Kenny entitled to tax break on his bill
Taoiseach Enda Kenny has been forced to deny he will get to write off his water charges against his tax bill. Ministers who have a second home in Dublin, which they use while on business in the capital, are allowed to write off their water charges bills against tax.
Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams said his party had received confirmation from the Revenue Commissioners that ministers would be entitled to a deduction under the relief, known as the dual abode allowance.
"This means that ministers such as the Taoiseach will pay no water charges in respect of their second homes. This [comes] on a day when citizens will be shocked to hear that their water bills will be vastly higher than the Government previously signalled," he said.
But Mr Kenny said he will be paying his water charges for his city centre apartment and won't be trying to write off the costs.
"I stay in a small apartment not far from here and I received my notice from Irish Water. I do not believe the apartment is metered, unless it is done on a central basis. I have been asking questions about the matter. Obviously, I intend to pay whatever will be my water charge. I have not come across an arrangement in respect of amending the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997," he said.
Revenue's response to a query from Sinn Fein shows water charges would be a deductible expense.
"As regards the costs of maintaining the second residence, such an office holder is entitled to an allowance for the actual vouched costs expended in maintaining the second residence. Revenue accepts that water charges legally incurred by the occupier of a second residence are deductible as an expense for tax purposes for those office holders who claim the dual abode allowance on the basis of actual vouched costs expended," it says.
Mr Kenny also claimed Irish Water won't be sold, as he attempted to allay public concerns about handing over PPS numbers.
Householders who refuse to register with Irish Water, including providing PPS numbers, will end up paying over €400 in annual water charges.
Independent TD Catherine Murphy said it was "crazy" that Irish Water will end up with a more complete set of data than any Government department.
"Who is to say into the future that it can't and won't be sold? Legislation changes all the time. Don't think people believe it can't be sold," he said.
Mr Kenny described Irish Water as a public entity. "It will not be sold," he said "It is prescribed in law that the information in regard to PPS numbers will be used solely and specifically for the purpose intended - to determine accurately the household and allowances in respect to households and where there are children involved," he added.
Mr Kenny said there were also data protection measure around the PPS numbers held by Irish Water.
Public Spending Minister Brendan Howlin said water charges were negotiated as part of the bailout deal and Irish Water was a semi-state company.
"We've constructed Irish Water in a good way to ensure that we have a decent water supply for every part of the country into the future," he said.