Ireland: Revenue Wanted Homes Tax Deducted from Child Benefit
07 January 2014
Posted by: Author: Joan Burton
Author: Joan Burton
The Revenue wanted to deduct the property tax from child benefit -- but the proposal was shot down by the Social Protection Minister Joan Burton's department.
The move would have been hugely controversial, given that the €2bn annual child benefit payments are provided exclusively for children's needs.
But the Revenue settled for the power to deduct the property tax from a more limited range of social welfare payments, such as the old age pension and the carer's allowance.
This means that it will be unable to target child benefit in its New Year clampdown on the estimated 150,000 households who have still not paid the property tax.
The Irish Independent used the Freedom of Information Act to obtain copies of more than 180 emails sent and received by the key Revenue official involved in the creation of the property tax.
The Revenue was given the job of devising the property tax collection system after the disastrous household charge campaign. Four working groups involving officials from multiple government departments met regularly over five months.
Revenue local property tax manager Vivienne Dempsey co-ordinated the lengthy discussions across several departments.
But one of the key issues facing her and the Revenue was whether child benefit payments should be deductible for the property tax.
The agenda for the working group on deductions stated that discussions about the matter were ongoing between the Revenue and Ms Burton's Department of Social Protection (DSP).
"DSP confirm it's only stable schemes and not CB (child benefit). Are we sure? DSP to provide more info on why CB should be avoided. What else does DSP need?" it asked.
Ms Burton's department resisted the pressure to take property tax from child benefit payments. It flagged up its long-held concerns about whether the child benefit payment was legally owned by the child, rather than the parent who gets it into their bank account.
This article first appeared on independent.ie.