Know Your Rights September 2018

citizens information

Know Your Rights

A: Farm Assist

September 2018

Question

I have a small farm that I work on full-time but the profit margins are very low. I am married with two children. Is there any State support available?

Answer

Farm Assist is a means-tested social welfare payment for farmers aged between 18 and 66, paid by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP). To qualify, you must satisfy a means test.

To qualify for Farm Assist, you must show that your means are below a certain level. Your means include:

  • Any income that you and your spouse or partner have (including income from farming, other forms of self-employment and from schemes)
  • Any property that you and your spouse or partner have (except your home)
  • Other asset(s) that could provide you with an income

 

When you apply for Farm Assist, a social welfare officer visits you to carry out the means test.

Different assessment rules apply to different types of income. For farm income, 70% is assessed but there is an annual disregard of €254 for each of your dependent children. (The disregards for your children are applied first and 70% of the balance is assessed.)

Your means from all sources are added together to get a total assessed weekly means. If your weekly means are less than the maximum rate of Farm Assist (that is, the maximum amount your family could get if you had no means), you will be paid the difference between your means and the maximum rate.

You can apply by filling out form Farm 1 which you can download from welfare.ie. You can also get forms from your local Intreo Centre or Social Welfare Branch Office.

Further information is available from the Citizens Information Service below.

 

Know Your Rights

B: Getting married abroad

September 2018

Question

My partner and I are planning to get married abroad next year. What do we need to do?

Answer

You should contact the civil registration office in the country in which you plan to marry to find out what you need to do. The legal validity of your marriage depends on the laws of the country in which you marry. The legal formalities abroad are usually different to those in Ireland. For example, a church marriage abroad is usually a purely religious ceremony with no legal effect. You may decide to have a civil marriage in Ireland followed by a religious ceremony abroad.

Although you must meet the requirements of the country you are marrying in, you are still bound by Irish law in relation to the capacity to marry. For example, if you ordinarily live in Ireland and one or both of you is aged under 18, you must have a Court Exemption Order to marry. If you marry abroad without this, your marriage will not be recognised under Irish law.

Marriages that take place outside the State are not normally registered in Ireland. They are usually registered in the country where they take place. Your foreign marriage certificate will usually be accepted for official purposes in Ireland if you need to show evidence that you are married. If the certificate is in a foreign language, you must provide an official translation or a translation from a recognised translation agency.

You may require a Certificate of Freedom to Marry to get married in some foreign countries. This may also be called “Certificate de Coutume” or “Certificate of Nulla Osta”. You apply online to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for a Certificate of Freedom to Marry. You should apply at least four months before the date of your marriage. It normally costs €60 per person. However, if you apply 28 days or less before the date of your marriage, the fee rises to €120 per person.

Further information is available from the Citizens Information Service below.


 

Know Your Rights

C: Making a will

September 2018

Question

I would like to make a will. Do I need to go to a solicitor or can I draw up the will myself?

Answer

It is important for you to make a will because, if you do not, the law on intestacy decides what happens to your property in the event of your death.

Writing a will can ensure that proper arrangements are made for your dependants and that your property is distributed in the way you wish after your death (subject to certain rights of spouses or civil partners and children).

You can draw up a will yourself or you can hire a solicitor to help you. All of the following legal requirements apply:

  • The will must be in writing.
  • You must be over 18 (unless you are or have been married).
  • You must be of sound mind.
  • You must sign or mark the will or acknowledge the signature or mark in the presence of two witnesses.
  • Your two witnesses must sign the will in your presence.
  • Your two witnesses cannot be people who will gain from your will and they must be present with you at the same time for their attestation to be valid. The witnesses’ spouses or civil partners also cannot gain from your will.
  • Your witnesses must see you sign the will but they do not have to see what is written in it.
  • The signature or mark must be at the end of the will.

If any of these requirements are not met, the will is not legally valid. If you want to change your will after you make it, you can add a codicil (amendment or change) to your will. This codicil must meet the requirements set out above.

You should keep an updated list of your assets. You can use a form to record where your possessions are kept. This makes it easier to identify and trace your assets after you die. You should keep the list in a safe place.

Further information is available from the Citizens Information Centre below.

 

Know Your Rights

D: Tax relief on tuition fees

September 2018

Question

My daughter is repeating a year at college and both the Student Contribution and tuition fees are due this year. Can I claim any tax relief for her third-level course?

Answer

You may be able to claim tax relief on tuition fees (including the Student Contribution) that you pay for your daughter’s course.

Tax relief is given at the standard rate of 20%. You can claim it as long as you have actually paid the fees, either for yourself or for another person. There is no limit on the number of people you can claim for.

The maximum amount of fees (including the Student Contribution) that qualify for tax relief is €7,000 per person per course. However, there is no tax relief on the first €3,000 spent on tuition fees, including the Student Contribution (€1,500 for part-time students). If you are claiming for more than one student, you get full tax relief on tuition fees (including the Student Contribution) for the second and subsequent students.

For both undergraduates and postgraduates, the approved course can be full or part-time in a private or publicly-funded third-level college in Ireland or in any other EU member state. (Postgraduate students can also claim for approved courses in non-EU countries.)

Undergraduate courses must be of at least two years’ duration while postgraduate courses can be between one and four years. For postgraduate courses, students must already have a primary degree or equivalent. Tax relief may also be available for approved foreign language and IT courses that are less than two years’ duration and which result in the award of a certificate of competence (the fees paid must be over €315 and under €1,270).

Lists of courses and colleges approved for relief each year are published on the Revenue website.

You can claim tax relief on tuition fees using Revenue’s myAccount service. Alternatively you can download an application form from revenue.ie and return the completed form to your Revenue office.

Further information is available from the Citizens Information Service below.

Know Your Rights has been compiled by Co Wicklow Citizens Information Service which provides a free and confidential service to the public. See www.citizensinformation.ie for details of your local centre or phone our main office in Bray on 0761 07 6780

Information is also available online at citizensinformation.ie and from the Citizens Information Phone Service, 0761 07 4000.

Please contact us for use of this image