Dáil Éireann - Volume 597 - 08 February, 2005
Written Answers - Nursing Homes.
Mr. Ring Mr. Ring
251. Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Finance the number of nursing homes which have been built in the State in the past ten years; and the number of those built which benefited from the tax break. [3789/05]
Mr. Cowen Mr. Cowen
 Mr. Cowen: Capital allowances for private nursing homes was introduced in Finance Act 1998 with effect from 3 December 1997. The latest information from the Department of Health and Children is that the number of beds in private nursing homes increased from 6,932 at the end of 1997 to 13,178 in December 2003. An estimated 8,527 persons in these nursing homes receive direct Exchequer support of one form or another for their fees. The new capital allowances incentive for nursing homes would have caused some of this increase in bed capacity but the Department of Health and Children does not have information on this matter.
The Revenue Commissioners are not in a position to estimate the number of nursing homes built since 1997 which benefited from this tax incentive. This is because the normal self-assessment tax return form does not distinguish between capital allowances claimed in respect of private nursing homes from those claimed in respect of other buildings entitled to capital allowances. Consequently it is not possible for Revenue to indicate the level of take-up of this specific incentive. With regard to this issue my Department and the Revenue Commissioners have been working closely recently to investigate data capture issues with a view to improving data quality and transparency without overburdening compliant taxpayers. Arising from this work, provisions were included in Finance Act 2004 introducing a number of changes to the tax return forms which will yield additional information regarding the cost of various tax reliefs. The preliminary data should become available from early 2006 after the returns for 2004 are filed in October 2005.
Regarding the number of non-private nursing homes built that would not qualify for capital allowances, I am advised by the Department of Health and Children that as the information required is not normally collated in that Department, it has requested the chief officers for each of the Health Service Executive’s areas to investigate the matter raised and to reply directly to the Deputy.
Dáil Éireann 597 Written Answers Nursing Homes.