Fees Increased to Pay for Ruairi Quinn’s Laundry
IRELAND’S MINISTERS are entitled to claim €3,500 off their tax bill in order to cover the cost of washing their dirty laundry, it has emerged.
Finance minister Michael Noonan has revealed that ministers from outside Dublin, who need to take hotel or guest house accommodation while based in the capital, can claim the huge tax refund – without even having to vouch for their expenses.
The information was revealed by way of a parliamentary question tabled by Sinn Féin’s finance spokesman Pearse Doherty – who blasted the expenses regime while the government “introduce new stealth taxes”.
While ministers are not entitled to claim the same overnight accommodation expenses as other TDs, they are entitled to make expenses claims for the cost of hotels, or a refund on any interest they pay on a loan for buying a second residence.
“In addition, they can claim for the actual vouched additional costs associated with maintaining a second residence in a hotel. Examples of maintenance costs in such circumstances are laundry, etc,” Noonan wrote.
“As an alternative to vouched expenses, a tax deduction may be claimed on an amount of €3,500 per annum.”
Noonan said that ministers making such unclaimed expenses may still be subject to random checks by the Revenue Commissioners who may seek receipts to substantiate some of the claims that ministers make.
The identities of any ministers who make such claims could not be released, though Noonan was able to say that the number of ministers claiming the allowance for a second residence had fallen to 14 in 2009, the last year for which figures were available.
In that year, the State paid €74,996 to the 14 ministers to compensate them for the interest on their mortgages, or for the cost of hotel accommodation.