90. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Finance if there will be changes implemented to the primary medical certificate decision process and criteria; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 35190/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Disabled Drivers and Passengers Scheme)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers (Tax Concessions) Scheme provides relief from VAT and Vehicle Registration Tax (up to a certain limit), an exemption from motor tax and a grant in respect of fuel, on the purchase of an adapted car for transport of a person with specific severe and permanent physical disabilities. 
To qualify for the Scheme an applicant must be in possession of a Primary Medical Certificate. To qualify for a Primary Medi...

91. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Finance if he will report on the appointment-only service being brought into the Revenue Commissioners office in Dundalk, County Louth; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 35206/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Revenue Commissioners)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I am advised by Revenue that the provision of enhanced online and telephone services has resulted in a reduced demand for the traditional ‘walk-in’ services to public offices. The number of personal callers has fallen by 64% since 2008. Taxpayers are choosing different channels to the traditional ‘walk-in’ services and are getting the information and assistance they require in a way that better meets their needs.
Revenue is responding to the chang...

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...

93. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Finance the amount collected by the Exchequer by way of the environmental levy on plastic bags for the past three years to date; if in a situation in which a retailer sells a plastic bag to a customer for a price above the 22 cent levy, the excess amount is liable for VAT; the amount of VAT collected in respect of plastic bags sold above the 22 cent price; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 35479/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Plastic Bag Levy)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that information in respect of tax collection, including the amount collected for the environmental levy on plastic bags, is available on the Commissioners’ website at: http://www.revenue.ie/en/corporate/information-about-revenue/statistics/receipts/receipts-taxhead.aspx. 
The most recently available figures available are for 2016. I am further informed that it is not possible for Revenue to provide the VAT...

94. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Finance his plans to improve the criteria for qualification for the primary medical certificate; when he plans to have the review of this scheme finalised; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 35928/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Disabled Drivers and Passengers Scheme)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers (Tax Concessions) Scheme provides relief from VAT and Vehicle Registration Tax (up to a certain limit), an exemption from motor tax and a grant in respect of fuel, on the purchase of an adapted car for transport of a person with specific severe and permanent physical disabilities. 
To qualify for the Scheme an applicant must be in possession of a Primary Medical Certificate. To qualify for a Primary Medi...

95. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance his plans to relax the criteria for the primary medical certificate for children with a disability who are not currently eligible; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 36233/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Disabled Drivers and Passengers Scheme)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers (Tax Concessions) Scheme provides relief from VAT and Vehicle Registration Tax (up to a certain limit), an exemption from motor tax and a grant in respect of fuel, on the purchase of an adapted car for transport of a person with specific severe and permanent physical disabilities. 
To qualify for the Scheme an applicant must be in possession of a Primary Medical Certificate. To qualify for a Primary Medi...

96. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Finance the estimated cost to the Exchequer of proposals by an organisation (details supplied). (Question 36715/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Budget Consultation Process)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 96 and 97 together.
Each year my Department receives a large number of such submissions  from a wide range of groups and individuals. These are considered by the relevant officials in the context of Budget process. However the Deputy will be aware that it is not the practice of the Minister for Finance to discuss the details of measures which may be under consideration as part of the Budget and Finance Bill.
He may...

97. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Finance the estimated cost to the Exchequer of a proposal by an organisation (details supplied) (Question 36718/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Budget Consultation Process)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 96 and 97 together.
Each year my Department receives a large number of such submissions  from a wide range of groups and individuals. These are considered by the relevant officials in the context of Budget process. However the Deputy will be aware that it is not the practice of the Minister for Finance to discuss the details of measures which may be under consideration as part of the Budget and Finance Bill.
He may...

98. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Finance the debt which is listed under the National Treasury Management Agency. (Question 35988/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - National Treasury Management Agency)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): National Debt is the net debt incurred by the Exchequer after taking account of cash balances and other financial assets. General Government Gross Debt (GGD) is a measure of the total gross consolidated debt of the State compiled by the Central Statistics Office (CSO). It is the standard measure used for comparative purposes across the European Union. 
The primary component of General Government Debt (GGD) is Gross National Debt – that is the Nati...

99. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Finance the status of a tax refund for 2016 for a person (details supplied) in County Cork having ceased employment in February. (Question 34917/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Tax Rebates)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I am advised by Revenue that there has been direct contact with the person concerned in this matter. When a completed tax return that is required from the person concerned is received by Revenue then the matter of processing any refund of tax overpaid can be finalised.
 ...

100. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Finance the purpose of the Government levy on car insurance; when it commenced; when it will cease; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 34956/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Insurance Compensation Fund)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The Insurance Compensation Fund (ICF) was established under the Insurance Act 1964, as amended, in order to provide a certain minimum level of protection for policyholders particularly where an insurer goes into liquidation. In essence the ICF is a consumer protection mechanism which is also found in Member States across the EU and elsewhere. The ICF is currently maintained and administered under the control of the President of the High Court acti...

101. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Finance if he will make the provision of electric car charging points in work car parks exempt from being treated as a benefit-in-kind for PAYE, PRSI and USC purposes to encourage the use of electric cars for environmental purposes by more employers and employees. (Question 34957/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Electric Vehicles)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): An interdepartmental Low-Emitting Vehicles (LEV) taskforce has been established to consider a full suite of potential measures to expedite the deployment of low carbon technologies, particularly electric vehicles, under a commitment outlined in the Programme for a Partnership Government. 
One of the potential policy instruments being considered by the taskforce is the role of taxation, including benefit-in-kind, to assist in the accelerated adoption...

102. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Finance the follow-up searches that were undertaken further to the recent discovery by persons of substantial quantities of drugs off the west coast in late June 2017; the additional resources that have been allocated to customs officials to enable them to follow up on this drug find; his views on whether customs officials have obtained greater intelligence on the drug smugglers who are using the west coast to illegally import narcotics due to this unplanned find; his further views on whether the customs service has the level of resources it needs to intercept and find drug smugglers importing drugs via the west coast route; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 35021/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Drugs Smuggling)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I am advised by Revenue that they are working closely with An Garda Síochána in the aftermath of the recent drugs find off the west coast and investigations are continuing.
The deployment of Revenue staff and resources is a matter for Revenue. I am advised by Revenue that they use a broad range of data, intelligence and analytics to identify and evaluate risk and to confront suspected non-compliance. Revenue currently has approximately 2,000 staff...

103. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the status of the transposition of EU Directive 2016/97 on insurance distribution; the way in which each of the discretions allowed will be handled; his plans to ban commission in respect of IBIPs which are sold on the basis of independent advice; if the definition of the term “independent” in this context will be clarified; if the difference between MIFID products and products falling under the IDD will be addressed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 35045/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - EU Directives)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The Insurance Distribution Directive was published in the Official Journal of the European Union in February 2016 and must be transposed into Irish law by February 2018. It will replace the Insurance Mediation Directive which was adopted in 2002 to regulate point of sale insurance products and will create a single market for the sale of insurance products. The Insurance Distribution Directive aims to further enhance consumer protection and ensure ...

104. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance his views on a matter raised in correspondence concerning a loan sale by NAMA (details supplied). (Question 35070/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - NAMA Loans Sale)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The Deputy will be aware that I, as Minister for Finance, have no role in respect of NAMA’s commercial operations or decisions. Accordingly, I am not aware of specific details in relation to this particular transaction. The Deputy will also be aware that NAMA operates under the same obligation of confidentiality as banks, and that Sections 99 and 202 of the NAMA Act 2009 prohibit the disclosure of confidential debtor information. 
I am advised tha...

105. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Finance if progress has been made in discussions at European level to designate defibrillators at a zero rate of VAT; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 35100/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - VAT Rate Application)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The Programme for Partnership Government contains a commitment to look at the VAT faced by community groups on certain products, such as defibrillators and to work with our EU counterparts in seeking to reform this area.
Applying a zero rate of VAT to defibrillators is not currently possible under the VAT rating provisions of the EU VAT Directive, with which Irish VAT law must comply. However, a proposal on reforming VAT rates is due to be publishe...

106. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Finance his views on and his plans to implement the ruling of the European Court of Justice (details supplied) which appears to indicate that Irish citizens have a right under EU law to drive a car they own which is registered in another member state in Ireland if it is intended essentially for use in another member state; the timeframe for the legislation to implement the EU ruling; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 35112/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Vehicle Registration)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Ruling C-420/15 of the Court of Justice of the European Union concerns the circumstances in which an obligation to register a motor vehicle in a Member State would constitute an obstacle to freedom of movement for workers. 
National legislation provides that Irish citizens have the right to drive a car in Ireland that is registered in another Member State for a period of thirty days before it must be registered in Ireland. This provision ensures th...

107. Deputy Louise O’Reilly asked the Minister for Finance the name of the person nominated by the State to the European Union expert committee on illicit trade in tobacco; and the extent to which he has verified that this person has no conflicts of interest. (Question 35178/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - EU Issues)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I presume that the Deputy is referring to the European Commission Expert Group on the Fight against Illicit Trade in Tobacco, established in 2017 under the aegis of the European Anti-Fraud Office.
I am advised by Revenue that Ireland will be represented at the Expert Group by an officer of its Investigations and Prosecutions Division, and that the person concerned has no conflicts of interest.
 ...

108. Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Finance if all security and contract cleaning companies that have obtained contracts from his Department and agencies under the aegis of his Department under public procurement rules are paying the legal employment regulation order, ERO, hourly rate to their security and contract cleaning employees; the steps he has taken to confirm full compliance with the ERO system; if he has cancelled contracts with companies that have been found to be in breach of the ERO system since 1 October 2015; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 35227/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Departmental Contracts Data)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): In relation to cleaning services, and indeed facilities management services generally, my Department arranges the provision of such services both for itself and for the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.  There is no contract with an outside security company in respect of the provision of security for the buildings occupied by the two Departments.  Following a procurement process in 2015, a contract was awarded to a service provider to pro...

109. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Finance if he will address the tax credits for single carers and jointly assessed (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 35283/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Tax Credits)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 109 and 110 together.
The two tax credits to which the Deputy refers have different origins and policy objectives and therefore should not be considered in comparative terms.
The Home Carer’s Allowance was introduced in Finance Act 2000 in the context of the commencement of a multi-year plan to move to the full individualisation of the tax system. Prior to 2000, income tax allowed for full joint assessment of marrie...

110. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Finance if he will increase the home carer’s tax and income thresholds (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 35284/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Tax Credits)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 109 and 110 together.
The two tax credits to which the Deputy refers have different origins and policy objectives and therefore should not be considered in comparative terms.
The Home Carer’s Allowance was introduced in Finance Act 2000 in the context of the commencement of a multi-year plan to move to the full individualisation of the tax system. Prior to 2000, income tax allowed for full joint assessment of marrie...

111. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Finance the specific steps he has taken to reduce and curtail the spiralling costs of car insurance and HGV insurance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 35318/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Insurance Costs)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): My predecessor as Minister for Finance, Deputy Michael Noonan, established the Cost of Insurance Working Group in 2016 in order to examine the factors contributing to the increasing cost of insurance and identify what short, medium and long-term measures can be introduced to help to reduce the cost of insurance for consumers and businesses.  The initial focus of the Working Group was the problem of rising motor insurance premiums and a broad range o...

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...

113. Deputy John Halligan asked the Minister for Finance the expected timeframe for payments following judgments to be forwarded to the liquidator in a case (details supplied); the status from the liquidator of the company regarding meeting its obligation to fund the balance of 35% of claims; the current stage of the liquidation process; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 35395/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Company Liquidations)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The Supreme Court delivered its judgment on 25 May 2017 and overturned the previous decisions of the High Court and the Court of Appeal that the Motor Insurers’ Bureau of Ireland (MIBI) is liable in respect of third party motor insurance claims made against the policyholders of Setanta Insurance.  The consequence of this is that the Insurance Compensation Fund (ICF) has been deemed responsible for the payment of such third party claims.
As the judgm...

114. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Finance if he will review and intervene to prevent the loss of a service (details supplied) to the towns affected; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 35423/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Banking Sector)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Notwithstanding the State’s 14% minority shareholding in Bank of Ireland, I, as Minister, have no direct function in commercial decisions taken by the bank including those which are part of the relationship between the bank and its customers. Decisions of this nature are matters for the board and management of the institution. The Minister has responsibility to ensure that the bank is run on a commercial, cost effective and independent basis to pr...