To ask the Minister for Finance if commercial rates are deductible for tax purposes; the tax rules in relation to commercial rates; if rates are deductible, the annual cost of the deduction; if not, the cost of allowing commercial rates to be deductible; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
I am advised by Revenue that, as a general rule, commercial rates are deductible for tax purposes.
When rates are levied on a person carrying on a trade or profession, the rates are deductible as they represent a cost of business and are therefore incurred wholly and exclusively for the trade or profession. This is in accordance with section 81 of the Taxes Consolidation Act, 1997, which sets out the general rules for deductions for the computation of profits or gains arising in respect of trades and professions.
Section 97 of the Taxes Consolidation Act, 1997 sets out the computation rules and allowable deductions for the computation of profits or gains arising in respect of rental income. Subsection (2) of that section includes a specific deduction for rates levied by local authorities.
In relation to the annual cost of deductions taken for commercial rates or the cost for the tax forgone, Revenue do not request this information from taxpayers when they are completing their tax returns and therefore such information is not available.
To ask the Minister for Finance the amount loaned out by Home Building Finance Ireland to date; the estimated number of homes to be built; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Home Building Finance Ireland (HBFI) was established in December 2018 to lend money to small and medium sized builders and developers for commercially viable residential developments, particularly those situated outside the State's major urban centres. HBFI has been provided with access to €750 million of funding from the Irish Strategic Investment fund, with which it is expected to facilitate the delivery of 7,500 units over the next five years.
Since its formal launch at the end of January, HBFI has engaged actively with small and medium sized builders and developers throughout the country through a range of market awareness raising initiatives. As part of this, HBFI attended a series of workshops organised by the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) and its constituent association, the Irish Home Builders’ Association (IHBA) that were strongly attended by small and medium sized builders and developers and generated significant interest in the work of HBFI.
Collectively, HBFI’s various engagement activities have resulted in a strong pipeline of interest from prospective borrowers. While no funding has been drawn down by borrowers to date, HBFI has approved its first lending facilities and is progressing a number of other applications through its credit process.
HBFI will be in a position to publish information on its lending activities on a half-yearly basis with the first such report to be published in July 2019.
To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if all necessary financial assistance will be provided to Fingal County Council to tackle the alarming rate of coastal erosion that is occurring at The Burrow, Portrane, County Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
I am advised that Fingal County Council is leading on this issue, as it is a matter for local authorities in the first instance to assess and address problems of coastal erosion in their areas. Where necessary, Local Authorities may put forward proposals to relevant central Government Departments, including the OPW, for funding of appropriate measures depending on the infrastructure or assets under threat.
In 2018, in response to serious coastal erosion problems at The Burrow, Portrane, Fingal County Council implemented temporary interim emergency measures to protect properties at risk. Funding of €456,464 was approved under the OPW Minor Flood Mitigation Works and Coastal Protection Scheme for these works.
Consultants appointed by Fingal County Council are currently assessing options for a longer term permanent solution for the Portrane Peninsula. If a viable option is identified, Fingal County Council may submit a further application for funding to the OPW.
To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the progress in the preparation of a national coastal erosion strategy and plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Strategic policy responsibility for the coast, including coastal erosion, is a matter for the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government. Local Authorities are responsible for the management of the coastline, including response to coastal erosion risk within their administrative areas.
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