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Written Answers — Social Housing: Social Housing (1 Feb 2011)

Michael Finneran: The latest guidance to local authorities in respect of access to social housing supports for non-Irish nationals, including non-EEA nationals, is set out in my Department's Circular SHIP 2010/19 of 24 September 2010. A copy of the Circular is available in the Oireachtas library.

Seanad: Finance Bill 2011 (Certified Money Bill): Committee Stage (Resumed). (29 Jan 2011)

Michael Finneran: It may be the case that there are other areas of private debt but this is tax due to the State. It is appropriate in these times, and indeed at any time, that people who are due to pay their taxes and have adequate income to pay them should do so. There is existing legislation for attachment. The provision is inserted into the overall legislation. The counterbalance to the Revenue...

Seanad: Finance Bill 2011 (Certified Money Bill): Committee Stage (Resumed). (29 Jan 2011)

Michael Finneran: First, I want to clear up one matter for the benefit of Senator Coffey. This does not apply to the self-employed. This applies to company directors and their employees who in many cases wind up with substantial salaries and have a debt left from another time which they refuse to meet. It is important that Senators understand about whom and what we speak. There is no question of this being...

Seanad: Finance Bill 2011 (Certified Money Bill): Committee Stage (Resumed). (29 Jan 2011)

Michael Finneran: In the Finance Act 2010 the dates for pay and file returns by the self-employed and for capital acquisitions tax were brought forward. After concerns were expressed by the self-employed, they were removed from this provision in this Bill. There were valid reasons for bringing forward the dates as it allowed for the making of more accurate forecasts. The general concerns about the...

Seanad: Finance Bill 2011 (Certified Money Bill): Committee Stage (Resumed). (29 Jan 2011)

Michael Finneran: An attempt is being made to portray what is being done in section 70 as some type of oversight or mistake on the part of the Minister. I categorically deny this is the position.

Seanad: Finance Bill 2011 (Certified Money Bill): Committee Stage (Resumed). (29 Jan 2011)

Michael Finneran: That is not the situation. The position is that the Minister responded to concerns expressed by the self-employed and others regarding this matter. That was quite a practical step to take. Different dates apply in respect of the payment of various taxes. What is new about that? I wish to reassure the House that the Minister took this decision-----

Seanad: Finance Bill 2011 (Certified Money Bill): Committee Stage (Resumed). (29 Jan 2011)

Michael Finneran: -----in response to submissions he received. The self-employed were concerned that, perhaps, there had not been adequate engagement with them. The Minister was correct to take this practical step.

Seanad: Finance Bill 2011 (Certified Money Bill): Committee Stage (Resumed). (29 Jan 2011)

Michael Finneran: Many things have changed in the past 12 months. I accept the point to the effect that the Minister wanted to bring forward the date. There is no question about that. If he had not responded to the concerns expressed by the self-employed, I am of the view that a counter-argument would have been put forward by Senators during this debate.

Seanad: Finance Bill 2011 (Certified Money Bill): Committee Stage (Resumed). (29 Jan 2011)

Michael Finneran: The Minister responded in light of the concerns expressed by-----

Seanad: Finance Bill 2011 (Certified Money Bill): Committee Stage (Resumed). (29 Jan 2011)

Michael Finneran: -----the self-employed, IBEC and others. An attempt is being made to state that what is being done resulted from the involvement of some other individuals. I completely reject that assertion. There was a short timeframe involved and the self-employed, IBEC and the others to whom I refer had concerns with regard to the level of consultation that had occurred. It was quite appropriate that...

Seanad: Finance Bill 2011 (Certified Money Bill): Committee Stage (Resumed). (29 Jan 2011)

Michael Finneran: Section 74 introduces a number of measures in respect of the attachment of debt. The Senator's recommendation would remove from the Bill the provision that allows the Revenue Commissioners to attach emoluments to recover unpaid liabilities of taxpayers. Attachment of an enforcement is an option available to the Revenue Commissioners to recover unpaid tax, unpaid interest or unpaid penalties...

Seanad: Finance Bill 2011 (Certified Money Bill): Committee Stage (Resumed). (29 Jan 2011)

Michael Finneran: It only occurs where people have practically ignored the Revenue Commissioners. It only moves forward on the involvement of a principal officer or appointed assistant principal officer, and in circumstances where the Revenue Commissioners are aware of substantial income being available and people not meeting their liabilities.

Seanad: Finance Bill 2011 (Certified Money Bill): Committee Stage (Resumed). (29 Jan 2011)

Michael Finneran: I am assured by the Revenue Commissioners that they will have full regard to taxpayers' financial circumstances when using this power. It is to be noted that the section provides that the attachment, where used, may provide for the recovery of taxes over a period so as not to cause undue hardship to the taxpayer.

Seanad: Finance Bill 2011 (Certified Money Bill): Committee Stage (Resumed). (29 Jan 2011)

Michael Finneran: The Revenue Commissioners will draw up strict guidelines on the use of attachment-----

Seanad: Finance Bill 2011 (Certified Money Bill): Committee Stage (Resumed). (29 Jan 2011)

Michael Finneran: I will get around to Senator Norris's question shortly. The Revenue Commissioners will draw up strict guidelines on the use of attachment on the same basis as the existing guidelines that apply to attachments generally.

Seanad: Finance Bill 2011 (Certified Money Bill): Committee Stage (Resumed). (29 Jan 2011)

Michael Finneran: For a moment I felt that perhaps people are in support of tax defaulters. Certainly, I am not and-----

Seanad: Finance Bill 2011 (Certified Money Bill): Committee Stage (Resumed). (29 Jan 2011)

Michael Finneran: Some of the arguments might be inclined to lean towards that.

Seanad: Finance Bill 2011 (Certified Money Bill): Committee Stage (Resumed). (29 Jan 2011)

Michael Finneran: The provision is not intended to replace the current practice of recovery of small tax underpayments from PAYE employees by means of adjusting tax credits etc. The question of constitutionality has been raised. As is the case in every item of legislation, including this Finance Bill, its provisions have been thoroughly investigated by the Attorney General and his staff and are deemed to be...

Seanad: Finance Bill 2011 (Certified Money Bill): Committee Stage (Resumed). (29 Jan 2011)

Michael Finneran: The entire income-----

Seanad: Finance Bill 2011 (Certified Money Bill): Committee Stage (Resumed). (29 Jan 2011)

Michael Finneran: It is not the case that the entire income of anybody would be taken. It is the case that where there is income, and indeed adequate income, the Revenue Commissioners would work out over a weekly, monthly, two monthly or six monthly basis the returns that should be made, in line with the income of the person concerned, provided he or she can afford it.

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