Tuesday, 21 September 2021
Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions
I propose to take Questions Nos. 10, 35, 38 and 56 together.
I thank the Deputies for their questions. I am advised by Revenue that, while working remotely does not entitle PAYE workers to a specific tax credit, a combination of legislative provisions and administrative practices provide relief for remote workers who incur certain expenditure in the performance of the duties of their employment from home. It is acknowledged that remote workers may incur expenditure in the performance of their duties from home, such as additional heating, electricity and broadband costs. Revenue currently allows an employer to make payments of up to €3.20 per day to employees, subject to certain conditions, without deducting PAYE, PRSI or USC.
Revenue has also advised that the provision of equipment such as computers, printers, scanners and office furniture by the employer to enable the employee work from home will not attract a benefit-in-kind charge where the equipment is provided primarily for business use. Furthermore, the provision of a telephone line, broadband and such facilities for business use will not give rise to a benefit-in-kind charge where private use of the connection is incidental. Revenue has provided detailed guidance and details of how claims for e-working expenses should be calculated and submitted. All of this is outlined in the tax and duty manual, "e-Working and Tax", which is available on the Revenue website.
Regarding Deputy Carroll MacNeill's broader question on the future of these allowances, I will consider that matter during the budgetary process. As she knows, the Tax Strategy Group, TSG, paper that we published a couple of days ago outlined an international comparison of our rules and grants and how our schemes stacked up versus elsewhere. It also laid out some options for me to consider.
On the Deputy's final point, my Department published just before the summer a publication dealing with the impact of remote working on financial services and the operation of our economy. I do not have a sense at the moment that home working has had any more of an impact on the competitiveness of our financial services sector than it has on any other part of our economy. Indeed, job announcements made in recent days, and even today, show how many large employers and Irish employers have been able to make home working and employment growth happen together. It should be a sign of encouragement to us for what the coming years can bring as we come up with new ways of working away from the office.
We will deal with the matter of support for working from home in the coming weeks. Regarding financial services, while there has been change, I do not currently believe that it has been at the expense of our competitiveness.