Tuesday, 13 December 2005
Dáil Eireann Debate
228. Mr. O’Connor asked the Minister for Finance if the Revenue Commissioners will be compelled to accept payments of VAT, PAYE and PRSI on account leading up to the statutory payment date for these taxes on condition that the taxpayer complies fully with the tax return dates in question as is currently the requirement. [39047/05]
Minister for Finance (Mr. Cowen): I do not propose to introduce measures along the lines suggested by the Deputy. The Revenue Commissioners have a very clear focus on ensuring and facilitating timely payment compliance. I am advised by Revenue that notwithstanding this focus it is unusual for taxpayers to seek a facility for payment of tax in advance of when it is due. The facility exists for taxpayers to make payment by cheque accompanied by a pre-encoded payslip provided by Revenue. These payslips facilitate timely and accurate processing of the payment when received by Revenue. A range of other facilities to enable taxpayers meet their payment obligations on a timely basis are also provided by Revenue. For example, Revenue’s on-line service, ROS, is internationally recognised as providing an excellent e-business facility for taxpayers. Payment by the direct debit system is also available. In that latter regard, seasonal businesses can vary the amount they pay each month to reflect their cash flow. It is also open to a taxpayer paying by direct debit to front-load the payments under the direct debt system if he or she so wishes. Specific requirements that a taxpayer may have as regards advance payment or payment on account for VAT or PAYE can be directed to the Collector General’s locall number 1890 203070.
229. Mr. Kehoe asked the Minister for Finance the tax reliefs which are available to Irish students wishing to study in the US for a masters degree; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39095/05]
Minister for Finance (Mr. Cowen): I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that, as regards educational courses in countries which are not members of the European Union, income tax relief on tuition fees is available only in respect of approved postgraduate courses, that is, only where the participant already has a primary degree or equivalent qualification. An approved postgraduate course is one that is carried out in an approved college; is of at least one academic year but not more than four academic years in duration; and leads to a postgraduate award based on either a thesis or an examination. An approved college is one that is maintained or assisted by recurrent grants from public funds of that country or is a duly accredited institution of higher education in the country in which it is situated. The current maximum relief per course per academic year in respect of third level fees is €5,000 at the standard rate of tax. Tuition fees paid by an individual on his or her own behalf or on behalf of a spouse, child or person for whom the individual is the legal guardian qualify for tax relief. Relief may be claimed at the end of the tax year or, for PAYE taxpayers, the relief may be claimed via the PAYE system during the tax year when the fees have been paid. Tax relief is not available in respect of administration or examination fees or in respect of any part of tuition fees that are met directly or indirectly by grants, scholarships, by an employer or otherwise. The explanatory leaflet, IT31, in respect of tax relief on tuition fees is available on the Revenue website at www.revenue.ie. The application form for claiming the relief is contained in the explanatory leaflet. I am further informed by the Revenue Commissioners that if the Deputy has a particular case in mind, they will examine such case on receipt of relevant details and give a view of the tax relief that may be available in that case.
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