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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 122-131
 Header Item Banking Sector Issues
 Header Item Property Taxation Collection
 Header Item Property Taxation Administration
 Header Item Pension Provisions
 Header Item Tax Code
 Header Item NAMA Debtors
 Header Item NAMA Board Appointments
 Header Item NAMA Board Appointments
 Header Item Banking Sector Issues
 Header Item NAMA Expenditure

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 802 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 89 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 122-131

Banking Sector Issues

 122. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan if he will provide a copy of the Crisis Management Manual, also known as the "Black Book", as it existed at the end of 2006 and-or as redrafted during the period August 2007 to September 2008 under the auspices of the Domestic Standing Group, as referenced in the Honohan report and the Nyberg report (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [21091/13]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan The document referred to by the Deputy in his question was drawn up by the Central Bank of Ireland to provide it with a set of processes and procedures to assist it in the management of a financial crisis situation. The question of releasing the document is therefore a matter for the Central Bank of Ireland in the first instance. The document was shared with the Department of Finance on the understanding it would be treated in strictest confidence given the nature of the matters treated in the document. I do not therefore propose to provide a copy of the document.

Property Taxation Collection

 123. Deputy Andrew Doyle Information on Andrew Doyle Zoom on Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan if the valuation of property owned by the Office of Public Works and the State has been completed for the purposes of the local property tax; when he expects the review to be published; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21093/13]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan The Local Property Tax (LPT) is a self-assessed tax. Therefore it will be a matter for the relevant State/public body as property owner to calculate the tax due based on its assessment of the market value of its property and submit a completed LPT Return in respect of all properties in their ownership. The Property Management Service in the Office of Public Works has engaged with the Revenue Commissioners and concluded an exercise to identify all those state owned properties which may be liable for the LPT within its portfolio. The OPW Valuation Service is currently engaged in assigning these properties to the appropriate tax band and work will be complete in advance of the Revenue deadline.

The Finance (Local Property Tax) Act 2012 (as amended) provides that where local authority owned properties are not exempt from LPT, the market value of any such property will be deemed to fall into the lowest valuation band of zero to €100,000 for the period up to and including 2016. This will result in an LPT charge of €45 per property for 2013 and €90 per year for 2014 to 2016. In addition, section 119 of the 2012 Act also gives local authorities until 2014 to pay the 2013 tax. In common with other liable persons who own multiple properties, local authorities have until 28 May 2013 to file their LPT Returns.

Property Taxation Administration

 124. Deputy Sandra McLellan Information on Sandra McLellan Zoom on Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan if he will review the online system for the local property tax for properties in joint ownership to recognise both PPS numbers to ensure that the Revenue Commissioners know that the tax has been paid on the property regardless of which spouse paid it (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21153/13]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan An important aspect of the work undertaken by Revenue in the implementation of Local Property Tax (LPT) was the compilation of the first ever Register of residential properties in the State and the matching of the residential property with its owner or owners, where this information was available. I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that joint owners of a property are jointly and severally liable for LPT in respect of the property. I am further informed that the Revenue Commissioners issued one LPT Return for each residential property to the person that the Commissioners designated as the liable person for the property and only one Return should be filed for a property. Joint owners of a property can, however, decide who should be the designated liable person in respect of the property and requests to change the designated liable person for a property must be submitted in writing to the LPT Branch, PO Box 1, Limerick or by emailing lpt@revenue.ie. Once this person is identified on the Register as an owner of the property, all future LPT correspondence for the property will be addressed to this person and he or she will be required to file the LPT Return and pay the tax due.

  Accordingly, where one owner of the property files the LPT Return and pays the tax due, this discharges the LPT liability for the property and meets the obligations for the joint owners. Revenue records will reflect the position regarding the receipt of the Return for each property, the valuation band declared for the property and the payment made and this information will be available to all of the property owners associated with that property so that there can be complete clarity as to status of LPT for that property. This information is accessed through the Revenue LPT online system using the unique Property ID and PIN so it is important to retain these for future use.

  I am satisfied that the LPT online system has been developed in such a way as to provide the necessary information to all owners that have been linked to the property and, where the full liability has been paid by one of the owners, the obligations of the joint owners will have been met and no accumulation of arrears of tax will arise.

Pension Provisions

 125. 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 Permanent TSB plans to wind up its defined benefit pension scheme; if he will confirm the number of scheme members who would be affected by such a move; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21160/13]

 137. 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 his approval has been given for the closure of the Permanent TSB defined benefit pension scheme; his views on the company's actions regarding same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21223/13]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan I propose to take Questions Nos. 125 and 137 together.

As the Deputy will be aware the pension arrangements for the staff of Permanent TSB are a matter for the management of that company and for the trustees of the relevant pension schemes.

I am informed by Permanent TSB that it currently operates 3 defined pension schemes for employees who joined the bank before 2007 and a defined contribution scheme for staff who joined the bank since then. I am informed by the bank that very substantial funding deficits exist in the various defined benefit schemes.

Permanent TSB has advised me that, in response to this significant problem and as part of a review of the overall cost base of the business, it has recently communicated to staff plans to discontinue employer contributions to all the existing defined benefit pension schemes and to commence, in their place, contributions to a new defined contribution pension scheme from 1 June 2013. I am informed by Permanent TSB that there are currently 1,360 staff in defined benefit schemes in Permanent TSB which will be affected by this move. Ultimately it is for the trustees of the defined benefit schemes to decide how the schemes will respond to this development but it will most likely result in the relevant defined benefit schemes being wound up and the assets already accumulated being distributed among the members of the relevant schemes in accordance with the requirements of the Pensions Act. I have been informed that the matter may be referred to the Labour Court but that would be an issue for the various interested parties.

As the Deputy will be aware there is a Relationship Framework in place with Permanent TSB which provides the basis on which the relationship between the Minister and Permanent TSB is governed. Under the terms of the Relationship Framework the bank operates as an independent economic entity and matters such as this fall within the purview of the bank.

I can inform the Deputy that the Minister for Finance has not been asked, and is not required, under the terms of the Relationship Framework to give approval for a wind-up of Permanent TSB's defined benefit pension schemes.

Tax Code

 126. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan Information on Patrick O'Donovan Zoom on Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan if persons who availed of the farm retirement scheme are able to avail of the exemption from capital gains tax in the event of the disposal of all or part of their farm, even after leaving the scheme; if it is still the case in relation to a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21170/13]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that before a definitive answer could be given to the Deputy’s question it would be necessary to have further relevant information relating to the case. It would for example be necessary to know the effect of leaving the retirement scheme in question relative to the terms of the scheme rules; how long the farmer was within the scheme; what use was made of the land during the period the farmer was within the scheme and what use is being made of the land since leaving the scheme. In the absence of this information, it is only possible to reply in general terms. Section 598 of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 provides that land which has been owned and used by an individual for the purposes of farming for a period of 10 years, ending with the transfer of an interest in that land for the purposes of complying with the relevant Early Retirement From Farming Scheme, qualifies for retirement relief where an individual disposes of that land. In order to qualify for the relief, the individual must be aged 55 years or over.

Currently, full relief from capital gains tax applies where the aggregate consideration for disposals outside the family does not exceed €750,000 and the farmer making the disposal satisfies the conditions governing the tax relief outlined above. Marginal relief may apply where the consideration does not greatly exceed that amount. In the case of disposals by individuals aged 66 or over on or after 1 January 2014, the relief will be reduced to €500,000.

If you wish to provide me with the information required and the name and address of the taxpayer in question, I will request the Revenue Commissioners to provide a definitive reply.

NAMA Debtors

 127. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan further to Parliamentary Questions Nos 198 and 199 of 23 April 2013, when he stated the National Assets Management Agency advises that even there the bankruptcy is discharged, the bankruptcy estate continues until such time as all assets have been liquidated and the debt, in so far as possible, has been repaid and in relation to the discharge from bankruptcy in Britain of a person (details supplied) in November 2011, if he will confirm that NAMA has still not written off the unpaid debt originally owed by the person to NAMA, and that generally, NAMA has not yet written off any debt as a result of bankruptcy by its debtors in foreign jurisdictions.  [21173/13]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan As previously advised, even where a bankruptcy is discharged, the bankruptcy trustee continues to deal with outstanding debt until such time as all assets have been realised and the debt, in so far as possible has been repaid. NAMA advises that it is precluded from commenting on individual cases. As has also been previously advised, NAMA has not written off debt arising from debtor bankruptcy applications.

NAMA Board Appointments

 128. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan further to parliamentary Question No. 224 of 23 April 2013, the consultation he had with the advisory board of the National Assets Management Agency prior to appointing a person (details supllied) to the board of NAMA; the date and general nature of such consultation; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [21174/13]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan I can confirm to the Deputy that consideration of the appointment of Oliver Ellingham to the NAMA Board was discussed at the most recent meeting of the Advisory Group which took place on the 15th March 2013. Mr Ellingham was appointed to the board of NAMA as he has significant international experience in finance as well as his experience as a member of the board of IBRC.

NAMA Board Appointments

 129. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan further to Parliamentary Question No. 224 of 23 April 2013, the consultation, if any, that he had on the three persons at the National Treasury Management Agency and the National Assets Management Agency who have not accepted waivers on their €200,000 salaries in 2013. [21175/13]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan The Chief Executive of the National Treasury Management Agency informed me of this matter in the course of putting in place the administrative arrangements for the continuation of the gifting of 15% of salary or such lesser amount of salary as exceeds €200,000 by employees whose salary exceeds €200,000. I do not plan any further consultations on the matter.

Banking Sector Issues

 130. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan further to Parliamentary Question No. 69 of 24 April 2013, if the two advisers acting on behalf of AIB-EBS and the AIB-EBS pension fund were employees of the same firm.  [21176/13]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan As I have previously advised the Deputy for commercial confidentiality reasons AIB has confirmed that it does not publicly disclose the details of contracts with individual external service providers. However, the bank can confirm that for the purpose of asset valuation, separate advisers were used by AIB and the Trustees of the AIB Pension Fund.

NAMA Expenditure

 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 further to Parliamentary Question No. 224 of 23 April 2013, if he will confirm the budgeted and actual cost of the National Asset Management Agency advisory board in its first year of operation. [21177/13]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan My department had budgeted costs in the region of €40,000 to cover the hotel, travel and subsistence costs of the Advisory Group for 2012, the actual cost of the group in the period was approximately €23,000. As previously advised, the members of the group operate on a pro bono basis.


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