Dáil Éireann - Volume 590 - 14 October, 2004

Written Answers - Tax Code.

  92. Mr. Kehoe asked the Minister for Finance if he will consider making home security systems VAT exempt in order to make them more affordable to all in times of rising crime; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24880/04]

  Mr. Cowen: The purchase and monitoring of home security systems are subject to the standard VAT rate of 21%. The VAT rating of goods and services is subject to the requirements of EU VAT law with which Irish VAT law must comply. While we can maintain the zero rating on those goods and services which were zero-rated before 1 January 1991, the purchase, installation and monitoring of such alarms do not fall within this category. Therefore, it is not possible to apply a zero VAT rate to these goods and services.

However, under the Value Added Tax (Refund of Tax) (No. 15) Order 1981, it is possible to obtain a VAT refund in respect of the purchase of a personal security alarm by or on behalf of a disabled or elderly person. A personal security alarm is considered a medical device for the purpose of this refund order. Applicants should contact the Revenue Commissioners, VAT Repayments (Unregistered Section), Kilrush Road, Ennis, County Clare.

Furthermore, under a scheme of community support for older people operated by the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, grant aid is available to fund the once-off cost of purchase and installation of small scale physical security equipment such as strengthening of doors and windows, window locks, door chains and security lighting and socially monitored [771] alarm systems, such as pendant alarms, which are operated via telephone and worn around the neck or wrist. Annual monitoring fees or maintenance fees associated with socially monitored alarm systems are not provided for under the scheme.

The VAT refund available in respect of the purchase of a personal security alarm by or on behalf of a disabled or elderly person combined with the scheme of community support for older people outlined above are important measures which help to ensure that those most in need of security systems can avail of them.

  93. Mr. Kehoe asked the Minister for Finance if he will consider introducing tax incentives for home security systems; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24881/04]

  Mr. Cowen: As the Deputy will be aware, section 478 of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 — formerly section 5 of Finance Act 1996 — introduced a tax relief in respect of the purchase and or installation of house alarms systems for persons aged 65 years and over who were living alone. The legislation provided that the tax relief would only be available for the period 23 January 1996 to 5 April 1998. The tax relief was allowed to lapse in part because of the small numbers of claims being submitted. While I have no plans at this time to reintroduce the relief for persons over 65 years or more generally, I will bear the Deputy’s suggestion in mind.