The Government's new term has started and the annual pre budget 'kite flying' of ideas has also begun in earnest.
This traditionally gives the government of the day an opportunity to test out the public's appetite for reform prior to the actual budget. The idea being that should some suggested change provoke a particularly vociferous objection from the electorate, then the sitting government has the opportunity to 'fix its hand' before committing to such a change in the budget. The fragile make up of this Government makes it important for the stability of the nation that it can be confident that the Budget is passed through the Dáil. There are also many first time ministers who would benefit from being able to gauge the feelings of the electorate prior to Budget 2017.
So, what should we expect on 11 October 2016? Well, from the outset, we have been warned to temper our expectations for a giveaway budget. The uncertainty of Brexit, the elections in the U.S.A. and the Apple ruling all conspire to suggest that prudence should and will prevail. However, the electorate will feel that they deserve a loosening of the purse strings after so many years of sacrifice. As such, the balancing of the 'needs' versus the 'wants' of the people will be the great challenge for Michael Noonan.
The raising of the threshold for Capital Acquisitions Tax (CAT) for gifts from parents seems likely; it currently sits at €280,000. The hope of many would be that with time, and the continuing recovery the threshold will be increased towards €500,000. Will the Government do this in one swoop in Budget 2017?
The phasing out of the much resented Universal Social Charge (USC) was a hot topic in the last election, and many will feel that the temporary emergency tax should be phased out sooner rather than later. It will be interesting to see how much of a reduction will be made in Budget 2017.
The details of the promised First Time Buyer's grant are not clear, but it seems likely that it will be effected by way of tax rebate. Belatedly, it appears that it will primarily benefit purchasers of new build properties. The devil will, as always, be in the detail. The suggested extension of the mortgage interest relief scheme until 2020 would be welcomed by many.
Whatever the contents of Michael Noonan's speech on 11 October 2016 we shall certainly all be tuned in with interest.
Next time: 'Budget 2017- What it means to you and your pocket'
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