Confusion, concern on key changes


Property tax, pensions and changes to PRSI were among the topics that generated the bulk of the queries submitted to Irish Times experts following Wednesday’s budget.

The announcement by Minister for Finance Michael Noonan that a property tax would come into effect from next July caused much concern among readers, many of whom were confused about how the tax would be levied, who would be responsible for paying and to what kind of land or property it applied.

The removal of the non-principal private residence (NPPR) charge in 2014 versus the abolition of the household charge in January next year was also raised, with some householders confused about which charges would apply.

The panel of experts consisted of Irish Times deputy business editor Dominic Coyle, Pricewatch editor Conor Pope and PwC’s Sharon McCallig and John Kelly.

They fielded questions on the new PRSI arrangements, taxes on savings and changes to the universal social charge for pensioners.

The taxing of maternity benefit and changes to maternity leave entitlements for teachers also raised some eyebrows, with a number of queries about when the new system would kick in.

Plans to raise motor tax raised only a few questions, while others were more concerned about stealth hikes that may have been buried in the detail rather than any impact the rise in duty on alcohol and tobacco would have.

The cuts to child benefit payments seemed clear enough to consumers. On this issue, the only queries people had were on what it meant for families with twins or triplets.