Houses of the Oireachtas

All parliamentary debates are now being published on our new website. The publication of debates on this website will cease in December 2018.

Go to oireachtas.ie

 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 152-171
 Header Item Crime Prevention
 Header Item Tax Code
 Header Item Property Taxation Application
 Header Item Property Taxation Exemptions
 Header Item Banking Sector Remuneration
 Header Item European Council Meetings
 Header Item Property Taxation Exemptions
 Header Item Tax Reliefs Cost
 Header Item Tax Yield
 Header Item Property Taxation Exemptions
 Header Item Property Taxation Application
 Header Item Revenue Commissioners Investigations
 Header Item Banking Operations
 Header Item Pensions Levy Issues
 Header Item Tax Reliefs Application
 Header Item Universal Social Charge Payments

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. 152-171

Crime Prevention

 152. Deputy Mattie McGrath Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan the steps he will take to penalise criminals involved in the sale and supply of laundered, illegal or counterfeit products such as diesel, tobacco and clothing; if he has considered increasing the fines for such activity; his view on the resources available to the Revenue Commissioners and Customs to tackle this problem; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56444/12]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners, who have responsibility for the collection of tobacco products tax and mineral oil tax and for tackling the importation of counterfeit goods, that they are very conscious of the threat that this illegal activity poses both to the Exchequer and to legitimate businesses. Revenue is committed to prioritising resources to tackle the shadow economy and has developed specific strategies to guide the extensive work being undertaken in this area. The approach adopted by Revenue towards intercepting contraband product, detecting illegal activity and prosecuting those involved is multi-faceted. It includes ongoing analysis of the nature and extent of illegal activity, developing and sharing intelligence on a national, EU and international basis, ongoing review of operational policies, development of analytics and detection technologies, engagement in multi-agency operations and optimum deployment of resources at the point of importation and inland.

  For example, in response to fuel laundering, Revenue has recently strengthened the fuel-licensing regime to make it more difficult for launderers to get their product onto the market. New and enhanced licensing requirements were introduced in 2012 for anyone dealing in marked fuels and auto fuels. There will be a requirement, from 1 January 2013, for all fuel traders to make electronic monthly returns to Revenue on their fuel transactions, facilitating Revenue in detecting unusual or anomalous patterns of activity. In addition to these important changes, Revenue is pursuing a more effective fuel marker in conjunction with Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs in the UK, under a Memorandum of Understanding between the two authorities. A joint invitation for submissions from companies and other interested parties, aimed at finding a replacement for the current fuel markers, generated international interest and a number of submissions were received by the closing date of 30th November 2012. The joint evaluation of these submissions will take place over the coming months and will include rigorous technical testing to establish the resilience of the marker to existing and new laundering techniques. The evaluation is expected to be completed by mid 2013.     

  The work in tackling smuggling and trading in illicit products is ongoing and has led to significant detections and seizures of illicit product and to the prosecution and conviction of those involved. With regard to illicit tobacco and fuel, since January 2011

- Revenue has detected and closed 20 fuel-laundering plants, 11 of these in 2012;

- Since July of last year, over 70 fuel retail outlets have been closed:

- Over 2 million litres of fuel has been seized to date.

- 203 million cigarettes have been seized with a retail value of €88.2m, involving 18,237 individual seizures.

- 16,572 kilos of tobacco have been seized with a retail value of €6m, involving 2,798 seizures.

- Revenue obtained 159 convictions for cigarette smuggling, 56 of which resulted in custodial sentences and €229,850 in fines.

- Revenue achieved 131 convictions for sales of illicit cigarettes, 36 of which resulted in custodial sentences and fines of €263,900

  Counterfeit and pirated goods are a threat to legitimate businesses, and can pose significant health and safety risks. The range of goods that is pirated is extensive and, as well as clothing, includes cosmetics, personal accessories, mobile phones and electronic equipment, CDs, DVDs, toys and medicines. I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that under EU law, Customs action in relation to counterfeit goods is confined to goods being imported from or exported to countries outside the European Union, and that enforcement action in relation to intra-Community trade in such goods is a matter for An Garda Síochána. The Revenue Commissioners inform me that there is close cooperation between them and An Garda Síochána in tackling the counterfeit trade, and that there is also ongoing international cooperation on the matter. During 2011 and 2012, Revenue participated in five anti-counterfeit international operations organized under the auspices of the World Customs Organisation, and I understand that further operations of this kind are envisaged.

  The quantities of counterfeit goods that are seized by Revenue are significant. In 2011, there were 4,166 seizures involving over 146,000 items (including more than 10,800 items of counterfeit clothing and personal accessories) with an estimated value of just over €9 million. In the current year, to the end of September, there were 3,959 seizures comprising 76,801 items, including more than 43,400 items of clothing and accessories, with an estimated value of €3.74 million.

  Penalties for excise and counterfeit offences have increased substantially in recent years. A person convicted is liable, on summary conviction, to a fine of €5,000, or a term of imprisonment not exceeding 12 months, or both a fine and imprisonment. Where a person is convicted for that offence on prosecution on indictment, the Court may impose a fine not exceeding €126,970, of where the value of the goods concerned is greater than €250,000, not exceeding three times their value. The Court may impose a prison sentence not exceeding 5 years instead of, or in addition to, a fine.

  Finally, as regards resources, the Revenue Commissioners are subject to the Employment Control Framework staffing reductions in line with Government policy to reduce public service numbers. In this context, I am satisfied that Revenue is affording priority to maintaining staffing numbers engaged in this area of work, to the greatest extent possible.

Tax Code

 153. Deputy Eoghan Murphy Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan if he will consider modifying the various statements issued by the Revenue to persons so that these would state the total tax paid by a person as a percentage of their income as well as providing the various breakdowns under the different headings. [56488/12]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan I am assuming that the Deputy's question is linked to the proposals contained in the Tax Transparency Bill which he introduced in the Dáil on 29 March last. In my contribution to the debate during the Second Stage on 9 November 2012 I referred to the costs and extensive administrative changes needed to advance the proposals contained in the Bill at the level of individual taxpayers. The position is that the Revenue Commissioners do not issue any statements to the vast majority of taxpayers on the lines suggested and as part of their modernisation programme, are actively working to reduce the incidence of such statements. For example, while taxpayers in the self assessment system, mainly consisting of the self-employed, are currently provided with an annual Notice of Assessment form by Revenue, it simply sets out what the taxpayer has filed in his/her annual return of income. Such taxpayers are in a better position than Revenue to calculate tax and other deductions as a percentage of income. Furthermore, Finance Act 2012 introduced provisions, with effect from October 2014, removing the requirement for Revenue to issue an annual Notice of Assessment form to each taxpayer on receipt of their tax return.

For taxpayers from whom tax is collected through the Pay As You Earn system, the Form P21 Balancing Statement, setting out the amount of taxable income and the amount of tax paid, is issued almost exclusively at the request of the taxpayer, often to provide evidence of income for other parts of the public sector. Revenue is working with two public sector bodies to reduce the need to issue these statements by providing information directly, which has been outlined for the Deputy in the reply to a related Parliamentary Question today. The Deputy will be aware that for PAYE taxpayers, the Form P60 they receive each year from their employer or pension provider contains all the required details – income tax, PRSI, USC and in future Local Property Tax – to enable them to carry out the percentage calculation if they so wished.

To the extent that they are issued, which will decline, the statements referred to above are already very detailed documents containing significant amounts of complex information. Revenue is constantly looking at ways to make the statements shorter and easier for the taxpayer to understand. Including the type of information sought by the Deputy on these statements would involve a major re-draft of the documents concerned and would cost a significant amount of money to develop. I am not satisfied that the benefits to be derived from implementing the Deputy's proposals would outweigh the costs involved and I would have concerns that the documents would become so congested that they would be less informative for the taxpayer and would lose their impact.

Property Taxation Application

 154. Deputy Eoghan Murphy Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan if he will review a case regarding the assessment of the value of certain properties for the local property tax (details supplied) [56490/12]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan Revenue will provide guidance on how to value property early next year, and will engage in a comprehensive information campaign, including writing to residential property owners in March 2013 enclosing a detailed explanatory booklet on the operation of the Local Property Tax (LPT), valuation procedures and payments methods, as well as an LPT Return form for completion. The initial valuation of property, to be assessed as on 1 May 2013, will be valid up to and including 2016. This will provide certainty for taxpayers.

Property Taxation Exemptions

 155. Deputy Eoghan Murphy Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan if there will be provisions in the property tax for properties (details supplied). [56491/12]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan The Finance (Local Property Tax) Bill 2012, as published, provides for exemptions from and deferral of payment of Local Property Tax in certain circumstances. There is no blanket exemption in cases of divorce. A system of voluntary deferral arrangements focused on particular categories of householders will be implemented to address cases where there is an inability to pay the LPT under specific conditions.

  Deferrals can only be claimed where the liable person's income is below the relevant threshold. A full deferral is available where:

- Gross income does not exceed €15,000 (single) and €25,000 (couple).

- For income stressed owner occupiers an adjusted gross income limit will apply. Where gross income is below the relevant income limit (€15,000/€25,000) plus 80% of mortgage interest, deferral will be available up to end 2017.

A partial deferral may be available where the income or adjusted income is €10,000 above the income limit (€15,000/€25,000/or adjusted with to permit deferrals of up to 50% of LPT liability. Interest will be charged on deferred amounts at c. 4% per annum (simple interest). Deferred LPT and interest will have to be discharged on the sale/transfer of the property. The deferral system as recommended in the Thornhill report and as modified in the Bill focuses on the ability to pay the tax and is based on the income of the liable person.

Banking Sector Remuneration

 156. Deputy Eoghan Murphy Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan if he will provide a detailed breakdown of any non salary entitlements or benefits going to current and new employees of the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation as part of their terms of employment. [56492/12]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan I have been advised that IBRC can confirm that a large volume of information regarding remuneration structures across the Bank has been recently supplied as part of the Mercer Remuneration Review as commissioned by the Department of Finance. This information is currently being analysed as part of the review. As the findings from this review have not yet been published it would therefore be inappropriate for the Bank to supply this information in advance of the Department's full review and subsequent publication.

  Question No. 157 answered with Question No. 128.

European Council Meetings

 158. Deputy Simon Harris Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan the formations of the EU Councils of Ministers on which he sits; the number of meetings of that Council held from 9 March 2011 to date in 2012; the number of those meetings he attended; the number attended by a Minister of State; the number attended by an Irish official; and if he will provide the names of those who attended in tabular form. [56547/12]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan The Economic and Financial Affairs Council (Ecofin) usually meets monthly, although it can meet more frequently, if required. Formal Ecofin meetings are held in Brussels or Luxembourg; Informal Ecofin meetings are convened in the country holding the six-monthly Presidency (usually April and October). Separately to the Ecofin meetings, Eurogroup meetings usually take place on the evening beforehand. In addition to the usual Eurogroup meetings in 2011 and 2012 that took place in advance of the Ecofin meetings, nine extra Eurogroup meetings were convened (three in 2011 and six in 2012), eight of which I attended, with Minister of State Brian Hayes TD attending the other one.

  Since my appointment as Minister for Finance in March 2011, twenty four meetings of Ecofin have taken place and I attended twenty two of these meetings. Mr Brian Hayes TD, Minister of State at the Department of Finance attended two meetings of Ecofin on 14 June 2011 and 21 February 2012. The following table sets out the dates of all Ecofin Council meetings convened from March 2011 to date, and details of who attended each of these meetings.

2011
15/03/2011

Michael Noonan TD, Minister for Finance
08-09/04/2011 (Informal Ecofin, Hungary)

Michael Noonan TD, Minister for Finance
17/05/2011

Michael Noonan TD, Minister for Finance
14/06/2011

Brian Hayes TD, Minister of State at the Department of Finance
20/06/2011

Michael Noonan TD, Minister for Finance
12/07/2011

Michael Noonan TD, Minister for Finance
16-17/09/2011 (Informal Ecofin, Poland)

Michael Noonan TD, Minister for Finance
04/10/2011

Michael Noonan TD, Minister for Finance
22/10/2011

Michael Noonan TD, Minister for Finance
08/11/2011

Michael Noonan TD, Minister for Finance
30/11/2011

Michael Noonan TD, Minister for Finance


2012
24/01/2012

Michael Noonan TD, Minister for Finance
21/02/2012

Brian Hayes TD, Minister of State at the Department of Finance
13/03/2012

Michael Noonan TD, Minister for Finance
30-31/03/2012 (Informal Ecofin, Denmark)

Michael Noonan TD, Minister for Finance
02/05/2012

Michael Noonan TD, Minister for Finance
15/05/2012

Michael Noonan TD, Minister for Finance
22/06/2012

Michael Noonan TD, Minister for Finance
10/07/2012

Michael Noonan TD, Minister for Finance
14-15/09/2012 (Informal Ecofin, Cyprus)

Michael Noonan TD, Minister for Finance
09/10/2012

Michael Noonan TD, Minister for Finance
13/11/2012

Michael Noonan TD, Minister for Finance
04/12/2012

Michael Noonan TD, Minister for Finance
12/12/2012

Michael Noonan TD, Minister for Finance

Property Taxation Exemptions

 159. Deputy Dominic Hannigan Information on Dominic Hannigan Zoom on Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan if any provision will be made with the property tax for executors of wills to be entitled to defer payment until the property is sold; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56602/12]

 164. Deputy Peter Mathews Information on Peter Mathews Zoom on Peter Mathews asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan his plans to allow executors of wills to be included in the list of persons allowed to defer payment of the property tax, where the executor of the will, their spouse are sole or indeed the joint beneficiary of the property concerned; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56733/12]

 194. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan Information on Maureen O'Sullivan Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan if the new Finance (Local Property Tax) Bill 2012 will exempt executors of wills for whom the selling of a property is their responsibility but who are not the beneficiaries of that property, or if the Bill will allow deferring of payment until the property is sold; if the exemption of executors of wills will not be included in the Bill if he will include them in a waiver programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56966/12]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan I propose to take Questions Nos. 159, 164 and 194 together.

Under section 11 of the Finance (Local Property Tax) Bill, the personal representative of the estate of a person who was a liable person for Local Property Tax will be the liable person in relation to a relevant residential property. The reason for making a personal representative a liable person is to prevent the avoidance of the payment of local property tax by means of unnecessarily delaying the distribution of the estate and the transfer of a property to the person who would become the liable person in respect of the property. This might happen, for example, where the person who inherits the property is already living in the property and there are no other beneficiaries involved. The tax will be part of the expenses of the estate, along with other regular expenses, including other taxes, where applicable.

A system of voluntary deferral arrangements is in place in relation to Local Property Tax. These are focused on particular categories of householders and will be implemented to address cases where there is a real and substantial inability to pay the LPT. They will be granted under specific conditions, as follows:

- Where the gross income does not exceed €15,000 (single) and €25,000 (couple).

- For income stressed owner-occupiers who have an outstanding mortgage, an adjusted gross income limit will apply – where gross income less 80% of mortgage interest falls below €15,000/€25,000 a deferral option will be available up to the end of 2017 (when mortgage interest relief also ends).

In addition,

- Marginal relief will apply for owner-occupiers where the income or adjusted income is €10,000 above the income limit (€15,000/€25,000) to permit deferrals of up to 50% of LPT liability.

- Interest will be charged on deferred amounts but at a lower rate (i.e. 4% per annum) than the rate charged in default cases (i.e. 8% per annum). The deferred amount, including interest, will be a charge on the property. Deferred property taxes and interest will have to be discharged on the sale/transfer of the property.

Where a surviving spouse, civil partner or cohabitant remains within the income thresholds for a couple, a deferral will be allowed to continue as long as the income requirement is met.

Under section 134 of the Bill, where the spouse, civil partner or cohabitant, as the case may be, of a liable person dies, the liable person may continue to claim a deferral until the first liability date of the next valuation period notwithstanding that he or she does not meet the income limits specified above.

Tax Reliefs Cost

 160. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan the total cost to the Exchequer in a full year of new tax reliefs introduced in Budgets 2012 and 2013, directed at the agricultural sector, the break down of the saving per relief; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56612/12]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan The tax changes introduced in Budgets 2012 and 2013 which have particular relevance to the agricultural sector are set out below.

Budget 2012

Extension of the existing VAT Refund Order for flat-rate farmers to include a refund on the purchase of wind turbines

  Budget 2012 provided for an extension to the VAT refund order for unregistered farmers to wind turbines and other micro-energy generators purchased from 1 January 2012. Up to then the scheme provided for the refund of VAT paid by such farmers on the construction of farm buildings, fencing, drainage and reclamation of farm land. This measure costs the Exchequer €1m in a full year.

Admissions to open farms to apply at the 9% reduced rate

  Following changes at EU level, admissions to open farms became liable to VAT from 1 January 2012. Consistent with the VAT reduction in respect of the tourist industry, Budget 2012 provided that the rate of VAT on admissions to open farms would apply at the reduced rate of 9%. There was no cost to this measure.

Stock Relief for Registered Farm Partnerships

  An enhanced 50% stock relief (100% for certain young trained farmers) for registered farm partnerships was introduced and will run until 31 December 2015 subject to clearance with the European Commission under State Aid rules. This is estimated to cost €3m in 2012 and €5m in a full year.

Budget 2013

Relief for Farm Restructuring

  Relief will be available where the proceeds of a sale of farm land that enables farm restructuring are reinvested for the same purpose. The sale and purchase of the farm land must occur within 24 months of each other and the initial sale or purchase transaction must occur within the period commencing 1 January 2013 and ending on 31 December 2015. The relief will also apply to farm land swaps. Certification by Teagasc will be required for all transactions seeking relief. The commencement of the relief is subject to receipt of EU State Aid approval. The relief is estimated to cost €5 million in a full year.

Reduction in the Farmer's Flat-Rate Addition from 5.2% to 4.8%

  The farmers' VAT flat-rate addition for un-registered farmers is being reduced as part of Budget 2013 from 5.2% to 4.8% with effect from 1 January 2013. This will yield the Exchequer €18 million in 2013 and €21 million in a full year. This will bring the overall cost to the Exchequer of the scheme to €249m in a full year. The new 4.8% rate for 2013 continues to achieve full compensation under the scheme. The relief is estimated to cost €1 million in a full year.

Stock Relief

  Extend the general rate of stock relief of 25% for a further three years to 2015. This is estimated to cost €1m in a full year.

Young Trained Farmers stock relief

  Extend the YTF rate of stock relief of 100% for a further three years to 2015, subject to EU State Aid clearance. The relief is estimated to cost €1 million in a full year.

Stock relief for registered farm partnerships

  Extend definition of registered farm partnership to include other registered partnerships such as beef production partnerships for the purposes of the 50% rate of stock relief, subject to EU State Aid clearance. This is estimated to cost €1m in a full year.

  In addition, although not solely available to the Agriculture sector, I announced an extension of the Foreign Earnings Deduction (FED) in Budget 2013 such that it will now be available for work-related travel to Algeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal and Tanzania. These countries have been identified by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, as having the potential to become important trading partners for Irish based businesses operating in the agri-food sector.

Tax Yield

 161. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan the estimate of extra tax that will be collected in a full year due to changes in taxes directed at the agricultural sector, including the VAT rebate for unregistered farmers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56613/12]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan Budget 2013 introduced four measures relating to the taxation of the farming sector, none of which incur extra tax on the agricultural sector. The Budget provided for the extension of the general rate of stock relief of 25% for a further three years to 2015; and for an extension of the young trained farmer (YTF) rate of stock relief of 100% for a further three years to 2015, subject to clearance with the European Commission under State aid rules. It is estimated that the extension of both of these farming stock reliefs (the 25% and the 100% rate) will cost the Exchequer €2m per annum.

In addition, Budget 2013 is extending the stock relief for farm partnerships to include other registered partnerships such as beef production partnerships, subject to EU State Aid approval. This increased rate of stock relief will be available until 31 December 2015 for partners in registered farm partnerships. It is estimated that this change will cost the Exchequer less than €1m. Furthermore, the Budget also provides capital gains tax relief will be available where the proceeds of a sale of farm land are reinvested in further farm land for farm restructuring purposes. In effect it would be a roll-over relief. The sale and purchase of the farm land must occur within 24 months of each other and the initial sale or purchase transaction must occur within the period commencing 1 January 2013 and ending on 31 December 2015. EU State-Aid approval of this measure is required. This measure is estimated to cost €3 million in 2013 and €5 million in a full year.

Finally, the farmers' VAT flat-rate addition for un-registered farmers is being reduced as part of the Budget from 5.2% to 4.8% with effect from 1 January 2013. This change will yield the Exchequer €18 million in 2013 and €21 million in a full year, however the overall cost to the Exchequer of the scheme will be €249m in a full year. The flat-rate scheme, which is governed by EU VAT law, compensates unregistered farmers for VAT incurred on their business inputs. The scheme is reviewed annually by reference to macro-economic data, for the preceding three years, on agricultural production and agricultural inputs and the deductible VAT content of such inputs. The reduction in the flat-rate addition to 4.8% for 2013 is a result of calculations on the basis of macro economic data received from the Central Statistics Office for 2010, 2011 and 2012. However, the new 4.8% rate for 2013 continues to achieve full compensation for farmers under the scheme.

  Question No. 162 answered with Question No. 128.

Property Taxation Exemptions

 163. Deputy Dominic Hannigan Information on Dominic Hannigan Zoom on Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan if homes with confirmed pyrite will be exempted from the property tax; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56640/12]

 165. Deputy Dominic Hannigan Information on Dominic Hannigan Zoom on Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan if an estate (details supplied) in County Meath will be exempt from the property tax; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56740/12]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan I propose to take Questions Nos. 163 and 165 together.

I understand the estate which is the subject of Deputy Hannigan's second question above has been affected by "pyritic heave". The Government is conscious of the very real costs and difficulties faced by people whose homes have been affected by pyrite. My colleague the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government has indicated that he considers that houses demonstrated to be subject to a certifiable level of pyritic heave should receive a waiver from the Local Property Tax. I propose to address this issue in the context of the Finance Bill.

  Question No. 164 answered with Question No. 159.

  Question No. 165 answered with Question No. 163.

Property Taxation Application

 166. 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 way he proposes to place an indicative value on homes under the property tax measure in view of the fact that three and four bedroom homes in counties Donegal and Mayo are being sold at auction this year for less than €30,000; his views on whether the property tax agenda is flawed at this time; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56742/12]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan The Local Property Tax will be a self-assessed tax based on the market value of a residential property. There will be a system of market value taxable bands with the initial band covering €0-€100,000 and bands of €50,000 width up to €1,000,000 in value. The tax liability will be calculated by applying the tax rate of 0.18% to the mid-point of the band. Properties valued over €1m will be liable to tax at 0.18% on the first €1 m in value and at 0.25% on any balance over €1 m, with no banding applied.

Revenue will provide guidance on how to value property early next year, and will engage in a comprehensive information campaign, including writing to residential property owners in March 2013 enclosing a detailed explanatory booklet on the operation of LPT, valuation procedures and payments methods, as well as an LPT Return form for completion. The initial valuation of property, to be assessed as on 1 May 2013, will be valid up to and including 2016. This will provide certainty for taxpayers. If liable persons follow Revenue's guidance honestly, Revenue will accept the property value assessment. Liable persons will find guidance in the register of residential property sales, published by the Property Services Regulatory Authority (PSRA) based on Revenue Stamp Duty data (www.propertypriceregister.ie) of assistance for valuing property.

Properties at the value mentioned by the Deputy will be liable to a Local Property Tax of €45 in 2013, when a half year charge will apply. This is €55 less than the Household Charge payable in 2012.

Revenue Commissioners Investigations

 167. 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 the Revenue Commissioners are obliged to carry out a revenue audit on a couples finances when one member of the couple request such an audit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56754/12]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan One of the primary roles of the Revenue Commissioners is to ensure that all taxpayers meet their tax and duty obligations. I am advised by the Commissioners that they meet that objective by selecting cases for intervention based on the presence of various risk indicators and other information available. Revenue's electronic risk ranking system categorises taxpayers in accordance with defined risk criteria. The system allows for the screening of all tax returns against sectoral and business norms and provides a selection basis for checks or audits. In conducting a risk assessment, the risk system also evaluates information sourced by Revenue directly, as well as data received from third party sources, including state agencies and financial institutions.

On occasions, Revenue also receives information from the general public. While there is not, nor should there be, an obligation on the Commissioners to take any particular course of action on foot of such information, I am advised that all information received by them is risk assessed and action may be taken. I am further advised by the Revenue Commissioners that should any taxpayer like to speak to Revenue staff about any specific information that might assist them in investigating tax evasion, they should contact their local Revenue office. However for reasons of confidentiality Revenue will not be in a position to provide feedback on any information received.

Banking Operations

 168. Deputy Ciara Conway Information on Ciara Conway Zoom on Ciara Conway asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan with regard to the covered institutions, the number of claims made by customers alleging overpayment as opposed to overcharging on personal and commercial loans since the guarantee was put in place; the number and percentage of such claims that succeeded; the amount of payments in tens of thousands; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56792/12]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan I have received the following responses to your question from the covered institutions.

BOI

  Bank of Ireland deals with any queries related to matters such as instances of potential overpayment on an individual customer basis. Any potential issue, which affects a greater number of customers, is dealt with through established processes and procedures, in consultation with regulators, where appropriate.

AIB

  Any queries related to matters such as instances of potential overcharging are dealt with on a case by case basis by the bank with individual customers. Any potential broader issues which affect a greater population of customers are dealt with via established procedures in consultation with the Central Bank as regulator.

PTSB

  Overpayment or overcharging gives rise to the same customer remedy - refund of the amount overpaid or overcharged. Compliance doesn't keep records of complaints - just amounts refunded. Most amounts refunded don't arise from a complaint - one complaint can result in refunds for many similarly affected customers.

IBRC

  It is not the practice of IBRC to publicly disclose detailed information in relation to alleged incidents of overpayment by customers. If such an incident was to occur, the Bank would deal directly with the individual customer in an effort to resolve that issue directly through the Bank's formal complaints handling process as required by the Central Bank Ireland Consumer Protection Code (CPP). The CPP includes information for complainants who wish to escalate matters to the Financial Services Ombudsman.

Pensions Levy Issues

 169. 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 reverse the decision to impose a 0.6% levy imposed on private and occupational pension fund assets; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56804/12]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan The pension fund levy applies at a rate of 0.6% per annum to the market value, on the valuation date, of assets under management in pension funds and pension plans approved under Irish tax legislation. The levy will operate for a period of 4 years only (2011 to 2014) and the legislative provisions giving effect to the levy (section 4 of Finance (No 2) Act 2011) were specifically drafted to reflect this. I confirmed in my Budget 2013 Speech that the levy will not be renewed after 2014.

  The moneys raised from the pension fund levy are being used to pay for the Government's Jobs Initiative introduced in May 2011. The measures introduced as part of the Jobs Initiative   include a new 9% VAT rate on certain activities, the halving of the lower rate of PRSI and small amounts of additional current and capital expenditure. The implementation of a jobs and growth strategy is a key priority of the Government. The measures announced in the Jobs Initiative are aimed at assisting in employment generation – providing opportunities for those who are out of work, to restore public morale and confidence in the economy and encourage spending by consumers.

  The chargeable persons for the levy are the trustees or other persons (including insurance companies) with responsibility for the management of the assets of the pension schemes or plans. The payment of the levy is treated as a necessary expense of a pension scheme and the trustees or insurer, as appropriate, are entitled, where they decide to do so, to adjust current or prospective benefits payable under a scheme to take account of the levy. It is up to the trustees to decide whether and how the levy should be passed on and who should be impacted and to what extent, given the particular circumstances of the pension schemes for which they are responsible. I cannot intervene in this process in respect of the pension fund referred to in the details supplied with the question or other pension funds. However, the legislation also includes safeguards aimed at ensuring that benefits payable, either currently or prospectively to any member, are adjusted in such a way that the reduction in value of those benefits shall not exceed 0.6% of the market value of the assets accounting for the scheme's liabilities to that member.

  I am conscious of the concerns of pension scheme members about the impact of a levy in circumstances where the pensions sector, in common with other sectors in our economy and society, is finding the current economic and financial environment very challenging. However, much of the value of pension funds is attributable to the rolled up value of generous tax reliefs that pension savings have historically been granted and continue to receive. The imposition of the levy is for a relatively short period and its purpose is to improve the economic environment by providing the means to encourage job creation in areas of our economy most likely to deliver that employment quickly.

Tax Reliefs Application

 170. Deputy Noel Coonan Information on Noel Coonan Zoom on Noel Coonan asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan the position regarding capital gains liability in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Tipperary; the reasons, if any, the exemption is not applied to them; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56818/12]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that 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 from 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.

As I understand that the person whose details you supplied sold and bought the lands in question earlier this year there is no relief available in respect of any capital gains tax payable on that sale.

Universal Social Charge Payments

 171. 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 a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will be affected by the change to the universal social charge for persons over 70 years. [56828/12]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan The position is that the changes I announced on Budget Day in relation to the liability of individuals to the Universal Social Charge (USC), apply to those individuals who are 70 years of age and over or medical card holders, whose income is €60,000 and above for 2013. It should be noted that the State Pension and other similar type payments made by the Department of Social Protection are not liable to the USC. I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that based on the level of income in previous years of the person in question, his income for 2013 is not likely to be €60,000 and, accordingly, he will not be affected by the changes to be introduced from 1 January 2013.


Last Updated: 06/05/2020 12:01:25 First Page Previous Page Page of 96 Next Page Last Page