”), and

b) The person has agreed to abide by the Standards.

  A person to whom the Standards apply shall comply with them at all times. Specifically a person is required to be competent and capable, honest, ethical and act with integrity and be financially sound.

  If the Bank suspects that a person performing a controlled function no longer meets the appropriate fitness and probity requirements, it may investigate the matter and has the power to issue a suspension notice where it considers it necessary to prevent serious damage to the financial system or to protect consumers. The suspension notice has the effect of suspending a person from performing functions covered by the notice. A suspension notice can take effect for up to 3 months or longer with the consent of the High Court.

  On completion of the investigation, the Bank must prepare a report for consideration by the Commission and Governor of the Central Bank. It may issue a prohibition notice forbidding the person from carrying out the controlled function for a specified period or indefinitely.

  The Prohibition Notice ceases to have effect 2 months after first service (or such shorter period as specified) unless an application has been made to the High Court for confirmation of the Notice. Where the High Court confirms the Prohibition Notice, it takes effect as an order of the High Court and may be enforced accordingly.

  Procedures governing the conduct of investigations were published in February 2012, entitled: Central Bank Reform Act 2010 (procedures governing the conduct of investigations) Regulations 2012. They are available on the fitness and probity section of www.centralbank.ie

Banking Sector Remuneration

 141. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan the number of members there are in the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, formerly Anglo Irish Bank, pension scheme; if there has been any reduction in pensions paid to members in the past five years; and if he will make a statement on the operation of the scheme. [56288/12]

 142. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan the number of deferred members there are in the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, formerly Anglo Irish Bank, pension scheme; if there will be any reduction in pensions to be paid to members when they are due; and to make a statement on the operation of the scheme. [56289/12]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan I propose to take Questions Nos. 141 and 142 together.

  I have been advised that the number of members in the former Anglo Irish Bank and former INBS defined benefit pension scheme is 258. The number of deferred members is 188.

  Pension entitlements for these schemes are a matter for the independent Trustees.

  All bar 1.5% of current IBRC employees are on a defined contribution pension (or no pension scheme) as opposed to a defined benefit pension scheme. The future value of their annual pension is not guaranteed.

Banking Sector Remuneration

 143. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan if his attention has been drawn to the situation being faced by deferred members in a company (details supplied) which is now under the control of the Irish bank Resolution Corporation; the losses being forced on these people; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56290/12]

 144. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan if he will outline in tabular form the fees paid by the Irish bank Resolution Corporation to all advisors in relation to the operation of the pension scheme of a company (details supplied) controlled by the bank. [56291/12]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan I propose to take Questions Nos. 143 and 144 together.

  I have been advised that it would be inappropriate for IBRC to provide a response to this question as it relates to a matter for the Board of company mentioned in the question and the Trustees of that company’s Pension Scheme.

Banking Sector Remuneration

 145. Deputy Denis Naughten Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan the reason the provisions of the Credit Institutions (Stabilisation) Act 2010 cannot be utilised to reduce pensions paid to former senior executives of banks; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56316/12]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan As I outlined to the Deputy in my previous reply (ref no 51257/12 of 20th November 2012), on the same subject, the scope to use the provisions of the Credit Institutions (Stabilisation) Act 2010 in the manner proposed is severely limited. The general intent of the legislation is to operate its provisions at a system level to permit the imposition of obligations on credit institutions. It is also far from clear that the quantum of money that might be raised from this action – notwithstanding any possible legal and constitutional concerns - would fit within the purposes of the Act.

Budget 2013

 146. Deputy Denis Naughten Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan the reason the lid tax proposed by vintners organisations was not included in Budget 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56317/12]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan The Deputy will be aware that I received a large number of pre-Budget submissions including a    proposal for the introduction of a lid-on levy from vintners’ organisations. Preliminary advice suggests that the proposal may not be consistent with the EU Directive concerning the general arrangements for excise duty on alcohol products.

Property Taxation Exemptions

 147. Deputy Brendan Ryan Information on Brendan Ryan Zoom on Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan if the list of estates deemed unfinished for the purposes of the local property tax will be based solely on the exemptions granted from the household charge; if the list will be revised; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56320/12]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan It is envisaged that the list of unfinished estates to be prescribed by the Minister to the Environment, Community and Local Government for the purposes of the Local Property Tax will be in line with those used for the purposes of the Household Charge. Any such list may require amendment from time to time where the criteria specified in the Local Government (Household Charge) Act 2011 no longer apply to an estate previously included on the list.

  Question No. 148 answered with Question No. 128.

Tax Rebates

 149. Deputy Timmy Dooley Information on Timmy Dooley Zoom on Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan if he will consider a rebate of VRT for vehicles originally imported into this country and exported at a later stage; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56354/12]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that section 135(D), Finance Act, 1992 (as inserted by section 83(1)(j), Finance Act 2012) provides for the repayment of residual Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT) following the permanent removal or export of the vehicle to another jurisdiction. I am further advised by the Revenue Commissioners that they expect this system to be operational in the first quarter of 2013.

Tax Reliefs Application

 150. Deputy Kevin Humphreys Information on Kevin Humphreys Zoom on Kevin Humphreys asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan if he will provide in tabular form the number of persons under the age of 25, 30, 35 and 40 years respectively that availed of tax relief on pension contributions from 2007 to date in 2012 on an annual basis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56376/12]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that estimates of the cost of tax relief on pension contributions are compiled by reference to the aggregate amount of relief allowed and are not sub-classified by reference to age. On the basis of limited indicative age-related data available for 2010, the latest year for which it is available, the proportional age-related distribution of the numbers of all claimants for tax relief on retirement annuity contributions would be of the following order.

Claims for tax relief on retirement annuity contributions

Age range Percentage of total claims in age range
- %
Below 25 0.1
25-29 1.6
30-34 7.0
35-39 14.6
40 and upwards 76.7
All ages 100.0
Corresponding reliable data is not available for years prior to 2010.

Tax Yield

 151. Deputy Ann Phelan Information on Ann Phelan Zoom on Ann Phelan asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan if the tax band was increased from 41% to 42%, the savings this would incur and how sufficient would these savings be; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56443/12]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the full year yield to the Exchequer, estimated by reference to 2013 incomes, of increasing the higher rate of income tax by 1 percentage point would be approximately €193 million. This figure is estimated from the Revenue tax-forecasting model using actual data for the year 2010 adjusted as necessary for income and employment trends in the interim. It is, therefore, provisional and likely to be revised.


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