Budget 2018 has been delivered and as expected balances tax changes with increases in expenditure in key areas. Minister Donoghue said the budget is in keeping with the confidence and supply agreement between the government and Fianna Fail.
The Key points of the budget changes:
- €1.83billion for housing with 3,800 new social houses.
- Housing Assistance Programme (HAP) to increase to €149m with an additional €18m also going to homeless services.
- €750m to be made available for Commercial Investment in housing finance through a new funding body.
- Stamp duty on Commercial property to rise from 2% to 6% from midnight.
- The health budget is to be increased by €685m bringing the total to €15.3bn, the allocation includes provision for 1,800 additional staff in frontline services.
- Prescription charges for medical card holders under 70 will drop from €2.50 to €2 per item, the monthly cap dromp from €25 to €20, with the threshold for the Drug Payment Scheme dropping from €144 to €134
- Excise duty on 20 cigarettes to rise by 50c .
- A sugar tax on drinks of 30c per litre on drinks with 8g of sugar per 100 ml, a reduced rate of 20c per liter applies to drinks with 5 to 8g sugar per 100 ml. This tax applies from April 2018.
- €5 per week increase across all weekly social welfare payments, from the last week in March 2018.
- A Christmas bonus of 85% for social welfare payments for Christmas 2017
- Point at which income earner attracts higher rate of income tax to rise next year by €750 per annum.
- Entry point for single earners to increase from €33,800 to €34,550.
- Targeted changes to Universal Social Charge to reduce rates but does not narrow the USC tax base.
- Entry point to USC to remain at €13,000.
- 2.5% USC rate to be reduced to 2% with the ceiling for the new rate increased from €18,772 to €19,372.
- 5% USC rate reduced to 4.75%.
- The VAT rate on the tourism and services sector will remain.
- The VAT rate on sunbed services is to increase from 13.5% to 23%.