Written answers

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Department of Finance

Security of the Elderly

8:00 pm

Photo of Noel AhernNoel Ahern (Dublin North West, Fianna Fail)
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Question 258: To ask the Minister for Finance if there is a scheme operated by his Department or an agency under his remit to provide grants or assistance towards installation of house alarms for the elderly; if such a scheme is under consideration; the success or otherwise of the scheme previously run by his Department, whereby tax relief against the cost of an alarm was available. [37992/09]

Photo of Brian Lenihan JnrBrian Lenihan Jnr (Minister, Department of Finance; Dublin West, Fianna Fail)
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There is no scheme of grants or assistance towards the cost of the installation of house alarms for the elderly available from my Department. Tax relief was available for expenditure incurred in the period from 23 January 1996 to 5 April 1998 for the cost of purchase and/or installation of alarm systems in the sole or main residence of individuals aged 65 years or over and who lived alone for the greater part of the tax year in which the expenditure was incurred. A relative of the individual was entitled to claim the relief provided the claimant incurred the expenditure on the purchase and/or installation of the alarm system. Tax relief was granted on expenditure of up to £800 at the standard of rate of tax in force at the time.

As to the success or otherwise of that scheme, in the period 23 January 1996 to 5 April 1998 (spanning the tax years 1995/96, 1996/97 and 1997/98), tax relief was claimed by or on behalf of 1,200 elderly individuals at a total cost of €200,000. The Deputy may also wish to note that under the Value Added Tax (Refund of Tax)(No. 15) Order 1981, it may be possible to obtain a VAT refund in respect of the purchase of a panic alarm system by or on behalf of a disabled person, as it may be considered a medical device for the purpose of this refund order. However, any VAT paid in respect of monitoring and maintenance fees is not recoverable.

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