81. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance if he has scoped the potential impact of proposed United States tax changes to the taxation of intellectual property on the State; the level of research his Department or other Departments or agencies are involved in to quantify the possible impact here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53289/17 asked on 13 Dec 2017 - Tax Code)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The proposed changes in the US tax code currently being debate by the US Congress are relevant to all countries that trade with the United States.  The importance of US tax rules is reflected in the fact that the proposed changes were discussed by European Finance Ministers at the recent ECOFIN meeting. 
The proposed legislation has not yet been finalised or signed into law at this point in time.  The full implications of US tax reform for Ireland, ...

84. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the situation in a case in which a sale is agreed and deposit paid for land on 10 October 2017, but no contract has been signed regarding non-residential property on transactions eligible for the 2% rate under transitional relief measures; if the lower rate of stamp duty is still applicable if the contract is executed before year end; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53384/17 asked on 13 Dec 2017 - Stamp Duty)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The rate of stamp duty on commercial land was increased to 6% on Budget Day, this rate applies in relation to all relevant conveyances executed after midnight on 10 October 2017. I subsequently introduced transitional measures in the Finance Bill that will allow for the previous rate of 2% to continue to apply where the parties to a contract entered into a binding contract before 11 October 2017 and where the conveyance or transfer is executed on o...

85. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance if consideration has been given to introducing the concept of a deemed disposal for non-resident investors in REITS and IREF, as applies to Irish resident investors in unit funds (details supplied). (Question 53385/17 asked on 13 Dec 2017 - Real Estate Investment Trusts)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) are purpose designed vehicles for real estate investment. A requirement placed on REITs is that, in general, 85% of their property income is distributed as a dividend to investors each year. This 85% obligation does not apply in years where the REIT cannot, for example because of an insufficiency of distributable reserves, make a distribution. Therefore, non-residents are charged to Irish tax on their share o...

126. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the expected cost in 2018 of the proposed exemption for stamp duty for commercial properties that are made up of 25% residential property; and the rationale for same. (Question 52976/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Stamp Duty)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): It is assumed the Deputy is referring to the repayment of Stamp Duty where 75% of the land is used for residential development as included in section 61 of the Finance Bill 2017. I am advised by Revenue that information is not available in respect of the uptake of the measure (the future transactions that may qualify for the proposed relief from the 6 per cent rate) and therefore it is not in a position to provide information in respect of the expe...

2. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance when he will receive the next update from the Central Bank with regards to the tracker mortgage examination; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 51309/17 asked on 30 Nov 2017 - Tracker Mortgage Examination)

Deputy Michael McGrath: Both questions are very similar. They ask the Minister to provide an update on the tracker mortgage scandal, in particular following his meeting with the banks and the subsequent update we got from Bank of Ireland that an additional 6,000 mortgage accounts had been identified as being affected. This is an opportunity for the Minister to give the House an update on the overall picture, whether he has heard anything since from the Central Bank or if it will still be mid-D...

31. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the steps he will take to implement the actions attributed to his Department under the measures to enhance the States corporate, economic and regulatory framework; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 50885/17 asked on 30 Nov 2017 - Departmental Functions)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): My Department is the lead Department for ten key actions to enhance the State’s corporate, economic and regulatory framework. The Deputy will be pleased to learn that a number of actions have already been implemented and the others are in progress for implementation within their deadlines.
My Department, in consultation with the Central Bank, has transposed MiFID II into Irish law via SI 375/2017. A MiFID II Bill providing for criminal sanctions for...

32. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance if he has discussed with the Central Bank the actions of a bank’s (details supplied) restructuring group; his plans to do so; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 50886/17 asked on 30 Nov 2017 - Banking Sector Regulation)

Deputy Michael McGrath: This issue relates to Ulster Bank’s Global Restructuring Group, GRG, in Ireland. Between 2008 and 2013 over 2,100 SME customers were put into GRG, with loans of between €1 million and €25 million and a total portfolio value in the region of €14 billion, I think, but I will have to double check that figure. The issue is the role of the Central Bank in dealing with the complaints submitted to Ulster Bank about its GRG process in Ireland.
 ...

43. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance if his attention has been drawn to the growing number of older persons that find themselves facing a choice between huge increases in premiums or a loss of value in their life cover due to the whole-of-life policies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 50884/17 asked on 30 Nov 2017 - Insurance Costs)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): At the outset, it is important to note that as Minister for Finance, I am responsible for the development of the legal framework governing financial regulation.  Therefore, neither I nor the Central Bank of Ireland can interfere in the provision or pricing of insurance products, as these matters are of a commercial nature, and are determined by insurance companies based on an assessment of the risks they are willing to accept.  This position is rein...

47. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance his plans for legislation to set a cap on the interest rate that can be charged by moneylenders; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 50883/17 asked on 30 Nov 2017 - Licensed Moneylenders)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): As the Deputy will be aware, the Consumer Credit Act 1995, the legislation under which moneylenders are licensed, does not provide for an interest rate cap.  Nor do the European Communities (Consumer Credit Agreements) Regulations 2010.  Therefore, the Central Bank has no statutory power to impose a market wide cap on rates. Any legislative proposals in this regard would have to be careful to achieve an overall reduction in the cost of credit and en...

50. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the grounds on which the increase in commercial stamp duty will be sustainable; the expected revenue achieved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 50882/17 asked on 30 Nov 2017 - Stamp Duty)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Budget 2018 includes a change to the rate of Stamp Duty on non-residential property from 2% to 6%, projected to raise €376 million in 2018. This is based on estimates in Revenue’s Pre-Budget Ready Reckoner, which showed the effect of a 0.5% increase in the rate on non-residential property, a €47 million increase in yield – this is multiplied up to €94 million for 1% increase, or €376 million for a 4% increase. 
I am advised by Revenue that the yield...

107. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the estimated cost of applying a 1% stamp duty for first time buyers, maintaining the 2% for those who are purchasing a home having sold their home and applying a 5% stamp duty rate for investors including all persons and structures purchasing property as an investment. (Question 49989/17 asked on 28 Nov 2017 - Stamp Duty)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): As the Deputy’s Question refers to a home, it is assumed that the Question is in relation to residential property.  
The current rate of Stamp Duty on residential property is 1% on the first €1 million of the consideration and 2% on any excess. 
First time buyers are liable to the current Stamp Duty rates on residential property. The majority of such properties would attract a rate of 1% so no cost would arise from proposed change. It is not clear...

117. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the tax advantages in place for a person or business which engages in philanthropy, including income tax, estate taxes and so on; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 50097/17 asked on 28 Nov 2017 - Philanthropy Initiatives)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I am advised by Revenue that there are a number of provisions in the Taxes Consolidation Act (TCA) 1997 and the Capital Acquisitions Consolidation Act 2003 that provide for tax relief in respect of philanthropy. 
Section 848A and Schedule 26A of the TCA provide for a scheme of tax relief for donations to approved bodies, including eligible charities. As the Deputy may be aware, changes were made to that scheme in Finance Act 2013. Individual donor...

131. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance if he has given consideration to introducing legislation which would prohibit the use of legacy losses against profits beyond 31 December 2017 in view of the fact that banks have accumulated losses from the financial crisis of some €34 billion. (Question 50668/17 asked on 28 Nov 2017 - Corporation Tax Regime)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Corporation Tax Loss Relief is provided for by Section 396 of the Taxes Consolidation Act (TCA) 1997.  Loss relief for corporation tax is a long standing feature of the Irish Corporate Tax system. It allows for losses incurred in the course of business to be accounted for when calculating a business’ tax liabilities. This mechanism is a standard feature of Corporation Tax systems in all OECD countries.  
There would be a material negative impact o...

73. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance his plans to repay bilateral and other sovereign loans at an earlier date than scheduled; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 49651/17 asked on 23 Nov 2017 - Sovereign Debt)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The Deputy will be aware that we have already repaid early some 81 per cent of our IMF loan. This early repayment, which was completed in 2015, generates significant interest savings. It also reduces the refinancing requirement in the coming years as debt that was originally to mature over the period July 2015 – January 2021 has been replaced with longer-term debt.
The Deputy will also be aware that on 7 September this year, I announced Ireland’s ...

132. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance his plans to commission a report on the way in which the State’s tax policies and treaties affect developing countries; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48708/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - Tax Treaties)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Ireland, in accordance with our International Tax Strategy, is committed to engaging constructively and respectfully with developing countries in relation to tax matters, and to supporting such countries in raising domestic tax revenues in ways that are more efficient, that promote good governance and equitable development, and that can allow them to eventually exit from a dependence on official development assistance. 
As part of this commitment th...

133. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance his views and those of the Central Bank on whether the policy of a bank (details supplied) of charging an extra 1 percentage point interest rate on all restructured tracker mortgages is within the spirit and letter of the code of conduct on mortgage arrears; if this issue has been raised with him or the Central Bank; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48709/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I can confirm for the Deputy that the matter referred to has not been raised with me. 
I would remind the Deputy, however, that although the State has a 14% minority shareholding in BOI, I in my role as the Minister for Finance, have no direct function in the relationship between the bank and its customers. Decisions taken by the bank in this regard are matters for the board and management of the institution. The Minister for Finance must ensure t...

141. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance his views on the fact that the section 110 tax status availed of by qualifying companies operating as non-bank loan originators in the State could be breaking state aid rules in view of the fact that new banks or lenders which could set up non-retail lending operations here and do not meet the current qualifying criteria for section 110 status would not be afforded the same tax neutral treatment. (Question 48849/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - Banking Sector Regulation)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Loan originations involve a company fronting for a foreign bank and either lending directly to larger more sophisticated borrowers, or immediately issuing newly made loans to smaller borrowers from the foreign bank. Provided the foreign bank is established in one of the countries with which we have signed a double tax agreement, then no Irish tax would have arisen on its interest income had it lent directly to the Irish borrowers.  
Section 110 of ...

142. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the implications of the European Commission’s recent ruling that a company (details supplied) has to pay €250 million to Luxembourg having received illegal tax benefits from Luxembourg, in terms of state aid from Ireland to a company in view of its taxation arrangements with the State and the parallels between Luxembourg and Ireland regarding companies. (Question 48850/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - State Aid Investigations)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The European Commission recently concluded that a tax ruling given by Luxembourg to Amazon constituted an illegal State aid amounting to approximately €250 million. This announcement is part of a wider investigation by the European Commission encompassing tax rulings in all 28 Member States which has been ongoing since 2014.   
As the final Commission Decision has not yet been published, it is not possible to provide any further comment in this reg...

143. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance if the EU Commission has informally or formally requested information on Irish tax schemes for the purposes of state aid rules or specific tax relationships with companies; the details of such requests; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48851/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - State Aid Investigations)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The European Commission has been gathering information from all 28 EU Member States on tax rulings since 2014 and it has examined over 1,000 rulings across EU Member States.
I understand that the European Commission issues information requests to Member States on an ongoing basis. 
Ireland has always cooperated with such requests and will continue to do so. It is not appropriate for me to comment on the nature of any such requests, as such enquirie...

144. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the number of letters issued in each of the years 2014 to 2016 and to date in 2017 by banks (details supplied) to political representatives, their families or associates requesting additional information concerning identification, evidence of sources of funds, evidence of residential address and certified statement of assets as per section 37 of the Criminal Justice Act, 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48855/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - Money Laundering)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The Deputy will understand that the information requested is not held within my Department. I have therefore requested a response to the Deputy’s question from each of the banks identified by the Deputy.
AIB Response:
“AIB has comprehensive policies and procedures in place to ensure compliance with the provisions of the Criminal Justice Act, 2010 (CJA 2010). This includes with regard to its obligations to determine whether it has relationships wit...

166. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the details of his planned anti-avoidance measures to deal with the avoidance of stamp duty on the purchase of commercial property through buying shares in a company or investment fund which holds the commercial property and other measures which may be used to avoid or reduce the 6% stamp duty charge on commercial property; if these anti-avoidance measures will be back dated to budget day; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 49378/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - Tax Avoidance)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The Deputy will appreciate that this is a complex area which I will be seeking to address during the forthcoming stages of Finance Bill 2017.
 ...

167. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance if costs (details supplied) are deductible for REITs when computing their annual property income in view of the fact that one of the qualifying criteria of a REIT is that it must make a distribution of not less than 85% of its annual property income; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 49379/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - Real Estate Investment Trusts)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The Finance Act of 2013 introduced the regime for the operation of Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) in Ireland, found in Part 25A of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997.  The regime provides for a collective investment vehicle for persons wishing to invest in property.  REITs must be widely held, as it is a requirement that the REIT not be a “close company”, that is, a REIT cannot be under the control of 5 or fewer participators.  
The function of...

110. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the status of the Central Bank engagement with a bank (details supplied) regarding the behaviour of a company; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48327/17 asked on 15 Nov 2017 - Central Bank of Ireland)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): While the Central Bank cannot comment on individual interactions with regulated entities, I am informed by the Bank that it is engaging with Ulster Bank Ireland DAC (Ulster Bank) in relation to this matter.
In November 2016, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) announced a complaints process and refund of complex fees for SME customers in Global Restructuring Group (GRG) and indicated publically that “a customer is in-scope for the new complaints process if...

103. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the number of times Irish banks or their offshore offices refused to provide data or information requested by the Revenue Commissioners; if the requests were eventually acceded to; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 47620/17 asked on 14 Nov 2017 - Banking Operations)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I am advised by Revenue that, as part of its offshore investigations, Irish financial institutions and their Irish registered subsidiaries were required on up to 40 occasions to provide information and data to Revenue usually on foot of a High Court Order. 
The type of information covered by these Orders included-
- information, explanations and particulars, where such information was known to the financial institutions or subsidiaries concerned, a...

104. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the knowledge his office had of the existence of a company (details supplied) since a bank was nationalised; the oversight applied to this branch of the bank; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 47621/17 asked on 14 Nov 2017 - Banking Operations)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The Deputy is aware that the Minister for Finance has no direct function in strategic or operational decisions made by the banks in which the State is a shareholder.  Decisions in this regard are the responsibility of the board and management of each institution, under the supervision of their regulator and equivalent authorities in the jurisdictions relevant to their operations.  
The Minister must ensure that the bank is run on a commercial and in...