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720,000 SSIAs To Mature In Coming Months, Says Revenue Commission

by Philip Morton, Investors

05 February 2007

Ireland's Revenue Commission revealed last week that over 720,000 SSIA accounts, with sums in the region of EUR10 billion, will mature over the next 4 months, representing 66% of all SSIA accounts.

These accounts will include an Exchequer contribution in the region of EUR2 billion. In April alone, 538,000 SSIA accounts are due to mature.

The Minister for Finance introduced the SSIA savings scheme in the Finance Act 2001. Its principal objective was to encourage regular savings by individuals. For every amount saved in the scheme, the Exchequer contributes to the individual saver’s account an additional 25% of that amount. This is equivalent to giving tax relief on savings at the standard rate of income tax.

Revenue Chairman Frank Daly acknowledged the co-operation of the financial institutions in ensuring a smooth and timely maturity process, and also thanked account holders for their prompt action in completing SSIA4 declarations.

Mr Daly announced that:

"There are 329 financial institutions managing these accounts including banks, building societies, insurance companies, credit unions and An Post. To date the SSIA maturity process has been progressing very satisfactorily and 363,000 SSIA holders have successfully matured their accounts. The average age of subscribers is 43 years of age, of these 14,500 are over the age of 80 and close to 3,000 are over the age of 90".

According to the Revenue Commission, the income levels for account holders, based on available historical data, are fairly reflective of society as a whole, with 24% of account holders in the lower income bracket, 49% in the medium income bracket and 27% in the higher income bracket.

It is estimated that of the 1.1m accounts originally opened, in the region of 75% were deposit based and the remaining 25% were equity-based accounts.

The savings pattern changed as the scheme came into its final stages, and the average subscription increased from EUR158 to EUR200 over the course of the scheme. This was also reflected in a noticeable increase in the number of subscribers contributing at the maximum of EUR254 per month, which increased from 37% at the start of the scheme to 51% by autumn 2006.

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