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Select Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach: Finance Bill 2019: Committee Stage (Resumed) (6 Nov 2019)

Paschal Donohoe: The Deputy wants a note on section 46.

Select Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach: Finance Bill 2019: Committee Stage (Resumed) (6 Nov 2019)

Paschal Donohoe: For the purposes of vehicle registration tax, an ambulance is defined in section 130 of the Finance Act 1992. It is the EU definition of an ambulance under the European vehicle-type approval standards. Any vehicle which meets that definition, irrespective of whether it is used on or off road, is characterised as being in VRT category D, which means it is exempt from VRT at registration....

Select Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach: Finance Bill 2019: Committee Stage (Resumed) (6 Nov 2019)

Paschal Donohoe: No.

Select Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach: Finance Bill 2019: Committee Stage (Resumed) (6 Nov 2019)

Paschal Donohoe: We covered some of this earlier but I appreciate that the Deputy raising it again. I will just make a few points in response. The change we made to the diesel rebate scheme provides insulation for the haulage sector on foot of the change we have made to carbon pricing. That in itself is the subject of criticism because many claim the haulage sector contributes to carbon emissions. It is...

Select Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach: Finance Bill 2019: Committee Stage (Resumed) (6 Nov 2019)

Paschal Donohoe: I would not suggest for a moment that the haulage industry is causing havoc and I am aware of the technological changes in respect of the engines the sector uses. I am also aware that they are expensive to purchase and that it is expensive to move a fleet of trucks to more environmentally-friendly engines. We have changed the diesel rebate scheme to offer a degree of support to the haulage...

Select Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach: Finance Bill 2019: Committee Stage (Resumed) (6 Nov 2019)

Paschal Donohoe: I will.

Select Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach: Finance Bill 2019: Committee Stage (Resumed) (6 Nov 2019)

Paschal Donohoe: The 140 g/km and the 156 g/km correspond to the thresholds for VRT.

Select Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach: Finance Bill 2019: Committee Stage (Resumed) (6 Nov 2019)

Paschal Donohoe: They are the different thresholds for CO2 emissions at which the different VRT thresholds kick in. A higher level of VRT is paid at the higher figure.

Select Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach: Finance Bill 2019: Committee Stage (Resumed) (6 Nov 2019)

Paschal Donohoe: There is no such requirement but it is the way we have done it over time.

Select Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach: Finance Bill 2019: Committee Stage (Resumed) (6 Nov 2019)

Paschal Donohoe: We believe the current thresholds are reasonable and are unlikely to change. We will have to look at changes resulting from the WLTP system we will bring in next year but my expectation is that the thresholds will remain.

Select Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach: Finance Bill 2019: Committee Stage (Resumed) (6 Nov 2019)

Paschal Donohoe: Yes. The Deputy's amendments are relevant to section 54. This section amends Schedule 3 of the Value-Added Tax Consolidation Act 2010 to provide that food supplements are subject to VAT at the reduced rate of 13.5% from 1 January 2020. This amendment is being made to clarify the position regarding the VAT rating of food supplements. Under the Value-Added Tax Consolidation Act 2010, food...

Select Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach: Finance Bill 2019: Committee Stage (Resumed) (6 Nov 2019)

Paschal Donohoe: Does the Chairman want me to deal with Deputies Doherty and McGrath now?

Select Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach: Finance Bill 2019: Committee Stage (Resumed) (6 Nov 2019)

Paschal Donohoe: If I leave things as they are, the rate for products that are currently zero-rated will increase to 23% on 1 January next. As a matter of principle, I do not believe I should allow the courts to determine what the correct policy is. I could concede that principle in this case, but I do not know what the outcome of the legal hearing will be and I do not know how long the legal process will...

Select Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach: Finance Bill 2019: Committee Stage (Resumed) (6 Nov 2019)

Paschal Donohoe: I thank the Deputies. I will comment on what Deputies Mattie McGrath and Burton have said. They spoke about the benefit of the supplements and the value they have to a number of our citizens. I understand this entirely and I have heard it on many occasions. I am also aware from my constituency of the wellness benefit of these products and the effect they can have on the living standards...

Select Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach: Finance Bill 2019: Committee Stage (Resumed) (6 Nov 2019)

Paschal Donohoe: It is not food. I hope this conversation could be anchored in the fact that we are having a very different discussion to what we could have been having one year ago, when everything was due to move to 23%. There are strong views available to me suggesting that because this is not food, it is appropriate for the rate to be 23%. I am not taking that course of action.

Select Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach: Finance Bill 2019: Committee Stage (Resumed) (6 Nov 2019)

Paschal Donohoe: I am glad to be in a position to be able to clarify the matter. The 2007 document to which Deputy McGrath refers was an internal Revenue document prepared in 2007. It was never published on the Revenue website. The document has no legal status or authority over VAT legislation in place on 1 January 1991 or subsequently. The document was simply an attempt to document the position that was...

Select Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach: Finance Bill 2019: Committee Stage (Resumed) (6 Nov 2019)

Paschal Donohoe: First, I will address what Deputy Burton said. To be crystal clear, folic acid for women who become pregnant and vitamin D for infants will remain zero rated.

Select Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach: Finance Bill 2019: Committee Stage (Resumed) (6 Nov 2019)

Paschal Donohoe: When I got into this debate last year, all kinds of charges were being made, although not by anybody on this committee, that bigger changes were afoot. Those two products are zero rated. With regard to human oral products licensed by the HPRA, if the HPRA considers them medicines they will either continue to be zero rated or have the ability to become zero rated if the HPRA decides they...

Select Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach: Finance Bill 2019: Committee Stage (Resumed) (6 Nov 2019)

Paschal Donohoe: I move amendment No. 95:In page 100, line 3, to delete “subsection (2)” and substitute “subsection (3)”. This amendment seeks to correct a cross-referencing error in section 56 of the Bill as published. The section increases the rate of stamp duty payable on transfers of non-residential property and lease premiums on such properties. Subsection (3) provides for...

Select Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach: Finance Bill 2019: Committee Stage (Resumed) (6 Nov 2019)

Paschal Donohoe: Could I request a break of a few minutes?

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