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Ministers 'can claim water charges as expenses on their second homes'

However, the Taoiseach has said he intends to pay “whatever my water charge is” on his second home.

SOME GOVERNMENT MINISTERS can claim the cost of water charges on their second homes as expenses, according to Revenue guidance issued to the Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty.

Any Ministers (including the Taoiseach and Tánaiste), Ministers of State and the Attorney General, who are based outside Dublin and have a second home in the capital, are entitled to have water charges deductible as an expense for tax purposes.

The matter was raised in the Dáil today as Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams asked the Taoiseach if, in keeping with the programme for government, he had any intention of amending the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 to remove the exemption.

Kenny said he hasn’t come across an arrangement for the changing of the Act, but said that he would get a report for Adams on the matter.

The Taoiseach added that he had received his notice from Irish Water about his second abode, which is a small apartment near Leinster House, and said: “Obviously, I intend to pay whatever my water charge is”.

Guidance from Revenue issued to Doherty, and seen by TheJournal.ie, says:

As regards the costs of maintaining the second residence, such an office holder is entitled to an allowance for the actual vouched costs expended in maintaining the second residence. Revenue accepts that water charges legally incurred by the occupier of a second residence are deductible as an expense for tax purposes for those office holders who claim the dual abode allowance on the basis of actual vouched costs expended.

In 2011 a total of 13 ministers availed of the dual abode allowance, which added up to €112,661.

The second home allowance was introduced in 1966 under the Income Tax Act 1967 (now the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997).

The identities of the government members who claim the second home allowance can’t be revealed for confidentiality reasons.

“It is sickening to think Ministers and Ministers of State can avail of this tax break while others have to pay. There are thousands of struggling families throughout this state who will be angered by this revelation,” said Doherty today.

Read: Kenny says Irish Water (and your PPS number) “will not be sold”>

Read: Is your water undrinkable? You won’t have to pay Irish Water for it>

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