Dáil Éireann - Volume 494 - 30 September, 1998

Written Answers - Tax Reliefs.

413. Mr. Stagg asked the Minister for Finance his Department's views on the current exemption of a company (details supplied) from excise duties on imported oil; his views on whether this is equitable and consistent with current EU policy to rationalise and harmonise energy taxes; and if he will provide copies of all correspondence in relation to this matter between the company, the Department of the Environment and Local Government and his Department. [17460/98]

Minister for Finance (Mr. McCreevy): The exemption from the payment of the excise duty on the oil, imported or domestic used in a particular process was agreed prior to this plant locating in Ireland. It was provided for initially in Statutory Instrument No. 126 of 1983. Council Directive 92/510/EEC, having regard to Article 8 (4) of Council Directive 92/81/EEC, authorised the continuation of the exemption without time limit.

The provisions set out in Directive 92/510/EEC were updated in Council Decision 97/425/EC. Article 1 of that decision authorises the further exemption from the payment of the excise duty until 31 December 1999 and for its continuation from exemption to apply automatically for subsequent periods of two years, unless the Council decides unanimously before the end of that period, on a proposal from the Commission, that the exemption should be abolished or modified.

At EU level, Ireland stressed the need to retain the exemption in order to help secure employment in energy intensive industry in the EU, against competition from outside the EU, where no tax or very low taxes apply. We also indicated that we would not oppose parallel treatment for any other similar EU industries and there are somewhat similar tax concessions in other EU states for plants of this type. [469] The Deputy will realise that the issue concerns the tax position of an individual company and it would not be usual, in such cases, to publish such correspondence.