Know Your Rights – October 2016

citizens information

Know Your Rights

A: New Earned Income tax credit

October 2016

Question

I am self-employed and make a tax return each year. What is the new tax credit for self-employed people? How do I apply for it?
Answer

From 1 January 2016, a new Earned Income tax credit of €550 is available for self-employed people (in addition to the normal personal tax credits and other reliefs). Proprietary directors who are not eligible for the PAYE employee tax credit can also claim this credit.

 

This Earned Income Tax Credit is calculated at 20% of your self-employed (or earned) income. It does not include any earned income that is taken into account for the PAYE employee tax credit. Note that if you also qualify for the PAYE tax credit, the combined value of both tax credits cannot exceed €1,650.

 

The maximum relief for 2016 is €550. However, if your earned income is below €2,750, the tax credit is restricted to 20% of the income. For example, if your total earned income is €2,000 your maximum tax credit is 20% of this or €400.

 

As a self-employed person you pay tax under the self-assessment system. Under this system (known as “Pay and File”) you must file your return, complete a self-assessment, and you must pay the balance of tax outstanding for the previous year. At the same time, you must pay preliminary tax (an estimate of tax due for your current trading year) for the current year. When you pay preliminary tax for 2016 you can include the Earned Income tax credit in your calculations. However the new Earned Income tax credit is not available for the 2015 tax year.

 

The date for payment of tax and filing of returns is 31 October each year. For 2016, if you file your tax return online using the Revenue Online Service (ROS), the due date is extended to 10 November 2016.

Further information is available from the Citizens Information Centre below.


 

 

Know Your Rights

B: Benefits for carers

October 2016

Question

My mother is in hospital and I will need to provide full-time care for at least 6 months when she gets out. What is available for people in my situation?

Answer

There are several entitlements available to you. In order for you to qualify, the person you are caring for (your mother) must be deemed to be in need of full-time care and attention. This decision will be made by the Department of Social Protection, based on information provided by your mother’s GP.

 

If you are working at present and will be taking time off to care, you may be eligible for carer’s leave of up to 2 years. You must have worked for your employer for a continuous period of 12 months to qualify for this leave.

 

While you are on carer’s leave, you are entitled to get credited social insurance contributions to maintain your PRSI record.

 

You are entitled to annual leave and public holidays in respect of the first 13 weeks of carer’s leave. Your employer cannot dismiss you or victimise you for exercising your right to carer’s leave.

 

You may also be entitled to Carer’s Benefit from the Department of Social Protection, if you have enough PRSI contributions to qualify.

 

If you do not qualify for Carer’s Benefit, you may qualify for a means-tested Carer’s Allowance.  If you get Carer’s Allowance, you are entitled to a Free Travel Pass. You may also qualify for the Household Benefits Package if you live with the person you are caring for.

 

There is also an annual Carer’s Support Grant of €1,700, formerly known as the Respite Care Grant, which is paid to full-time carers in June each year. Even if you are not getting any other social welfare payment, you can qualify for this grant if you fulfil the conditions.

 

 

Know Your Rights

C: Free cancer screening programmes

October 2016

Question

My friend has been invited to take part in free cancer screening. I haven’t received an invitation but she says it’s a national free screening programme. How do I take part?

Answer

There are free screening programmes to help detect or prevent a number of types of cancer.

BowelScreen, The National Bowel Screening Programme, aims to find bowel cancer at an early stage in people who have no symptoms. It offers free screening every two years to men and women aged 60 to 69. If you are in this age group you can ring BowelScreen on Freephone 1800 45 45 55 to check your details are on the register. If you are on the register you will receive an invitation to take part in the BowelScreen programme.

CervicalCheck,The National Cervical Screening Programme, tests women aged 25 to 60 for changes in the cells of cervix. Early detection and treatment can prevent cervical cancer. If you are aged between 25 and 60 and have never had a CervicalCheck smear test you can simply make an appointment with a GP practice or clinic registered with CervicalCheck. You can find one in your area by visiting cervicalcheck.ie or by calling Freephone 1800 45 45 55. A letter of invitation is not needed to make an appointment and attend for a first test.

BreastCheck, The National Breast Screening Programme, invites women to a free mammogram (x-ray of the breast) every two years. The screening has been available to women aged 50 to 64 but is currently being extended to also include women aged 65 to 69. If you have not received an invitation you can check if you are registered by visiting breastcheck.ie or by calling freephone 1800 45 45 55.

Screening can help prevent or detect cancer at an early stage in people who have no symptoms. If you have any specific concerns or symptoms you should visit your GP (family doctor).

Further information is available from the Citizens Information Centre below.

 

Know Your Rights

D: Replacing lead pipes

October 2016

Question

We think that the water pipes in our house are made of lead and pose a risk to our health. We can’t afford to spend a lot on replacing them. Can we get a grant?

Answer

The local authorities administer a means-tested grant scheme to help low-income households with the cost of replacing lead pipes and fittings.

 

You will need to provide evidence of your household’s income when applying to the local authority for the grant.

 

  • If your income is below €50,000 a year, you may get a grant of up to 80% of the cost, up to a maximum of €4,000
  • If your income is between €50,001 and €75,000, you may get up to 50%, up to a maximum of €2,500

 

You must own the dwelling and live in it as your principal private residence (your main home). You must get the remedial work done before applying for the grant.

 

The contractor who does the work must give you the following: a current tax clearance certificate; itemised receipts; written confirmation that materials used are of appropriate quality and written confirmation that a proper standard of workmanship has been applied.

 

You must also get evidence of a risk of lead contamination in your home. This can either be:

 

  • A letter from your water supplier, advising that your water system is likely to contain lead pipes and fittings, or
  • A certificate from an accredited laboratory, showing that the amount of lead in your water supply is over the statutory limit

 

You will need to enclose all these documents with your grant application.

 

Read more on housing.gov.ie.

Further information is available from the Citizens Information Centre below.

 

Know Your Rights has been compiled by Citizens Information Service which provides a free and confidential service to the public. Tel: ……………. Address: …………………………………..Information is also available online at citizensinformation.ie and from the Citizens Information Phone Service, 0761 07 4000.

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