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Lenihan Publishes Finance Bill

Robert Lee,, London

24 November 2008

The Irish government has released the 2008 Finance Bill, which confirms plans for the tax increases announced by Finance Minister Brian Lenihan in last month's budget.

Prominent amendments finalised within the new bill include changes to the following taxes:

Inheritance tax:

The rate of tax that applies to inheritances and gifts is being increased by 2% to 22%.

Capital gains tax:

A change is being made to the payment date for December gains to the following January 31, instead of the following October 31, to facilitate a potential cash flow benefit to the Exchequer in 2009.


Lenihan has tightened the residence rules so that all visits to Ireland by those non-resident for tax purposes will be counted against their permitted days in the country.

Income tax:

An exemption of EUR18,304 will be introduced to ensure that persons on low income are exempt from the income levy. An exemption of EUR20,000 and EUR40,000 for single and married pensioners respectively, will also be introduced to ensure that persons aged 65 and over who are exempt from tax under the age exemption limits will be exempt from the levy. A 1% point increase will be introduced on incomes in excess of EUR250,120 (EUR4,810 per week). This will be applied in addition to the 2% already announced in the budget for incomes in excess of EUR100,100 (EUR1,925 per week).

Duty on alcohol products:

The provision of a 50% discount of the duty payable on an alcohol wholesale dealer’s licence where the licence is taken out by a person who is the holder of a retailer’s off-licence for the same category of intoxicating liquor is being withdrawn. Microbreweries (up to 20,000 hectolitres) will retain the 50% relief on excise on beer in excess of 2.8% strength which they currently enjoy.

Gambling taxes:

The 2% betting tax on bookies announced within the first draft of the finance bill will be enforced from January 1, 2009. Bookmakers will be allowed a deduction in computing the amount of profits or losses of the bookmaking business for income tax or corporation tax purposes.

Agricultural sector:

The bill will make provision to renew the 25% general farming stock relief and the special 100% stock relief for a further 2 years to December 31, 2010.

Value-added tax on certain beverages:

The VAT Act 1972 is being amended to provide clarification and to ensure that, as at present, the supply of teas, coffees and similar drinks in non-drinkable form attract the zero rate, and when prepared for consumption attract the reduced rate of 13.5%.

The Irish corporation tax rate remains unchanged at 12.5%.

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