Wednesday, 26 January 2011
Finance Bill 2011: Committee Stage
Brian Hayes (Dublin South West, Fine Gael)
I just want to ask a question. The third section of this new section refers to the VAT on betting. The first section deals with the question of postal services and the second section on cultural institutions. If I can have the indulgence of the Chair, I wish to ask one question which I was unable to ask at the time because I was not in the Chamber. I refer to the 1% turnover tax and the annual renewal fee which will now be charged to all the operators who provide Internet gambling, seven out of ten of whom are outside the State, effectively offshore. Did the Minister consider the question of increasing the annual renewal fee for all operators? I understand from the previous section that this fee ranges from €5,000 up to €100,000. Has the Minister considered imposing a higher starting point which would ensure that the fly-by-night operators would be persuaded not to come into our market? It will be very difficult to collect the 1% turnover tax from operators who are not based in the State on the basis that we do not have a particularly good record in chasing down turnover in operations not based here unless we have armies of people in the Revenue who will be able to chase after these issues.
In the context of this section, has the Minister looked at an enhanced annual renewal fee which is proposed in the Bill to ensure that the revenue will be larger than just 1% and those who are not based here and who might attempt to hide the turnover tax will, at the very least, have to make some significant contribution by way of looking for a licence to operate here? I ask this in the context of section 57(1)(c). This subsection will come into operation on such day or days as the Minister for Finance might appoint by order and different days as may be appointed for different provisions for different purposes. Why is the operation of the subsection subject to ministerial order, as opposed to other sections where an operating date is clearly notified?