Wednesday, 11 June 2014
Department of Finance
36. To ask the Minister for Finance if an amendment to the current single person child tax credit will be brought forward to lead to a fairer situation for all; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24899/14]
As I have outlined to the Deputy in previous responses in this matter, the One-Parent Family Tax Credit has been replaced with a new Single Person Child Carer Credit from 1 January 2014. However, the credit is more targeted in that it is, in the first instance, only available to the principal carer of the child.
Given the difficult fiscal environment, it is essential to review all tax reliefs, credits and incentives in order to ensure that they are properly targeted and if necessary re-focused in order that they can achieve the socio-economic objectives that are set for them. A system that allows multiple claims in respect of the same child is unsustainable. The targeting of tax reliefs and expenditures to the intended beneficiaries and not to a broad base of taxpayers, ensures a fairer situation for the generality of taxpayers, by ensuring that the cost of such reliefs is contained.
The new credit is designed to be an activation measure, which was the original intention behind the One Parent Family Tax Credit, which it replaced. It is designed to be an in-work benefit to support a principal carer to take up, or remain in, employment.
Notwithstanding the above, as a result of an amendment which I brought forward at Committee Stage of the Finance Bill, a principal carer who is entitled to the credit and who does not wish to avail of it can choose to surrender it. A secondary carer may then make a claim for the credit, provided that the qualifying child resides with him or her for not less than 100 days in the tax year.
I have no plans to review this reform at this early stage although, as is part of normal practice in the preparation of the annual Budget, my officials monitor all tax measures to ensure that they are operating effectively.