Ministers get €1.2m property benefit - report


Government ministers who decided to end the first-time buyers' grant benefit from an exclusive tax break which has cost the tax-payer €1.2 million in recent years, it was reported this morning.

Over the past four years up to 24 ministers and ministers of state saw their tax breaks reduced by an average of €50,000 each.

The Sunday Tribunethis morning compares the €50,000 benefit with the €3,810 first-time buyers' grant which the Government decided to abolish last week.

The ministerial tax break is called the "dual-abode" allowance and provides for the payment of a second mortgage on a house in Dublin or Dublin hotel bills for cabinet ministers while in office.

Eleven of the current 12 non-Dublin ministers refused to confirm whether they had benefited from the grant. Minister of State Ms Mary Coughlan said she had never availed the tax break.

According to the report, unlike the majority of tax reductions, ministers do not have to provide receipts in relation to living expenses. They can apply for up to €6,500 in 'unvouched' expenses.

It also notes that the benefit is not means tested.