Thursday, 16 December 2010
Dáil Éireann Debate
136. Deputy Olivia Mitchell asked the Minister for Finance if it is possible to apply the new stamp duty measures or a reduced stamp duty retrospectively to the few persons who purchased their homes in the month prior to the budget; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47715/10]
Minister for Finance (Deputy Brian Lenihan): The Stamp Duty reforms announced in the Budget have two aims: stimulation of the property market and commencing the necessary infrastructure for the commitment in the National Recovery Plan to introduce a Site Value Tax. As a result of the changes, Stamp Duty at a rate of 1% where the property value is under €1m and 2% on the excess above €1m, will now be payable on all residential property transactions.
I have, however, put in place a transitional arrangement: where a binding contract has been entered into before 8 December 2010, and the effect of this measure would increase the Stamp Duty otherwise chargeable, Stamp Duty can be calculated and charged under the old regime, so long as the instrument effecting the transfer of the property is executed before 1 July 2011.
I am aware that there will always be winners and losers in a situation such as this, but unfortunately this will happen no matter what date is chosen to commence any new measure. I have no plans to make the changes suggested by the Deputy. The overall transaction costs for property transfers are much lower this year than in recent years because of the decline in property values.
137. Deputy John Perry asked the Minister for Finance if he will reverse the decision to make full medical card holders liable for the new universal social charge in view of the extreme financial hardship many such holders are already experiencing; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47719/10]
Minister for Finance (Deputy Brian Lenihan): The position is that having an entitlement to a medical card will not exempt an individual from the Universal Social Charge (USC). However, it should be noted that payments from the Department of Social Protection such as job seeker’s benefit, job seeker’s allowance and the contributory and non-contributory State pension will be exempt from the USC. Therefore, the Universal Social Charge will apply to the income or portion of the income of a medical card holder to the extent that it is not a payment from the Department of Social Protection. Furthermore, the legislation provides that where an individual’s total annual income which is chargeable to the USC, is below €4,004 in a year of assessment, the USC would not apply. In addition, those who are over 70, will not be liable to the higher rate of 7%.
138. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Finance his plans to extend the artists tax exemption in some form to performing musicians and actors; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47733/10]
Minister for Finance (Deputy Brian Lenihan): Section 195 of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 provides an exemption from tax for the profits or gains arising to a person from the publication, production or sale of an original and creative work which has artistic or cultural merit in any of the five categories set out in the legislation, namely, a book or other writing; a play; a musical composition; a painting or other like picture; or a sculpture. The legislation does not include performing musicians and actors, per se. However, performers who write their own compositions could avail of the exemption in respect of the income from such compositions. Similarly, actors that write their own plays can avail of the exemption.
Under the legislation, the Revenue Commissioners are required to make a determination as to whether or not a work has artistic or cultural merit before the exemption can be awarded. It is difficult to see how the performance, by musicians and actors, of the artistic and cultural creations of others could merit the provision of a tax exemption in its own right.
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