Category: Students

New tax to hit teenagers!

Legislation is being drafted by the (acting) Government to allow Revenue to implement a new tax starting on 1st July 2016. This tax will be a charge per keystroke on a mobile phone and it is expected to be a money winner for the (acting) Government. The only other country in the world with a similar tax is Japan where it has been successfully in operation for two years.

The way the tax works is this: if you send a text consisting of eight words with an average of five keystrokes per word (plus spaces), you will be taxed on having used 48 keystrokes. The rate at which the tax will be charged will be determined by the (acting) Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, but will probably be €0.0002 per keystroke. So for 20 text messages of eight words as above the tax will be €0.19.

As teenagers send the most texts they will be hardest hit by the new tax. An average teenager sends 100 texts in a three minute period consisting of between five and 20 words. Over a sixty minute period this works out at €24. If you have ever seen students going to school or college, every single one of them is on their mobile phone – all the time!

It is proposed that the tax will be collected by adding it onto your phone bill, effectively making the phone companies tax collectors! Needless to say, the phone companies are not in favour of this tax.

The (acting) Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar, is fully supporting the new tax. Repetitive Strain Injury is becoming a real menace in our younger generation as thumbs are used for texting, with the added health hazard of the early onset of arthritis from the age of 23.

A percentage of the finance raised by the new tax will be returned to the Health Service to treat withdrawal symptoms as it is expected there will be a mass reduction of texting by teenagers. There will also be nationwide workshops on the lost art of verbal communication which is currently in danger of becoming extinct. As a pre-requisite for these workshops, Question 15 on the Census form for 24th April 2016 is “Can you communicate – Very well, Well, Not well, Not at all.”

More information about the new tax will be released by Revenue later this month.

Information moratorium until 1st April 2016.

For most of us, this comes into play if you rent a room to students or an employed person. Revenue have a clear policy on this.

For Rent
If you let a room (or rooms) in your sole or main residence as residential accommodation, including for example, rooms let to students for the academic year, and the gross amounts receivable, including monies for food, laundry or similar goods and services, does not exceed the exemption limit for the year of assessment in question, the profits or losses on the relevant sums are treated as nil for Income Tax purposes.

The exemption limit for 2014 was €10,000 and for 2015 is €12,000.

Bed and Breakfast
Revenue make it clear that this allowance does not apply to Bed and Breakfast use (including Airbnb). They state: “The room or rooms must be used for the purposes of residential accommodation, i.e. the occupant is using the room, either on its own or in conjunction with other parts of the residence, as a home. The relief does not apply to rooms that are used for the provision of accommodation to occasional visitors for short periods, including, for example, where the accommodation is provided through online accommodation booking sites.”

Income Tax return
Even though the income is exempt if it is under the exemption limit, it still needs to be included in your Tax return under the Exempt Income section.

Please see the separate blog below about this.

If you have any questions about any of the above or if you want help to get your tax affairs sorted out, then please Contact us.

With the first round college offers out, it is timely to be reminded of a tax credit that is often forgotten about. This is a tax credit in respect of tuition fees for third level tuition fees.

Tax relief at the standard rate of income tax (20%) is available for tuition fees which includes the Student Contribution but does not include examination fees, registration fees and administration fees.Mortar Board

The maximum limit on such qualifying fees for the academic years 2014/2015 is €7,000 per individual per course.

Some of the qualifying tuition fees are disregarded in respect of each claim and these are:

(Where any one of the students in respect of whom relief is claimed is a full-time student)
2014 €2,750
2015 €3,000

If you have one student doing a full time course in 2015 then the first €3,000 of their fees is disregarded. If you have two students doing courses then any amount above €3,000 and below €14,000 will be allowed.

Where fees are paid in instalments and any such amounts are paid in a tax year following the year in which the academic year of the approved course commenced, the relief for fees relating to that academic year may be granted either:
• in the tax year during which the academic year of the approved course commenced or
• in the tax year in which the instalment was paid.

However, relief will only be granted in respect of amounts actually paid, subject to the maximum relief available in that academic year.

Therefore if some of the fee is paid in September 2015 and some in January 2016, both can be added together in 2015 and a tax credit claimed, or the amount paid in January 2016 can be added to any further fees paid in 2016 and claimed in 2016 instead.

Relief can also be claimed for part-time courses but these amounts are less.

As usual, if you have any questions about this area, then please Contact us.