92. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Finance if he was consulted on the withdrawal of the seafarers allowance for the workers of a company (details supplied) in 2013; the reason the seafarers allowance was taken away from the workers when it had previously been granted; the person who ultimately made the decision to withdraw the allowance; if it can be brought back for those workers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 35422/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Tax Code)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The Seafarers’ Allowance is granted to individuals who meet the qualifying conditions as set out in Section 472B of the Taxes Consolidation Acts 1997.  In order to qualify for the allowance, a taxpayer must be a “qualifying individual” who holds a “qualifying employment ….… the duties of which are performed wholly on board a sea-going ship on an international voyage”.  The applicant must be absent from the State on an international voyage (a voyag...

112. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Finance if interest on home loans is tax deductible. (Question 35335/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Tax Code)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): With regard to owner occupiers, Section 244 of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 provides tax relief in respect of interest paid by an individual on a loan used for the purchase, repair, development or improvement of his or her sole or main residence or the sole or main residence of his or her civil partner, dependant relative or his or her former or separated spouse.  Tax relief is available in respect of interest paid on qualifying home loans taken...

119. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the reason paternity benefit is tax-free while maternity benefit is taxable; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 35690/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Tax Code)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I am advised by Revenue that paternity benefit is chargeable to income tax in the same way as maternity benefit.  Taxation of paternity benefit was provided for by way of an amendment to Section 126(2A) of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997, which was contained in section 36 of the Paternity Leave and Benefit Act 2016. 
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127. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Finance the reason the relief granted to resident and non-resident persons with a non-resident spouse in respect of the non-resident aggregation relief tax credit can be greater than the relief that would be granted on the basis of joint assessment to a tax resident couple; his views on whether this is fair; if he will review the issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 35850/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Tax Code)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Further to the reply to Question No. 119 of 13 July last, which provided a detailed answer to the Deputy setting out the operation of this relief, I am advised by Revenue that the relief operates where a married couple comprises one individual who is tax-resident in Ireland and one who is tax-resident in another jurisdiction. The relief serves to ensure the taxation of the portion of the couple’s combined income that is attributable to the tax resi...

180. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Finance the amount that would be collected by increasing stamp duty on commercial property to 6%. (Question 36324/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Tax Code)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The rate of stamp duty on commercial property is currently set at 2%. I am advised by Revenue that an increase of 4% would generate an estimated additional €376m in stamp duty revenue, bringing the total receipts from stamp duty on commercial property to an estimated €564m.
The deputy may be interested to note that Revenue have recently published their Pre-Budget 2018 Ready Reckoner, available at the following link: http://www.revenue.ie/en/corpora...

181. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Finance the amount that would be raised from a tax on non-family homes levied at €600 per annum for second homes and €1,000 per annum for all subsequent properties. (Question 36325/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Tax Code)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I am informed by Revenue that a tax on second and subsequent non-family homes levied at €600 for the second homes and €1,000 on all subsequent properties would have an annual yield in the region of €229 million. This is based on those properties indicated to be non-principal primary residencies by their owners in their LPT returns.
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183. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Finance the amount the State would save if it only allowed tax breaks for private pensions at the 20% marginal rate. (Question 36327/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Tax Code)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I am advised by Revenue that a pre-Budget 2018 Ready Reckoner is available on the Revenue Statistics web page at the link: http://www.revenue.ie/en/corporate/information-about-revenue/statistics/ready-reckoner/index.aspx. In relation to the Deputy’s Questions, page 11 of this Ready Reckoner shows the estimated cost or yield from changing the ceiling on the annual earnings limit for determining maximum allowable contributions for pension purposes an...

119. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Finance if he will review the current operation of the non-resident aggregation relief tax credit; his views on whether it operates fairly; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 33650/17 asked on 13 Jul 2017 - Tax Code)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I presume the Deputy is referring to married couples where either one or both spouses are non resident and only one of the spouses has income chargeable to tax in this State. 
I am advised by Revenue that Section 461 of the Taxes Consolidated Act 1997 (the Act) provides that the married person’s tax credit is granted to an individual who is assessable to tax on the combined income of the couple in accordance with section 1017 of the Act.  In effect,...

160. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Finance if developers can avail of both the development contribution rebate scheme and the help to buy scheme simultaneously. (Question 33991/17 asked on 13 Jul 2017 - Tax Code)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The Help to Buy (HTB) incentive is an income tax based incentive available to the first time buyers of new homes or those who wish to build their own first home. The refund available under the incentive, while provided to developers in certain cases, is actually relief to the home purchaser to assist them in obtaining a deposit to put towards the cost of their new home.
The development contribution rebate scheme is primarily a matter for the Ministe...

169. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Finance the number of persons who paid the domicile levy who were tax exiles; his views on whether this levy ensures that tax exiles pay a fair proportion of tax here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 34154/17 asked on 13 Jul 2017 - Tax Code)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The Domicile Levy was introduced in the Finance Act 2010 to ensure that wealthy individuals make a contribution to the State during a time of economic and fiscal difficulty.  It applies to Irish domiciled individuals, wherever they are resident, who:  
have a world-wide income greater than €1 million 
own Irish property greater than €5 million; and 
pay €200,000 or less in Irish income tax. 
Irish tax residence is not a requirement for the Levy to a...

1064. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the discussions that he had with the Minister for Finance with a view to ring-fencing part of revenues generated through betting tax for sport. (Question 34130/17 asked on 13 Jul 2017 - Tax Code)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): As the Deputy is aware, a new National Sports Policy is under development within my Department. A key issue that requires to be considered in that context is the financing of future activities and programmes in the important area of sport and physical activity. It is my aim to publish the new sports policy in early autumn 2017. While the Deputy will be aware that fiscal policy is a matter for the Minister for Finance and the Ministe...

1280. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government if his Department has explored the number of potential development sites held by investors due to the seven-year capital gains tax exemption; and his views on whether this is a significant source of land hoarding. (Question 33708/17 asked on 13 Jul 2017 - Tax Code)

Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Matters of taxation policy are a matter for my colleague, the Minister for Finance. My Department does not hold specific information in relation to the impact of the taxation measure cited.
In terms of vacant sites more generally, the Urban Regeneration and Housing Act 2015 introduced a new measure, the vacant site levy, which is aimed at incentivising the development of vacant, under-utilised sites in urban ...

122. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Finance his plans to ring fence a percentage of moneys from betting duty and-or tax to be distributed to the relevant Department for the provision of problem gambling treatment and prevention services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 33174/17 asked on 12 Jul 2017 - Tax Code)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Hypothecation is not a feature of the Irish tax system in general. I am not in favour of hypothecation of revenue receipts as it reduces the flexibility of the Government to prioritise and allocate funds as necessary at a particular time.
 
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121. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the estimated additional revenue that would be raised by increasing the bank levy by ten percentage points and by 10%; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 32106/17 asked on 11 Jul 2017 - Tax Code)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): In Budget 2016, the Minister for Finance committed to extending the bank levy (a form of stamp duty paid by financial institutions) until 2021, subject to a review of the calculation methodology. This took place during 2016, including a public consultation to ascertain the views of stakeholders. Following on from this, it was decided to retain the existing DIRT-based calculation methodology, but to update the base year and corresponding levy rate, i...

127. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the options open to a person with a PRSA contract when drawing down the maximum amount of a tax-free lump sum and-or purchasing an annuity either before the PRSA contract matures or at the date of maturity; the position regarding the person’s rights in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 32132/17 asked on 11 Jul 2017 - Tax Code)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I am advised by Revenue that the relevant legislation setting out the treatment of PRSAs is contained in Chapter 2A of Part 30 of the Taxes Consolidation Act (TCA) 1997. Except in limited circumstances, benefits can not be drawn down until the individual is at least 60 years of age, as set out in section 787K of the TCA 1997. 
The amount of lump sum that can be taken on retirement depends on the type of PRSA, and the rules of the individual scheme,...

131. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Finance if his Department or a body under its aegis has explored the prospect of applying local property tax to development sites with or without a building or structure zoned as suitable for residential development; his views on whether this could be a means of introducing a site value tax to reduce land hoarding and reduce speculative investment in development land; and the estimated revenue intake from such a tax. (Question 32216/17 asked on 11 Jul 2017 - Tax Code)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Following a commitment given in Budget 2015, a public consultation was conducted by my Department in 2015 on the issue of unused zoned and serviced land with a view to examining what taxation measures might be taken to penalise land owners who do not develop such land. 
The Urban Regeneration and Housing Act 2015 (No 33 of 2015) gives Local Authorities new powers to incentivise the development of zoned and serviced land, as well as providing for oth...

133. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Finance the 2018 and full year cost or yield of all additional taxation measures announced as part of budget 2017, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 32238/17 asked on 11 Jul 2017 - Tax Code)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The 2018 and full year costs and yields for the tax measures announced in Budget 2017 are set out as follows.
 1. REVENUE RAISING MEASURES Yield2018€m YieldFull Year€m EXCISE Tobacco Products TaxExcise duty on a pack of 20 cigarettes is increased by 50c, with a pro-rata increase on other tobacco products. It will raise the price of cigarettes in the most popular price category to €11.00 per pack of 20 cigarettes. 65 65 COMPLIANCE ME...

136. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the preparations his Department made in advance of the national economic dialogue regarding the fiscal space for USC and income tax reductions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 32372/17 asked on 11 Jul 2017 - Tax Code)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I take it the Deputy is referring to the National Economic Dialogue 2017 which took place in Dublin Castle last month. The Programme for Partnership Government contains a commitment that budget measures will involve at least a 2:1 split between public spending and tax reductions. This commitment is also contained in the confidence and supply agreement with Fianna Fáil.
The most recent published estimate of the net fiscal space available for 2018, as...

137. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance if his officials have examined the European Commission decision in respect of tax breaks for employees in Sweden when they exercise their share options; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 32374/17 asked on 11 Jul 2017 - Tax Code)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): As the Deputy will be aware, on a foot of a review of share based remuneration conducted in 2016, it was announced in the last Budget that work had commenced on the development of a new, SME-focussed, share-based incentive scheme, to be introduced in Budget 2018. It was noted that such an incentive would require the approval of the European Commission and that officials would be engaging with the Commission to ensure that the incentive would comply ...

163. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Finance his plans to introduce a soft drinks industry levy; if the funds raised will be ring-fenced to fund childhood anti-obesity measures; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 32665/17 asked on 11 Jul 2017 - Tax Code)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): As outlined in Budget 2017, it is intended to introduce a tax on sugar sweetened drinks in April 2018, which will coincide with the introduction of a similar tax in the UK.
A public consultation process opened on Budget night seeking the views of interested parties on the make up of the tax which ran until 3rd January 2017. Some 30 submissions were received, all of which are being considered and are also available to view on my Department’s website...

758. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Social Protection the progress which has been made introducing a PRSI scheme for the self-employed and providing a supportive tax regime for entrepreneurs and the self-employed as is allowed for in the confidence and supply agreement; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 32725/17 asked on 11 Jul 2017 - Tax Code)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The Programme for a Partnership Government commits to seeking “to introduce a PRSI scheme for the self-employed and provide a supportive tax regime for entrepreneurs and the self-employed”. Significant progress has been made in the last Budget on extending the level of cover available to self-employed PRSI contributors. Self-employed contributors now have access to treatment benefits since last March and will have access to invalidity pen...

23. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Finance if he will review the tax breaks for real estate investment trusts and vulture funds in view of the fact that they are in many cases sitting on properties and the desired affect of increasing supply is not being realised; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 31473/17 asked on 05 Jul 2017 - Tax Code)

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Not for the first time, it was reported in the newspapers at the weekend in respect of REITS and vulture funds, which are co-investors with the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund, ISIF, which is the State investment fund, and which are involved in real estate and the SME sector, that two of them, Cardinal Capital and BlueBay, paid €250 in tax each in 2015. Does the Minister not think this is a scandalous indication of tax evasion by a very profitable sector?
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32. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance if he will report on the study he has ordered to amalgamate PRSI and USC; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 31462/17 asked on 05 Jul 2017 - Tax Code)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I have asked my officials to prepare a paper to examine the policy options with regard to the amalgamation of USC and PRSI, as one of a range of potential policy options for the short and medium term.
As we have already discussed here this morning in response to Deputy Doherty’s priority question, our current three-part system of personal taxation is overly complex and can be difficult for taxpayers and employers to understand.  A reduction from thr...

53. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Finance his plans to reform the favourable tax treatment provided to property investment funds operating here in view of the negative effect this treatment is having on the market in terms of them purchasing huge chunks of residential housing and commercial property, clogging the supply of residential housing and hoarding land banks. (Question 31455/17 asked on 05 Jul 2017 - Tax Code)

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Not for the first time, it was reported in the newspapers at the weekend in respect of REITS and vulture funds, which are co-investors with the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund, ISIF, which is the State investment fund, and which are involved in real estate and the SME sector, that two of them, Cardinal Capital and BlueBay, paid €250 in tax each in 2015. Does the Minister not think this is a scandalous indication of tax evasion by a very profitable sector?
 ...

113. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the detail of the treatment of rental income from residential property situated here from a taxation point of view, including the rate of taxation that applies by different classes of recipients including private landlords domiciled and resident here, private landlords not resident here, Irish resident companies, non-Irish resident companies, partnerships, real estate investment trusts and so on; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 31424/17 asked on 04 Jul 2017 - Tax Code)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Under section 18 of the Taxes Consolidation Act (TCA) 1997, rental income earned by both Irish resident and non-Irish resident companies and individuals from a property situated in the State is taxable under Case V of Schedule D of the TCA 1997. This basis of taxation makes no distinction between rental income from property let for residential occupation and property let for commercial occupation.
While the same computational rules to calculate tax...