Tuesday, 14 February 2012
Department of Social Protection
John Lyons (Dublin North West, Labour)
Question 302: To ask the Minister for Social Protection with regard to overcharging under the health levy element of PRSI, her views on the timing of the announcement which has meant that many of those overcharged in 2008 and previous years, missed the deadline of 31 December to claim a refund. [7629/12]
Joan Burton (Minister, Department of Social Protection; Dublin West, Labour)
The Department has received a very high level of enquiries in relation to requests for refunds of the Health Contribution over the last few weeks and I am pleased to be able to take this opportunity to clarify the position in relation to this matter.
Since the introduction of the health contribution the Department of Social Protection has refunded the contribution where it was found that the conditions for refund were met. Prior to 2010 there was no time limit on the period for which refunds were paid and any requests for refunds submitted prior to 1 January 2010 were processed on that basis.
To clarify the position in relation to eligibility for a refund a person who earned more than €26,000 in 2008, 2009 and 2010 was liable to pay the Health Contribution and is not due a refund.
A person who earned less than €26,000 and never earned more than €500 in any one week would not have been charged the Health Contribution and is not eligible for a refund.
A person may be entitled to a refund of the Health Contribution if he or she earned less than €26,000 in 2008, 2009 or 2010 and earned more than €500 in any particular week in those years.
The Health Contribution was included in the Universal Social Charge (USC) with effect from 1 January 2011 and no Health Contribution refunds arise after that date.
Any contributions paid prior to 1 January 2008 are outside the time limit for making a claim.
The provision in relation to the four year limit on the return of PRSI contributions was introduced in the Social Welfare and Pensions (No. 2) Act 2009 and has been in effect since 1 January 2010.
The time limit governing the refund of PRSI contributions is in line with the arrangements of the Revenue Commissioners governing the refund of tax.